March Break

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Even the most ultimate road warrior and digital nomad needs a break every now and then.

Sure, the latest tech can help you get down to work wherever you are. But time on the road (and in the air) is also the perfect opportunity to let loose and play. Sudoku was never my thing, and lugging around a hardcover of Dan Brown‘s latest just isn’t in the cards. So, in the spirit of March Break, here are two of my favourite ways to kill time when not strapped to e-mail or grappling with a smartphone:

  1. Foursquare. Have you ever dreamt of becoming the mayor of Yorkville or Yaletown? Now is your chance. One of the hottest games, applications and online social networks – yes, it’s all three and more – is Foursquare. This app for the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones (though it can also be accessed by any mobile device with a browser) allows you to “check in” and tell your friends where you are, so they can recommend where to shop and eat and what to do nearby. As more and more people connect, you learn more about the best spots to frequent, and the more you go to a specific place (and tell your social network), the more status you earn for that locale. And yes, you can be named “mayor” of your favourite bar, restaurant or hotel. You can also receive hyper-local offers (like free appetizers at certain restaurants) and, as with the best of video games, you can unlock badges that give you real-life street cred (and some additional goodies).
  2. Cinemin Swivel. For those of you who’d rather stay in your hotel room, the Cinemin Swivel lets you project a crisp 60-inch image from over eight feet away. This amazing multimedia pico projector is about the size of two packs of cards but still lets you get that movie theatre experience for around $300. It pulls your video files right from your iPod or iPhone (or you can use a VGA-to-AV adapter to connect a laptop). The coolest part about this mini-projector is the 90-degree swivel hinge that makes it simple to project on any surface – even the hotel-room ceiling (full disclosure: WowWee, the manufacturer of Cinemin Swivel, was a client of Twist Image).

What would you recommend to the road warriors and digital nomads for this March Break?

The above posting is my monthly tech and gadget column for enRoute Magazine called, Ultraportable. I cross-post it here with all of the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original versions online here:

enRoute Magazine – March 2010 – Portable Play Stations.


  1. This may not have anything to do with the above blog, but I just wanted to tell you that I’m thoroughly enjoying your book, which I’ve been listening to on my way to/from work every day. I’m planning on giving it as gifts to my 2 children who I’m sure would benefit from your ideas a great deal! They’re both trying to promote their fledgling businesses (one an artist, the other one a musician), and I can see them using the information in your book completely! Thanks for writing it.

  2. Take a Flip video. Absolutely the easiest to use video camera for shooting and uploading. Capture something and then watch it on your Cinemin Swivel!

  3. I too am a road warrior and am actually Foursquare Mayor of the hotel I am typing this from! – I was one of the fortunate few to get the swarm badge recently in Milwaukee – super fun and the video I made of that went mini-viral (like 1600+ views so far).
    For a gadget to make it into my messenger bag (size are weight are always being considered) it’s got to be really cool. The newest addition is my Kodak Zi8 (which I used to shot aforementioned video). This is my tool of choice to shoot vBlogs when I am just too tired to write well. (I’m committed to a blog post a day in March to build the habit of just doing it once a day no matter what).
    I’ll be checking out Cinemin when time and toy funds allow.
    Great Post Mitch!

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