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Trade and Craft

Smaller, powerful tech enables vibrant lifestyle

Smaller, powerful tech enables vibrant lifestyle

by Christian Michael

April 14, 2019

My relationship with a Google Pixel recently came to an end. Purchased last year while living in a large metro area, the service and phone worked great. Now that I've returned to the road, Pixel's rented space on Sprint and T-Mobile towers showed its lack. Add to that my Pixel had become outmoded a month after I bought it, the time had come to upgrade.

Looking to Verizon -- my previous mobile company -- for greater stability while traveling and unlimited data, I landed on looking at the Samsung Galaxy S10+. As I learned about it, I grew excited about the idea of the phone. It was powerful, had lots of space and RAM and was made by Samsung, of which my knowledgeable brother thinks very highly.

After purchasing it, I started looking up videos about others' use of the phone and experience. What I learned excited me to no end. Essentially, the S10+ is, no kidding, a small computer with more power than some available laptops. It can be connected to a monitor, mouth and keyboard and be used as a computer, itself. It will even turn into a touchpad for the monitor!

What excited me most was the possibility of connecting some equipment I purchased last year that didn't work with my Pixel, but which I hoped might work with the S10+. One Youtube video did a specific test with the directional microphone I had purchased with the phone and revealed that I was missing a key cord to ensure the phone could connect to my phone. (It's possible my mic could have worked with the Pixel, but that's water under the bridge.)

I ordered the cord, downloaded a few audio programs and did some tests. After consulting with my audio engineer, Colin Mahoney from Boulder, Colorado, he felt confident that, despite the audio coming up short of my full condensor mic and half-cylinder sound booth, he felt it would still be viable for voice work.

Currently, I carry all of my sound equipment along with me in my jeep in a large black foot locker. It's large, cumbersome and uncomfortable to use for long audio jobs. I've long wished to be free of its weight.

My S10+, my Rode VideoMicro, a small mount and a mini, flexible tripod -- all of which can fit in the front pocket of my backpack -- could replace my entire footlocker.

Plus, as my work moves more to the phone, I can record, export, upload to cloud and contact my engineer and my clients about the jobs as I need to.

Further, as I figure out how to connect all necessary travel peripherals to it, I've determined I can simply replace my laptop while on short trips out to places. Ignore the computer in the top image, I'll use just the phone, tripod, mount, a travel keyboard and the attachable mic!

To be able to travel anywhere, still take care of my audio clients, take photos/video, write my blogs, still use Microsoft office for myself/clients? I've downloaded a new Adobe graphic design app for mobile but I haven't yet tried it. I'll let you know how well it works.

In any event, this is an amazing age to live in. I can't wait to see how things progress over the next ten to twenty years. It's not just about the desire to travel, but reducing the footprint of our digital tools. I don't want to have to own three computers -- phone, computer, tablet, vehicle -- if my one phone can merely interact intelligently with the technology around me. And we rarely rely on what's "stored" on the phone anymore. Everything on our phones is backed up somewhere on various clouds. We can lose our phone, buy another, download the right app and everything is restored within an hour or so. (If you didn't know all that, I'll write a post about it soon.)

What I love about this, as much as just geeking about the reduction of tech size, is that it has less emotional weight in my world. Smaller, more mobile computers can encourage us to spend more time living in-person with the world around us. For me, it's the desire to travel more. Because some of my work is so process-intensive, it's difficult, but as tech enables me to perform the same work from anywhere, it means I can take a plane to Seattle for a week and experience something new while still maintaining my responsibilities to clients and customers.

You may not have my travel bug, but anything that takes less of your sight line in your own home (i.e. big computer), the less attention it might take from you. While it's up to you if you want to curl up on a couch around your smart phone, I still encourage you to take advantage of the size of your tech -- take it with you if you need it, but go experience something in the real world!

It's out there waiting!


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