Using a notebook helps me structure my tasks (there is a certain indescribable goodness to actually writing on paper) and avoid more screen time (I spend waaay too much time in front of a screen anyway)
Headphones: Bose Quiet Comfort 35
Laptop: Lenovo Thinkpad t460 (has 2 batteries, so can handle compute-intensive tasks)
Backpack: The North Face (pick the thicker one so you can use it as a laptop cushion)
Here is the setup in action!
What I rather do is look at difficult code before the commute. My brain will subconsciously work it out. However in this period, you can't think about other things - no looking at your phone or checking out people on the train.
The other trick is to keep your naps under 20 minutes. After 20 minutes you fall into a deep sleep, making it harder to wake up and leaving you feeling groggy after you do wake up.
I've certainly observed commuters set alarms on their watches/mobiles based on their expected arrival times. I find that a little rude, but nobody else every seems to comment..
1. Turn on mobile hotspot (ideally wired - it makes a difference when on SF BART)
2. Throw the earmuffs on (I wear https://www.amazon.com/3M-Earmuff-Protectors-Hearing-Protect...)
3. For extra levels of sound proof, wear earbuds undernearth above
4. Turn on laptop (lenovo x250 with 9-cell extended battery)
Having a seat is critical. I'm lucky that my commute usually involves one end of the line to the other. This makes it easy to get a seat. Also, don't completely zone out into your laptop. More than once I've had people warn me to keep my eyes open for some of the more interesting characters who ride the BART.
"Interesting" in a positive or negative way?
I have a Macbook Pro 2017 13". It's the first Macbook I've ever owned. It barely weighs a thing (1.37KG). Feels durable. And feels quite ergonomic to use. I can run 2 VMs in virtual box at full pelt for 1.5 hours and use 50% of the battery. I think that's pretty good. Best notebook I've ever owned.
Otherwise, Boss Quiet Comfort 25s.
4G is very hit and miss. I swear the newer East Midlands Trains carriages are surrounded by a faraday cage. That being said, they offer 15 minutes free wifi... cough MAC address... cough which performs very well.
If we had better teleconferencing equipment, I would go in less than I do now.
Unfortunately because I'm in NZ, mobile data is super expensive, so I only get 2.25GB/month. Turns out that's adequate for 1 hour of train per day (30min each way), but I have to be a bit careful. I use https://www.tripmode.ch/ to limit my usage somewhat.
The keyboard on my MBP is absolutely awful, and if I use it for more than about 20 minutes I get sore fingers. The backspace key requires about a tonne of force to register a delete. So I use a Coolermaster MasterKeys Pro S. It's a bit awkward using it on the train, but I usually do anyway because my fingers kill me otherwise. It helps if I have a spare seat next to me.
Working on the train shaves an hour off my office day, so I get more time with my daughter. I can work from home a couple days a week, but I prefer to go in to the office when possible since I find I focus better at the office.
I use an MBP 15", typically using train-wifi or tethering to my phone (4G subscription with unlimited data (and no throttling) for $35/month (299 SEK)). However, I try to optimize to not depend too much on wifi, just in case.
Overall I've tried to optimize my workflow to just use my MBP 15" instead of being dependent on an external monitor, external keyboard, etc. Does really help when traveling and avoiding office to be productive.
Main thing is knowing what I have to work on that morning, so when I open computer I just jump on writing code and don't have to think about it.
I usually try to do simple things on my commute: maybe little refactoring or trying to replicate some edge case, I rarely do anything complex as my journey is just 30 minutes.
However more recently, I have switched to reading books. My nearly two-hour commute every day is the time where I can read w/o anything else going on.
That seems ambiguous.
In any case "notebook" is probably a little too generic for the asker, care to share which notebook in particular and what makes it well suited for computing while commuting?
I try to have everything I need already downloaded to the laptop, but when I need internet, I tether to my phone.
I carry everything in an REI Novara commuter pannier, which a great commuter bag for a bike -- two simple clips hold it securely on the bike rear rack so it's easy to unclip from the bike when I park at the station (and to clip back on for my commute home), and it has a built-in shoulder strap and a rain cover in its own pocket. Sadly, it's been discontinued, not sure what I'll replace it with when it finally wears out.
You can find cheaper but these bags are very durable. They’ll last many years.
absolutely. On a long plane ride from the US to China it makes a huge difference
* Asus Chromebook Flip (C100PA)
* iPad Pro 10.5 with keyboard cover
When I'm developing, I use ssh or mosh to access my workstation in the office and then tmux+vim. Mosh works pretty great with poor connectivity. I've pretty much mentally mapped the signal quality along my route, so I know when to look out the window for a couple of minutes to wait for signal to come back...
When I'm not developing, I'm usually using Gmail+Google Docs/Sheets/etc to get stuff done. They all work relatively well offline/online.
For connectivity, I use a Raspberry Pi Zero with a 4G data stick as a WiFi hotspot (the on-train WiFi is terrible, and tethering to my phone kills the phone battery way too quickly). That setup can run for 6-8 hours on a little Anker USB battery pack.
This generally seems to be my conclusion when thinking about making something cool with a Pi or similar, wondering if I’m missing something?
I don't generally get this effect when just being a passenger. I can travel for literally days in a car (or hours on a train) without feeling ill, but the second I look down to focus on some text, my stomach turns. User interfaces in the vehicle (such as the head-unit's screen, or the dashboard displays) don't do this to me, nor do things like posters on the train wall. It's only when I look down and focus on something close to me.
Does anyone else find this? What do you do about it (other than, you know, just not looking at small print when travelling)?
I am sure you can google some more information on it, this is just what I remember from talk of some ORL doctor friend of mine and that was few years ago.
We normally don't give our brains some idle thinking time. I think it's helpful in organizing thoughts, achieving peace of mind, reducing anxiety, improving creativity. Long commutes are perfect for that.
I also really appreciate these brief periods of forced meditation!
XPS 13 9360 which has great battery time and a form factor of 11" but a monitor of 13". I also have an unlimited cellular internet plan that I use for ssh and rdp. It helps that I know vim well enough that I can code adequately on a remote machine if needed.
I just ordered this week a mobile charging station so I should even have more juice.
My setup was t430 9Cell + ultrabay battery.
Tethered to phone
I had really shoddy reception almost the entire train ride.
So I was ssh'd into my home server. As I wrote code, it would sync every other minute if a file had changed. Compile, and run output through a screen session.
There's wifi on some Danish and Swedish trains, but now with free roaming I find it less reliable than my phone's data connection.
Unfortunately this means developing on the go becomes nearly impossible without a solid network connection to CERN.
Old Bose QC headset or just the headset that came with my phone.
3M screen filter (I'm not the only programmer on that train.)
I can get up to around >1 hour productive work depending on the task at hand.
A problem is the unreliable 3G/4G connection and the onboard WiFi isn't that reliable as well.
Edit: this is in London, so the tube gets pretty packed during the rush hour
However, rolling in and typing something up is amazing.
I can’t advocate doing that every day, but try once a week or once a month. It’s kind of awesome.