Working without a computer: Day 1

So, I thought I would write a little bit about my experience of running a company, writing a book, writing research reports, editing documents, working only with mobile technology, and traveling without the use of a computer. First, let me explain how I got here.


Under normal circumstances, I travel quite a bit. Almost every single week over the course of the year. Full disclosure: When I travel, I typically don’t carry a laptop computer. I typically use an Apple iPad Pro 9.7” with a Logitech Create keyboard/ case combination that uses the smart connector in the iPad Pro for connectivity and power. Having a keyboard without a battery means one less thing to charge. In addition, the iPad Pro has cellular connectivity which avoids the need to rely on flaky and less-than-secure wifi in hotels, airports, conferences and the like.

Every once in a while though, I do have to bring a laptop with me. Prior to last year, it was a 13” Apple MacBook Air. Last year, the MacBook Air was getting long in the tooth and I upgraded to a 2017 13” MacBook Pro. Now, the MacBook Pros are the systems with the newer, thinner keyboard. And let me just say: For someone that writes a LOT, the keyboard on the new MacBook Pro sucks. The keyboard on the Logitech Create or the MacBook Air is MUCH better. This blog post is being written on the iPad Pro with the Create keyboard.

Not too long after purchasing the new MacBook Pro, it had to go back to Apple due to duplicate keys being registered. This means, you type ‘n’ once and get two n’s. Sometimes ‘one’ would become ‘onne’ and sometimes it became ‘onen’. For someone that types fast, this is a royal pain in the…well, you get the idea. Several days later, the system came back with a new top case and keyboard. All good again…except for the fact that the keyboard still has a terrible feel.

Fast forward six months and the system is doing the same thing again. Duplicate letters. Yesterday, the system went back to Apple for diagnosis and repair. Even the tech at the Apple Store could see the duplicate letters showing up using one of their ‘test images’ to eliminate possible tainting from a rogue piece of software running. Estimated time to repair is 5-7 business days. Time I will be working mobile-only: 5-7 business days.


Using the iPad Pro with Create keyboard isn’t new to me. It is, however, a little strange to use it in my office rather than the external screen and keyboard sitting on the desk right next to it. The interesting thing is that it is forcing me to use features of the iPad Pro that I typically don’t use. At least not regularly. Those include multi-tasking with multiple apps open on the screen and using the Apple Pencil for more than taking notes.

This is just day 1, but I have learned that I can be relatively productive (so far). A nice upside is using the Pencil to sign contracts and return them without the need to print, sign and scan them back in. This workflow might change even after the laptop returns.

Battery life is always an issue for folks. The portability is nice and having a battery that lasts more than ½ day or so it a great thing. I am well into the afternoon and the iPad Pro is only at 68% battery remaining. The iPhone X (my other mobile device) is at 61% and that is after several calls this morning. Sure, I have power outlets in the office, but I am also curious how long I can go without the need to rely on additional power.

The mobile versions of applications including Microsoft Office and Google Apps are working well. Since data is stored in the cloud, it makes it easy to access from a mobile device. Working offline is a different issue, but there are ways to support that too.


In summary, I was a little concerned about going mobile-only while in the office. However, today’s experiences have given me confidence that I might indeed survive 5-7 business days without a full computer. Tomorrow starts another trip and new challenges. Stay tuned for more insights over the coming days.

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