The other day, Steve asked, “How Many Gadgets Do You Carry?” Since I carry a few things and I use a lot of computers, I decided to put together a little Visio picture that shows the major computers that I use in my work and my personal life. (I’ll let you draw in the connecting lines. I think that might have detracted from the overall picture.) In addition to these, I use about 5 or 10 other computers less frequently. Here’s what I carry with approximate weights:
Sony TR3 Laptop 3.2 Lbs.
HP Ipaq 5 oz.
Qtek Smartphone 4 oz.
Suunto Spot Watch 3 oz.
The cool thing about all this is that these devices are connected wirelessly. I use Bluetooth between the laptop, the Pocket PC, and the smartphone. I’m using GPRS for the smartphone, wifi on the laptop and the Pocket PC, and the watch syncs through the MSN Direct network. I depend on three main servers at work, and I depend on MSN for all my personal information and preferences. I’ve sort of optimized my gadget carrying so that I can drop almost any of these items, and still get to important information. My typical usage scenario has me checking my phone for messages and then responding using the laptop or the Pocket PC. I could also respond using the phone in a pinch. (And I have to say, that the Smartphone really ties all this together.)
So what does all this stuff get me? I think it’s giving me a lot of freedom and free time. It’s working well enough that I can go to any building on the Microsoft campus, in my house, or even a Starbucks, and get things done. I don’t spend a lot of time anymore looking for things. I don’t need to go out of my way to check my mail. I remember a few years ago hearing some efficiency expert say that execs/information workers spend more than half their time looking for stuff, mostly notes, papers, and other information. This technology makes it easier for me to work with my information, and I really think it’s saving me a lot of time.