Essential tech: What keeps one ZDNet writer on the road?

Essential tech: What keeps one ZDNet writer on the road?

Summary: Writing isn't just sitting at a desk waiting for the news to happen. It often requires a prepared bag of kit for travel to report at the source. Here's what Zack Whittaker keeps in his on-the-go bag.

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  • Writing and reporting often involves waking up before business hours to scour news wires and agency reports, and filtering out the seemingly unlimited stream of emails from pitchers and spammers alike just to find a story. It's far from a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, and often results seeps into personal and family time. The news cycle never stops, but thankfully nowadays we don't have to be everywhere at once.

    But sometimes we have to get out there, be places, see people and find the story amid the hurricane of public relations folk and spin-doctors. It doesn't matter where you are in the world: a media on-the-go bag has to have every piece of kit you may or may not need, regardless of whether it's a product launch in San Francisco or an international felon leaning out of an embassy building in London.

    What keeps us on the road? It's not the tires in our cars or the railroad tracks below our feet. It's the technology in our bags that keep reporters grounded to our news desks wherever we are in the world.

    This is what's inside my on-the-road bag. 

    Image credit: Christopher Elison/Flickr.

  • MacBook Air (11-inch)

    The Mac/PC preference divides much of the technology world. For me, an operating system agnostic, the platform that I use is way down on the list of things that matter while on the road.

    At the time of buying, the MacBook Air was the lightest and thinnest laptops available on the market for the price. The batter may not last as long as a traditional netbook, but it lasts long enough when Wi-Fi and other networking connectivity is turned off. The 128GB SSD drive results in breakneck response speeds, and the aluminum shell keeps the laptop cool.

    And that's why I bought it -- because on the road, compactness and battery life means everything. Now the market has shifted in favor of the ultrabook, a Windows-based ultra-thin laptop may be an avenue to explore later down the road. Until then, reliability must prevail. 

Topics: Smartphones, Apple, United Kingdom, BlackBerry, Outsourcing, Networking, Mobility, Laptops, Apps, PCs

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10 comments
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  • May I have your pounds

    Please? You look like you don't want them having them scatted around like that.
    adacosta38
  • I believe your MacBook Air model qualifies but I could be mistaken, however

    now that Mountain Lion is available - and one of the enhancements to ML is AirPlay - I was wondering two things.

    1. Have you updated to ML?
    2. If you have, and IF that model is compatible with MacBook Air video transmissions to an HDTV set via AirPlay .. will you include that little "hockey puck" of an Apple hobby device called Apple TV in your travel bag, Zack?

    The reason I ask is it might come in handy to show a group of people "something" that is on your computer on a handy large screen HDTV set. With AirPlay and a WiFi source, that would be possible if you had that little "hockey puck" along with you.

    BTW, if you needed a local WiFi signal and a mobile file storage device "all in one", than the Seagate GoFlex Satellite mobile HD (500 GB) + WiFi transmitter is a device that I would recommend highly.

    You never know when you might have time to relax and watch a digital movie or two stored on that device or listen to a musical song from a VERY large mobile song library residing on that Seagate unit.

    Just a suggestion, Road Warrior.
    kenosha77a
    • PS - OS X 10.8 ML has a feature called "Power Nap".

      Power Nap should work on your MBA, Zack, because of it's SSD. Power Nap should give you some extra minutes of battery power per charge.
      kenosha77a
  • Website

    First you should have the next button both at the top and bottom of each page so we don't have to scroll up OR you could just put it all on a single page - God forbid we should not have to wait for all the ad's to load every time we go to the next item.

    just pretend the user is trying to get some content out of the piece.
    bobc47@...
  • Nameless pieces of kit

    "It uses a fraction of the data than other conventional RSS aggregators...It costs less than $5...it's only a couple of clicks away..." Wonderful! Mind telling us what "it" is? I tried opening the image in a new window to see its file name, but Googling for "q-reeder" didn't help me at all.
    JohnQCooper
    • Seriously

      C'mon, I'm serious. I want to know what the program you intended to recommend in Image 20 is.
      JohnQCooper
  • gee

    How to go on a trip for dummies book coming to a book store near you.
    sarai1313@...
  • Nameless piece of kit

    What JohnQCooper said. :-)
    sckenney@...
  • Nameless piece of kit

    Yes, WHAT IS THE PROGRAM?
    CSF111
    • Apologies, all: Let me explain

      Behind the scenes, we have a "Subtitle" box and a "Copy" box. I entered the name of the program -- which is called "Reeder" (for Mac, iOS) by the way -- but obviously it didn't show up. Sorry, all!
      zwhittaker