Downtown has become Digital Nomad friendly

Issues concerning Downtown as described by the Downtown Council. River to 31st Street, I-35 to Bruce R. Watkins.
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earthling
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Downtown has become Digital Nomad friendly

Post by earthling » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:25 am

I've been a digital nomad (DN) and intracity local roamer with a working from anywhere (WFA) corporate IT job last 8 years, mainly based out of KC but also typically LA/NYC/Florida. Even more of a roamer this year. Have been spending a lot of time roaming downtown via backpack as well as other cities, spending time in public spaces, coffee shops, libraries, etc as a digital nomad/roamer.

Downtown KC has most of the pieces in place that are friendly to DNs. Is better than most might think because...

- Thanks to KC's SmartCity initiative Wifi is everywhere, including on the buses and streetcar (I VPN into my own VPN host at home, can use a 3rd party service), also use my phone's hotspot if needed.

- What separates transit downtown from most others is the fact that the streetcar is free, and the lack of dealing with fares makes the streetcar feel very integrated into the street and rest of downtown. Is just so much better than local transit in other cities that don't offer free transit. While it may seem there are too many stops, it's like a horizontal elevator to different downtown districts. Too many stops is better than too few for this particular use case.

- Bus day passes are only $3, making it cheap to roam elsewhere in the metro (with WiFi on bus) - Plaza/Westport, Brookside/Waldo and even KCK. The scooters and bikes have helped if not up for long walks but don't really need to use them often.

- Fare amount of cheap eats and just enough variety of public places to hang out. Plenty of coffee joints.

- Growing presence of co-working spaces feeds into the ecosystem. Most of these jobs are digital nomad friendly and those working in these spaces also roam downtown.

Downtown KC of course doesn't come close for urban roaming/nomading compared to much larger cities but in some ways has a better balance with lower daily cost and the free streetcar integrating several districts together.

Some things downtown needs to improve on from digital nomad/roamer perspective...
- Public places with free filtered water fountains. KCI airport has them. Need these around downtown. Hot option would be good too. Only one I know of is Cosentino's downtown (if paying customer).
- DN friendly hostels and bed rentals within co-working spaces for true intercity DNs who typically spend a few months per city.
- Pocket parks, including streetside micro parks.
- Broader cheap counter eats, ideally integrated closer to sidewalks.
- Infill that is street vibe friendly.
- Improve sidewalks in Xroads.

Anyone else doing this? Other ideas?

Fun aspects of local roaming are the adventures, natural exercise and living the day out of your backpack. I have a 'personal area salsa bar' in my backpack to perk up bland eats. Have baggy of extra coffee beans if running across a crappy coffee. And other comforts as well as all the goodies to support a digital life.

More here about the lifestyle, also check out entire site...
https://becomenomad.com/digital-nomad-lifestyle/

Search engine tags: "Kansas City", "digital nomad", KCMO, "nómada digital", البدو الرقمية, nomade numérique, डिजिटल खानाबदोश, digitaler Nomade
Last edited by earthling on Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:42 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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DaveKCMO
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Re: Downtown has become Digital Nomad friendly

Post by DaveKCMO » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:51 am

earthling wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:25 am
- Public places with free filtered water fountains. KCI airport has them. Need these all over downtown. Hot option would be good too. Only one I know of is Consentino's downtown (if paying customer).
The new East Village Transit Center will have one of these!

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Re: Downtown has become Digital Nomad friendly

Post by earthling » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:00 pm

^Good to know. Union Station could use a few, ideally with hot water too.

Also needed are more public places that allow charging. I carry enough battery packs with me that it's not often necessary and newer laptops last all day, but it's important to digital nomads. Downtown library is the place to go.

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Re: Downtown has become Digital Nomad friendly

Post by DaveKCMO » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:12 pm

earthling wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:00 pm
^Good to know. Union Station could use a few, ideally with hot water too.

Also needed are more public places that allow charging. I carry enough battery packs with me that it's not often necessary and newer laptops last all day, but it's important to digital nomads. Downtown library is the place to go.
Our new MAX buses have USB outlets. I suspect we'll include this feature in all future bus orders.

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Re: Downtown has become Digital Nomad friendly

Post by mean » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:17 pm

High end devices have been moving away from USB-A for years, although I guess most people with fancy phones and laptops probably don't take the bus much. And there are always adapters.

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Re: Downtown has become Digital Nomad friendly

Post by earthling » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:20 pm

^Yes, adapters for any scenario are good to have in backpack. Also good to have a power splitter like this or this, if others using up outlets. Haven't seen USB ports on the new buses, are they under the seat, under the window?

BTW, Cosentino's has a 30 minute limit in seating areas, which they somewhat enforce especially around lunch time. I feel like I'm viewed as a hobo sometimes in some places... they see me and probably think 'it's that hobo with a laptop again' haha. Will chat up some small talk with those monitoring, mentioning WFA type job, which takes away any suspicions.

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Re: Downtown has become Digital Nomad friendly

Post by flyingember » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:48 am

mean wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:17 pm
High end devices have been moving away from USB-A for years, although I guess most people with fancy phones and laptops probably don't take the bus much. And there are always adapters.
Laptops went straight from USB-A to USB-C. mobile devices all but completely switched to USB-B by 2010.

Remember that most cables are USB-A to USB-B. The big deal switch is to USB-C on both ends of the cable with USB-A to USB-C cables as a transitional state

My work bought brand new high end laptops with both USB-A and USB-C ports. I would expect that outside of Apple this is the norm.

I would bet 99% of users still have a USB-A device somewhere in their home. I still have a classic ipod for car use with the 30-pin cable.

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Re: Downtown has become Digital Nomad friendly

Post by earthling » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:24 am

I use these retractable cables that are TypeA on one end and can switch between microUSB, Ligthtning and TypeC on other. Retractable also less messy to deal with in backpack. Another variation for microUSB/TypeC only.

BTW, good places to hangout if you have to call for meetings...
Dunlop Room on 3rd floor of Messenger Coffee, 4th floor study rooms at Downtown Library, back room at Opera House.

I might build up the first post as a guide for digital roaming hobos. (I'm roaming at this moment, hit Messenger first, just leaving Library, heading to RM soon for a $2 pita pocket at Tikka House.(edit: or not, closed on Mondays))

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Re: Downtown has become Digital Nomad friendly

Post by DaveKCMO » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:51 am

The Monogram Lounge at the J. Rieger Distillery has USB outlets under the bar. Downtown adjacent.

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