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The view from my office

There is a crowd of Spanish speaking men top dressing the lawn beside my patio this morning.  Ottawa? March?  No.  For the last couple of weeks I’ve been in Mexico with my family for our annual vacation in the sun.  Frankly, with all that has been happening at iotum, I was worried about taking time away.  But you know, I’ve been enormously productive. The sun rises at around 5:30 AM.  My routine has been to get up, work for two or three hours while everyone else is asleep, and then rejoin the family for the day’s activities.

It has worked out well for two reasons. The two hour time zone difference has made it easy to interact with my team in Ottawa, and technology has finally caught up with Cancun.  There is reasonable WiFi throughout much of the resort, and connectivity – while slow – is constant.

The tools that I rely on?

My HP Mini 1000 netbook.  It’s tiny, but with a built microphone, webcam, and enough processing power to substitute as a desktop in a pinch, the HP Mini is the perfect travel companion.  Incidentally, the two most common PC’s I’ve seen among travellers here are netbook category devices, and the Macbook Air. 

Calliflower, naturally.  Early one morning I did a conference call with a polish prospect wanting to take advantage of our new international conference call numbers in Warsaw and Wroclaw. It was a piece of cake.  We won their business.

Skype.  Both for IM and for calls with the team back at the office.  Skype’s awesome audio quality can’t be beat for voice on IM calls.

iPhone. Sitting by the pool, I can be connected via WiFi all day long.  I check in on email throughout the day as the need arises.  If I need to make a phone call, I use Truphone for iPhone.

Unlocked Nokia N95.  When I got here, I grabbed a TelCel pay as you go SIM, and popped it into the phone.  Whenever I’m away from the resort, the N95 is my constant companion.  No data, but anyone who needs me can reach me on the phone.

Truphone.  Truphone has been a lifesaver.  I no longer carry roaming plans on my Rogers phones, preferring instead to find a WiFi hotspot or a Truphone anywhere access point in the country I’m visiting.  En route, I made calls from John F. Kennedy airport in the USA using Boingo and Truphone.  While here, I’ve made numerous calls home, again, using Truphone and WiFi.  Compare Truphone’s $.02 per minute to Rogers’ $3.00 / minute Mexican roaming charges, and it’s easy to see the attraction.

It may not be ideal to work through a vacation, but technology has certainly made it far easier to stay connected than in the past.  And the view from my office is fantastic…



{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Katrein March 19, 2009, 9:37 pm

    You are right, These VoIP services has make the life of professionals quite easy, It was awful to pay mobile expenses while travelling in roaming. Truphone and Vopium has cut down my mobile expensis upto 70%.

  • Mum March 20, 2009, 6:40 am

    Wish I were there! Came home to wet cold weather and winter clothes.


  • jules March 22, 2009, 3:58 am

    Fantastic summary Alec!
    Ok – you've got me convinced, I'm going to switch to Skype!!
    Have a great vacation!


  • Mitch March 22, 2009, 5:21 pm

    Brilliant! Its so nice to see someone who not only appreciates the technology but knows how to use it. Lucky for us we're enjoying similar blue sky in Ottawa just not so much blue ocean. :)

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