Remote Worker Returns

So I’m back safe from my trip to Vienna for iPres 2010. I’d say safe and well but I seem to have had a cold since my return and have now lost my voice too! Travel – good for your mind, bad for your health?

For those interested in digital preservation I’ve written a trip report on how the conference went: Moving out of the e-Fridge: iPres 2010.

For those not so interested in digital preservation but more interested in remote working I promised an update on how I got on (in response to The Remote Worker Abroad).

I have to say I’m not quite sure what I was so worried about. The flights were fine and I even managed to get myself a free upgrade on the way out there – I was travelling on BMI so nothing to write home about but still good to see what it’s like on the other side of the curtain nonetheless. I kept all my electrical equipment with me and apart from a bit of a palaver having to get everything out at the security desk this wasn’t a problem. iPres gave us huge conference bags so I was a bit worried they were going to stop me taking two pieces of hand luggage through on the way back but it was fine.

Both the conference and my hotel room had excellent wifi facilities with user-friendly security. I used both my laptop and iPod touch throughout the conference depending on which had any battery life. The conference only had extension leads in the main lecture theatre so when I attended sessions in the other lecture theatre I just had to use up battery power. The only thing I wish I’d had is another plug adapter as every night I had to make a decision on what needed charging the most!

Ringing a landline on Skype using an iPod touch

I managed to phone my home landline using Skype on the first night (you get one free Skype to landline call with your account) and after that I just rang my home computer. I rang my home once using my mobile, there were no problems connecting – I had rung them in advance of my trip to check it would be OK, and have been charged just over a £1 for this. If I did do a lot of travelling abroad I would look into a mobile roaming/international data package. From talking to people these vary wildly in price depending on which phone network you use and which country you are based in.

Apps wise I installed a Guide to Vienna app and also used Google Maps, National Rail Enquiries, TweetDeck and Facebook to keep myself sorted. The other apps I’ve got were just to distract me from the actual flying!

All in all a very successful trip! Enjoy the photos of Vienna!


The Remote Worker Abroad

I used to be a well travelled girl. I’ve worked in quite a few foreign countries and have visited a fair few more. Three children and eight years down the line and travelling is very much a thing of my past. Add in a recently acquired fear of flying, concerns about the environment and childcare problems and it’s a recipe for a UK bound home worker. The furthest afield I’ve been in a long while is the Isle of Wight!!

However it looks like I didn’t come up with enough excuses 😉 because this time next week I’ll be in Vienna at the iPres conference. I’m presenting a paper on Approaches To Archiving Professional Blogs Hosted In The Cloud and a poster on Twitter Archiving Using Twapper Keeper.

So I’m a little scared, not just about the flying, finding the hotel and presenting at a big international conference, but about being clued up on the technologies I’ll need. Things have moved on significantly since my last work trip abroad and we are now expected to be in touch all the time; where ever we are. Not only that but I’ve talked the talk about mobile working and remoter remote working on this blog – I really should know what I’m doing!

So what do I need to take with me and what do I need to know?

My tower of technology

John Kirriemuir’s guest blog post on a Travelling Kit for a Remote Worker is a good place to start.

So far on my list I have:

  • A travel plug adaptor
  • My ipod touch
  • My laptop
  • A Flip camera – for possible videos
  • My phone (Nokia 5800 – not great but it has a camera)
  • A couple of memory sticks for my presentations and other stuff

I also want to add a few apps to my ipod touch that are good for currency and flight information. Obviously I’ll only be able to use these when I’m connected to the wifi.

Some questions…

  • Am I better off putting all my electrical equipment in my cargo-luggage or hand-luggage? Should I put half in each?
  • What happens if any of it gets stolen (as happened to Brian Kelly on his recent trip to Spain). I know I’m insured through work but what do I do while I’m there? How can I connect? Should I have some sort of laptop security advice with me?
  • What about wifi? Will I be able to connect as easily as I do in the UK? Is this any different in a foreign country?
  • What about wifi when I’m not working? I could try looking for a wifi hot spot. I actually wrote an article about this a while back, looks like any major fast food chain is my best bet. Oh great!
  • What about phone calls home? I’ve never used my phone abroad and I’m concerned about the charges. The O2 site has some information about travelling to Austria, but it’s a little tricky to know what it really means in pounds and pence. Maybe I’m better off buying a card to ring home? Another option is to take a head set and try Skyping home.

There’s probably a lot more I should be asking but if anyone does have any tips they’d like to share with me please do!