It used to be that when I traveled my productivity seemed to be cut in half. Sure, I was on the road visiting with customers and partners, but like most Silicon Valley professionals I have the nightly ritual of doing email, updating presentations, reviewing spreadsheets — you know, stuff that just has to get done. The result is lots of long hours, combined with lots of early mornings.

The problem is I just can’t work in a single screen environment effectively anymore. I’m always in extended screen mode. I need a Word doc open on one screen, and a PowerPoint presentation on the other. But with my laptop I only have one small screen. Sure, I could buy a huge laptop, but lugging that around would suck, and I’d never be able to use it on planes (ever have the guy in front of you lean back and nearly crush your screen?).

The solution is amazingly simple. I’m using the ScreenBeam Mini2 from Actiontec. Yes, I work for Actiontec, but I’ve got to tell you, this device has changed my life forever! The Mini2 is an HDMI dongle about the size of a thumb drive. I carry this with me in my bag everywhere I go!

When I get to my hotel the first thing I do is plug my Mini2 into the TV in my hotel room.  Happily, I’ve found that 90% of the hotels I go to have the TV screen on the dresser right next to the desk — thank you, Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt for great TVs. This is the perfect spot for my “2nd screen”.

With the Mini2, connecting takes less than a minute. I fire up my laptop and click to connect instantly, using the built-in wireless display function (did you know this is standard with Win 8.1/Win 10 laptops and tablets?).  Now I have a 2nd screen and I’m off to the races.

The Mini2 weighs next to nothing and now I’ve got a “huge HD monitor” everywhere I go. And oh, but the way, I connect it to every projector and display at customer sites and use it to present as well.

One final benefit — when the day is done and I’m looking to sit back and relax, I can easily stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, or anything directly from my phone or laptop to the hotel TV.  Great way to end the day.