How to leave the laptop at home and make the most of another computer at your destination.
The federal Transportation Security Administration has recently eased its restrictions on carrying liquids on board airplanes. But the fact remains: Business travel by plane is still challenging at best. And all too often, it feels as if traveling with a notebook is even more of a pain, what with the extra poundage; the security checkpoint delays; and the worries over loss, theft, or damage.
So this week, let’s imagine how it would be to take a business trip by plane–without a notebook. At first, this idea may feel completely alien, like attending a sporting event without your giant foam finger. But it’s worth a try, right?
Of course, some of you are already traveling without a notebook, relying instead on Palm Treos, Research in Motion BlackBerrys, or wireless PDAs. But if you need to work on documents like spreadsheets, a handheld device isn’t terribly practical–though adding a full-sized, external keyboard certainly helps.
What follows are strategies for leaving the laptop at home and finding another computer to use at your destination.
Take Your iPod Instead
Say what? Believe it or not, your MP3 player can become a laptop replacement, to some extent. RingCube’s new MojoPac software lets you use any USB 2.0 compatible portable gadget to store your Windows XP computer’s profile–such as Microsoft Internet Explorer favorites and language settings–as well as applications and files. Among those devices are iPods (though not iPod Shuffles) and several other portable media players, USB thumb drives, and a few cell phones.
Here’s the idea, according to RingCube: Copy your desired apps, files, and other settings onto your iPod or other supported device using MojoPac’s PC software. Connect your device via USB to another computer, such as a PC in a hotel’s business center. MojoPac software automatically launches on the borrowed computer, giving you access to the files and data you’ve stored on your gadget. When you’re done, log out of MojoPac and eject the USB device properly, by clicking on the Safely Remove Hardware icon in your system tray. Your files, apps, and settings disappear from the borrowed computer, as if you’d never been there.
MojoPac isn’t the first such program to let you temporarily transplant your PC’s personality onto another computer via a USB device. Products from companies like Lexar and U3 let you do much of what MojoPac promises. Read “Take Your PC on a Thumb Drive” for more on Lexar’s PowerToGo. For info on U3 products, read “U3: Portable Programs on a USB Drive.”
The difference is that MojoPac lets you run any Windows XP application directly off the USB device. By comparison, applications must be U3-compliant to be run from a U3-compatible device.