After traveling this week, it has become really more apparent that technology plays a major role in the whole traveling process, as well as family interaction. Now I know there are the old schooler’s out there that will be like, phhh, you don’t need technology to do anything. I am not saying that, I am just saying it can make it easier, maybe a little better. Also, there are some things that bring people together (think of a Grandfather and Grandson fixing a car) – well, these same type of things are now the norm, but over technology (replace car with computer or cell phone – and the Grandson teaching the Grandfather).
Over the last 10 days or so, this is what I have seen.
MySpace: First, I hate MySpace. But tons of people are on it, and you can reconnect with old friends and people you know. A while back an ex-girlfriend of mine who I haven’t talked to in like 10 years contacted me on MySpace. We started talking, emailing, IM’ing, and then last weekend we went out for a beer and around, which was odd, but good. Thing is, this probably would never happened without MySpace.
Facebook: Same as MySpace – just different groups of people. Easy to update your status of what you are doing, plus message friends and plan things. I used this to find out about some people being out one night that I wanted to see, and ended up seeing them. Another thing, people find out when you break up with someone if you have that set on Facebook, which leads to people talking to you, asking you to hang, etc. Also, my boss and I figured out that Nickelback was playing because of iLike, on a day I was in town, and we decided to go. Which leads to the next thing…
Craigslist: To get the tickets for the concert, he used Craigslist. We ended up getting floor tickets, for cheap. We saw some people at the show we knew, and they paid almost double.
Twitter: here is a great one. As you are doing things, tweet it, and your friends can know what’s going on. Adds to your “Life Stream”. I used this to track cool things that were happening, as well as keep up on friends back in Portland, and other tech tweets (I knew what was going on at the TechCrunch party in CA from tweets and twittergrams).
Digital Cameras: No brainer here. Taking picture of cool things on a trip. Using your cell phone or a regular camera, either way, you can get cool photos, which then you can upload to..
Flickr/Picasa Web Albums, et al: Good way to show your pictures off to friends and family.
Online Flight Check In: I used this twice, the way out, and back. Print off your boarding pass, choose your seats. Pretty easy and saves some time at the airport.
Maps and Locations: Use this to get to the airport, and around. local.live.com though – you know how I feel about Google maps.
Texts/Texting: – another no brainer. Text your friends and family instead of calling.
Instant Messaging: another good thing, especially if you can do it from your phone, or reply to text’s to someone’s IM (AOL and MSN allow this). just another way to keep in touch and plan things
Cell Phones: – wikipedia, emails, photos, videos – you can use cell phones these days to do a ton. Look up stuff on wikipedia, get directions, movie times, its your contacts and calendar, alarm clock – everything
Laptops: – need this for traveling. Get on wifi spots, VPN into work, check your email, read blogs, etc.
Helping family technology wise – ok here is how the family fits in. Every time I come home, everyone in my family has some new computer or cell phone or something they can’t figure out and I end up helping, which leads to conversation, bonding, getting together, going out after (let’s go get some beer), etc. My grandpa got a new Sony Ericsson walkman phone and needed some guidance getting it going for example.
Online family tree – started this on Geni.com about a month ago. Reconnect with family, figure out what is going on, before you go home.
Scheduling/Calendars: if you use outlook, or any other online calendar you can access, then good. You can really maximize your time using calendars, and get alerts on upcoming appointments, etc/
YouTube: upload your Nickelback videos, duh! (I do have some of a great acapella group I saw in St. Cloud too!)
Blogs: you can also write to your blog to keep people in the loop. Track your flight, and just know you are OK once you land. BTW, I am on NWA 597 on the way back if you want to track me!
I am sure there is a ton more, but this is a good starting list. I figure this post is also a good way to give some details into what I did on the trip. I obviously did more, but its a good start. I will post up some pictures/videos once I get back to PDX (I am in the MSP airport right now, drinking a beer :))