OnTheRoad 2008: Small Essentials In The Tool Kit

OntheroadCES 2008 is long gone and so is one of my shorter audition trips. I’ve got a longer auditon trip coming up in a few weeks. This year I’m delighted that, so far, my ““on the road kit” is performing well. In a previous post I wrote about the hardware that I was using, but in this post I’ll talk about some of the smaller, yet essential, accessories as well as a few essential pieces of software that I go back to time and time again while I’m doing work on the road. I’m not talking about the heavy duty applications (Office 2007, OneNote 2007, etc ) but the utility applications that make my job a little easier and more productive. (some links below are affiliate)

Essential Accessories


iGo Stowaway BlueTooth Keyboard: I started preparing this post several days ago, but the recent news that iGo was going to discontinue the Stowaway Bluetooth Keyboard, moved this one up to the top of the list. I don’t use it often, but when I need it, it is invaluable. The Stowaway works well with any  Bluetooth enabled device that I carry with me, and has been a life saver in a pinch, when I’m working with smaller devices like the OQO Model 02 or a UMPC. It also has served me well on the Sprint (HTC) Mogul. I did an InkShow about this keyboard awhle back, if you’re interested in taking a look, although I find I have less time for that kind of coffee shop activity these days.

Monster outlets to goMonster Outlets To Go: This handly little four outlet plug is a real life saver for me. Whether staying in a hotel room, or overnighting with a friend, I almost never seem to find enough outlets to re-juice everything up overnight for the next day. The Monster Outlet to Go come in several different sizes ranging from 3 outlets to 6. I use the one with 4 and that seems to do the trick. Small, light, and I don’t leave home without it.

BoxWave Retractable Mini-Sync Cable:  This is another don’t leave home without it item for me. I use this cable to not only sync up my data between the Sprint (HTC) Mogul and the ThinkPad, but also for tethering when I’m using the Mogul as a modem. Boxwave sells these in various flavors depending on the device you’re using so check them out.


Shawmee Microfiber Cleaning Cloth: I added this to my bag of tricks last fall and it is now indispensible. While the cloth itself is a bit large, it handles the screen cleaning chores for all of my devices with nothing more than a little water. I used to carry a variety of smaller cloths around because one would work well for one device and one for another, but the Shwamee does the trick everytime. Here’s the InkShow on the Shwamee Microfiber Cleaning Cloth.


Griffin itripGriffin iTrip FM Transmitter: I’ve been an iPod user for some time and I’m now using an iPod Touch. Regardless of the iPod, I’ve always used a Griffin iTrip FM Transmitter for playing music and podcasts while I’m driving. My wife and I enjoy driving trips, especially in the winter, when we can be a little more in control of our travel destiny if weather becomes an issue. I’ve essentially given up listening to the radio and do my own programming and play it through the car’s radio using the Griffin iTrip.

Essential Software Utilities

SnagIt: Where would I be without SnagIt. The single best screen capture application I have ever used. Hands down. And I’m not just saying that because TechSmith sponsors our InkShows.

Paint.Net: This free photo and graphics program gives me just about anything that I would need from PhotoShop, without the bloat, and without the cost. It has recently been updated to version 3.22.


ActiveWords: This utility is also a must have. Whether I’m using the InkPad when in pen mode, or the keyboard, I’m able to save tons of time using the shortcuts that I create for repetitive tasks and text entry.