Thanksgiving in the US: it’s a time when a lot of people hit the road to visit with family over a four day driving and eating event, and a lot of bloggers rely on pulling up old source material to rehash because they’ve already checked out for the holidays. (While this article is mostly new, I’d like to think I’ve checked out for the holidays.)
This is just a simple last-minute IT/phone/tablet checklist before you hit the road.
If you’re traveling with kids, make sure you’ve got a few movies loaded on the tablet. If you’ve previously downloaded some movies, make sure they’re still valid as services like Amazon Video tend to only let a disconnected tablet keep movies for a month or so before the DRM goes south and you wind up stuck on I-95 without a working copy of Frozen.
From what I read they’ll usually email you that your movie is about to die, but you never know.
Maps / map backups
I tend to travel as though there were going to be no cell reception for data wherever I go. Being on Sprint… nah, too easy… however Sprint has been abysmal in some of the locations I’ve traveled to, so I always keep a printed copy of my route as well as pre-loading areas in Google Maps I know or question the cell phone service there.
Also, remember Google Maps is pretty darn good at sending you to the wrong state, so check that your destination is in the right location.
Bring your two-factor authentication cheat sheet
So you’re going to relatives and you’ve suddenly found you forgot your phone charger… luckily they have a computer with Windows 98SE you can use, unfortunately you’ve enabled two factor authentication and need your phone to function to provide you with a timed login key.
Remember most services give you a set of one-time throwaway codes. Being at a relative’s house is the reason for these existing.
Also remember that two-factor authentication is the best way to navigate the mighty virus rivers of your relative’s horribly infected PC and get to your email. Sure your password might be compromised, but without the authenticator nobody’s getting into your account.
Also, if you’ve got the number and the service allows it, plug in grandma’s phone as a number that Google (or whatever) can call.
Chargers, mobile chargers, batteries
While in the idealized world holidays are a time when you spend time with family, quite often there’s a need for electronic distraction, such as when your uncle starts talking about Ferguson. A $20 charger can go a long way toward keeping an assault charge off of your criminal record.
It can also keep your kids entertained while they’re bored out of their gourds, so factor that in.
Craft your work away message
Think about what you’re going to say – this is a message you’ll forget to remove for a good two to three days after you get back from the holidays, so it should be suitably annoying and grating. Perhaps saying how you’re not visiting with relatives, but in fact enjoying the tropical beaches while everyone’s snowed in.
Don’t flash ROMs, or accept carrier or app updates
Do you want to spend multiple days troubleshooting a strangely acting phone? Probably not.
Install an app blocker
Find and install an app blocker. Put it on your fitbit and calorie tracking software. Block from today until January 2, 2015. Enjoy.
Ignore these lists
They’re probably useless anyway.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!