Gadget Scorecard: How I Covered Macworld And CES
It's time for the return of an annual feature here -- the post in which I see how the computers, gadgets and software I took with me to report on Macworld and CES worked out in the field.
As I did last year, I primarily relied on a compact, lightweight Dell provided by the Post's I.T. department. This Latitude D430, thanks to its extra-capacity battery, offered the same excellent battery life as the D420 I used last year.
But it also shared some issues with that older model: It sometimes locked up when entering or recovering from standby mode, and its USB ports are inconveniently confined to the rear of the machine.
Then there was this D430's maddening habit of freezing up when I popped an SD Card into the slot on its left. To avoid that glitchy card slot, I relied on a crafty feature of my camera's SanDisk memory card: it folds open to expose a plug that fits into a regular USB port.
This Dell came with a Verizon Wireless data card to get onto that carrier's wireless broadband network. Most of the time, this worked great, connecting in seconds to provide several hundred
megabits kilobits per second of download speed. But this card came with some sort of Web-acceleration service that caused some sites, such as the Kayak travel planner, to stop working. I couldn't figure out how to turn it off, since the Verizon software on this laptop didn't include the "Venturi" tab in its preferences window described by its help file.
I carried two smartphones, an Apple iPhone 3G that I'm overdue to return to that company's PR department and the Palm Centro I picked up last year (for next to nothing). The iPhone, as usual, worked well for checking e-mail and Web pages on the go. On the Centro, its copy of DataViz's Documents To Go software let me jot my notes into a Microsoft Word file, while its minimal browser sufficed for writing my Twitter updates, checking the Post's newsroom messaging page and not much else.
I shot the photos and video you saw here on the same Canon A570is as last year, but this time around Google's Picasa 3 turned out to be unexpectedly useful for basic video edits like trimming a clip to a shorter size and compressing it for faster uploading.
One last component of my reporting apparently started to break down in the last few days of the trip, but I didn't see any signs of trouble until after I'd gotten home: me. As I type this, I'm home sick with a pretty miserable case of the flu. So while I'm taking naps every hour, it's going to take me a little longer to catch up with your e-mail; please be patient.
January 13, 2009; 1:30 PM ET
Categories: CES 2009 , Macworld 2009 , The business we have chosen
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