July 22, 2009

Quick Tip for Traveling Mac Users

I call this: mac — Posted by KP @ 12:25 am

I just discovered this little gem, and I’m rather ashamed I never thought of it.

If you’re traveling you may very well need to charge some of your small electronic devices over USB. It’s certainly easier than bringing a separate AC charging cable, if you even have that option. One of the things that’s kind of annoying about the Macbook family of laptops is that their USB ports are non-powered when the computer is in sleep mode. So if you want to charge, say, your iPod overnight, you either have to leave the computer on, or find another outlet and use the AC adapter. The other annoyance is that if you plug the device into your computer, then the computer will get all fancy and want to mount it, and sync with it or something. Then you need to be mindful of ejecting it before you unplug it.

However, if you have an Airport Express (or really any Airport), you can plug your device into the USB port there and use it strictly for charging. This doesn’t solve all the world’s problems (in fact, I had stopped touring with my Express after the first leg because I found that I rarely found an opportunity to use it, and never needed it). But this little added functionality might make it worth bringing again. You’re still carrying another device, and still using another outlet, but if you’d be bringing an Airport Express with you anyway, this allows some flexibility in how you set up your little mobile home-away-from-home. It might also be useful at home depending on how you have things arranged.

I do use the Airport Express when doing summer stock, as I am now, to create my own wireless network in my apartment, which is equipped with ethernet, and occasionally to set up a little network at rehearsal so I can keep my printer outside the room and send things wirelessly to it, but this is generally more trouble than it’s worth so I haven’t done that this year. In fact my printer should be plugged into it at the apartment but for some reason it doesn’t want to detect the printer, and I just haven’t cared enough to further explore it. That’s OK though, because at this very moment I have my wireless mouse plugged into it so that it can charge in peace without getting un-powered when I go to bed.

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