How do you replace all your old physical media — your music, newspapers and magazines, books and comics, movies and TV shows, with shiny, new, space-saving bits? More easily than you might think!
In the case of using online sources such as iTunes, Google Play and Netflix, a good internet connection is essential.
For me, this is often not an option. If I am in a remote area, or a country or location with bad or no internet, streaming services are useless.
I have made more of an effort to save or convert much of the digital. Heritage I have collected, including ripping my music CDs and Video DVDs. The problem with my approach is that I meed to keep the physical disks as a defence against accusations that I have pirated the music and movies, so storage is required.
My search for the perfect pocketable keyboard has lead me into a few dead-ends. Most folding keyboards are in two halves and shift keys around. Often splitting the spacebar into two keys. The central hinge results in nothing being in the quite the right place.
The tri-fold keyboard I have found is the perfect compromise. The actual keyboard is 235mm or 9.25” long, so touch typists may have problems. They layout, however is excellent. It is a robust metal tri-fold design. The left and right ends fold over to cover the middle of the keyboard. It is spring loaded, and stays open or shut. Opening it locks the ends down with a click and switches the keyboard on, initiating the Bluetooth connection. My 8” tablet, once paired, now connects instantly, with no user intervention. I can switch from the on-screen keyboard to the folding keyboard in two or three seconds. The keyboard powers on as it is opened.
I carry a small rectangular piece of Coreflute with may as an almost weightless lap desk. The aluminium case slides around, so I have added 4 small plastic feet to the back. This keep the keyboard stable and stops it moving.
It is available under several brand names. I purchased a white keyboard, but most suppliers only have the black version.
The documentation is less than perfect, but basic functions are obvious. There are some options to configure it for iOS, Android or Windows.
Anyone who travels with A laptop spends time worrying about the safety of their computer on the road. When that computer is expensive, and the lynchpin of your business. It becomes critical to protect it at any cost.
Protecting your work computer is vital
My recent purchase of a MacBook Air to replace a five year old ASUS Zenbook was a big investment. I do not change computers frequently, so protecting the asset became an immediate priority.
I purchased the Thule Vectros 13″ bumper case. This is a black hard shell polycarbonate bumper that fits top and bottom with an inner component that is ribbed silicone. It provides a substantial thickness of padding around the outside, but is open in the center, with optional clear inserts to protect the top and bottom. I left the bottom skin off, swapping scratch protection for better cooling.
The bumper design provides a “lip” around the outside of the device that allows a good grip on the hard polycarbonate exterior. It is designed to survive a one meter (3’3″) drop with no damage. The web site provides a graphic comparison video of a Mac being dropped onto a corner with and without the case. I recommend a look at the video, if you have doubts.
The inner, soft silicon insert protrudes to provide four sturdy soft feet that give a good grip on any surface.
The case has very positive locking lugs to keep it attached to the computer. Make no mistake, installing and removing this case is an exercise in fear. It must be installed exactly according to the instructions. It will not fly off when the case is dropped. It has a positive latch on the lid, so it will not open when dropped. The top and bottom shells transmit pressure around the case, protecting the computer. I suspect it will protect from a significant amount of pressure, even someone inadvertently sitting on a backpack or case with a laptop inside. I do not suggest trying it, but this is one very tough bumper case.
The Thule Vectors Case is no compromise protection
My only problem was that the case does not provide holes for the dual microphones on the left side of the 2015 MacBook Air. I had to drill through the case in two spots, and then remove the soft silicone material from the inside with a scalpel.
I loved this case, but adds 401 grams or 6.6 ounces to the weight of the laptop. It increases the height of the closed MacBook Air to 2.6 cm or 1 inch. This is a significant addition. The case cannot be added and removed. Once on, it takes five minutes of careful work to get it off without damaging the MacBook. It is all or nothing.
If I were permanently on the road, the Thule Vectros bumper case would be my constant companion. I really do like it! The engineering and manufacture are second to none. It fits perfectly and looks great. It also makes the laptop stand out in a coffee shop or shared workspace. No-one is going to walk off with this computer un-noticed.
Another side effect of the shell is that if you want to anonymise your computer, it is easy to insert a photo, or otherwise cover the Apple logo on the lid. The case disguises the distinctive MacBook shape, making it less of a target for theft.
Using a Chromebook Offline is not as simple as turning WiFi off and expecting it to work. There are a few steps to guarantee a smooth transition to offline.
Google has made huge strides with the Chrome OS operating system, ensuring the Chromebooks can work effectively offline. Microsoft’s ill fated Scroogled campaign tried hard to make Chromebooks look like bricks when not connected to the Internet, and initially, that was true. Today, a Chromebook can work effectively offline.
“Using a Chromebook Offline is not as simple as turning WiFi off and expecting it to work”
I created this document a few minutes ago, while sitting in a bus far from WiFi.
I am listening to music played by the ChromeOS media player, and typing in a Google Document. I have successfully used Google Docs completely offline for a week to prove the reliability of Drive/Docs over a long period.
From startup to offline use are from six to ten steps, depending on what apps you use. Let’s have a look at six of them.
The first thing to remember is that a chromebook does not run background processes like Windows, or a mobile phone. Drive, Keep, Gmail Offline, and Google Books only run when they are opened in a tab. For example if you use Keep on your phone, tablet and Chromebook, you MUST open keep on your Chromebook for it to update with changes made on your phone.
“Drive, Keep, Gmail Offline, and Google Books only run when they are opened in a tab.”
I use Keep frequently as a note taker on my Android phone. The ability to capture a quick note as a voice recording is exceptional. But if I want to access those notes on my Chromebook I must open Keep while I am connected to the Internet, so the Keep tab can update. I does not happen unless the Keep tab is opened.
This applies to Drive, Gmail and any other app that shares or syncs data with other devices or cloud services. If you rely on these apps and are frequently away from a network, pin the tabs and keep them open all the time.
Lets step through the things you need to do to use a Chromebook offline. I assume you are logged in, and have an Internet connection. If I describe a service you do not need or want, go to the next item. This is based on my personal useage.
1. – Open Keep. You are done. Keep is a simple but powerful note taker, and it synchronizes automatically and continuously. If you have a lot of notes in keep it may take a minute to download everything. This is it for Keep! I suggest you pin the tab, or open it as a separate window so it stays up to date.
2. – Open Google Drive. Go to settings and select “Offline” and wait for it to sync up. This can take a while. If you only store Google docs, sheets, slides and drawings, you are done.
3. – Open the Files app. If you want to save non gDocs in drive, there is another step. You must open the Files app, find the files you want to save locally, and right-click each one and tick “Available offline”. Optionally, if there are a large number of files, copy them to a USB or SD card, and open them from there.
4. – Open Google Calendar. In settings, select “Offline” to enable offline access to the Calendar app. This will sync all current appointments. It will NOT allow you to add new entries in your calendar at this time. But usually, you will be offline because you are travelling, so your calendar should have the information you need in it beforehand.
5. – Open Gmail Offline. Go to settings and select offline. and decide how much e-mail you want to store. I delete everything not vital, so my mail store is small, I select the longest time available, one month.
As Gmail Offline syncs, it starts from the latest, and saves backwards, giving a running update on how much it has stored. You can read, delete, and create mail while offline, but, obviously, nothing is sent or updated on the web until you are back in range of WiFi.
The Gmail Offline app also saves starred messages. I am looking at a package dispatch notice sent to me four years ago, that I starred at the time. This app is not my favourite, but it works fine. One gotcha is that it does not download graphics, so if you have email that is heavy on graphics, it will not be readable offline.
Some people who have multiple gmail accounts use Gmail Offline for one account, so they can have two accounts open without having to log out of their main account in Chrome OS.
6. – (Optional) Open Google Books. You may not use Google Books, but I find it a wonderful resource. Not only does the Google Play Store sell many books cheaper than Amazon, but any ePub that does not have DRM can be uploaded from your local machine. I have purchased books from Baen and other publishers, and downloaded many from sites such as Project Gutenberg. Some of my Favourite Sci-Fi authors are available on Google books, but not on Amazon. And books purchased on the Google Play Store can be downloaded and used in other e-readers if they do not have DRM added.
I read most on my Nexus 7 tablet, but the Chromebook also provides a good reading experience. Simply look at “My books” hover over the ones you want to take with you, and select “Make available Offline” to download it. I currently have eight books available on my Chromebook.
Google Books will synchronize the reading locations, and my copious highlighting and notes between the Chromebook and any Chrome browsers I use, and my Android Reader apps in seconds. I highlight and take notes on the Chromebook, it is easier with a mouse and keyboard. I can then read and see my notes in seconds on any other device. It is a great study tool.
At this point, your Chromebook is ready to be used offline. Any time you have a connection, simply open the Keep, Drive, Gmail Offline and Google Books tabs, and they will sync.
I use a number of other tools, but what else you use is a matter of personal preference. One tool I think is irreplaceable for me is Pocket.
7. – (Optional, Bonus) Open and Synchronize Pocket. Pocket allows me to capture content from any web site, and read it later, offline. I can access it on my Chrome or Android device for offline reading. I often capture news articles, blog posts and other content relating to articles I am working on. I also often capture articles that I want to read later, when I have more time.
The “Save to Pocket” addon puts a button on the browser toolbar. Clicking on this saves the article to Pocket. Tags and annotations can be added. Then, when the Chrome App is opened, it downloads all the articles to the local machine for offline reading. I currently have several hundred articles saved in this fashion. Not everything works offline, searching does not work, but usually I have no trouble making things findable.
So that is the basics. Most people will want other apps and tools, and there are many that work offline. I will discuss some of them in future posts, and some have already been discussed.
Using a Chromebook offline for a week was not a challenge after all. With one quirk understood, I worked productively in half a dozen locations with no WiFi.
This is the week, based on my journal, recorded in Keep.
Offline: Day Two – User Error
I had forgotten a feature of Evernote for Android. It requires the paid Pro version to allow saving of offline folders. I use the paid version, but you must visit each folder and mark it for offline access to be able to use notes when offline. This only applies to the client you are using. The folders must be selected and synced before going offline.
I stored some web pages in Evernote for use while offline in my Inbox, but I had forgotten to mark it for offline use. User error!
Fortunately, I save web pages I require for reference in both Evernote and Pocket, and Pocket continued to show the 300+ saved articles.
“Pocket continued to show the 300+ saved articles offline”
I also use Google Keep for lots of notes, and it syncs automatically and has been 100% reliable.
Day Three – File Naming
Another quirk of Google Docs offline is file naming. When on-line, a new document is created automatically, with a generic name. It can be re-named later. In offline mode, you are asked to provide a name when the document is created. That name cannot be changed while offline.
“You are asked to provide a document name when it is created. That name cannot be changed while offline.”
All my documents are numbered and named. I accidentally gave a new document the wrong number. I will have to wait another few days to correct the mistake. No big deal, just an interesting quirk.
Day Four – The Only Failure
I rebooted the Chromebook. I rarely do this, I usually just close the lid (screen) and known it will start from hibernate instantly the next time I lift the lid. I decided to do the full power cycle to check for problems.
But rebooting while offline, a few things went wrong.
StackEdit, my favourite Markdown editor would not restart without connecting to stackedit.io. It works offline, and I use it to format content for blog posts. I can save from Stackedit as HTML and paste directly into WordPress. I have never noticed this problem before, but Stackedit is usually running.
StackEdit, my favourite Markdown editor would not restart without connecting to stackedit.io.
I initially wrote a rant about having contributed to become a lifetime supporter, but finding a need to connect constantly to a server to start the app working being a slap in the face.
I have re-done this test a number of times, and each time StackEdit has started offline with no problems. So I withdraw my rant and will wait to see what happens over time.
My faith in StackEdit is, however, bruised. It was only the fact that I had been doing all my writing in Google Docs, as most users would, and copying text back and forth that allowed me to continue for another few days without re-connecting to the Internet.
I must assume this was a one-time problem. But would the StackEdit client have re-started if I had attempted to open A Markdown file stored locally, rebooting my access to the number of files I could not access? I did not think to try, and it has behaved perfectly since then, so I have no way to know.
A Real Problem & A Solution
“Another problem was the disappearance of three Google Docs that I had edited and closed.”
Another problem was the disappearance of three Google Docs that I had edited and closed. They did not show up in a search for their names. They were not in Recent, or in the folder I had saved them to.
I tried the search in the ChromeOS Files app, my work was gone, or was invisible. This was not a happy outcome.
But all Google Docs are given long unguessable URLs that do not change. So I went into browser history. The lost docs where there.
“I went into browser history. The lost docs where there.”
I also have a master document with the names of all the documents I have created. Documents and articles not yet started are in red, in progress is blue, finished is green. I usually paste a link to each document into this master document, giving me a hyperlink to everything. I had done that with one of the three missing documents, and it opened immediately. Everything was there, just not visible in Drive.
Work continued Uninterrupted.
I had copied the content to other apps, and saved to a USB stick after applying Markup so nothing would have been lost.
Day Seven – A Stress Free Week
The rest of the week has gone perfectly. I have experimented with a number of apps that work offline, including Evernote for Android, Write Space, QwertyZen, the Calculator, Google Calendar, Gliffy Diagrams, and more.
Only once did I have a concern with Google Docs. A message opened up saying “Offline editing has stopped working, please reload the tab”. I did, with trepidation, and the document came back, with the cursor where I had left it, nothing lost.
I turned WiFi on and opened Drive. My missing documents popped into the list within seconds. I opened Gmail Offline and mail that had been read and deleted synced. Sent mail queued up in the Outbox went. Opened documents quickly showed spell checking working. Voice Typing came back.
With only one or two hiccups, the week had gone perfectly. If I had continued to use ChromeOS from hibernate instead of re-booting, there may well have been zero problems.
“I am now confident that I can use a Chromebook offline for extended periods with little risk.”
I am now confident that I can use a Chromebook offline for extended periods with little risk. Not backing up your work is hazardous at any time, and while Google Docs cannot be saved outside Drive, minimally formatted content can be copied and pasted to other file formats. Only Sheets and Presentations rely on being on-line for backups. anyone who writes can work confidently for long periods.
If you need to be offline for really extended periods, or use Sheets, Presentations and other formats for extended periods there are other options. More on that later.
The Last Word…
For now, my only advice is, create a number of blank Docs, Sheets and Presentations while on-line. They will be visible in Files and Drive and can be edited and closed with no drama.
At 11:45 this morning I walked out of my office with my HP Chromebook 11. I had synced drive and offline Gmail, Calendar, Evernote (the Android app.) and Pocket. I have opened Keep, StackEdit, and other apps that I use while online, allowing them to sync up. Then I turned WiFi off.
“At 11:45 this morning, I turned my Chromebook’s WiFi off. It will stay disconnected for a week”
I will not connect this Chromebook to the Internet for a week. I will write using Drive and Docs, and do all the work I normally do on my Chromebox on this device.
The purpose of the experiment is not to live without the Internet, but to test the reliability of Docs, Drive, Keep, and other tools for a long period of disconnection. Will they be reliable? Will I lose work? A common criticism of Chromebooks is that they do not work offline. That myth has been debunked repeatedly, but the question remains, just how safe is a Chromebook if it is offline for a prolonged period?
“The myth that Chromebooks don’t work offline has been thoroughly debunked…”
To protect my week’s output, I will copy and paste text into QwertyZen or StackEdit and save to a USB stick in case of total disaster.
The first loss, of course is that spell checking does not work in offline Docs. I will have to wait until I am back on-line, or copy text to another editor that does spell checking offline such as StackEdit, QwertyZen, or Write.
One drawback with gDocs (Google Docs) is that they cannot be copied and pasted to a USB drive or otherwise accessed outside Drive. And another drawback is that non Google files, like .txt, .json or .html are not syncronised automatically. These non Google documents can, however be saved to a USB stick or Dropbox, Onedrive or a Windows share for storage. They can also be set to save locally and synchronize using the ChromeOS Files app. Simply save the file to Drive, find it using the Files app, right click and check “Available Offline”. This will need to be done in each instance of drive where you want this file kept, it does not propagate across machines.
I will update my progress periodically. I do not expect to have a problem, but time will tell.
This post was writted as a Google Doc, formatted in StackEdit, saved as HTML to a USB drive and uploaded via my Chromebox.
When I started my Chromebook this morning I discovered that Google had added a powerful new feature. I can now use my voice to type in Google Docs. Impressed when I was wondering if it would work on a Chromebook. and particularly how accurate it would be, as I have found that most voice activated systems tend to work very poorly. I spend more time editing and correcting then I would have done if I had typed the entire article myself.
To my surprise I find that Google Voice typing works almost flawlessly. the only fault I have found is that the words new line tend to be interpreted as a new lawn, and I do not get the new line that I was asking for unless I speak very clearly, probably my Australian drawl.
As an example of how accurate the voice recognition on Google Voice typing is I have produced this entire article using Google Voice with no editing at all.
While this is incredibly useful for writers like me who I slow on the keyboard or in my case have a problem with a shrinking tendon in my right hand, I can only imagine what the future will bring for those who are visually impaired or physically impaired when Google can expand this technology to make a Chromebook completely voice activated.
I have literally not edited a single word in this rather short post about Google Voice typing. I have been a little careful with the pronunciation of words but other than that I have SAT with my arms folded and talked the whole piece.
I am absolutely amazed at the accuracy of Google Voice at the top of the screen is a message telling me we are having trouble hearing you and yet it is continuing to record my words with great accuracy.
Additionally in each sentence words are underlined in gray and if I right click I get an option of Digimon and word was several words that might have been what I meant at that point if I had been misinterpreted.
Strangely I find it very difficult to compose as I speak. when I type I have more time to think through what I want to say and therefore, I am sure write better than I speak. Or as I should have said more accurately.
Punctuation is limited to only a few options which I will now cut and paste in because there is no way I can do them using the voice recognition system.
Google Voice typing has arrived with very little fanfare, but I suggest it is going to be one of the most important features in Google Docs in the future. I have tried other voice recognition systems for riding and found them all extremely frustrating. This is working very smoothly.
A post on the Wccf Tech website suggests we should dump our Chromebooks and move to a Windows Cloudbook. The give four reasons, an I do not agree with any of them!
While Google’s Chrome OS is ideal in some circumstances, it is still not as feature riche as Windows 10.
The Windows 10 Experience: Yes, Windows 10 is wildly superior to Windows 8 and 8.1 because it is usable. This might be new for Windows 8 users, but my Chromebook is unfailingly easy to use. Is Windows 10 feature rich? Yes. But that is not necessarily a selling point for many of us. I like simple and fast…
The Hardware: The hardware is very similar to that of a Chromebook, but the “feature rich” Windows 10 operating system requires far more resources that a Chromebook. Most come with 16 or 32 GB of storage, so forget about installing or running Photoshop (Microsoft’s usual reason for saying Windows is essential) and on 16 GB of storage, forget about Microsoft Office. My Chromebook runs MUCH better on this hardware.
Pricing is Dirt Cheap: True, so are Chromebooks, and Chromebook of a similar price works better. If a $10 price difference is important, go to eBay or a second hand shop!
Getting Onedrive and Office 365 free for One Whole Year!: Yes 1 Tb of storage free is good, but after a year, you have to pay. And without Office 365 you have bought a brick. A Chromebook comes with free access to Google Docs, and you can always access 15 GB free, and have 100 GB for a year.
The suggestion that:
Cloudbook owners will receive 12 whole months of free OneDrive storage, along with an Office 365 subscription. That is a total of two services that you will be receiving from Microsoft while only one from Google.
Is inaccurate and ridiculous, because both of these services are free from Google, except for the (temporary) 1 TB of storage.
If you are a home user and really need 1 TB of cloud storage, I suggest you look at options other than Google or Microsoft. 15 GB is enough for most home or small business users. If you need more, you are in a different category altogether, and will not be looking at $150 computers as a cost saving measure.
For the average computer user, Cloudbooks are the WORST of both worlds.
For the average computer user, Cloudbooks are the WORST of both worlds. They are under-powered, and have the complexity of Windows, making them slow. They require updates, anti-virus software, and require the installation of many programs to make them useful.
They are prone to viruses, hacking and malware.
They cannot use Office 365 without a permanent internet connection, making them useless for Digital Nomads.
My Chromebook (and Chromebox) can do almost everything offline. ( they just wait to sync, if offline) and are fast thanks to a stripped Linux kernel and minimal O/S overhead. Is it simple? Yes. Does it work? Yes. Is it fast? Yes.
I watch/listen to media from, and save files to a local NAS server, or work from a USB key or Google Drive for days at a stretch without Internet.
The ability to write, use spreadsheets, presentations and more is built in, free, and works offline. Apps like Pocket, Stackedit and Gmail Offline allow me to work happily without a connection.
No contest here, Windows has a place, and I like Windows 10. If I need serious power and apps like video and audio editing, I go to Linux.
I am writing this on an ASUS UX31E Ultrabook running Ubuntu Linux, after taking Windows 10 off yesterday. It was nice, but not compelling for me. To many things don’t work yet! And Microsoft now is collecting a great deal of information about me. Too much? No, Google collects the same information, but they do not then charge me for the service, they just show me ads!
But a Cloudbook? This is a Netbook with another name, and will go the way of the Netbooks. I do not need one of these fail whales.
I have a very light and simple laptop stand. It is a strip of Corflute board purchased from a stationery store for about $5 and used for a number of projects.
I cut a strip with the (tubes running upwards) 480mm wide and 130mm high. I sliced half way through it vertically at the half-way point resulting in two wings 280mm wide by 130mm high that can bend around like the covers of a book. I added a strip of cloth tape down the fold to strengthen the bend. I now have a light stand 280mm wide, 130mm high and about 10mm thick weighing a barely discernible 57 grams or 2 oz.
This can be opened into a triangular shape to support a laptop, opening facing forward. The size may have to be adjusted for your laptop and height. It supports the laptop perfectly, but requires an external keyboard and mouse.
For a long mobile working session, this is a very small price (in weight) to pay for arguably the best keyboard and mouse on the market.
The mouse and keyboard both charge via a Micro-USB port, so I can charge them with the Chromebook charger, or from a USB port on the Chromebook. One charger can handle the HP 11, my phone, the mouse, keyboard and my Bluetooth headset. I carry a couple of extra leads and can charge the HP Chromebook 11 while using it, or while it is suspended, and also charge devices from one or both USB type A ports. I have written about the brilliant HP Chromebook 11 here.
These devices have probably been replaced by later models, but are the best lightweight, quality devices I could find at the time. I have written about the Logitech Ultra-thin mouse here
As you can see from the Photo, I have cut two pairs of notches in the front part of the stand. This fits my tablets, and at a pinch my phone. It allows me to use a tablet (or phone) at eye level to watch video.
I can also use my Windows 8.1 tablet with Keyboard and mouse as a full PC if I need to. (more on the tablet later, it is still under review)
When I fly, the folding stand goes in a pocket in my SCOTTeVEST jacket in front of my tablet screen, if I am carrying one. It protects it from impacts that may break the screen, and adds zero weight. I use two thin rubber bands to keep them together in transit.
Every coffee shop, train and park bench is filled with people (mostly, but not always) young, working on laptop computers or tablets.
Silently, RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) or ( ‘CANS’: Complaints of Arm, Neck and/or Shoulder) is resurfacing. This time it is not factory workers. It is knowledge workers. Home, Portable and Mobile office users. Digital nomads, teleworkers and more.
The smartphone and tablet have become the consumption device of choice, but except for quick email, notes and checking appointments, we need a laptop computer of one type or another.An ugly, but as yet little discussed side effect of using laptop computers is the damage you can be doing to your body and hands. Back, neck and wrist pain can become chronic and debilitating.
In the 70’s and 80’s millions of dollars were spend on the design of office workstations. Standards and rules were developed. Injuries were reduced, and the people rejoiced (well, not that perhaps) but injuries fell dramatically. Then came the laptop. And much of that work went out the window, with the office…
For digital nomads and mobile workers the idea of a workstation is not on the radar.
Think Again – You Have A Workstation!
Your Workstation is the place you sit down (or stand up) and work from. It may be a coffee shop, bar stool, airplane seat or hammock, but if you work there for more than 10 minutes, it is a workstation. And it needs some thought.
A recent survey in the UK found that 79% of people using mobile devices were having health problems, 10% said “nomadic Working” had created long term problems and 5% had been forced to give up their jobs.
RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) is not associated with age, it is associated with hours in front of a keyboard. ( in some areas The term ‘RSI’ has been replaced by ‘CANS’: Complaints of Arm, Neck and/or Shoulder, but RSI is best known)
It is very easy to make a mistake. Especially digital nomads who tend to be young. You are young, active and healthy, and then, suddenly, you are not.
Then it can take months or years to fix even the simplest problems, because you cannot work without aggravating the problem. Imagine not being able to type (at all) for 3 months. How is that online business looking now?
So, lets look at the solution.
The “Workstation” is your whole working environment. For Mobile Office users, the basics are this:
Avoid glare on the screen
Have the top of your screen at about eye level
Have your arms nearly horizontal to the keyboard
Your feet should be flat on the floor
Your hips should be slightly above your knees
You should be reasonably upright, with the chair supporting your back (or no back, forcing you to sit/stand straight)
You should be able to read the screen without leaning forward or back. If necessary, get reading glasses specially for the computer.
If you have nothing but a laptop, you are screwed have a problem.
One solution is to raise the screen or back of the laptop with a stand. The options here are endless, so I will not offer a suggestion. It can be a simple as a pair of socks or a glasses case.
Dozens of laptop stands are being sold, from large desk based base stations to light weight folding stands.
The best solution is a stand, keyboard and mouse. This may seem like an impossible load for a digital nomad, but it is not.
Stand up, walk around, roll your shoulders, and head. Make your eyes focus on distant objects. Don’t just switch from work to checking Facebook. Actually make your body move for five minutes. Your body will thank you.