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  1. #1
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    Using a laptop with external monitor

    NOTE: This thread is a general discussion thread about mobile computing and external video monitors/projectors/HDTVs and using all this equipment to work together. Users of Windows PCs, Macintoshes and other operating systems are welcome.


    Hello!

    In this earlier thread, I opened a discussion on the use and ownership of the 11-inch Apple MacBook Air (MBA), an ultra-compact sub-notebook-class computer. In the course of that earlier thread, jmoz indicated using an MBA with an external monitor such as Apple's Thunderbolt display.

    For several years up until March of 2013, I owned and occasionally carried a 15-inch non-retina Apple MacBook Pro (MBP) in a Horizontal Brain Cell stored in a Tom Bihn Super Ego briefcase. (I bought the Super Ego rig in 2009.) That March, the MBP suddenly died on me, leaving me in a lurch. I hurriedly bought a refurbished late-2012 Apple iMac desktop machine (iMac 13,1; 2.9 GHz Core i5, 8 GB RAM, MacOS 10.8, 1 TB HDD, external Apple SuperDrive). I commonly work with Microsoft Office, iPhoto and bookkeeping and mailing database tasks on my machine. I occasionally editing video and produce DVDs in Final Cut Studio and also perform desktop publishing duties in Adobe Creative Suite. I serve as an office and project manager for a small construction company that works in several communities. When I used the MBP, I occasionally did overhead presentations using a projector. I volunteered for a local safety course, co-taught by volunteers and a local state police trooper; part of the course included a safety demonstration/instruction video and a PowerPoint slideshow. I never used an external monitor in a desktop situation, though. The MBP never had an operating system newer than MacOS 10.6.8, and it was an older MBP, so it wasn't equipped to finesse projectors and monitors like the newer hardware and software can. I may buy a new laptop, possibly a MacBook Air (nothing definite there) down the road.

    I started this new thread to re-focus on the use of laptop computers in connection with external displays. By external display, I mean primarily (thought by no means exclusively) desktop LCD or LED computer monitors (Apple's aforementioned Thunderbolt Display among them). Secondarily, I would also like to hear about what people have done with other video media such as HDTVs and projectors, among other possibilities. For those who use an iPad or other ultra-portable tablet computer, please indicate whenever you are referring to tablet use. If you use a laptop and a tablet together or alternating, please clarify this as well.

    Some questions to start things off:

    • Are you a business "road warrior", a casual mobile professional, or simply a private individual who is into mobile computing? What do you get out of mobile computing.
    • What kind of laptop do you use? Please give general specs, product name, and brief general description.
    • Do you use your laptop computer as your primary PC machine? If you use the laptop as a satellite machine and a separate desktop or office workgroup computer solution as a kind of "mothership", please clarify this.
    • What kind of software applications do you use on your laptop? At the "mothership"? On your tablet? Do you do alot of public or group presentations using PowerPoint, Keynote, iPhoto or some movie player? If so, please articulate?
    • What kind of bag/case/rig do you carry your laptop and other gear around in? Any Tom Bihn bags, pouches, caches, Brain Cells or other accessories?
    • What kind of adaptors/rig/special equipment do you commonly use/carry with you to connect your laptop computer to your desktop monitor?
    • What kind of rig/special equipment do you commonly use/carry with you to connect your laptop computer to a projector? Is this part of your presentation toolbox?
    • If you use a laptop and a tablet together or in alternation, do you feed your tablet data via your laptop, or from some other source? What software do you use?


    Thanks in advance for your participation!

    --MtnMan
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  2. #2
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    Some thoughts, some somewhat rambly, Mac-centric thoughts:

    • MONITOR STUFF
    • I firmly believe that laptop/external display is the way to go. Laptops have bridged the performance gap between all but the most powerful desktop machines.
    • Although cloud based storage makes having two machines and the file management between them less of a problem now.
    • For professional programs like final cut, logic, AutoCAD, Lightroom etc.. 2 or more monitors are the only way to go, even for calendar and email it can be extremely handy. Really any time you are working with more than one information source.
    • I DO have a desktop (Mac mini) but it isn't used for computing. It is hooked up via HDMI to my living room tv and serves as a Media Centre/wifi-ethernet hub/network storage/time machine backup. When appleTV/Device driven AirPlay and WDtv came out it became the less convenient option for actually playing media. It just stores the files now.
    • The iMac's display port/thunderbolt port is bidirectional. You can use that as an external monitor for your laptop given the proper connectors.
    • If you are thinking about buying a Thunderbolt Display just get another refurbished iMac, it will probably be cheaper and it has a damn computer attached.
    • The Mac display looks sexy but you will get better bang for your buck elsewhere.
    • Apple connectors are stupid expensive, if you need to interface with Mac proprietary ports get a thunderbolt to HDMI and use 3rd party adaptors from the HDMI.

      PRESENTATION/PROJECTOR STUFF
    • Most projectors you run across will be either VGA or DVI, newer ones will have HDMI but I wouldn't count on it. S-video and RCA will pop up too.
    • In my industry we do what is called "advancing the show" which is where you go in or call the venue beforehand and see what options you have for power, rigging, parking etc... You can do the same with your projection shows, have them tell you which model of projector they have and which lines they decided to run through the ceiling and into the wall plate.
    • Once you have that information 1.) make a bento spreadsheet with it. 2.) download and attach a PDF of the projector's manual to it. 3.) make sure you have the proper connectors to interface.
    • Bring AAA batteries and possibly a small universal remote because inevitably the projector remote will either be dead or missing.
    • Bring a copy of your presentation on a thumb drive (including your fonts) also save your powerpoint/keynote as a PDF and gmail it to yourself, every computer should be able to open a PDF. lastly save your presentation as a video and share it to your private youtube account and dropbox. EXPECT YOUR MACHINE TO DIE AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY!!!!!
    • Make sure they have enough outlets/ bring a power strip
    • Keynote remote for iPhone is pretty much the best thing ever invented for doing presentations.
    • If I had my way the AppleTV would be hooked up to every projector.
    • The new Mac os/iOS's allow you to mirror you Mac/iDevice display to the Apple TV
    • *not tech related but..* kill the graphics, not every bit of text needs to spiral onto the screen then dissipate in flames #pet peeve/end rant!

      IPAD STUFF
    • I enjoy using my iPad as an external laptop display I use Avatron's Air display App and am quite happy with it.
    • I also enjoy hooking up to a hotel room TV with the iPad AV connector while I stream movies/shows from netflix, slingbox or a wireless media hard drive.
    • If I will be staying at the same hotel for a really long time I will bring or buy an Apple TV for my room.
    • If I have a bunch of drafting work to do I am not above moving the hotel's TV to use as an extra monitor either directly from my laptop or from iPad air display via AV connection kit

      RANDOM MUSINGS
    • I find myself using my laptop less and less and my iPad more and more.
    • Unless I have another project on the go I rarely bring a laptop on the road anymore, the iPad suffices and does very well for email, web surfing, Facebook, FaceTime, Skype, light drafting (Autocad 360), hell it even works pretty well as a music demo studio (garage band and Apogee Jam), movie editor (iMovie) and photo editor as you have seen.
    • I haven't had a chance to use it for real yet but I made a standalone version of Autocad on a small, thin SSD drive that I could plug into a borrowed computer if I desperately needed to draft something.

      CARRYING IT
    • For the most part this all gets carried in either the Aeronaut or the Tri-star or on rare occasions when the stars line up that I need all of it and I can bring 2 carry-ons (thanks WestJet) both.
    • I am thinking of getting something like a Cadet, Synapse 25, Smart Alec, Pilot?,western flyer for a tech/personal bag for when the Aeronaut isn't big enough and the Aeronaut/Tristar combo is too much but am always waiting for the next big TB announcement.
    • My MacBook Pro travels in your typical lightly padded zip up sleeve.
    • iPad has it's Smart Cover and sometimes a neoprene sleeve and either goes in the big front pocket of the Tri-star, slipped in-between packing cubes or in a packing cube shoulder bag to stay with me in my seat.
    • iPad mini has a hard plastic case with flip cover/stand and it goes wherever.
    • cables go either in a 3D organizer cube or in the mesh lid pocket of the Aeronaut or the smaller Tri-star pockets.
    • Some people on here may think it is blasphemous but I do think it is possible to be too compartmentalized.
    • on the other hand I do have a few Plano clear plastic fishing lure organizer boxes filled with audio adaptors, drum hardware, guitar and amp parts, and various band related consumables that fit very well inside the compartments of the Tri-star.


    Just try to pack less than these guys...
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  3. #3
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    ^ Great write-up; thanks, Miking.

    Though I currently have no immediate plans to purchase anything (and no $$$ to do it anyway), down the road I'm thinking of supplementing my desktop iMac with a laptop and/or tablet so that I can make presentations and not be totally tied to my desk. After having used a MBP for years, I do miss the mobility even if I moved around with it occasionally.

    You seem to suggest that having a tablet is slowly eclipsing the benefits of having a laptop. Can you actually plug in a tablet to a projector and present slideshows that way? (I'm imagining these would have to be Keynote or Powerpoint presentations; my most frequent presentation tool for both public and private presentations is actually iPhoto, but alas, my iPhoto library contains over 50,000 photos and probably would not work/fit on a tablet.)

    Mt first project in the new year is probably going to be to help my parents replace their aging white first-gen MacBook. No money has been raised for that project yet, but it would likely be either a 13-inch MBP (with built-in DVD drive) or a 13-inch MBA. I also need to buy a bunch of new hard drives and major software upgrades which will cost big bucks. After that, I will be looking at a tablet, possibly an iPad Mini; my first-gen iPod is wearing out and its time to replace it with a new music-and-movie player that will also open up new realms with internet connectivity and iOS software. I'm still thinking about getting another laptop somewhere down the road, hence this thread. 75% of me would like to get an MBA, though I'm still wavering on 13-inch vs. 11-inch. I spotted an 11-inch Windows notebook at Staples on Xmas Eve and was impressed by it, imagining what an MBA-11 would be like. (I have to travel at least 65 miles to see any Apple hardware on display due to my rural location.) The other 25% says, "what you really want is get back into the pro-mobile-computing-game, with a 15-inch MBP Retina w/ 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SDD and all apps loaded so you can take it all with you." At least these conflicting voices don't have me going postal.

    I started this thread to explore the possible as to what kind of gear and configurable setup I would want to consider buying when I do reach that stage. I am also looking at the possibility of eventually leaving the business and finding a new job elsewhere, possibly relocating. If I do this, I want to have a mobile setup of some kind in place so when I go exploring a new venue I can be prepared. I really appreciate learning from others experiences about what is "out there" technology-wise.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  4. #4
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    I might be a bit of an anomaly in the way that I am one phone call away from not seeing my desk for 18 months but I would be tempted to ditch the desktop completey in favor of a laptop, the 13" MBA is a good compromise of what you want and what you need, another option especially since you aren't constantly traveling is one of the older style non-retina 15" MacBook Pro because you can still upgrade the ram and hard drive, you can even replace the optical drive with another hard drive and because they aren't the latest and greatest they are selling for less than they were before.

    As far as needing the top of the line retina MacBook Pro, unless you are making the movie trailer for the latest Hollywood blockbuster or recording Coldplay it is probably overkill. Tablets are catching up fast, even for your parents- chances are they would be perfectly happy with an iPad or if they don't move around a bunch maybe your old iMac when you are ready to upgrade to a laptop.

  5. #5
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    I agree technology is moving in the direction of tablets, but my parents need a dedicated full-blown computer like the MacBook because we do compose substantial documents for business. Neat idea, though.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  6. #6
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    My brain-drizzles on the subject (haven't had enough coffee for a true brain storm today...):

    • I moved away from desktop computing about seven years ago (this was also when I made the switch from Windows/PCs to Macs).
    • I find that laptops suit my needs perfectly. I use a 13" Macbook Air at home, and 15" Macbook Pro at work. (I'm a university professor.)
    • I l love my iPad, but the apps aren't nearly robust enough for me to consider moving completely away from laptop computing. Over the years, I've developed Excel spreadsheets that do everything but tie my shoes for me. They're critical to my workflow. My iPad chokes on them.
    • Although I'm not ready to give up my laptops, I find that I use the iPad more and more. I love being able to sign letters and email them directly from the iPad. I also like being able keep my lecture notes on my iPad -- much easier than carrying a laptop to class. I nearly always use the iPad to take notes in meetings. This seems less offensive to other attendees than having a laptop with the screen flipped up (which creates a bit of a barrier for eye contact and personal conversation). As a hobby, I'm an active musician. I've slowly but surely been turning my sheet music in to PDFs, which I load to the iPad. I really like this -- it lets me keep lots of sheet music handy without having to carry around a lot of bulky print material.
    • When I need to haul a laptop around, I use a Synapse 19 (with cache) for the Macbook Air and a Fishpond backpack (an oldie but a goodie!) for the 15" Macbook Pro. I don't usually carry the laptops back and forth from home to school. I do, however, tote the iPad every day. Up until last week, I used the Synapse 19 for that. Santa brought me a Co-Pilot for Christmas, and I'm looking forward to using that as my primary bag in the new year.
    • In addition to the iPad, I also carry the following gadgetry with me on a daily basis: WiFi hotspot, iPhone, New Trent iTorch portable charger, ancient iPod Nano, earbuds, and a couple of cables. Some of these accessories are in organizer pouches; others are just shoved in pockets in the bags. I agree with @Miking on this: I think it's possible to over-compartmentalize.
    • When I carry one of the laptops, it's usually because I'm doing a presentation somewhere. So, I add a display adaptor, a Logitech presentation remote, and a small power strip (with integrated USB charging ports) to the mix.
    • I use Dropbox to house my files. This way, they're available on all of my devices when I need them. My work isn't top-secret, so I don't worry about turning my files over to a third-party cloud storage provider. If someone wants to hack my account and steal one of my assignments, they're welcome to it! That said, if I dealt with sensitive information, I'd definitely re-think this. I keep backups of critical files (presentations, grades spreadsheet, etc.) on a USB drive, which is always attached to my keyring.
    • I no longer use apps that don't allow me to either access files on Dropbox or use some other synchronization method. For example, I'm a regular user of Evernote and Omnifocus. They both offer their own synchronization service.
    • For those rare apps that require me to use Windows, I installed VirtualBox and Windows on the Macbook Pro. I'm finding that I need that partition less and less often, but it does come in handy from time to time.
    • My husband can get by with the processing power of a laptop, but he needs a much larger display. So, in his home office I set him up with my old Macbook Air (yes, he gets my hand-me-downs. When we get a new table saw, it's his. New computers are mine. That's just the way it works...) and a large external display. I also added a mouse and keyboard. This gives him the large viewing area that he needs with the flexibility to pack up and go if necessary.


    This is an interesting thread. I look forward to reading contributions from other forum members.
    Synapse 19, Co-Pilot, Side Effect, Small Cafe Bag, Western Flyer, Tri-Star, Travel Tray, Passport Pouch, Small Organizer Wallet (this is the little guy that started it all...), several Shop Bags and Organizer Pouches. More to come, I'm sure...

  7. #7
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    For work, my main computer is a 15 inch Retina MBP. Because of what I do (emergency management) I need to be able to take my computer with me - if I'm out at a class or off-campus meeting I have the laptop with me "just in case" and when we have an emergency situation going on, I have to be able to take my computer to our Emergency Operations Center to work out of there. I've never been a fan of having a laptop as a secondary computer and since I'm mostly running typical "office" applications and some light graphics, a laptop works just fine for me as a desktop replacement.

    My office setup couples the MBP with a Thunderbolt display and I love it. Previously (pre-Mac) I had a Toshiba laptop on a docking station with two 19 inch monitors attached and liked the dual monitor setup. When I first got the Mac I kept the same monitors for a bit, but the Thunderbolt is so much better. Just two connections to make (power and Thunderbolt) and there's plenty of screen "real estate" to work with.

    I do have an older 2nd gen iPad too, and I use this a lot for meetings. I have a handwriting app I use for taking notes in meetings and it's much cleaner than all the scraps of paper I used to have around my office. I've been doing most of my presentations from Keynote on the iPad for the past few years, but since I got the MBP last year I'm using it more. I have a TB pouch full of connectors for VGA, HDMI, etc. to be able to hook the iPad up to various displays and projectors. Generally I use Dropbox to sync my files for that.

    At home, I have a Dell laptop and an external monitor too - when it dies I'm planning to get a Macbook Air and possibly another Thunderbolt display.

  8. #8
    Registered User Gumby's Avatar
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    I wrote a relatively lengthy reply to this last week. It's apparently lost in cyberland. :-( Regardless, I'm enjoying the thread -- always interested to learn how other folks use their gadgets.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    Synapse 19, Co-Pilot, Side Effect, Small Cafe Bag, Western Flyer, Tri-Star, Travel Tray, Passport Pouch, Small Organizer Wallet (this is the little guy that started it all...), several Shop Bags and Organizer Pouches. More to come, I'm sure...

  9. #9
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    Just a shout-out to everyone who generously contributed to this thread: thank you.

    I definitely want to revive this discussion! Here goes:

    More recently, I started a new thread in this same forum. Opportunities and priorities have been changing rapidly. I became aware of a job opening at Apple. After viewing a mobile office/packing demo video in another forum, I decided to apply for the opening. I haven't had a formal job search, but I did submit a resume for a job vaguely similar to the business-sales one alluded to in that video.

    I set aside plans to buy a laptop for the time being. Instead, I decided to focus in on getting a tablet instead. For the foreseeable future, my iMac remains my mothership for computing. But I wanted to open a discussion about how I could take mobile presentations with me on the road. So I started another thread in this forum dedicated to iOS presentations. (Using either an iPad Mini or an iPod Touch as a mobile device for presenting slideshows.)

    Folks in that most recent thread are persuading me that I need to save up my pennies and choose an iPad Mini for a presentation device.

    I have one question on my mind that I posted in this other forum. The question involves coming up with an ultra-portable "kit" of accessories that would be necessary for taking presentations with me on-the-road:

    What about A/V? If I carried an iPad Mini with me to multiple venues and I always wanted to bring along a "connection kit" in case I needed to give an presentation on an HDTV or a projector, what would be the best selection of connectors to carry in a standard kit? (Maybe I might use my own projector, or maybe I might use someone else's TV or projector.)
    If anyone in this thread is interested in participating, please feel free to contribute your thoughts either in this thread or in the other one on ultra-portable presentations. Your input is much appreciated.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  10. #10
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    Are you a business "road warrior", a casual mobile professional, or simply a private individual who is into mobile computing? What do you get out of mobile computing.
    I live by my computer, and until recently used both a Mac Pro and a MacBook Pro. However, after the Mac Pro got too long in the tooth, I decided to switch to using only my laptop. The performance difference just wasn't great enough to justify the cost of the new Mac Pro.

    What kind of laptop do you use? Please give general specs, product name, and brief general description.
    Generally, I have whatever is the best MacBook Pro you can currently buy, sometimes being a generation behind. I sell my laptop after buying the new one, to defray the cost.

    Do you use your laptop computer as your primary PC machine?
    Yep, main machine, and I work on it 8-14 hours a day, nearly every day.

    What kind of software applications do you use on your laptop? At the "mothership"? On your tablet? Do you do alot of public or group presentations using PowerPoint, Keynote, iPhoto or some movie player? If so, please articulate?
    I use too many different applications to even name, but the activity I do most is compiling code written in Haskell. I do present in Keynote some times, and I watch movies with my wife on a connected 24" monitor. I also have an iPad Air, but I use that mainly for reading and watching movies with the wife when not at home.

    What kind of bag/case/rig do you carry your laptop and other gear around in? Any Tom Bihn bags, pouches, caches, Brain Cells or other accessories?
    Smart Alec and Brain Bag with a vertical Brain Cell. The iPad Air is in a Cache when I'm using the Smart Alec, or in another carrying pouch when I have it in my Co-Pilot.

    What kind of adaptors/rig/special equipment do you commonly use/carry with you to connect your laptop computer to your desktop monitor?
    I have three connectors I carry around with me: Thunderbolt to Ethernet, to DVI, to VGA.

    What kind of rig/special equipment do you commonly use/carry with you to connect your laptop computer to a projector? Is this part of your presentation toolbox?
    I don't carry much else, except sometimes I use an infrared remote clicker for moving to the next slide. It has a built-in laser pointer, which can be nice.

    If you use a laptop and a tablet together or in alternation, do you feed your tablet data via your laptop, or from some other source? What software do you use?
    Dropbox!

  11. #11
    Registered User scribe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    [*]Are you a business "road warrior", a casual mobile professional, or simply a private individual who is into mobile computing? What do you get out of mobile computing.
    Both a casual mobile professional and into personal mobile computing.

    Business-wise, the place I used to work traditionally only provided Macs in laptop form, so when i wanted to switch from Linux to a Mac for work, a laptop was my only choice.

    I do almost all my fiction writing on mobile devices (laptop or iPad), because then I can write anywhere - I spend my weekdays at a desk, so I prefer not to spend my weekends and evenings at one as well!

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    [*]What kind of laptop do you use? Please give general specs, product name, and brief general description.
    Business - 13" MacBook Pro; Acer Chromebook running Ubuntu (Linux)

    Personal - 11" MacBook Air; iPad Mini with Logitech ultrathin keyboard

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    [*]Do you use your laptop computer as your primary PC machine? If you use the laptop as a satellite machine and a separate desktop or office workgroup computer solution as a kind of "mothership", please clarify this.
    At work, my MacBook is my primary computer.

    At home, I have a Mac Mini with 21" monitor which acts as my home office "mothership" - it's where I do my email, accounts and other admin work, image manipulation, syncing iOS devices and ereader, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    [*]What kind of software applications do you use on your laptop? At the "mothership"? On your tablet? Do you do alot of public or group presentations using PowerPoint, Keynote, iPhoto or some movie player? If so, please articulate?
    Work: the usual email and office applications, of course, but mostly I work in terminals - most of my job is done on remote servers (web and database). I do a few presentations, mostly within the project and typically in PowerPoint as they have to be shareable within the project and we have a mixture of operating systems.

    Personal: Not really relevant to this discussion - I mostly use writing-oriented software such as Scrivener, WriteRoom and Evernote.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    [*]What kind of bag/case/rig do you carry your laptop and other gear around in? Any Tom Bihn bags, pouches, caches, Brain Cells or other accessories?
    Work: I have a work-provided Targus bag for the MacBook, though it rarely goes off-campus. I carry my Chromebook in a TB 13" MacBook Air cache (nearest fit) inside my Synapse 19.

    Personal: I also have a 11" MBA cache, but again I don't often take my MBA travelling. Mostly I carry my iPad+keyboard in a TB mini cache in a Medium Cafe Bag.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    [*]What kind of adaptors/rig/special equipment do you commonly use/carry with you to connect your laptop computer to your desktop monitor?
    Nothing special - just a standard Mac video-output-to-DVI plus a monitor cable.


    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    [*]What kind of rig/special equipment do you commonly use/carry with you to connect your laptop computer to a projector? Is this part of your presentation toolbox?
    As above, though most usually I need a VGA adaptor for projectors.


    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    [*]If you use a laptop and a tablet together or in alternation, do you feed your tablet data via your laptop, or from some other source? What software do you use?
    I mostly use apps that are available for both OSX and iOS, and sync them via iCloud. For apps where this isn't (yet) possible, I use compatible apps (e.g. Scrivener on OSX + WriteRoom on iOS) and sync via Dropbox.
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    Saw a commercial recently for Google Chromecast that lets you watch your computer on your tv. Thumbdrive size device plugs into your tv hdmi port which links your tv to your wifi. Then you can stream video to it, might work with newer hotel tv's.
    Chromecast

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorn View Post
    Saw a commercial recently for Google Chromecast that lets you watch your computer on your tv. Thumbdrive size device plugs into your tv hdmi port which links your tv to your wifi. Then you can stream video to it, might work with newer hotel tv's.
    Chromecast
    The "sad voice of experience" is that Chromecast is not a good option for hotels. For Chromecast to work, WiFi is required, with a couple of specific requirements: devices on the WiFi need to be able to talk to each other (which is often disable at hotels for security), and devices need to be able to connect to the WiFi with a webpage sign-on. This rules out using the Chromecast at the vast majority of hotels, sadly, unless you're willing to bring a personal router and a bunch of other things like that.

  14. #14
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    jmoz:

    How well does an Airport Exoress work in most of the hotels you've been in? When I stayed at the Georgtown U hotel in 2009, they didn't offer WiFi and their Ethernet connection was really crappy and cost extra. I did not bring an Airport Express along with because I assumed (silly me) they'd offer WiFi; even the hotel in my rural hometown offers that.

    When I went to Saint Louis for the Boilermakers' Arch tour in Nov. 2012, we all stayed at the Downtown Hilton just a couple blocks from the Arch. IIRC, they did offer WiFi and it worked although it was a little quirky.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    jmoz:

    How well does an Airport Exoress work in most of the hotels you've been in? When I stayed at the Georgtown U hotel in 2009, they didn't offer WiFi and their Ethernet connection was really crappy and cost extra. I did not bring an Airport Express along with because I assumed (silly me) they'd offer WiFi; even the hotel in my rural hometown offers that.

    When I went to Saint Louis for the Boilermakers' Arch tour in Nov. 2012, we all stayed at the Downtown Hilton just a couple blocks from the Arch. IIRC, they did offer WiFi and it worked although it was a little quirky.
    Not jmoz, but if you bring along an AirPort Express, you still have to connect via Ethernet, and start up the web browser with web connection and charges, so the connection will be as poor as their Ethernet connection (or worse). The only convenience is that you'll be able to share wireless access to the same Ethernet connection you are being charged for with multiple devices.

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