Editor’s note: Russ McGuire is the online director of Business Reform Magazine. Each issue of Business Reform features practical advice on operating successfully in business while glorifying God.
I hate to travel.
I hate the wasted time sitting in airports. I hate the break in my routine. I hate being disconnected from my e-mail and web browser. I hate having to lug around a laptop computer so I can reconnect when I finally reach my hotel room.
Most of all I hate being away from my family.
Technology may not yet allow me to go on business trips while staying with my family (no, I’m not a proponent of human cloning), but since I’ve gotten a PocketPC personal digital assistant (PDA), I’ve been getting closer to overcoming all the other challenges.
In fact, I’m writing this on my handy gadget as I sit in Chicago O’Hare airport, waiting for my flight to board. The instant my boarding group is called, I’ll jump up, slip my PDA in my pocket and get on board. No waiting for shutdown. No trying to cram it into my briefcase. No straining my arm to lug an extra-heavy bag down the jet way.
E-mail and web connectivity options are growing. There are now a number of companies building combined PDA/cellphones. These devices can provide relatively low-speed connectivity from virtually anywhere. More exciting to me are the new models now available with high-speed wireless ethernet (aka Wi-Fi) built-in. Although Wi-Fi coverage will likely never be as comprehensive as cellular coverage, new service providers are first targeting the areas that are most likely to be visited by business travelers – airports, hotels, restaurants, and business districts.
So far, I’m getting by without broadband connectivity (hint hint Honey – Father’s Day is coming up), but even so, I’m enjoying the ability to stick to my daily routine.
An important part of keeping my routine has been the availability of excellent Bible software. I use two different products. PocketBible from Laridian, Inc. has excellent formatting, making it as easy to read as a traditional print Bible. PocketBible’s search function is intuitive and fast. However, moving around in PocketBible can be painfully slow at times. Therefore, BibleReader from Olive Tree Bible Software is my primary reference when I’m trying to keep up with the pastor during sermons. Both products offer multiple translations including versions with Strong’s numbers and integrated Greek and Hebrew dictionaries for the serious student.
One of the greatest barriers to considering your PDA as a replacement for your laptop is the challenge of data entry. For a couple of years I owned a Palm Pilot, but never mastered the Graffiti handwriting recognition software, rendering my PDA a synchronized but static address book and calendar. When I switched to the PocketPC, it took me less than a month to master Microsoft’s character recognition software. Still, I’m faster with a keyboard than a stylus, so my next PDA will likely have a built-in thumb-board (Father’s Day shoppers take note).
Your personal preferences may vary from mine. But I’m guessing just about everyone enjoys a good game for those rare moments when you’re all caught up with your work. My favorite game collection is the Gamebox from Syntact. A demo version is available for free download here .
No matter how much fun or productivity you can squeeze in, the best part of traveling is the coming home, and I’m thankful to be one flight away that joy!
Russ McGuire is Online Director for Business Reform. Prior to joining Business
Reform, Mr. McGuire spent over twenty years in technology industries, performing various roles from writing mission critical software for the nuclear power and defense industries to developing core business strategies in the telecom industry. Mr. McGuire is currently focused on helping businesspeople apply God’s eternal truths to their real-world business challenges through Business Reform’s online services. He can be reached at [email protected].