So tablets, if you want to get anything done travelling get a ... yes, a laptop
Just ask the young gonzo techblogsterz
Something for the Weekend Some people mature like a fine wine. Others mellow out like a smooth whiskey. Yet others get more sprightly and a bit fruity as they grow older, akin to a strong gin and tonic.
I am a cheap Rioja.
By this, you understand that I’m widely available and don't cost much but never quite live up to my reputation. In fact, I often make people wince and they want to dispose of me quickly. But most of all, it means that I don’t travel well.
It’s partly that I don’t like taking aeroplanes as a form of personal transport. Indeed, given enough time and resources, I would rather walk 500 miles than fly them, and maybe 500 more, which I suppose makes me a sort of Proclaimer but with a smaller mouth.
It grimly amuses me that airport security needs to check my passport complete with its limited biometric details, when I have already left a considerable quantity of my biometric data in the plane during the flight. By the time I disembark, the back of my seat is damp with my sweat, the carpet is spotted with my spilt alcoholic drinks and I have left my fingerprints imprinted in the plastic of the armrests.
For this reason, I tend not to raise my hand when the invites appear for professional conferences, business meetings and press junkets taking place beyond these shores. Give them to someone younger, I say, or to someone with a stronger bladder for turbulence. Yet for some reason, I ended up on several of these in the past couple of months.
The press briefings, especially, can be quite intense: they fly you out one day, you suffer death by PowerPoint for an afternoon, you fiddle around with some kit, and they fly you back the next morning. It sounds brilliant – and it is – but I could do without the bits at the beginning and end that involve flying.
Also, the bits in-between have also become more intense in recent years. Back in the old days, when pilots could leave cockpits unlocked, children could play unattended in the aisles and the skies were all fields, or something, it was possible to attend a press briefing, write it up during the return flight and file it to your editor when you got back home.
These days, however, you have to do it all straight away. Even better, it’s best to file your story while the PowerPoint slides are still running and boring everyone’s tits off. And the best way to do this is not write anything at all but instead upload a gonzo-style video to a tech blog, preferably of your own hairy hands fondling some demo hardware while in the background your boring voice drones on interminably about nothing original or useful at all.
I’m just jealous, of course. Tech bloggers tend to be very young, irresistibly energetic and outrageously popular. I watched a bunch of them in action at a big consumer product unveiling event a few weeks ago, and they all blew me away. That’s right, they even do great blow jobs. Who’d have thought?
One of these young bloggers – I estimate his age to be around 16 and a half – has a YouTube channel in which he recites the technical specifications of the various products he is waggling around in the videos, interspersed by saying “er” a lot, and yet his following is measured in the meeellions. Needless to say ... oh, go on, I’ll say it anyway ... he genuinely earns a living from doing this.
I could tell he knew what he was doing because he was armed with a haversack of his own gadgets, cables and accessories. And while his video camera, mini-tripod and mic were extremely cheap and gonzo indeed, he’d brought a proper laptop with which to process the video and upload it.
This, of course, meant that he had to check in an item of hold baggage for the flights. I, on the other hand, think that the humiliating and angry process of queueing up to check in baggage at an airport is yet another means by which airlines try to make your travel experience as shit as possible. So I had chosen to travel light: we were staying for just the one night, after all.
To show off my handheld tech credentials, my hand luggage included merely a tablet, Bluetooth travel keyboard and an SD card adapter for my SLR camera shots. Oh, of course, I also had to stuff in the camera itself, and the telephoto lens just in case, and some spare batteries. Hmm, maybe the recharger too. And those cables. Blimey, I nearly forgot the flash too.
Once I packed this little lot into my hand luggage, I found there was no room for any clothes or toiletries. So I had to leave the telephoto, rechargers and various cables and adapters on my desk before setting off. It was with a smug smile on my face that I whizzed through check-in at the airport.