Thursday, August 25, 2011

BBC11 - Blogging Lessons Learned and Shared

Firkin Around...Portland, Oregon.

August 21st - Portland

made a promise this year to practice some "lessons learned" from BBC10. Much of the time last November was spent switching between a laptop PC, a camera, a notepad, my backpack and least reliably of all, my memory. I decided this year to rightsize my arsenal of equipment and try to keep it simple. The hallmark of these lessons was boiled down to its essence and became my simple mantra for BBC11...
"Travel lightly. Enjoy greatly. Live in the moment, always"
With this rule set in mind, I deliberately left a few things out of my luggage when packing for the trip. Most notable were a camera and a notebook. Many bloggers and journalists would call this heresy. This would seem to fly in the face of convention since the exclusive purpose of attending a blogging conference is to take photos and notes. Still, I wanted an unencumbered and engaging experience.

Man in motion - capturing the moment
(Photo by Gerard Walen,
So I had to have a good plan, and the plan was this: Challenge myself to utilize my smartphone to the extremes of its capabilities. After all, it is a veritable Swiss Army Knife ® of electronics. Some might say that would be a difficult challenge. After much  deliberation, I decided it would be worth the calculated risk to travel and blog a bit more unfettered.

What did I learn from this experience? Plenty. Here is a list of things accomplished with my iPhone 4 during my four day trip to Portland, OR from my home in Tampa, FL.

Added Portland, OR to the Apple Weather app a week before travelling to prepare suitable clothing.

Kept in touch with family via text messages every step of the way throughout my travel.

    Checked in at plenty of venues using FourSquare, which also added to my location whereabouts.

      Sent direct messages via twitter and Echofon to seek out where my group was upon arrival in Portland. Also used them to tweet out and read juicy tidbits by following the #BBC11 hash tag.

      Scanned business cards of colleagues using ScanBizCards app.

        Kept notes of conference highlights in Evernote to use later while blogging from my traditional PC.

          Updated FaceBook with posts and photos of all the happenings from our various venues.

            Took all photos and videos with the built in Apple camera app and shared viewing of them with the Apple Photo app.

              Edited photos for blogging using the app, Camera+.

                Used the Alarm app to wake up each morning and make reservation reminders.

                  Checked in to SouthWest Airlines using their app, to secure my boarding pass (while standing in line for lunch!)

                    I kept myself entertained with music, movies and games during lulls in travel.

                      I updated my beer brethren with Untappd.

                        Performing numerous searches of the internet using Safari was a breeze.

                          I could locate step-by-step directions to nearby destinations utilizing the Maps app.

                            Using the Calendar app helped to schedule all the event itinerary.

                              The Dragon Dictation app came in very handy for inserting notes by speaking rather than writing.

                                I shared contact information using the Bump app.

                                  Other bloggers QR code info was scanned using the i-nigma barcode scanning app.

                                    I was able to use the BJCP Styles guide as a reference many times.

                                      Locating an ATM was a snap using ATM Hunter just in case extra cash was needed.

                                        The iTorch4 flashlight feature was helpful, instead of fumbling for the hotel room light switch.

                                          And finally, I kept track of all the above using the built in Notes app.

                                            All this was accomplished by one handy electronic gadget roughly the size of a deck of playing cards. Speaking of cards, my protective iPhone case has a slot in the back that will hold about a dozen of my business cards. Is there anything this device can't do?

                                            On the eve of Steve Jobs departure from Apple, this post is most poignant. All he ever wanted to do was make smart machines to enable people in their daily lives. A great and noble effort from a man who saw the company struggle in the beginning, but now leaves at its pinnacle. Apple is one of the largest and innovative companies the world has known. All in all, I did end up travelling lighter and enjoying more during the conference. And indeed, I truly lived in the moment, knowing that with this device, I was able to pull off the near impossible as a traveler, writer and photographer.

                                            Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention, it's a phone, too! That was the least of the iPhone4 features leveraged during the trip. How's that for iRony?

                                            Choose your weapons

                                            Firkin Futuristic Phone!


                                            1. Excellent post, Rick. However, it's always good to have a pen and notebook just in case of a Zombie Apocalypse or something along those lines.