For those of us on the UN conference circuit as NGO activists, there are some essential geek tools that make our lives so much easier. Among the notable ones:
- Cell phone. This is an essential tool for any wired activist. Lots of options, depending on your budget. The cheapest solution is often to get a local pre-paid cell phone. The most expensive is to have a tri-band phone. Those international roaming charges can be murder on your budget. I know someone who has one phone with different SIM cards that he plugs in depending on which continent he is on so that he can always pay local charges.
- Laptop. Preferably one with street cred, i.e. an iBook or one running Linux. Weight, battery life, and durability are more important factors than speed and screen size.
- Wifi Card. Cause nothing beats “always on” internet connectivity for keeping your NGO website updated or emailing the activists back home about what’s happening at the conference.
- PDA. Not really an activist essential, in my book.
- Telephone and ethernet cable. Cause sometimes wifi is just not available.
- USB memory stick. For quickly transferring a document to a colleague or a government delegate. I like the one that doubles as a digital camera. Speaking of which….
- Digital Camera. For pictures of those historic moments in policy making, or just that last drunken crawl through Berlin with your activist buddies. Portability is more important than megapixels, since you are shooting for your NGO’s blog, not for National Geographic.
- iPod with recording device. For posting audio entries to your podcast. And DJing the late-night victory party at the end of the meeting. OK, not really essential, but really cool.
- Lots and lots of plug adaptors. ‘Nuff said.