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THOUGHT: How to customize your hotel room as much as possible
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 02.12.04 - 00:36:24 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 8367x
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Since yesterday evening, I'm back in Seattle for Microsoft's annual Möbius conference which brings a lot of mobility webmasters together and while I'm completely damaged after the flight and the 9 hours time difference, this morning I've realized what kind of "gadget hut" I made out of my hotel room here. :-)

While I have a pretty nice hotel room with a view over the Seattle harbor and thankfully the weather is better than forecasted, my room is more or less completely customized now.

The Access Devices
Sure I have my Notebook and a couple of Pocket PC Phone Editions with me but this time I left my good old Logitech mouse at home but have my brand new Think Outside Bluetooth Travel Mouse here which arrived on Monday (review to follow up) - just in time before I left Tuesday morning. What an amazing small piece of accessory which works great with my Bluetooth enabled Sony Vaio as well as with my Xda's! :-)

As you can see on the left photo above, there is only the power-cord connected with the Notebook as well as my card reader and my headset. The Internet is connected - for sure wireless. Same for my Xda which stands beside my bed (because it's my alarm clock as well) but also my web pad.

The Internet Connection
Since most modern US hotels have broadband Internet connection I brought my Apple Airport Express with me for several reasons:

  • I "hate" wires
  • I want to connect more than just one PC with a connection I pay 9.95 US$ a day
  • It's more geeky ;-)

So under my table it looks like this now:

The Airport Express is connected with the hotel LAN and thanks to the built-in DHCP server, I can connect all my wireless enabled (in this case 3) Pocket PCs with the Internet as well.
By the way - again I want to mention how convenient the Apple Airport Express is with its size, that you can directly plug it in into the wall plug and it's DHCP server functionality. This means it's a setup of around 60 seconds only and you are ready to go!

But why does I need Internet connection with my Pocket PCs if I have my Notebook there as well? Pretty simple - to use the Pocket PC Phone Edition as what it was designed for as well: as a phone - using Skype's VoIP service.
Skype let's me stay in contact with co-workers for free because most of them using Skype as well and I can make world wide phone calls for local rates (for instance a call with SkypeOut from the US to my girlfriend in Germany costs me 1.7 Euro Cent per minute only! It's even more expensive if I call her within Germany 8O).

Entertainment
Last but not least the entertainment part since I'm not hanging in front of my PC/Pocket PC/Smartphone 24 hours. ;-) For sure my Microsoft Pocket Media Center (in this case the Creative Zen PMC) is with me which already proved itself yesterday on my flight when I watched two of my latest DVDs I hadn't found time to watch at home.

Anyway - here in the hotel I've continued with its use when I plugged it into the TV and watched another DVD yesterday night. That's cool and even if the PMC isn't primarily designed to be used with TVs, on trips it's working pretty well (even if I wouldn't enjoy a movie in this quality at home but hey - with the PMC I have my DVD player virtually with me).

Some hotels have radio/loudspeakers in all rooms including the bathroom. Not the Marriott but that's not that bad at all since my PMC is portable (as the name says) and therefore it's with me even in the morning - to listen some of the latest tracks I previously bought at Apples iTunes store which I first had to burn to a CD to rip it from the CD later again (have I already told you that I hate it that the user gets so many different DRM systems he has to deal with (Apple's AAC DRM, Microsoft's WMA DRM, O2's AAC+ DRM, etc).

After all, it's really amazing how this small gadgets can change the way such a hotel room works for you and I feel much more comfortable with the music I enjoy, my (German) DVDs I've previously converted into WMV and my Internet connection all around my room.
Am I too much a geek or what do you think? How does your rooms look if you are traveling and what does I have missed to customize? ;-)

Cheers ~ Arne