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Today, and most of this week, the Barnes & Noble Starbucks cafe has been my mobile office, and very pleasant it is, too. I note in passing that the B&N site takes forever to load, even though the cafe has a reasonably fast connection (well, I just tested it: glacial today, actually, with a 594ms ping, and the rest you can see here). Strangely, a search on B&N’s own page for this very place—co-branded “Barnes & Noble Cafe, serving Starbucks coffee—cannot find the cafe itself, only books about Starbucks… You have to laugh.

To my right (see the MBP?) are a group of women playing some card game con brio; and opposite are another foursome playing Mahjong; they seem in competition with each other, somehow; all of this in a huge and lovely store. I always feel comfortable surrounded by books.

Olivia, my partner and partner in the business, actually talk to each other more, and in a more concentrated way, when I am on the road than when I am ‘in residence’ in Kambah. Though we often have to remake the Skype conversation a number of times, there are no distractions, and the conversation is always welcome—contrast this with when I walk into her office when she is concentrating on a coding problem to do with one of her websites… All of this makes me think about how ‘work’ has changed hugely in the time I have been working. I jokingly write “Two suitcases and a MacBook Air” in the ‘location’ fields of various groups I belong to, but there’s more than a kernel of truth there. The technology has become sufficiently complex to allow me to write/edit a book project, working together with lo-rez catalogues of all the 3,000+ relevant images (each with discrete file names; the electronic publisher has the originals, sent on a super-cheap UBS 1TB drive, sent interstate last week); I can shoot and process excellent images with the best of today’s high-end pocket cameras and post these on galleries held in the Mobile.Me cloud (but not after June 31, 2012), and this same camera will shoot 720p hi-rez video—and it interfaces with a pro-grade wireless microphone and transmitter-receiver setup (all smaller than a pack of cigarettes, if any of you remember how big they are) so I can get really high quality sound (the scourge of most YouTube videos). The resulting footage can be edited on Final Cut Pro (the old pro version, v. 7, and not the toy FCP X that was released with such fanfare a few weeks ago).

And from this same Starbucks, I can upload that footage to Vimeo (if it’s something for the forthcoming App; more about that in another post), or to YouTube (I hope to shoot something at Coach Sommer’s Xtreme Gymnastics facility tomorrow, though I don’t have the wireless mic. with me—it’s waiting at Sydney’s Chattanooga venue, for when I get there). All these functions are performed from the centrepiece of this technical marvellousness: a relatively heavy 15″ MacBook Pro. All required apps are found thereon (should that be therein, I wonder?); and for editing I use a set of studio headphones. I can upload via the excellent Transmit; email or Skype Miss O from the same machine; create mind-maps for upcoming projects with the free-and-fantstic FreeMind; the list goes on. This flexibility; this capacity to create, has literally been enabled by this technology.

Once I get to Sydney’s, I will shoot and voice a test video and post here; if I get something interesting from Coach Sommer’s facility I will post earlier—but we are looking at the future, right now. If anyone is interested, I will post on the details of how a tiny pocket-sized camera with a few add-ons can do a completely acceptable job of making high-quality videos. As for the computer, I brought the MBP with me rather than the MBA (11.5″) because of the screen real estate and because it has an optical drive built in. If Apple does come out with its rumoured 15″ MBA, it might be the end of the road for the current 15″. Or I might back-size to a later-model 13″ MBP: optical drive and less power (the current 15″ MBP is the faster of the quad-core models, with an OWC SSD) because they are significantly lighter—and on the four-mile walk here from Jeffrey’s office, that extra weight makes a difference.