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4:21 PM on 03.20.2013

PAX East Prep: Food! Glorious Food!

Last week I wrote up an article about how to prepare your devices' energy for PAX East. With the event literally right around the corner, I thought it was overdue that I wrote about a different kind of energy: yours.

Food is expensive. It's probably my biggest expense during each convention trip I've gone on. How do you save money? Well, you shouldn't starve yourself. That's a horrible idea. You need your energy to walk the show floor and from panel to panel. Here are a few tips I've gathered over the past few years.

ProTip #1: Bring Your Own
Food is expensive, but it isn't always expensive. Chances are food at your local grocery store is at least half as cheap as the food you would buy for lunch at the convention center. Before departing on your trip to Boston, I suggest buying a few muffins for breakfast each morning, and/or depending on how you're traveling and where you're staying, maybe some cold-cuts and bread to make sandwiches. It's easy on your wallet, and probably a bit healthier than anything the convention center sells.

WARNING: Some convention centers prohibit bringing in outside food to the convention hall. While I do not believe the Boston Convention Center has this rule, bring food at your own risk. I cannot be held responsible for your food being taken away.

ProTip #2: McDonalds, etc
My least favorite option, but I know many people enjoy it. Fast food is cheap... and fast. There are Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Wendy's, and other fast food places all over Boston. If you don't mind walking, there's nothing stopping you from leaving the convention center for a few minutes just to get some food. Easy on the wallet... not so much on your stomach.

ProTip #3: Fine(r) Dining
Boston is a big city. There are a lot of bars, pubs, and restaurants scattered about. For lunch, in the past, the fine people at PAX had a shuttle service to a few different ones around the area. I'm not sure if they're going to do the same this year, but check out Google Maps to find a few close to your hotel or the convention center. If you're with friends, there's nothing wrong with spending a little extra cash for a nice dinner.

ProTip #4: tl;dr: PREPARE
Honestly, all of these tips can be summarized by simply this: prepare ahead of time. Know what restaurants are around you, know what kind of food you like, and know how to get there. If you're bringing food, make sure they allow it in the convention center. Schedule yourself a lunch break and make sure you don't miss that panel you really want to see. Get food in your stomach before you get on line for the PA Q&A.You'll kick yourself if you don't.

I hope this doesn't find you too late. I apologize for the short notice. With PAX one day away, everyone's busy packing, but if you get a chance, scheduling some food stops can make your PAX experience much easier.

Have any more tips? Disagree with something? Pissed I posted this so late? Find something helpful in here? Leave some comments below!

See you at PAX! :D   read

12:49 PM on 03.11.2013


PAX East is 10 days away as of this writing. While I'm no expert on the convention, or conventions in general, there are a few tips that I have learned that have made my PAX experience (which started out amazing) a little bit better (making it outstanding). I'm not sure how many of these articles I'm going to write up. I figured I'd start on something that may seem obvious, but I've seen many people (including my close friends) ignore such advice. Today's topic: Power. Unlimited Power.

What do I mean by unlimited power? I mean energy. Raw electricity. You are going to bring electronic devices to this convention. They will die. You will be sad. Let's try to prevent that happening early.

ProTip #1: Bring your chargers. Don't leave it in your hotel room.
This is the most obvious. Phone and game chargers do not take up much space. As you roam the Boston Convention Center, if you look closely enough, you can find outlets all around you, but on the show floor and in the game room (the two places where you quite possibly be spending the most time), the outlets are much harder to find. If you have a second, such as when you're waiting on line for the next panel, look around the floor and walls. You may find an outlet. Even if your phone isn't dead yet, give it a little charge. Try to keep it alive as long as possible.

ProTip #2: Device Settings
Another obvious tip. If your device has a power saving mode, use it. If your device has brightness settings, lower them as far as you can (as long as you can still see). Turn off your wireless if you're not using it (you most likely will not be using the busy wifi). On your phones, turn off background data. Check for tweets and e-mails manually. Your phone will last a lot longer.

ProTip #3: Extra Batteries
This one goes to those of you who have PSP, PSV, Android Phones, and/or non-charging devices. Depending on where you buy them, extra batteries can be pretty cheap and can literally double the life of your device. I was able to buy two extra batteries for my Droid X2 for $20 total last year before PAX and I was never happier with a purchase. Whenever the small battery of my phone would die (a generous 4 hours with use), I'd quickly swap batteries out and easily get another 4 hours (if not more) out of it. Again, obvious, but people don't even think about it.

ProTip #4: Extended Batteries/Battery Extenders
The easiest way to make devices last longer is to make them last longer. For 3DS, Nyko's Power Pack line of products will, at the very least, double your 3DS's battery life. They're not made for easy switching. I wouldn't bring the old battery with me to switch them out on the convention floor, but just having the PowerPack+ allowed me to keep my 3DS wireless on throughout the entire day without needing to charge (until I get back to the hotel room). iPhones can get power cases to extend their battery life. There are also many pocket-sized gadgets made specifically to charge USB devices. Examples found here and here. These are just two examples, but there are plenty more if you keep looking.

ProTip #5: Surge Protector
This is probably the most unique tip you'll see on here... and possibly the smartest. Bring a surge protector. I've noticed that in most hotel rooms, there are only about two or three outlets. If you're with three other people, all four of you have cell phones, and most likely at least three of the four of you have some sort of game console. I have seen many hotel rooms that never had enough power outlets. A surge protector will calm any fights for outlets at the end of the night... when everyone's exhausted. Bringing it to the convention floor... might be a bit odd... but think about how big of a hero you will be to everyone else waiting in line who need to keep their phones fully charged! (I've never actually brought the power strip to the show floor, but it could work out really well. Especially if you're travelling with friends)

Five ProTips on making your devices last as long as possible throughout your days at PAX East. Need me to clear anything up? Have your own Pro Tips? Let me know in the comments.

10 Days. Get ready. PAX is coming.   read

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