The Mini Boombox has a built-in battery that powered it for 7 hours and 20 minutes in my tests, but it lacks a battery gauge. For those who talk on the phone a lot, it's also a speakerphone that doesn't make you sound like you're talking in a cave.
Keeping an eye on things back home
When I travel, I bring a bit of my home with me via a home-based webcam. I have a D-Link DCS-932L camera set up to monitor Slowy, my 10-year-old Golden Greek tortoise.
The $150 webcam lets me watch and listen to what Slowy is up to (not very much, generally) and make sure he has fresh water and lettuce. It could just as easily act as a surveillance camera to monitor my home.
Because the camera streams video directly to the Wi-Fi router, it doesn't need to be connected to a computer. Setting it up was straightforward: I unpacked it, plugged it in, connected it to the router with an Ethernet cable and pressed the Wi-Fi Protected Setup buttons on both the camera and the router to get them to connect. Once the wireless connection was made, I disconnected the Ethernet cable, moved the camera to its final location and let it connect to the router over Wi-Fi. It took about 15 minutes total.
On the receiving end, I use D-Link's free MyDLink Lite app (available for both Android and iOS) to watch the video stream on the NitroHD phone; there's also an app called MyDLink+ that costs 99 cents and lets you watch up to four streams at once if you have several cameras set up.
Once the app has found the camera, it takes about 7 seconds for the stream to start. Although the camera is capable of streaming VGA video, the app can show only HVGA resolution. Still, the view is good and I am able to zoom in to see Slowy eating, sleeping and sitting in his water dish.
While there's a low-light mode for nighttime viewing, it shows video in black and white, making Slowy look like he's in an old movie.
Traveling with just a smartphone isn't for everybody, but with the right tools and preparation, those who don't need to use complex applications such as project management software can make it work.
Having traveled in the world of extreme mobility, I love the feeling of liberation that comes with leaving the notebook behind. I don't think I could ever go back.
Brian Nadel is a frequent contributor to Computerworld and the former editor in chief of Mobile Computing & Communications magazine.