Lance R. Vick

My Mobile Tech Office, Replaced With Android

Posted on:

An entire mobile support office, now replaced with my phone.

I am 24 years of age, and I am feeling my age.

Seriously. I grew up with MP3 players (had the first Rio), Gameboy advance, Yo-Yos with ball bearing suspension systems, electric scooters, Internet access as soon as I was old enough to type. My first computer was powered by a 366mhz pentium 2 I built myself. I was an early adopter and usually stayed on the front lines of tech.

When I started running my own company a few years ago, I did what i needed to do with what I had available. To that end I put together a mobile tech support office system in my old pickup truck.

This included:

  • A 600Mhz police-issue touchscreen CF27 toughbook laptop mounted with plumbing pipes (used for connecting to and managing servers on the go, printing receipts, accepting payments, etc)
  • A Sprint Novatell PCMCIA Aircard with unlimited data (60$/mo)
  • A WRT54G-3GS PCMCIA Aircard router running OpenWRT
  • A WRT300N Wireless Router running DD-WRT with boosted antenna power
  • An development webserver (lighttpd) running on the WRT300N (was mapped via DynDNS to
  • A USB hub
  • A digital camera for taking and uploading pictures as needed of documents
  • An iPod mini mp3 player for tunes on the go
  • A full HP Inkjet printer in the backseat (to give customers receipts)
  • A TomTom 720 GPS Navigation unit (to get me to the customer ;-)
  • A dedicated Paypal account for manually processing customer credit card payments.
  • A 80G external hard drive mounted in a custom built elastic shock absorbing cage (to store my 20G+ of music)
  • Two high grade 2000 c/a batteries (to keep it all running for almost a day)
  • An integrated car charger with an extension cable I could attach to the front grill to plug in every night

Today, this is all replaced by my Android G2 cell phone.

It still freaks me out, but it totally invalidates the entire above setup for me in every way, and in most ways does a better job at it.

It matches/exceeds all of the above as follows:

  • 800mhz CPU
  • Built in unlimited Internet access through T-Mobile
  • Acts as a wireless router (Via vanilla Android or Cyanogen firmware)
  • A 32G SDHC card can comfortable store all my music
  • Acts as a solid MP3 player on its own
  • Acts a GPS unit that will navigate me based on location name by voice
  • Can accept/swipe credit cards via Square?s Payment app/dongle (which also emails receipts for me)
  • Built in 5MP digital camera for capturing any documents, job site photos I need
  • Easily runs for often well over a day on a single charge
  • Can easily use it to SSH into remote servers and do important admin tasks on the go
  • Can easily run a development web server on it from a full running Debian OS on the SD card, or one of many native server apps.

I have an entire truck full of hardware, in my pocket... and it also makes phone calls and is a decent gaming platform.

I am a developer and I have spent plenty of the time under the hood with android phones, playing with source code, talking them apart, many types of software modifications... and I have a decent grasp on how everything works, and yet my G2 Phone running android is still a thing a wonder and magic to me every day, in comparison to to my elaborate setup in my old pickup truck.

Rest in peace Old Black Chevy Pickup Truck, for though you are still rotting in a junkyard somewhere, you have not been forgotten. Know Android and I are getting along just fine, and she makes me happy.