My Mobility Needs

[Tim Bray][] had a post about [his mobility needs][]1 which made me thinking about mine. Why?

Until [recently][], my mobility needs were more driven by personal interest than any business need: My day job involved little if no travelling, let alone activities that required me to carry any kind of notebook or other gadget.


With my new job starting next Monday, this will change fundamentally. The amount of in-house work will still be an important part of my activities, but I will nevertheless start to travel more frequently, visit clients–and in general, have a need for an adapted mobility.

So, what are my mobility needs? Well, at first hand, I wish my new employer lets me use my PowerBook if I want to do so for work out-of-office – or buy me a Tablet PC2. I shiver by imagining myself carry around a 4kgs bag filled with a plastic laptop that requires a Power Adapter that is three times bigger than the ones manufactured by Apple.

SE T610

Second, I definitely want to keep my Portable Phone: The T610 might sport a camera that is useless for serious photography but it still has the advantage of a bigger screen compared to the T39m I owned before.

And–more important than anything else–it is Bluetooth and Tri-Band (GSM800/900/1800) enabled.

Do I need my Palm anymore? I think yes. I definitely agree with Tim that the Handhelds advantage of instant-on is void if compared to a PowerBook that can equally be instant-on.

Nevertheless, I see some use use–at least until Apple releases Mac OS X 10.4 [Tiger][] sometimes next year: Corporate Calendar & Task Syncing. iCal’s capabilities to sync with Exchange are still very limited and third-party solutions like Snerdwares [Groupcal][] are clumsy3. The new Sync Framework hopefully changes that, so that I don’t have to finish my [Calendaring Experiment][]. But in the meantime I will most likely manage my Tasks and Calendars with my Palm, also because I value multiple categories per entry and other stuff that can not be found in Standard Palm Syncing.

As for my iPod: I just love music. No question that I will abandon this. I still travel too frequently without my Laptop in my bag and the iPod allows me to listen to music without the need to open it.


So, what’s the bottom-line? My mobility needs change, but my equipment mostly won’t. Only the question of the right Laptop remains unanswered so far. Luckily, the new company is dynamic and so are the people within–I think there’s a real chance I might travel with my PowerBook.


Did I mention that I’m looking forward to that new job? Indeed I do!


When I speak about my wish to get a Tablet PC, [lbaum][] usually comments that shops tend to fall into one of two categories with respect to Tablet PCs:

  • The ones that buy one Tablet PC and put it on the shelf * The ones that sold the one-and-only Tablet PC they ever bought and put on their shelf more than six months ago

He’s maybe right. But I don’t care–I rather dare. Ideally, Apple would add some touch-sensitive screen to some PowerBooks and invented some kind of ingenious display hinge that has the stability of the current ones and the possibility to turn the display inside-out.


  1. And [Jeremy][] also wrote about his needs before I could post this :) ↩︎

  2. I’m a little bit obsessed with this Tablet PC thing: I never had a chance to actually use one, but I am convinced that the right use of it could be an important productivity factor. ↩︎

  3. I’ll have to try their new version, though. It might be they changed some stuff under the hood that makes it easier to use Groupcal/iCal than with the previous version. (The main point about Groupcal not being useful is the need to have two calendars for the Exchange Calendar: The one you sync one-way from Exchange and the other you need to post new events to Exchange … )[his mobility needs]: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2004/10/26/Mobility “My Mobility Needs”[Tim Bray]: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/ “Tim Bray”[Jeremy]: http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/002883.html [recently]: /2004/10/13/rm-rf/ “rm -rf ~/"[lbaum]: http://lbaum.ch [Tiger]: http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger “Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger”[Groupcal]: http://www.snerdware.com/groupcal/ “Snerdware Groupcal”[Calendaring Experiment]: /2004/01/15/they-got-time-all-wrong-and-a-calendaring-exercise-proves-it/ “Calendaring Experiment” ↩︎

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