I'm about to start the second day of the 5th Annual Blogging While Brown Conference. I have a family of gadgets with me. Why would I do that, when I can technically do everything on the iPad?! Both iOS, Android, and soon to be Windows 8 (sorry RIM, the Blackberry Playbook is trash) are pitched to be the replacements for ancient things such as notepads, cell phones, and laptops. However, the following equation wins out:
Gadget Sandwich = Tablet + Laptop powered Cellphone + Notepad between two slices of Shareef
The notepad is the meat
Your notepad, which you won't actually use to take notes, rests on your lap as nothing more than a glorified stand for gadgets. This makes a perfect mini table for your tablet and phone - otherwise your gadgets may slip and slide all over your lap. If your notepad is large enough, you should still have some open space between the tablet and phone that you can doodle on.
The tablet and cell are ... more meat
You need to take notes, so fire up Pages or another word processing program. Don't use a simple text editor that doesn't support bullets. It's much easier to organize your thoughts, for example, by listing a question and all of the answers as a bulleted list under the question. Trust me, the organization helps when you're reviewing the notes later.
Viewing the thoughts of others can be just as important, if not more, than your own. If you're not telekinetic, you'll need to use Twitter to see what other people (not only conference attendees - other people contribute too) are sharing. Fire up twitter on the cell phone and follow the conference hashtag. Contribute to the discussions with summaries of the long form notes that you're taking on your tablet.
The laptop is the cheese (Optional)
The laptop is optional, especially because it tends to get hot and loud, but it can keep you charged up as a power source. I keep my devices plugged in even if they're fully charged, and I keep it in my lap because my USB cables usually can't reach if I sit the laptop on the table. With this setup, my devices can last way into the evening activities. It's even better if you're near a power outlet, because one plugged in laptop can power as many USB devices as the laptop supports.
Your hands and your lap are the bread.
Rest your gadgets in your lap, and rest your hands in top. Now make your sandwich and enjoy the meal!