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Working on the Train

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I work full time and have a family (wonderful wife and amazing three kids) so I don't have much free time to work on something like a web site. I find time to write short articles or to draw little doodles while I'm on the train. Most of my morning posts happen on the train while I'm on my way to work. I try to have something near complete each evening while I'm on my way home from work so that I can post it with just a little clean up the next morning.

My tools are currently an HP Envy 17 3D, a Nexus One, and a Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch.

The Nexus One comes with built in tethering. In the settings for the phone I can set up an access point. When I'm going to need internet on the train, I turn on the tethering before boarding. My laptop connects automatically since it just sees it as a wireless access point. If I'm actually moving data, the tethering drains the battery of the phone pretty bad so I toggle the wireless on the laptop off using the hot key if I'm not going to be browsing to another page for a while. In case the phone's battery gets too low I have a retractable USB cable I can use to power the phone from the laptop.

To draw my stick figures I just plug in the Bamboo Pen and Touch. I ended up disabling the Touch portion though because I would accidently draw with my thumbs from time to time. I set the buttons on the Bamboo to be undo, save, zoom in, and zoom out so I can avoid touching the keyboard while I work. I have to hold the pad in place with one hand since I'm not at a desk. This way that hand can also access the most common functions (undo being a big one for me).

The HP Envy has a very bright screen. I frequently find myself dimming it significantly so it doesn't stand out so much. It's nice when I get stuck in the sunlight to be able to set the brightness up and be able to see the screen without straining my eyes. To conserve battery power I keep the laptop using the Intel integrated video. The performance is good enough for using Photoshop, the battery lasts for the round trip, and the laptop doesn't heat up. The biggest factor for my battery is usually the wireless. If I'm going to be typing for a while and don't need to send or receive data, toggling the wireless off makes a huge difference. The only thing that seems to drain the battery faster is the rare occasion when I keep the CPU and hard drive busy running one of my scripts. I try to avoid this while I'm on the train though.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 13:51  

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