One problem with being a traveling technical trainer is the books. Every week, I head out for a new location with 99% of the stuff being the same. Heck, I don’t even unpack my suitcase since I’ve started expensing laundry at hotels and rotating my clothes. The one thing I can’t seem to remember to do is to check the class I’m teaching in a given week, and remember to pack the right books. My wife is very familiar with the “Send Ken his books via overnight shipping” process. She’s not fond of the process, but she’s familiar with it.
It dawned on me that with rare exception, I really don’t need all of the hand written notes I’ve collected in those books over the years. For the most part, I have them memorized so I really don’t need the originals. Therefore, I decided to make my personal Instructor’s library an electronic mobile one. I didn’t use thumb drives because those are easily lost or left behind. In fact, I had one student who actually had a wrist bracelet and leash connected to her thumb drive because she’d left so many behind.
I created a new account in G-Mail (Google mail). Then I created folders for all of my classes and emailed myself a PDF copy of all of my books. They’re all tucked in there safe and sound and if I need one, I can access it from anywhere. I logged in from a hotel lobby computer once, opened my G-Mail library account, and printed one of the books to a local Fed-ex Kinkos just to be sure the process was sound.
It worked! Now I can access all of my books from a PDA, Mac, PC, Windows, or Linux box whenever I need one! You could literally drop me out of an airplane, buck naked, into the remotest region of the Galapagos Islands, and as soon as I could thrash my way to a secretary with Internet access, I could print off my books! This is definitely good news for my wife (the absence of need for the post office, not the “thrashing to the secretary” part), but I’m sure I’ll manage to forget something else along the way. Speaking of that, have any of you seen my cell phone recently?
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.