Blogging From Remote Locales – iPhone as a work station

Last week was an exciting week for me. During the Tuesday afternoon session of Getlisted Local University it became clear that big changes were going on at Google with an interface upgrade AND Google+. Jeff Huber, Google VP of Local and commerce, kept leaving juicy comments on my blog and I just didn’t want to be off the grid….

But we had scheduled some family time at a friend’s cottage at Rondeau Provincial Park in Ontario. The problem wasn’t that we had scheduled family time, my family understands and even enables my blogging addiction. It was that there was NO wifi for 20 miles although there was some sporadic cell coverage. Because I travel rarely and when I do, have access to hotel wifi, I don’t have 3g for my laptop.

My solution? An iPhone with just enough accessories that allowed me to “keep on posting”. Here are the details of my setup for those of you that want to travel lightly, aren’t willing to pony up for a Macbook Air with a Verizon card and are willing to make a few compromises.

-my iPhone
-an Ultra Pod stand. cost: $24.99
-an Apple wireless keyboard. cost: $49.
-the mobile WordPress app

Total cost: $75 + tax.

The WordPress iPhone app has gotten very good, the keyboard is simple to sync and is very light and the tripod serves triple duty for me as a bike accessory, AV stand and a monitor display when blogging. You could cut costs on both the stand and the keyboard but both are durable and very functional in this configuration (and they look good too 🙂 ). The only thing holding me back from traveling exclusively this way is my need for last minute PowerPoint updates prior to presenting.

I’d be curious to hear of others who have made the switch to a smartphone instead of a laptop as travel device.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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16 thoughts on “Blogging From Remote Locales – iPhone as a work station”

  1. I’ve done the similar in the past Mike. But I must be cheaper that you as I used a CD case turned back on itself as a stand 😉

    Certainly good enough for a day or two if you’re not expecting to do a mass of work.


    1. @Stuart

      I don’t know I am pretty cheap… I traded out for the keyboard. I did pay for the stand but it was worth it… 🙂

  2. ipad 2 with wifi keyboard. I like the bigger screen and i use the hotspot setting on my iphone to pump it full of 3g juice.

    I am surprised old man. I expected a typewriter for you and an anxious child ready to translate it over to the mobile sphere. 😉

  3. @Ramsey

    When you are at the leading edge like I am ( 😉 ), I am showing my kids what’s hot and what’s not…plus I am too friggin cheap to get another box to carry around like an iPad… What is a wifi keyboard?

  4. Its okay as long as you can get wifi or don’t mind paying the extortion roaming fees.
    I was in egypt last month, the hotels wifi was not working so used my data roaming, worked well until i got home and had a $200 bill!!!

    1. @Matt
      And with ATT the bill will probably be larger. I sucked it up and paid even though I was but 50 miles from the US.

      It is hard to understand the logic in these exorbitant roaming fees. Like the monthly ad hoc rate for the iPad, a flat fee ad hoc rate for international iPhone use would be wildly successful…. even at a $80, 90 or $100 per month if the data volume was reasonable.

  5. This is ingenious… I’m just glad I don’t have to be so glued to my computer that it’s such a pressing need to rig something up like this.

  6. My wife has made the switch buy using her iphone. She spends less time on her laptop and does alot of her work from her iphone. The ultra pod stand looks like a very hand tool.

  7. I’m using a Blackberry at the moment but I will be moving to London in September and i really wanted to get a iPad so I can still keep up with blogging when out and about, its just I can’t imagine typing on it?

  8. @Adam, I thought the same, but it is surprisingly intuitive. The trick is to trust the autocorrect, keep typing & correct later, rather than on the fly.
    (from my iPad)

    1. The other strategy is to just carry a real keyboard although I suppose that defeats the purpose of the iPad.

      I assume that the nature of the stand, it’s height and resultant iPad angle, would make a big difference as well?

  9. Hi Mike,

    Sorry to bring up a totally unrelated question, but I would really appreciate your thoughts, here goes;

    Our restaurant has a website, a Google Local page and presence on so many UK citation pages. The one thing I cannot get my head around is that our long established Trip Advisor page does not ‘blend’ or bring through any reviews on our Google Places page. As far as I can see all the N.A.P are consistent and there’s nothing I can do to alter it.

    Have you seen any instances before with Google not ‘connecting’ a restaurants Places page with that of its Trip Advisor profile?

    1. Scott

      If you go back on my blog searching on TA or Trip advisor you will see, starting last December or so, a long a protracted dispute between Trip Advisor and Google that led to Google not reliably or consistently showing TA’s reviews.

      It is but one more demonstration of why every business should encourage their clients to use as broad of a range of review sites as possible.

  10. Cheers Mike,

    Bit disappointing as our Trip Advisor page does get the most consistent stream of reviews. Guess we will have to do so internal promoting for Yelp and other major review bases.


  11. @Scott
    Yelp is not a great choice unless your reviewers are already active reviewers there as their spam algo will bury one time reviews.

    You should take some time and reread my series on reviews to develop a comprehensive plan. Here a few of the salient ones:

    Where to Gather Reviews
    Principles for a Review Plan: Considerations in encouraging customer reviews
    Responding to Negative Reviews – Your Prospects are the Real Audience
    Asking for Reviews – UMoveFree Finds the Groove
    Garnering Reviews – A Mom & (no) Pop Shop finally Hops on Reviews
    Reviews: Lipstick on a Pig Leads to User Backlash
    Google Review Posting Guidelines

  12. Mike,

    Check out the glif for the phone stand which also doubles a great tripod mount. It will take up less room in your travel bag. And have you considered Prezi over Powerpoint? I give Places presentations to our dealers and Prezi gives new life to screen shots and demonstration.


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