So we're going on vacation today, to Ireland. We've been there before, once with the kids, but mostly on the western side of the island. This time we'll be staying in a home near Dublin, so we'll spend most of our time there, plus three days up in Northern Ireland. We've got friends from the US and France coming to visit as well, which is nice. We'll be coming home August 11.

From a technology perspective, traveling can be a nightmare. But I'm hoping that recent advances like Live Mesh, iPods, and so on will make things easier. For example, rather than take a DVD player and a bunch of DVDs, I'm taking a few iPod touches for the kids with their movies on them. Small and compact. (And potentially fragile. I guess we'll see). Plus they can play games on those devices too. (They're bringing a Nintendo DS of course.)

I'm bringing two notebook PCs. The first is a new Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 which I absolutely love. It's a 15-inch model, Vista Business, 2 GB of RAM, and a 320 GB hard drive. Absolutely sweet, and of course the always-excellent ThinkPad keyboard and large screen will help make up for the fact that I'm not in front of my usual PC. The other is the 13-inch Macbook I bought last month. It's running Vista Ultimate with 4 GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, and most of my media collection on it. Maybe I'll catch a movie on the way out.

When we went to France last year, I brought a largish USB-based WD MyBook 500 GB drive with us, with my most important work-related data, music, movies, and so-on. This year, I'm bringing a couple of much smaller WD MyPassport drives instead (320 GB and 250 GB), but they're mostly for media library stuff. We've got the home server up and running and backing up to the cloud, so I'll try and access that if I need anything important.

I'll be working from Ireland daily, but on a reduced schedule. I'm not sure how its going to work with the time change, perhaps like last year (work 3-6 pm local time, or about 9am to noon EST) or maybe not. But I will be writing, blogging, and tweeting (i.e. using Twitter) every day. Probably just not as much.

BTW...

We're doing another home swap (our third), so a family from Ireland will be staying at our house while we're gone. I've set up a user account for them on my PC, but because all of my important data is on removable storage and/or the home server, they won't be able to access that stuff (I've taken the removable storage and some other items "off-site," i.e. to my parent's house). This way they can get online and do whatever but our data is safe. Plus there's an Xbox 360 and a Wii for the kids. I'm thinking we might just be the sweetest home swap those kids ever had. :)

OK, see you on the other side. I'll be poring over the transcripts from the Microsoft annual financial analysts meeting on the plane, by the way. Lots of stuff going on there as usual.

--Paul