6. January 2013 13:07
by Paul Apostolos
I travel a bunch, therefore I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms. And, as anyone knows who has ever stayed in a hotel (of any caliber), my stuff is not there and that frustrates me. I like having really fast Internet access on any device I can imagine without having to pay $9.95 each or having to enter some login screen information each time I want to find out the name of the movie with the guy from Parker Lewis Can't Lose and the bad guy in Back to School (turns out that is Just One of the Guys). Seriously, it's sucky.
You know what else sucks...the selection of watchable television in China. That really sucks. Even if you are fluent in Mandarin, you would rather drink from a gas pump than watch three minutes of that nonsense. I decided to make a few changes to my packing to address both of these issues. I now include the "hotel room hacking kit."
I know, it seems like a bit much to carry just to be sure I can watch a movie or sporting event from my laptop, iPhone, or iPad. I guess I could just read a book or something, but, I don't think that way. So, what's in the kit and why? Here's the list:
- ZuniConnect travel router - This little $40 device allows me to share a single ethernet or WiFi Internet connection to every device I have. So, I pay the hotel for one connection (the router) and the router provides a connection to all my devices. Paid for itself in one trip. It's just great.
- TV connection cables - I started with just a display port to HDMI for my laptop. Then I got the HDMI to iDevice connector. And then, I was stuck in a (very nice) hotel room in China and the in room TVs didn't have an HDMI hookup. F! So, I just got every connector I could so iDevices could connect. That includes, component, VGA, and RGB cables. Obviously, I haven't needed the VGA cord yet but, dammit, if I need it, I'll have it.
- A mini screwdriver with assorted bits - If the TV is mounted to the wall and I can't get to the cable hookups...I just whip out the stubby, take the TV off the wall, hook up and rehang the TV. Of course, the maid would frown on that if she would see it while cleaning the room, so I always reverse the process before I leave for the day.
- A Logitech Harmony Remote - (the cheapest one) Occasionally, the TVs in hotel rooms are "locked down" and they do not allow me to switch inputs to watch my plugged in device; stupid. One time, in Germany, I even needed to unlock the TV using a secret unlock code that I Googled hours to find. I was then too tired to watch anything though.
I know it seems crazy, but sometimes I really want to watch something in my native language and browse the Internet. Life is just better that way.