For the working man or woman, the year 2012 promises to be the year when mobile devices take over the traditional roles previously held by the PC. I base this assumption on the upcoming Windows 8 platform that has designed for use on all tablet systems. Putting arguments aside, one must admit that Microsoft has come to the realization that mobile devices, of all types, will be the new computing norm for many consumers and businesses. Therefore, the company has responded with an OS that it hopes will help it maintain its niche in the computer software market. However, the question then becomes: Can mobile tech really make you more productive?
This really depends on how you use the technology. If your goal is to be connected 24 hours, seven days a week, then this is probably great for you. But being connected all the time has major disadvantages. One of these disadvantages is the loss of direct contact with people in social settings. Without this interpersonal contact, we become nothing but technological ‘zombies’ who are socially isolated from the people around us even though we stay connected no matter where we are or where we go. This is evident everywhere from movie scenes to grocery stores. We see it in our families’ reliance on gadgets from when we awaken until we fall asleep and, even then — unless we turn our devices off — we may find ourselves subject to the demands they make.
And then there’s the matter of shrinking manners. If I invite someone into my home to spend quality time with me and my family and they proceed to engage with their smartphone to text message, browse the Web, check stock prices, or whatever, I consider it rude and I’ll silently pray for a catastrophic battery failure to plague their device.
That being said I, too, find myself increasingly dependent on my toys. But I have learned that, in order to be productive, I first have to determine what my goal is.
Now, remember if you use your tech toys for simple surfing, Facebook, or sending text, this article is not for you. If, however, you use your devices to create a product or to provide a service, you will need to discipline yourself and learn how to use all of your electronic resources to meet your specific needs and wants. You will also need to learn how to use multiple platforms to find out which services, products, or applications are available as well as which ones will be compatible with one another.
This applies to those of us who actually use our computers for work such as writing, blogging, reports, and so forth. If you happen to fall into one of these categories, Evernote is a must-have application. I have been using Evernote on my devices for the past year or so and have found it to be an invaluable tool for several reasons. First and most important, Evernote has a version for all of the major operating systems and browsers, including:
- Mac OS X
- iPad, iPhone, and iPod
- Windows Phone 7
For me, Evernote provides a much-needed platform that I can easily access with any of my devices when I need to jot down ideas for an upcoming article, things I need to remember to do around my house, or items I need to pick up at the grocery store. This has been especially helpful at night when I wake up with an idea for an article, knowing full well that I will forget it by morning if I don’t jot it down.
Another application that I find invaluable is Pulse. However, one drawback to the Pulse app is that it is not available for every OS. In fact, to my knowledge,it is limited in availability to the following devices:
- iPhone and iPad
- Kindle Fire
If you have one of the above devices, Pulse is an excellent way to stay on top of the latest news in the technology field. What I really like about Pulse is the way that the information is presented in a simple window format.
Pulse on Amazon Kindle Fire
Gmail and Google Docs
My next favorite program is Gmail. Whether it is on my laptop PC, Chromebook, Apple iPad, or Samsung smartphone, it has always proven itself to be reliable and easily accessed. Even when I have needed to use someone else’s device, I have found Gmail to be compatible, allowing me to forward links to my own or someone else’s device.
Since Google has made a vast improvement to all of its online products, Google Docs has become yet another one of my favorite applications. Knowing this, I can choose to use any of my devices and be lazy whenever or wherever I am. This simple-to-use online application can be accessed from anywhere you have an Internet connection and from any mobile device of your choosing.
As you can see, I judge all of these applications to be easy to use, as well as reliable and functional. This may cause some of you to wonder if they are too simple for everyday use; I obviously don’t believe this to be the case. Instead, I believe that people, in general, tend to overcomplicate their lives, thinking that if something is easy and works, there has to be something wrong with it. However, remember the old adage KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid); this also applies to how we use our mobile devices.
So, with that being said, I know that I can only offer my opinion and tell you about my personal experience with these software programs. I also know that, although they meet my needs and have helped me to reduce my work time by at least 25% over the past year, your mileage may vary.