Have Laptop, Will Travel

I’ll shortly be leaving on a combination business and pleasure trip. Despite my high-tech job, I prefer comfortable traveling when I have time, so I’ll be taking Amtrak across the country. Yes, it can be done, and yes, it beats flying any day.

Like a lot of small-business owners, it won’t be possible for me to disconnect entirely; I’ll need to be on call, and to have access to my work. But I want to carry as little as possible, and make the transition from the office to the train as painless as I can.

Luckily, I’ve been taking advantage of cloud services, so preparing for this trip has been easier than those in the past. I recently bought a 13″ MacBook Pro (s aapl) at around the same time Scott did, but since I’ve been using a Mac mini as my primary machine for the past couple of years, transferring my data and settings to the laptop was pretty easy.

For mail, I have several IMAP-based Google Apps and Gmail (s goog) accounts, and I was able to use the Migration Assistant to transfer my Apple Mail settings. It was actually easier to re-download the messages from Google’s servers than to copy several gigabytes of messages from the old mini.

Similarly, it was easy to back up and restore calendar and Address Book settings; I did make an abbu file backup, then restore it to the new machine, since Apple includes some data that Google Contacts doesn’t.

For IM, it was easy to copy Adium settings. For passwords, I had already set up Dropbox to sync 1Password data; as backup, I also use the cloud-based Lastpass. I use Xmarks to sync Firefox history, and I could have copied other settings too, although I chose not to, in order to do a little spring cleaning.

Once I’m on the road, I’ll stay connected to the mini in my office through Apple’s Screen Sharing and to my company’s Windows servers through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection. I’ll be using the Sprint Overdrive hotspot for connectivity, and although I’m sure that there will be places with no signal, Sprint has just activated 4G service in a couple of the places I’ll be.

I’ll also be taking the Bookeen Cybook Opus e-book reader, which has grown on me since I wrote about it, and a Belkin surge protector/USB charger; Amtrak has pretty reliable power, but it never hurts to be safe.

Of course, lots of things can go wrong, but I think that I’m pretty well prepared for my trip. So…all aboard! I’ll let you know how it goes.

How do you prepare for travel?

Amtrak image by Flickr user lazytom.

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