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Today's mobile professional has many more communication options than were available just a few short years ago. Advances in portable computing, wireless technology (Wi-Fi), telephone technology, and networks have made mobile life easier and more exciting. But with so many choices, selecting the right gear and services is also more challenging.

What This Book is About

When you get right down to it, just about any portable computer or cell phone will do the job for most Global Mobile travelers. Even entry-level models of these devices are usually more than you really need to send the occasional email or make a simple phone call. But then, you're not really the entry-level kind of user, are you? You probably opted for one of the better laptops available at the time and a cell phone that probably has enough bells and whistles to keep you entertained for hours—and you probably haven't even scratched the surface of what superpowers you have available to you.

This book is about helping you explore the powers you probably already have and making the right choices to expand them. Essentially, it is a book about connecting the dots. In this case, the dots are your laptop computer, your cell phone, and wireless and Ethernet broadband network connections. Let's face it, you're a busy professional and you don't have time to geek-out. That's where this book comes in.

Global Mobile doesn't try to educate you on nuances of the various technologies you have in your possession—rather it educates you on how to get them up and running in the quickest way possible. For example, you've heard you can connect to these Wi-Fi hotspots, and assume it's probably easy…and it is. But you've never actually done it. This book will take you through the steps, tell you what to expect, and have you connected in no time.

I take a “day in the life” approach to explaining things. You'll learn what you should be thinking about before you even start packing your suitcase all the way through to when you've finally arrived at your destination. But I don't stop there; you also get the low-down on Wi-Fi: what it is, what it can do for you, and where it's probably going. Bluetooth may be a term you've heard quite a bit lately; I explain what it is, what it isn't, and why it's a good thing.

How to Use This Book

This book is not a shopping guide; you won't find many product comparisons or recommendations here (though I do point you to some convenient locations where you can buy gear). Instead, this book is a usage guide, designed to be kept with you in your laptop bag to help you through those sticky situations at a moment's notice. Simply flip to the chapter you need and you're on your way. Example? Say you're at the hotel and need to check your email, but this particular hotel doesn't have high-speed Internet access—only a stone-aged phone jack. Just flip to Chapter 3, follow the step-by-step instructions, and you'll be dialed up in no time. You'll even find a handy chart listing some of the more popular Internet Service Providers.

I've attempted to make this book conversational in tone—it's not meant to be a comprehensive manual of operation for your laptop or cell phone, but rather a knowledgeable friend who has agreed to help you be more productive.

But this book isn't only about connecting to the Internet in new and interesting ways; it's also about utilizing your cell phone, both domestically and abroad. One of the most confusing aspects (to some people, including me) about traveling with a mobile phone is how to dial out of one country and into another. This book helps you get your brain around the complexity of country codes, prefixes, and more. In the appendices you'll find helpful charts listing the country codes and dialing procedures for most of the inhabited countries on this planet. With this book, you won't waste time asking, “How do I dial out of this country?” In fact, people will probably start asking you.

Each chapter in this book is self-contained, meaning you can jump right to any chapter to learn about that particular facet of Global Mobile traveling.

Chapter 1: Before You Go

It's all about planning—even Santa knows that to succeed, one has to make a list and check it twice. This chapter helps you think about and plan the various aspects of your upcoming trip. You'll learn how to choose a Global Mobile-friendly hotel, pick the correct power adapters, and use your cell phone at your destination (foreign or domestic). You'll even find a helpful packing list to help make sure you bring the necessary items.

Chapter 2: In Transit

Once you've left home, you're pretty much on your own. Whatever you've packed is what you've got to work with until you get to your destination. In this chapter, I take you through the things you need to know in order to get and stay connected while at the airport (gate), sitting on the plane, and even when you've finally touched down and the flight attendant announces that you can once again make calls to the outside world.

Chapter 3: At Your Destination

This chapter helps you make the most of your home away from home. Setting up this temporary home base doesn't have to be complicated. Get unpacked, plugged in, and logged on in no time. You'll also find some helpful tips for making the most of that expensive high-speed Internet connection by setting up a private wireless network that you and your traveling companions can all use.

Chapter 4: Working While on the Road

After you've arrived at your destination and successfully connected to the Internet, it's time to get to work. This chapter will demystify some of the voodoo surrounding connecting to your corporate network while abroad. You'll learn what a VPN is and how to use it.

Chapter 5: In Public Places

Whether you're at home or on the road, you'll probably find the need to connect to the Internet from someplace other than your home base. This chapter gives you instructions on how to find places that connect you, and also how to connect when you've found them. You'll also find some interesting tips on how to exchange files with other Global Mobile travelers, with or without a hotspot.

Chapter 6: Text Messaging (SMS)

As technology advances, people have developed a need to get their ideas across faster than ever before. Text messaging allows near-instantaneous messages to be sent over networks. There are several tricks that allow you to do this efficiently, and in some cases for free. This chapter goes through the ins and outs of sending text messages; you'll also find a helpful chart of abbreviated words to help reduce the size of your messages and the calluses on your thumbs.

Chapter 7: Getting Online with Your Cell Phone

There are times when you're away from home and have no access to Wi-Fi, broadband, or even a phone jack. That's where your cell phone comes in. You'll learn about how to use it with your laptop to get online, and you'll learn about Bluetooth, an up-and-coming technology that allows devices to connect to each other without the use of wires. You'll also learn some interesting ways that evil-doers are attempting to exploit this relatively fledgling technology.

Chapter 8: Emerging Technologies

Technology moves at such a rapid pace, no book can ever hope to be completely up to date. The technologies I discuss in this book continue to evolve and offer users more and more interesting capabilities. In this chapter, you get a glimpse at where Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other technologies are headed.

Use this book as your always-with-you traveling companion. Keep it in your bag and refer to it whenever the need arises. Visit the Global Mobile Web site at www.fredjohnson.net/globalmobile/ for printable versions of some of the more useful charts in the book.

Happy travels!

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