This month’s newsletter theme is things that we’re thankful for. Having just returned from Affinity’s CaseAware© Bootcamp, I’ve got a list of a list of five tools that I’m thankful I had at hand:
1) iPad - The iPad gets a bum rap as a content consumption rather than content creation device. And admittedly, I mostly use my iPad for catching up on news or email on the couch. But, on this trip, I had my iPad Air 2, loaded with PowerPoint for iOS, connected to DropBox, and was able to edit my presentations without having to make room on the tiny, narrow conference table for my 15" MacBook Pro Retina. It was highly convenient to be surreptitiously make minor edits while waiting to present. I’m not saying I would have enjoyed building a slide deck from scratch on the iPad, but for edits, it was great.
2) Apple Watch - Since we have no concrete sales data from Apple, we really don’t know how well Apple Watch is doing in the market. The latest analyst guess is 3.2 million units so far, but no one but Apple really knows. For me, the Watch proved its value this week. The great thing about the Apple Watch at my conference was that I could easily get appointment reminders and texts from colleagues without having to constantly check my iPhone for “What was that latest vibration?”. It’s one thing when your iPhone volume is on and different sounds mean different things. It’s quite another when all of the buzzes feel pretty much alike. Bootcamp was the first time I’d used the watch in a genuine “business field test” environment. I was able to skim emails and send brief replies to texts without being obvious or distracting to others. I came away quite happy and impressed.
3) Kensington Presenter Remote - Three years ago, when I began doing conference presentations, I bought a Kensington Presenter Remote. The unit I purchased, the Kensington Presenter Pro Remote with Green Laser and Memory (K72367US), is no longer manufactured, but there are two current models, the Wireless Presenter Pro with Green Laser and the Presenter Expert Green Laser, Cursor Control and Memory, worth your consideration. Both models are hand-held slide remotes that let you advance and backup Keynote and PowerPoint slides without being chained to your computer at a podium. They both also include green laser pointers (10 times more visible than traditional red laser) for directing attention to parts of a slide. If you’re like me and prefer to walk around a bit while talking, these remotes are excellent. They’re easy to use, work with both Macs and PCs, and are practically idiot-proof. The two differences between the Presenter Pro and the Presenter Expert, besides $20, are that the Expert model includes a memory card, on which you can store your presentations, and a built-in curser, so you can control the mouse pointer in addition to advancing or backing up a slide deck, which is great if you want to “live demo” software on a projected screen. If I were in the market now, I’d go with the Presenter Expert.
4) Bose QC20 Headphones - Bose and Apple have a lot in common. They’re both pricier than their competition and many “purists” have strong opinions, positive and negative, on both. But the people who own the products are generally quite pleased with them. Although I’ve owned many Apple products, I’ve owned only three Bose ones. One is a speaker set for my television, with which I’ve been happy, but not overjoyed. But the other two Bose products, the Quiet Comfort 2 and Quiet Comfort 20 noise cancelling headphones are glorious for flying. And the Quiet Comfort 20s are in-ear headphones that take up virtually no space in my travel bag. If you fly frequently, I highly recommend getting quality noise-cancelling headphones. I’ve tried three brands and found Bose to be best. If you decide to buy, be sure to the QC20s that are compatible with iPhones as opposed to Androids, because you gain additional phone call functionality in the headphone cord that is iPhone-specific.
5) Anker PowerPort 6 - With all of the USB-based devices that I carry, I can never find enough power outlets in my hotel room to recharge them all. Or, in the unlikely event that there are enough plugs, the “wall wart” charges fight each other for space. I bought the Anker PowerPort 6 from Amazon before a vacation trip a couple of months ago. My mother and I travelled to Chicago to visit family. Naturally, being an Apple household, we each brought an iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The PowerPort 6 was able to charge all six at once without any trouble. Last week, when I travelled to Florida for Bootcamp and roomed with a colleague, the PowerPort again came in handy for charging my three Apple devices and his iPhone.