Road Warrior Lite: The office in your pocket

Posted on by Mike Evans


Happy New Year to everyone.  And now it's time to get organised. In the next few weeks I'll be looking at road warrior packing lists; what you need to keep yourself organised, entertained and in touch with the world. 

Today it's Road Warrior Lite, the absolute minimum you need to stuff in your pockets when you don't want to carry a bag around. This is my personal basic list. Some of you will have other ideas and suggestions, so send in your views as comments. 


1. iPhone 4:  This is everything you really need for communications, entertainment (podcasts, reading, music, games), productivity and keeping in touch. It is the nearest I have found to a pocket office.  I like to keep my phone in a Piel Frama Classic case which protects it and also acts as a convenient stand. 

2. Hypermac Nano or Micro for extra juice. This is smaller than a mains charger (at least in the UK), has a built-in cable and gives at least one extra full charge to the phone. If you are travelling for more than a couple of days it's a good precaution to pocket a 5-watt charger and a mini sync cable. Radtech make some of the best. 

3. Bose MIE2 headphones with iPhone controls. 

Office in a pocket

PhotoSo, what can the iPhone offer in order to keep your life organised? Here is my list of apps that I use day in and day out. 

Ten productivity apps

  1. Calvetica: An elegant alternative to iCal which speeds up calendar entry and has more views. Sync with iCal desktop.

  2. Mail: The latest with unified inbox is a big improvement. Still not up to desktop standards, but it does for the moment.

  3. 2Do: Great for to-do management, contact management and simple GTD planning. Integrates beautifully with Address Book. Synchronises via MobileMe with iCal.

  4. OmniFocus: The premier heavyweight project manager for iPhone, Mac and iPad. Synchronises via MobileMe.

  5. 1Password: Simply the best password manager which enables you to have secure passwords for all sites. All you have to remember is one master password.

  6. Dropbox: Stores up to 100GB of data on the Cloud and is becoming a de facto sync option for the majority of iOS apps. The iPhone version allows you to view your desktop data simply and effectively.

  7. Evernote: Veteran repository for notes, web pages, almost anything. Syncs with desktop and iPad versions (but I am currently testing an alternative, Springpad)

  8. Moneydance. This app is designed as a point of input for financial data which then syncs with the excellent OS X (and Windows, Linux) desktop Moneydance. It isn't intended as a fully-fledged iPhone accounts system. If you want that, try Pocket Money.

  9. Elements: One of the best writing tools which syncs via Dropbox with the desktop. It is a simple text editor but your pearls can be viewed in Markdown format. I use this mainly for planning and composing blog posts which I then cut and paste to Typepad.

  10. Simplenote: Cloud-based note taker that is ideal for all sorts of random stuff, including quick-reference items. It has superb search facilities which render tagging and sorting unnecessary. Syncs (via Simplenote's server) with several note apps for OS X. Notational Velocity is my favourite.

Three entertainment apps

  1. Kindle: In my opinion, the premier cross-platform book-reading app (read your books on Macs, iPads, Kindles and virtually any other intelligent device)

  2. iTunes: I no longer use iTunes for music but still rely on it for podcasts.

  3. Spotify: I'm sold on subscription music streaming and am happy not to own any music. For £10 a month I get unlimited access to almost everything that has ever been recorded. I can download tracks or playlists to the iPhone (via wifi) for off-line listening when on 3G. Sadly Spotify is not yet available in the USA. 

Four news and information apps

  1. Reeder: I now seldom use Safari for browsing newspaper sites. Instead I use Reeder to collate headers of all the RSS feeds to which I subscribe. It's a convenient place where you can scan through everything quickly and then send anything of interest to Instapaper. Syncs with my Google Reader account.

  2. Instapaper: Wonderful viewer of news in all its forms. Instapaper has a knack of turning web-site items into book-style text so you have quick access and a uniform reading experience over all your sites. Of course, you can view the source if you wish. You can also set up folders for areas of interest. 

  3. iCurrencypad: Excellent full-featured currency converter for frequent travellers.

  4. Bloomberg: One of the best financial news apps which also stores personal portfolios for instant updates.

Everyone has different opinions and favourite apps, but I love to see what others are up to and invariably I find at least one app to add to my list or, perhaps to replace an old faithful. 

This, then, is my Road Warrior Lite. Of course I have many other apps, some of which duplicate the talents of my favourites, but the list is confined to those apps I use daily  I would welcome additions and suggestions from readers. Next week it's time for Road Warrior Medium - what you can take if you have a small bag over your shoulder.

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