Five Apps, Accessories, and Other Things I Couldn’t Do Without on The Great Adventure

Thankfully, after 36 hours in the car, we finally arrived at our semi-final destination. We traveled from Oklahoma City to Mount Rushmore, then on to Cody, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park. You can see several of the highlight pictures I took by visiting my album, The Great Adventure 2013, on Google+.

These massively-long road trips continue to show me that there are several must-have apps and accessories for any “road warrior.”

External Batteries

Technically, I already knew that these babies were miracle workers, but I wasn’t any more grateful than when we were walking around both Mrs. The Droid Lawyer and I were running low on juice. Since we forgot “the good camera,” we trusted our lifetime of family memories to our cell phone cameras. This wasn’t regrettable, since our cell phones have as much megapixel-power as our more expensive Canon digital camera.

Anker ASTRO External Battery RAVPower Dynamo Packaging

 

If you haven’t acquired one of these external batteries, it’s time to get one. Certainly, these batteries aren’t for everyday use, but they’re perfect for the emergency situation.

Chromebook

At less than 2.5 pounds, my Chromebook is phenomenal.

Samsung Chromebook

 

The Chromebook possesses more than enough power to handle any task. Since I use Chrome browser for most activities, Chromebook fits my needs.

Sure, getting used to working in a browser and using Google Drive for document creation takes getting used to. But, if you’re used to using Google Chrome, and you can find the Drive icon, you’re going to be fine with a Chromebook.

Chromebooks also have exceptional battery life, which means you’ll have about 6 hours of power on full brightness. I’ve never needed more than this.

If there is any downside, the Chromebook requires an active internet connection to complete some tasks. That shouldn’t deter you from working. Drive features an “offline mode” that allows you to create and edit documents.

Google Maps and Waze

Android has the best built-in, mobile navigation software. With the recent Google Maps update, Android’s navigation capabilities just got a significant boost.

Google Maps

 

Maps played a significant role in helping us get to, in, and around the cities, towns and national parks we visited. Maps features highly-accurate traffic updates, and directions. I also love the various navigation methods, including walking directions and public transportation. The walking directions helped us locate a quaint restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

I’m sure we’ll also start seeing more improvements to Maps following Google’s recent acquisition of my other favorite navigation app, Waze.

Waze

Waze features all of Google Maps’ navigation power, and adds a crowdsourcing element that helps you avoid traffic jams, speed traps, or significant construction areas.

When Waze detects a slow-down, the app will redirect you to another available route.

Both Waze and Maps showcase Android’s excellent navigation capabilities.

Nexus 7 Tablet

I’ve decided that the Nexus 7 is the perfect tablet for traveling. It’s small, weighs less than a pound, and features everything some of the bigger tablets provide.

Nexus 7

 

The Nexus 7 helped keep the kids occupied between movies and snacks, and I rewarded Tot 1 by purchasing her an Amazon e-book.

Sure, I brought along my larger ASUS Tranformer Infinity tablet, but the kids preferred to play games on the smaller Nexus 7.

Google Now

I’m not sure why more people haven’t enabled this awesome Android tool. Whether you need driving directions, nearby attractions, or the weather, Google Now can provide it.

Google Now

In Jackson, Wyoming, Google Now kindly provided me with restaurants near our location. In West Yellowstone, Google Now alerted us to an upcoming severe thunderstorm brewing. Thanks to the app, we conveniently avoided a soaking.

My all-time favorite Google Now feature, especially when you’re traveling, ended up being the “Nearby photo spots” cards. This enabled us to take some awe-inspiring and memory-making pictures. Of course, The Droid Tots weren’t too thrilled after the 4,000th picture, but “they’re memories in the making.”

So get on the road

If you’re getting ready to make the short or long trip across these great United States, or the world, be sure you’re utilizing these five great apps and accessories to boost your experience.

2 Responses to Five Apps, Accessories, and Other Things I Couldn’t Do Without on The Great Adventure

  1. I agree with your selections, particularly the Samsung ARM-based Chromebook. I’ve had mine since mid-May. I received it the night before leaving on a trip to argue an appeal. Since I am a Gmail and Google Drive user, setup was almost instant. It became a great mobile productivity tool literally overnight. I now travel with it for all of my appeal arguments.

    I still use my iPad 2 with the TabLit Oral Argument app during the actual argument because the tablet form factor is a bit better for that limited purpose. But I create the argument file on-line using the Chromebook and then sync it to the iPad 2 using the Oral Argument app’s built-in web sync function.

    In order to make it even more useful when editing complex Word documents (such as appeal briefs) without doing damage to the formatting, I installed Chrubuntu Linux on an SD card so I can boot the Chromebook into a variant of Ubuntu and use a full word processor, Libre Office Writer, which is compatible with and remarkably similar to MS Word, to do serious editing.

    I also strongly agree with your choice of external batteries. I have one from Monoprice.com that is about the size of a deck of cards. It has 1 amp and 2.1 amp USB outputs and 5000mAh capacity. Works great for charging my Note II after a long day of extended use.

    • Scott, I may have to install Chrubuntu onto an SD card so I can run Libre Office, too. That sounds like a perfect use, without “compromising” space on the Chromebook. I’m running my Chromebook in developer mode, which adds some pretty sweet features.

      Glad you’re also loving your external battery. After using both the 5000 and 10000 mAh batteries, I think most attorneys will be able to get away with using the smaller battery. The 5000 mAh battery charged my Nexus 7 and my phone without any problems.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.