As I’ve written about before, when it comes to computing I’ve never been real mobile. I’ve had laptops before, but they were old and rarely used. Of course, that was way before affordable wireless home networking. I got my iPod last year and it has been quite handy as a music transporter, but other than that it provides me nothing in the way of organizing anything else.
Work lets me use an iPaq PDA. I got it for testing intranet web pages on a mobile device, but that grand plan hasn’t seen the light of day yet. So with that, most of the time the PDA sits unused. However, once again a wireless network seems to be absent from the workplace so it doesn’t do much good. The only time I do use it is for note taking during meetings. Although the screen is small, I can write in my handwriting and then download the notes into Outlook on my desktop and see my notes, it’s pretty handy. It’s also good for playing solitaire when you’re on the can, but I have yet to win solitaire on the PDA.
Now, as chance would have it, I have acquired two laptops. So once again the mobile lifestyle knocks at my door. But this time, due to the very affordable price of the laptops, I can spring for wireless connectivity here at home. As I experience with my last laptop, having a computer on the couch is nice, but if you’re still tied to a network cable, how mobile can you really be?
So with plans to go wireless for the laptops (and the PDA) at home, I am faced with some data management challenges I’ve never had to worry about. Things like e-mail. I use a desktop mail client on my home PC, Thunderbird to be exact, so it downloads messages as they come in. But with a laptop, if I’m say on the couch and checking my mail, it will download it to the laptop – and even if I set it to leave the messaegs on the server, I’m still double downloading and having to keep things all synched up. A headache eitherway.
Now things like webmail and web calendars become all the more important. Google is nice, but I still really don’t trust Google to handle my regular personal and business e-mail. Right now I use GMail strictly for web site sign-ups and newsletters; nothing serious gets sent to GMail for their indexing or perusal.
Anyway, you get my dilemma. Keeping things all lined up and organized in a manner that it doesn’t matter where I am is difficult. I think. At least it seems like it should/will be. But then again, maybe not.