This morning I walk into Starbucks for my quad Americano. Another man walks in behind me. He is in his mid thirties, very fit and dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. He looks like he is perhaps in town for a sailing event. He walks in with a large computer bag and a canvas tote. I grab my coffee and sit down to check my email. This gentleman who I will refer to as Mr. Mobile, grabs a nearby seat and opens his computer bag and pulls out what looks to be a large fairly new Toshiba 17" laptop. Next he grabs the transmitter for his mouse and attaches it to the side before placing that on his lap. He grabs the power supply and plugs that into the wall and into the back of this machine. Lastly an external USB number keypad. When everything appears to be ready he pushes the power button and goes to order his coffee. He orders his drink - something somewhat complicated - and comes back to the seat 5 minute later to check in on things. His laptop is still booting up. He goes to the coffee bar and fixes his drink and returns. Still in process. He watches for a few seconds and decides to use the restroom. At first I was thinking "hey buddy someone needs to watch this stuff" but then I figured who could carry this all. After some time the man returns and sits down. I figure now he is ready to work - important things to get done. Mr. reaches into his large canvas tote and pull's out a large flat board like device with a built in mousepad and places it on his lap. He relocates all of his computer accouterments to this plank and opens his email.
I a look at my watch - it has been 17 minutes since he walked in and started this process.
No new email apparently for him. So I am assuming he is going to get to the real work. Perhaps a novel, some programming maybe? Nope. Facebook.
I go back to my reading on my iPhone, enjoying the coffee (sorry Marco). I hear a rustling. Mr Mobile is packing up. Ceremoniously recreating his startup procedure in reverse. Mr Mobile was at the coffee shop less than 28 minutes and perhaps had 4-5 min of computing time.
This is exactly the opposite of my preference.
- I like to travel light. The more I travel the more this is becoming crucial to me. Carrying all that weight associated with all of that gear would make me crazy. I prefer to bring my 11" MacBook Air or iPad with me for short work sessions outside of the office.
- If I am running into a public space to work or even read, I want to do it. I can not wait forever for a machine to boot up.
- Why bring the extra pieces with you - the portable table the mouse and the external keypad. Bring what you need and not the kitchen sink.
As I rework my computing strategy it is more about what can I get done and where. There will be sometimes I am sure that I will not be able to do everything. But I am no longer willing to bring it all with me for that off chance I need to do something odd.