Well, my setup for my mobile life is slowly coming together. Firstly, I have a Blackberry for when I am out and about – full integration into Exchange server hosted by WebCentral. It’s an expensive approach by the time Telstra and Webcentral have their cut, but it works well and is my primary mobile device. Then I have two laptops – a Dell Vostro 1500 (the luggable for power-computing) and an HP Mini-Note 2300 for mobile computing (it’s small, light, and light-powered but does what’s necessary – mostly). I have an HP Media drive that I use to synch files between the luggable and the HP – I’m currently using SyncToy from evil Microsoft to synchronise the files, although I did try SyncBack as well. SyncToy is generally easier to use but its reputation is not as solid as SyncBack’s – my trouble with SyncBack is its complete lack of feedback as to what it’s actually synced and what it hasn’t. I use GMail for my personal email, and it runs on my mobile based upon the Google Apps hosted solution.
I also use Office Document Imaging to convert all my filenotes to PDF, so that they become part of my backup routine. Ironically, the only thing I don’t keep electronically like this is my accounting records, as one day I may actually hand them over to an accountant. And much to my annoyance I continue to use Office 2007 after a run-in with Open Office – it completely lost a major spreadsheet on me by overwriting a filename and annoying me somewhat – also Open Office files (native) don’t seem to be indexed by Copernic, my desktop searching engine. I use ThinkingRock to manage my tasks and projects and todo lists (I did revert to Outlook tasks, which was good for mobility, but bad for trying to manage projects and generally implement GTD). The new version of ThinkingRock 2 is much more polished so I am coming back to the TR fold (I was silly for going away, even if I did get mobility out of Outlook tasks).
Finally, I use Evernote for little snippets of information that I collect and need to refer to, or that I stumble across while I’m researching stuff for papers I’m presenting and so on. What is fantastic about Evernote is it’s ability to bring a lot of material together in one place, treat it the same, tag it, and bring it back, and do it from multiple vectors (PC, Mac, Internet, mobile phone) and keep it all in synch, for a reasonable price. If used well, it can be very good. A major difference from version 2 is the lack of version control. I also originally came across Evernote while searching for a personal wiki approach, and EverNote doesn’t really support that type of functionality, it keeps it simple stupid. I now use WikidPad to do that sort of thing.
Overall, Evernote is a great repository for keeping research together, and keeping things in synch between multiple devices (as you can see above, a fair chunk of my setup is devoted to synching stuff between machines.So it’s a great tool for doing what says it does. Unfortunately it means I no have Yet Another Place with information stored – files (which I index with Copernic), some websites and now Evernote. I wonder if my stuff in Evernote will convert over in a few years time – hopefully it’s successful and continues to operate, otherwise I will have a lot of information contained in Evernote that can’t be migrated to anything else.
I suppose in some ways it’s not unlike Lotus Notes, ironically, in its original syncing format, although it’s not collaborative I guess. It is personally focussed. Still it’s worth my $A47 for a premium subscription, and I’ll think about where it goes from here. It’s a good tool to add to my suite of stuff I use, but it’s probably not going to be my nirvana for file and information management any time soon.
Maybe one day I’ll get there.