ASHA's annual convention offers an enormous opportunity for learning and connecting, but it can be overwhelming to manage all the accompanying information about networking, events and logistics in an unfamiliar city. Applications on mobile devices can help conventioneers have the best possible experience during their time in Chicago.
What's your itinerary?
Getting to the airport on time and arriving at the correct
hotel are obviously first on your list. You can avoid searching for information
about your itinerary in your e-mail account by using the free TripIt app and
Web service (available on the Web; for iOS; and Android). When you make your
plane and hotel reservations, forward your e-mail confirmations to TripIt,
where they will be organized neatly in your electronic itinerary, accessible any
time through the app. I know I check frequently! iOS users also can use the
free USA Today AutoPilot app, which syncs with your
TripIt account, to track flight and gate information—so you don't have to go searching for airport monitors.
Explore the area
Your trip to Chicago may extend beyond McCormick Place to
some of the wonderful sights and sounds (and tastes!) of the Windy City.
Although there are many sightseeing and restaurant-finding apps available, one
of the newest and most interesting is Google's Field Trip (free for iOS and Android). This
location-sensitive app seeks to "help you learn about everything from local
history to the latest and best places to shop, eat and have fun," alerting you to points of interest as you approach them. Chicago is bustling even without a mass of invading speech-language pathologists and audiologists, so once you find a restaurant of interest, be sure to make reservations. Open Table's free and easy-to-use app allows you to make, modify and even cancel reservations right from the app. Using it, you can even make some foodie plans a few weeks before you arrive (for iOS and Android).
Remember everything and everyone
I have frequently mentioned Evernote (free apps for all
platforms available) in this column, and this app will come
in handy at convention, too. Create a convention notebook in which you save
your session notes, posters attended and snapshots of products and apps in the
exhibit hall, and you'll get the most out of your convention experience. Evernote Hello (free for iOS and Android) syncs with your account and will let you keep a record
of professionals you meet in Chicago. You can add a contact through a simple
business card scan (free unlimited scanning for 30 days, and five cards a month
thereafter for free). I suggest installing this app before your arrival to give
this feature a try. The app also allows you to snap photos, add notes and
locations of meetings, and automatically send a LinkedIn request to people you
Save your shoulders (and some trees)
Our professions' love of handouts needn't force you to wait in line at printing stations or lug reams of paper around McCormick Place. When session documents are posted, you can easily save them on your device for reading and annotation. Adobe Reader (free for iOS and
Android) provides an easy-to-follow tutorial on
this process when you first open the app. Using Adobe Reader or other PDF
annotators allows you to save handouts in your app and make notes on sessions
you attend. You can always print your documents—or share them electronically
with colleagues—after returning home.
Happy trails to Chicago!