I have never used any of the Airport Express’ multimedia features and I don’t intend to. On overnight trips I carry an Apple Airport Express with me because it is simple, small, travel-friendly way to share an internet connection. The other night, I found out a new reason to carry one with me.
To set the context for why I use one of these in the first place, it’s nice not to have to deal with the frequently-shoddy implementation of Wi-Fi that I find at many hotels and it allows me to use both my laptop and T-Mobile UMA phone at the same time — a handy bonus if the hotel room I’m in doesn’t get good cell reception. If my lovely wife is travelling with me, she can use her laptop as well and everyone is happy. I’ve also found it useful when I’ve got a team of people in a conference room where there is no guest Wi-Fi and only one network jack.
The other night in Palo Alto I was trying to find a free USB port to charge my bluetooth headset after a long day of cell phone and Skype use and I just saw it sitting there…the Airport Express has a USB port meant for printers and such. But would it charge?
I plugged my headset in and voila! Extra USB charging port! I haven’t been brave enough to try this with high-drain devices like my BlackBerry (and what if the two devices tried talking to each other over USB?) but for now I’m happy to have a spot for my headset without carrying anything else along.