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pmuellr is Patrick Mueller, Senior Node Engineer at NodeSource.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Stuff for trips

I don't travel much, anymore, so I've gotten out of practice. Here are some things to remember to bring and/or buy.

  • ethernet cables

    I so rarely use the wired intarweb anymore that I don't even carry a cable in my backpack. That's dumb. Some places still only have the wired intarweb.

  • airport express

    Turns a wired connection into a wireless one. Useful even for just a hotel room so I don't have to work at that thing they call a desk. Also, I have the previous version of this device, which I use to stream Radio Paradise into my stereo system at home, so this would be an upgrade of that device. That device is also sometimes referred to as a G3 iBook. My family would be happy to not have to unplug the stereo out every time they want to use the "family room" laptop. And, the stereo jack on the iBook is cracking anyway and probably doesn't have too much longer to live.

  • note taking gear

    I always have note taking gear with me. A Fisher Bullet Pen and a tiny IBM Think notepad in my pocket. But this isn't quite enough to take notes at a conference, like the one I just attended. For the family trip to Italy this summer, I got Moleskine Cahier Notebooks to keep a journal, and these worked great. I filled one up, and the boys did some scribbling as well. Sandy had a different journal thing she got from a friend. I tried using one at the conference, and it worked pretty well, except I was doing a fair amount of non-linear writing. That's where it gets tricky. A daily log is simple; page after page after page. I had daily schedules, expense, notes on presentations, questions to ask people, etc. It just barely worked.

    I think the next thing to try is index cards. And pre-print with relevant templates from the absolutely gorgeous D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA collection from Douglas Johnston.

    I hate the thought of carrying these around in my pocket, which I'm sure I'll want to do at some point. I wonder if anyone makes 3"x5" index cards with rounded corners?

Podcasts

I spent the bulk of my time in the car, on the way to DC (5 hours), listening to podcasts. I sort of stopped listening to podcasts over a year ago (they got boring), but I decided to start looking around there again. Here's what I listened to on the trip:

php|architect's Pro::PHP Podcast. It's 1/2 interviews and half news. Good stuff, if you're trying to track what's going on in the PHP world. Think I'm all caught up at this point.

RedMonk Radio from the boys at RedMonk. No, I don't know why they have an eyeless, souless, creepily smiling zombie on their home page. What is it with England and zombies? Shaun of the Dead? 28 days later? Disclaimer: IBM is a Redmonk client. :-) Anyway, always a good listen. Think I'm all caught up at this point.

developerWorks podcasts. Grabbed these at the last minute before I left on my trip. I downloaded interviews with folks I've worked / chatted with over the years, including John Kellerman (previous boss, fellow BoilerMaker - go Boilers!), Carol Jones, Rod Smith, Bobby Woolf. Note these are Old Dudes (and Dudettes) Who Know Smalltalk (I think Carol and Rod at least dabbled in ST anyway). It was fun to listen to old friends, but I didn't really learn anything from it; I hear it at work all the time anyway. I suspect it will be good for non-IBMers to listen to.

I will probably also need a new iPod soon; my old 3G 15G is really getting old and crusty.

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