Saturday, March 17, 2007

Life as a Bedouin ... Rethinking Computing Power

The ongoing saga of the absent main computer and the article I read yesterday has led me to reflect on what it will take to equip my "office" going forward. Yesterday was a watershed day in the life of this cyber nomad ... I have come to the realization that it is no longer necessary to be have "power applications" readily available on my desktop to keep up with my work flow (tomorrow I will write on GWD ... work flow and getting work done) ...

My thought process created a basic flow pattern when things needed to be done ... this led me to focus on the related enabling technologies ... I had relied on my machine to basically house all of the applications that were necessary to generate normal work outputs ... brainstorming, papers, projects, proposals, etc ... I had come to rely on my key application, MindManager which is the starting point for most of my thinking and ideas. This was probably the biggest stumbling block ... in the last two weeks with the advent of both MindMeister and Mindomo, I am free of the desktop and the need to have my base computer with me.

I normally also work on spreadsheets and word docs to round out the arsenal ... this was addressed more than adequately with Google Docs & Spreadsheets and Zoho Office ... I am now using them to generate work and storing it online ... when I get my machine back from repair I intend to download my finished work onto my work directory which will then be copied over to my pocket hard drive so I can keep my key items in three places that are basically instantly available to me.

I can see how this will play out on travelling ... I have picked up on Ebay an old IBM Thinkpad X31 ... this machine was one I had considered a while back and was THE ultraportable executive computer for road warriors several years ago ... it is configured with a small hard drive (40G) but has Win XP Pro ... I think with it's long battery life and light weight can serve as my main machine while things get sorted out on the vista front. I will miss the tablet functionality, but for now will forego that luxury while awaiting the kinks to be worked out on vista enabled machines.

In reconsidering the power I will need to work, it became evident to me that all the key elements to make a machine travel friendly were more important than bells and whistles ... I can work effectively using a computer that does not have the latest and greatest hardware of speed ... and many things that I used to rely on the computer for are now better served by a browser and fast internet connection ... I still need to keep my old files available, but that too can be addressed in a myriad of ways now ... tomorrow I'll get into the concept of work flow in my environment and follow that with the continuing saga of creating a good fix to being computerless ....

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