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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.
Apple USB Ethernet Adapter
Hotel rooms rarely offer Wi-Fi. You're often left with a pokey Ethernet port and often a free cable on the desk in your room and expect to reach barely dial-up speeds as you attempt, often in vain, to file your copy.
But the drawback to a MacBook Air is the lack of Ethernet support. You have to own a USB adapter or pay the steep price of uploading your work via a tethered phone. Your hotel room is your office away from the bureau, and when you're working on a shoestring budget you have to work with what you can. This little adapter goes with me everywhere -- just in case.