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Issue 9.4

FEATURE

Georgia Here I Come

At the Real Studio Summit 2011 in Atlanta

Issue: 9.4 (May/June 2011)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Author Bio: Marc taught himself programming in high school when he bought his first computer but had no money for software. He's had fun learning ever since.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 26,483
Starting Page Number: 19
Article Number: 9405
Related Link(s): None

Excerpt of article text...

It feels like decades since the last RB conference I attended. Has it really only been three years? I'm excited, yet nervous about the travel. I'm always worried I'll forget something critical.

This year I decided to experiment in several ways. I wanted to travel light, so I made the choice to leave my laptop and GPS at home. This was risky: I was giving a presentation and not having a laptop could make that more difficult as I wouldn't be able to make last minute changes. But I figured I didn't really need a laptop: it wasn't like I was going to have any spare time for programming and my presentation didn't require any on-the-fly coding or app demonstration. The only thing that was necessary was the ability to type as I like to take notes and write my conference article while the memory's fresh, so I bought an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and discovered it transformed my iPad into a terrific writing instrument (in fact, I'm typing this in Pages on my iPad with that keyboard). The addition of critical arrow keys means iPad is finally usable for editing and rewriting instead of just awkward first drafts.

I was also planning on renting a car and driving 1,500 miles in the surrounding states, so would my iPhone be a valid substitute? I planned carefully: I bought a vent-mount holder for my phone and an auto-charger so I could keep it plugged in. I found a great 30-day trial of a GPS app (Motion-X Drive) for just 99 cents. I tested it before leaving so I knew how it worked and even preloaded my routes on it so they wouldn't have to be downloaded via my data connection while driving.

To my delight, everything worked wonderfully. Going through airport security was a breeze without a laptop to hassle with (iPads can be left in your bag and just go through the X-ray scanner). When I got my rental car in Nashville, the mount clung to the vent just great and held my iPhone perfectly where I could see and access it. It was great having it powered as whenever I went anywhere, my iPhone always had a full charge. The GPS software on my phone came right up and prompted me on my route. I noticed my car had an audio input jack, so when I spotted a Best Buy I ran in and bought a cable for an outrageous price, but the line meant I could plug the phone into the car's speakers and listen to audiobooks or music while I drove. The GPS would pause the audio when it prompted me for directions and then continue right on with the book. Even while my phone was doing those dual functions, I could check my email and run Safari to see if anything was happening in the world (not that I did that while driving, of course).

Everything worked so flawlessly it was almost a disappointment! (I did run into one GPS mapping glitch where it tried to direct me to a bridge in the middle of nowhere that was closed, but when I did a U-turn it immediately led me on a simple detour that was only a few extra miles.)

Using the iPad at the conference was also terrific. After a whole day of note-taking at presentations my iPad's battery was down a mere 25%! To be fair, it wasn't like I was typing constantly—I slept the iPad during demonstrations and other aspects of sessions that didn't require active notes. I also found a neat feature of the Bluetooth keyboard: when the iPad was asleep, touching any key on the keyboard woke it up instantly and bypassed the unlock screen, so I didn't need to touch the screen. Very handy.

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