Traveling Light and Cutting the Cord

In preparation for our Thanksgiving trip to Disneyland this year, I'm trying to travel light in the technology arena. Because I'm the go-to guy if anything goes wrong on (okay, I'm the only guy), I must have a computer with me no matter where I'm going. Cutting the size of that computer down has always been a goal I've met with varied success. I used a Tablet PC from Fujitsu for awhile and found it handy, but ultimately had to return it to Fujitsu. I liked the idea of the ASUS EEE PC when it launched, but ultimately realized I need at least the 1024x600 screen resolution I had with the Fujitsu. HP presented me with the solution in their new HP Mini 1000 line, which comes in either a 10.2 or 8.9-inch screen size. I opted for the 8.9 since the resolution is the same and in theory a smaller screen should use less battery. After 70 minutes of round trip time on the ferry tonight, I'm reasonably convinced the HP Mini will work. I answered some emails, responded to instant messages, edited a couple photos, and uploaded a handful of files, which covers the bare necessities of what I might need to do. With easy connectivity via my Verizon EV-DO card, I've cut my backpack travel weight by at least 3 pounds. Makes me wonder if I really need a 15-inch laptop at all, since most of my video editing is done on a desktop system.

The biggest frustration I find in adding a new computer to the mix is managing all the stuff I need to have available. In some ways, this week's newsletter is dedicated to that problem, because uploading files to a central storage location like makes sure I can always find the files I need no matter what computer I’m interfacing with. Picnik comes through in a pinch for most of the photo editing I might do. And I could presumably do a fair amount of video editing with Yahoo’s Jumpcut service. Not to mention document and spreadsheet management with either Google Documents or Zoho. Still there are things I find convenient to have that all take time to install. Roboform is one thing I won't be without. I need SnagIt for screen captures. I use Google Talk almost daily, although that's one I can access from Gmail if I need to. And getting all the software updates installed on a new computer can take an hour or two, depending on what software you need. I'd use PCMover for something like this, but I'm not really moving PCs.

Do you have a ritual you go through to setup a new computer? How about when you travel? Are there things you sync with your laptop before you leave? Or do you keep files somewhere out on a network where they are always accessible? Share your thoughts.