Solving The Problems Of Editing Photos On The Road

My Mobile Workstation

I have a very nice laptop PC, which I use at home as my office computer and main photo editing platform.  From time to time, when I’m on the road I’ll take my laptop with me so I can edit my photos and connect to the internet. But I always have fits with the laptop when I un-dock it from my desktop and go mobile. When I’m mobile I don’t have the same configuration of external drives and USB accessories as I do when it’s setup in my office. I normally connect an external 1 Terabyte SSD drive to the laptop for storing and backing up my images while on the road, but the laptop has to be reconfigured for use on the road. My laptop screen isn’t the same dimension and resolution as my two desktop monitors, so I end up having to readjust the font sizes and screen resolutions of my editing software and web applications to work on the road from a hotel room. Then, I have to reconfigure the laptop settings once again when I get home and reconnect to my desktop setup. It works, but it’s a pain in the butt. This happens every time I travel with my laptop. It also worries me when I’m traveling with the laptop, as it’s a pretty expensive device and I don’t want to have it stolen or busted from travel handling.

I grew tired of this reconfiguration issue and decided that I would just simply not take the laptop with me when I was on the road, and instead rely on my iPad to connect to the Internet and do some minimal photo editing using iPad applications. That worked to a point, but I wasn’t really able to do photo backups on the road using the iPad. I needed an alternative. I’ve lost photos while traveling in the past, and I really didn’t like the insecurity of not creating backups while traveling.

As for the iPad, I have pretty much relegated it to sitting in the living room and using it while I’m watching television or relaxing on the deck. But, these days I don’t even use it at all as I’ve given it to my wife so she can listen to her audio books, play her bubble popping games and using it on the road when she’s traveling. Her iPad went kaput and I don’t want to drop a lot of money on another one for me. My iPhone has been taking up the slack for the time being.

I’ve come up with a plan for an alternative to re-wobbling my laptop setup every time I traveled and I’ve pretty much given up using the iPad for anything more than surfing the web and connecting to email. My alternative is to try using a Chromebook.  A Chromebook is a cross between having a laptop and an iPad functionally speaking. They look and like laptops but functionally they are not really suitable for using as a replacement desktop PC in the same manner as I’m using my Laptop. But, it will do things that the iPad simply won’t do and it is more versatile than the iPad at a fraction of the cost. I bought an Acer Chromebook for under $200 and will work with my external SSD drive, so I can download my photos to the SSD drive on the road and have a good backup of my images. It also connects to my internet applications for email and website editors, and will also do photo editing using Adobe mobile apps such as Photoshop Express or Lightroom Mobile. The Chromebook setup won’t give me the full power of my desktop applications but I can at least look over my shots from the hotel room or even from my vehicle. I can connect to the Internet using my mobile hot spot on my iPhone.  It will also fit snugly into my camera pack. And so goes my logic.

I have ordered the Chromebook but I don’t have it yet. It will be here tomorrow, along with a 2 Terabyte external portable hard drive to increase my mobile storage. I’ll be playing with it once I have it in my grubby hands and hopefully there are no fatal flaws to my thinking.

I’ll be writing a series of blog posts on this subject with updates of how the process is of making the Chrome Book my portable solution. My main Laptop PC will be safe at home, I won’t have to reconfigure it every time I take it with me and if the Chromebook gets damaged or stolen while I’m traveling, I won’t be out thousands of dollars replacing it.

Stay tuned, more to follow.