I couldnt be off work for a month without my trusty laptop. Dan, my pal from The Engine Room, set me up with a new MacBook Pro (my first) before I left the UK although I do operate Windows on it I must confess. And it has been indispensable throughout the holiday allowing business as normal, or relatively so. And perhaps even more importantly, give that this is a holiday, it has exhanced the holiday experience.
The only restrictions here on operating normally, apart from the fact that I am supposed to be on holiday, are the absence of anywhere comfortable to sit and work or write and lack of bandwidth which has meant I have been unable to watch any online videos. So what, you say? But actually that has formed a large part of our workload in the Money Gym this month so I have been completely unable to participate in that apart from some crucial decision-making at times.
What have I been able to do then? Send over 300 emails, an average of about ten a day. Read and mainly delete but keep on top of over 1100 (and counting) emails, an average of about 40 a day, note the ratio. This number doesnt take account of the three days I have remaining, those collected by Spam Arrest or the many Google Groups I unsubscribed from for the duration of my holiday in order to get some sort of break.
I know that’s the main reason I wanted to bring a laptop with me, as I couldn’t bear the though of the thousands of emails building up in my absence, a handful of which have been vital. Email has enabled me to keep up with important matters and to maintain contacts with important friends and family.
I have been able to Tweet, a little. And keep an eye on the news and weather.
I have been able to Skype for business and personal reasons which was nothing short of fantastic. I am impressed to see on Oprah that she now conducts interviews live on her TV show via Skype thus saving time and travel for guests either not important enough to travel (the public) or expert guests too expensive and time poor to travel, like doctors.
I have been able to do online banking. I was once even able to access my desktop computer at home thanks to Bianca who was looking after my flat and GoToMyPC which I think is THE single most useful piece of techy stuff I have ever used. Imagine being able to drive your own computer from thousands of miles away across the broadband? Awesome, as we say here, rather too often actually.
I had spent some time before I left setting up all my bank accounts and credit cards on Egg Money so that I could control the lot from here via one website. However, I did it on my old computer and when I tried to access it via my new computer it required me to instal something new which meant I was unable to use it from here without re-entering all the codes I didnt bring with me becuase I didnt need to! Lesson learned there but soon sorted via the Bianca/GoToMyPC liaison which enabled me to simply go through this laptop to my home computer and see the information anyway.
When I lost TV signal during a thunderstorm on Christmas Day, I was able to amuse myself by watching DVDs on my laptop instead. I almost prefer that actually as I am used to watching BBC iPlayer that way at home. You will know that if you live outside the UK you cannot watch iPlayer as it somehow works out you are not a licence payer! There are ways round that as you probably know and if I were here for longer I would probably sign up for one of those.
I have been able to take digital photos and upload them and insert them into blog posts and Tweets.
Perhaps most useful of all is to be able to Google while on holiday. Since Google is now the first port of call for all information, I am unable to do anything without looking it up first, be it planning a route, sourcing local information, checking out restaurants, beaches, timetables, checking in online. The list is endless. When we are musing about anything and wondering about something we know we can simply look up the answer. Very satisfying and increasingly important.
I was also able to make local connections via my blogging about my holiday experiences.
Since its not yet five years since my Mother died and she never owned or operated a computer, it is nothing short of amazing how swiftly this technology moves on and dominates my life for good or evil, mainly good. Here we are four hours behind the UK, which is a workable time difference. By the time I am up at 8 a.m. and checking my emails, they have put in a good three hours work in the UK so every morning there is “work” waiting for replies. Then I can check back in twice later in the day, altogether a much better way to work than checking emails constantly. Hope I can take that lesson home with me!
Hooray for Dan and my new laptop and my holiday tech successes. Why do you love your laptop?