I love all three of these apps, to be honest, and think you should have at least one of them as your productivity tool to make sure you never forget a single idea. However, if I had to pick just one, I'd say...
You don't need much if you want to work from anywhere that isn't a conventional office. Besides your laptop or tablet, you just need a few basics like a decent internet connection and enough battery life. However, a few other things do make working on the go a lot easier and more productive.
I've highlighted six of them in this list, including recommendations for specific gear. A Wi-Fi hotspot (or your cell phone's data connection) will keep you connected, a keyboard case will make your tablet laptop-like, and a mobile laptop mouse will save your fingers from cramping from too much trackpad use. Check out the whole list here and share your own recommendations in the comments.
(By the way, I didn't include a laptop bag in the list, but of course you're going to need to tote all your gadgets around in something. Choose the right laptop bag with this guide.)
Photo by Photodisc / Getty Images.
Thinking of using Android instead of the iPhone? Google chairman Eric Schmidt has a simple, yet detailed four-step guide on how to smoothly switch.
Eric's Guide: Converting to Android from iPhone is a reference guide in 900+ words for moving to Android.
Step 1 is to simply set up the Android phone by powering it on, connecting to Wi-Fi, and logging into your Gmail account.
Step 2 is to update and backup your iPhone (or iPad). The most important notes here are to back up your contacts to iCloud, turn off iMessage, and sync your iPhone to iTunes on your Mac. Your contacts, apps, and Gmail should then sync to your new Android phone.
Step 3 is to upload your iTunes music to Google via Google's Music Manager app.
Finally, in Step 4 take the SIM card out of the iPhone and put it in the Android phone.
See Eric's post for more details and information.
A reader recently ran into this problem: Coming back from a vacation with $479 in roaming charges (for four calls made from a ship at a whopping rate of $5.99 a minute!). I thought I'd repost my reply to her here in case it helps someone else.
Basically, this T-Mobile customer made those four calls overseas and was charged the roaming rate on AT&T's network. She wanted to know how the billing system worked between T-Mobile and AT&T and if she should just pay her regular T-Mobile bill minus the AT&T charges and negotiate the roaming fees with AT&T.
The good news is she was on T-Mobile, which recently announced much more attractive roaming rates. My reply to her:
Sorry to hear that!
Wireless carriers have agreements with each other so that if you go outside of your provider's coverage area, you can hop on another carrier so you can still make calls or use data--at a hefty premium, as you've seen. The roaming charges, I believe, come from your provider, who is passing on the charges from the roaming partner.
In your situation, I would call T-Mobile again and talk to a manager to see if you're eligible for the discounted ($0.20 per minute) international calling T-Mobile recently announced. (http://mobileoffice.about.com/b/2013/10/10/t-mobile-now-offers-free-unlimited-international-data-and-text.htm). And, whether it's AT&T or T-Mobile driving up the roaming charges, you can try asking them to back-date your plan to include an international calling feature for the time you were abroad (http://lifehacker.com/save-money-on-overage-charges-by-backdating-your-mobile-1308022500).
Some of the things I'm most nervous about losing are my smartphone and tablets. Not just because I plunked down several hundred bucks for them, but because of all the data that's on them--people's names and numbers, personal photos, and the like. Even though I've encrypted the data on these mobile devices, I feel safer knowing that if these were ever lost or stolen, I could remotely erase the data. Without even having installed anything beforehand.
Android Device Manager, for example, was already turned on for my Nexus 5. With ADM, I can use my computer to make my phone or tablet ring, remotely change the password, find its location, and, if necessary, wipe the device. Check if you have this turned on for your Android device.
Similarly, if you've set up Find My iPhone for iOS (when upgrading to iOS 7 it walks you through the process), you can find a lost iDevice with Apple's web-based tools.
This isn't to say you should get lax about keeping an eye your phone or tablet (after all, these apps require your device to have power, be turned on, and have an internet connection). But it's one more thing you can worry less about--as long as you have them set up beforehand.
When you're trying to hook your laptop up to a monitor or TV or connect any kind of modern-day device to another these days, you face at least two big obstacles: the ports available and the cables you need. I have boxes of cables I'm not sure what they're supposed to go with, but thankfully this photo gallery identifies them for me.
Choosing the best cell phone plan is a very complicated task, thanks to wireless providers' dizzying array of features. If you want to compare actual costs of wireless plans based on your needs (number of phones, how much data you need), this interactive tool from the Wall Street Journal is for you.
WSJ's Wireless Savings Calculator does the hard work for you. Just answer two to three questions, and you'll find the total cost per month for T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. It also calculates the two-year price, taking into account paying for a phone. The footnote says:
*The two-year price includes the cost of an iPhone 5S (16 GB) as an example to compare the total over two years. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon subsidize the price with a two-year contract, charging $200. T-Mobile customers must pay full price, either $650 upfront or $150 upfront plus $21 a month for two years. Lower-priced phones will bring the cost down.
It's too bad the calculator doesn't include cheap prepaid plans, but in just about every scenario (whether you need one line or more), T-Mobile ends up being the cheapest option. This confirms what I've found when comparing the best data plans for individuals and for families.
Not sure which Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone to get next? Geekaphone is handy site to bookmark.
With it, you can select from the most popular smartphones and view their details side-by-side. The site comparisons include display pixels, processing power, graphics performance, tested battery life, and lots more. It'sll also offer a unique rating to each cell phone. The site is similar to previously mentioned TabletRocket.
While specs aren't everything, they're goo to know, especially if you require certain features for your smartphone, such as a removable battery (sadly lacking in newer models) or support for a microSD card.
Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced travelers could use portable electronic devices during takeoff and landing. Finally! Now you can keep reading your Kindle or work on a document on your tablet uninterrupted. The rules, however, are still a bit tricky, so the FAA created a fact sheet and infographic to explain the main points. Let's dive in.
When the new iPads (iPad Air and revamped iPad Mini) were announced last week, news came in that T-Mobile would be offering these new iPads with $0 down and 200MB of free mobile internet each month. What you might not have heard is this new "Starter Data" promotion applies to a variety of tablets. Here are some details.
The free 200MB of data, according to T-Mobile's info page, will be available for all tablets sold by T-Mobile (previously or currently, as well as upcoming ones), and also "selected tablets" bought for another carrier. T-Mobile says "Most popular tablets that are compatible with T-Mobile's network are eligible" (tablets that work on AT&T's network, since it's similar to T-Mobile, would be your best bet if you want to jump ship).
Other things you might be wondering: The free data, once you've signed up, is for "life" but the promotion is a limited time offer (coming in November). Once you've used up 200 MB in a month, if you want to keep using mobile data on your tablet, you'll need to either upgrade to a mobile internet plan, buy an On Demand data pass, or wait until next month.
Coupled with T-Mobile's free unlimited international data and texting and completely free mobile voice, text, and data from FreedomPop, you no longer have to pay an arm and a leg (or anything even) to stay connected on your smartphone or tablet.
This free data is actually making me think about trading in my Wi-Fi-only iPad and upgrade to a newer iPad--just to have that internet access when Wi-Fi isn't available. What about you?