Friday, September 24, 2010

Mi-Fi & Apps That Make Me Happy

[The Tiny Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot]

Virgin Mobile has rolled out a new deal: prepaid, unlimited mobile high-speed internet for $40 a month. It's a cheap pay-as-you-go plan, giving fast speeds with no contract. You just pay in advance for any month you'll be using it. They use Sprint's 3G network so there is a HUGE coverage area. We even get reception on the sanctuary, but it's slooooow...

This setup is perfect for me because I need reliable internet access only when I'm travelling to shows. It's the show that pays the fees. I don't have extra money at other times to pay for a service I don't need or can't use.

This is what made me leave AT&T. There's no service in Wolf Creek, I don't need it there, and I have to pay for it anyway. Oh, yeah, and it's more like $80 a month for phone and internet.

This newfound pervasive internet connection is allowing me to change how I do things at shows. One thing that's becoming important is to keep notes of all the tasks that need to be done in preparation for a show. I've changed todo list programs to one that will store all of my items out of sight once they're completed.

It's called Egretlist, and their method is brilliant: you create todo lists and enter items into them. Once you've checked an item off, it will disappear from the list in a day. Here's where it gets smart... Those checked items disappear from view, but they're not gone. They are backed up in a service called Evernote.

The next time I do this show I will go into Evernote, make a copy of the list, and uncheck the items in it. Poof! The todo list is restored in Egretlist. It's a ready-made preflight plan with no extra work on my part.

Evernote is a nifty service on its own: it stores notes, web clippings, audio files, and more. They are accessible from a client on any smart phone or computer platform. They can also be browsed from any internet browser. Most usefully for me, my notebook contains all of the content without an internet connection, and the iPhone has the ability to store content as well.

[Shopping list Egretlist]

[Evernote has a copy of the list and remembers it forever]

The other big thing that the Mi-Fi is enabling for me is the creation of contracts. For a year and a half, Annie and I have been "winging it", doing our best to communicate as our relationship gets more and more complicated. We've done a great job, but there are a few times where one or the other has felt taken advantage of because of unclear communication. I didn't bring a loom to this show, knowing that it would simplify things and give me time to tidy up some of these loose ends.

To enable smooth communication, I've decided to use Google Docs to write these agreements. This allows us both to access them, make changes, and leave comments for each other to review. There's no fear of doing irreparable damage to them because revisions are all stored and reversible.

And now, thanks to an app called Office2, I have editing capability right in my pocket. When I'm out for a walk in the hills and an idea hits me, I don't need to make a todo list item to type it up later. I can turn on the Mi-Fi, open the document, and enter it right then. Instant gratification.

[Office2 can access Google Docs...]

[...and give me an interface to edit them]

Speaking of walking in the hills... Today's my day off. My two hours of coffee and internet are up, and I'm going for a walk...

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