There is a countdown on the whiteboard/chalkboard above our cooktop. It says that I have 11 days until I leave (and arrive) in New York for the world’s biggest female blogging conference – BlogHer.
Excitement is a word that does not come close to explaining how I am feeling.
I’m arriving the night before the conference’s Pathfinder day, which I’ve signed up for but will wait to see how great
the lure of shopping bad the jetlag is before committing too it. I’ve announced my sponsor – Sensodyne – plus I’ve got a series of posts lined up around all that I’m packing … and how I’m attempting to travel light (snort). I’m hopeless at it but a girl’s got to try.
Today, as it’s Saturday and I blog about blogging on Saturdays, I thought I’d update a couple of posts I’ve previously written about blogging on the go because, yes I’ll be blogging each day at BlogHer, plus from my family holiday in New York and the West Coast afterwards.
I could switch off. Scrap that. I’m not even going to attempt to implement that extremely silly idea.
I love to write and if I’m experiencing amazing places for the first time – places I’ve only seen on TV or read about in books – then the words will be itching to flow out. Best let them flow, I say.
So let’s talk about the stuff that will help keep me blogging and connected while I’m away.
The blogging gadgets and apps.
I’ve been away from my desk in the corner of our lounge a lot this year for work. These trips range from day trips to whole weeks – each has helped me to get my head around any possible limitations I might have while travelling and blogging.
Blogging and your iPad
Apologies straight up to tablet users, there are only Apples in my geek orchard. (If you’re a tablet owner then maybe share your tips for blogging from a tablet in the comments below.)
Since then I’ve got the third generation iPad, which is all kinds of awesome for taking photos and videos. All the videos I took for Maybelline New York at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia were using this iPad.
And, Logitech sent me over its new Ultrathin Keyboard Cover ($99) to trial*, so I no longer carry my Mac wireless keyboard with me. It syncs with my iPad via bluetooth and has a long battery life. The keyboard size is manageable and the stand makes it a useful tool when out and about blogging at cafes … and conferences. The downside? You still need to put it in a protective case as the back of your iPad is exposed. This is actually an upside for me as my geekery has further enabled my accessories addiction. I pop it into my Oroton laptop case, along with my MacBook Air (more on that later).
The main blogging apps I use remain the same but I’ve got more cluey on photography apps, using Camera+ to take photos and process images and the PicFrame app for montages or labelling. Then I bring them into Instagram if I’m wanting to share.
I also still use the Apple iPad Camera Connection kit (no.4 below) if wanting to import photos from my Canon G12 camera direct into my iPad. Admittedly I’m doing this less and less as I’m more likely to import them into my Macbook Air.
An app that’s really come into its own for me – for sharing photos and documents across the devices in my orchard – is Dropbox. Take a photo using your phone but want to get it into a blog post? Upload the photo to Dropbox on your phone and it will sync with DropBox on all your devices. Too easy.
Ok, so I have the apps – the tools – to blog from my iPad BUT and it’s a medium-sized BUT. You need to use the WordPress or BlogPress apps to add a post and they are not as user-friendly as logging into the dashboard of your blog via an internet browser. Yes, I can reach my dashboard via my internet browser but I don’t have all the functionality – particularly around images – that I do when working from my computer.
Because Styling You is very much a visual blog, this is the major downside to blogging from an iPad.
Blogging and my MacBook Air
Before I headed off to work at Fashion Week, I realised that if I was to keep my sanity and deliver on the job I was contracted to do, I would need more than my iPad to blog throughout the week.
I’m SO glad I bit the bullet and bought my Air (no.1). I bought the base level 11 inch version (ie the cheapest!) and was able to do everything I would have done using my iMac at home, while sitting at my desk at the hotel or in the media centre.
It came with a cable that connects direct to my camera (no.3) and I can import photos directly from there. I can then edit photos using iPhoto and/or PicMonkey.
I also bought an Apple USB Ethernet Adapter (no.2) as a backup should the wireless network be dodgy. Where I was staying for Fashion Week it wasn’t – it was free and it was plentiful. Recently when staying in the Hunter Valley though, I couldn’t even get 3G coverage to use my Telstra Elite mobile wi-fi device so I was very thankful for this adapter, which allowed me to tap into the hotel’s cable internet. Yes, at a price … but a price I’m willing to pay to be connected.
So, yes, my Air will be coming with me to the US. Its battery power does not last as long as my iPad, so I’ll stick to taking notes on my iPad during the conference sessions and using my Air to blog … from the hotel room or my nearest Starbucks
Speaking of Starbucks and free wi-fi, both are everywhere in America. Get the Free Wi-Fi Finder app for your phone or iPad and you’ll see what I mean. Australia has a long way to catch up.
I was just going to leave my phone switched to wi-fi and not actually use as a phone but then I read Rachel Devine’s (Sesame Elli) post about getting a prepaid sim card for next to nothing and I’ll be doing that. Very handy given I’ll be away for 2.5 weeks.
The thing you might also need to do is get your phone unlocked (this is not a physical thing and it’s separate from enabling international roaming, it’s something your phone company does … I had mine unlocked before going to Kuala Lumpur last year but never used it – here’s a great post about what you’ll need to do) – and you need to remember where you put the device that came with your phone – the one enables you to get in and actually change your sim card. Can you tell I’m thinking out loud on that one and hoping it’s in “that” drawer?
I’ll also have my MiGear phone charger (no.5) charged up and at the ready at all times – this has seriously saved my phone butt so many times, particularly when on an Instagram frenzy.
I have five. Yes FIVE. Electrical plug adapters. Think about it. At any given time, I might have to charge my phone, iPad, camera battery, MiGear phone charger … and straighten my hair
Have you got any more tips for me about blogging while overseas? Or particularly in the US? Or have you got any questions about blogging on an iPad?
UPDATE: Since writing this post and getting tips from readers below, I’ve taken back all but two of my adapter plugs and am packing a powerboard instead (with surge protection). Plus, I’m investing in an SD eye-fi memory card, that will enable me to set my camera to automatically upload my photos to my Dropbox app whenever I’m in a wi-fi hot spot.
* This product was sent to me for editorial consideration in accordance with my disclosure policy.
PS. Don’t forget to take my survey for a chance to win a $150 Westfield gift card … if you haven’t done so already.
Thanks so much to everyone who played along with my Saturday blogging linky last week. Sharing your blogging knowledge with other bloggers and potential bloggers really is how this blogging world best goes round.
Remember if you want to join in and have blogged about blogging in the past week, just add your link below. Please fill in the box where it says “name”:STYLING YOU: A blog post. That way your blog gets a plug and if you include the title of your post, you’ll attract readers interested in the topic.