My Getting List Manager Analysis Of Outlook & Pocket Informant

I recently read a post by Kelly Forrister "What makes a good Getting list manager?" But it wasn't until I read Eric Mack's analysis of her post that I made the connection that I should evaluate what I do.

Here is the criteria:

  1. Sorting lists by context
  2. Ability to assign a due date
  3. Portable for on the go access
  4. Easily accessible
  5. More attractive to you than repelling
  6. Doesn't force priority codes
  7. Place to capture additional notes
  8. Ability to search and sort in various ways.
  9. Robust enough to handle all of your stuff.

My system for handling Getting Runway "Next Actions"  is an IBM X61 TabletPC with Windows Vista running Outlook 2007 teamed up with an AT&T Tilt with Pocket Informant 8.

As I read through the list, I find that Outlook + Pocket Informant do the majority of the items pretty straight forward for me: sorting (#1); due dates (#2); easy access (#4); search & sorting (#8); and capture notes (#7)   Neither seems to force priority codes (#6) but offers them if you want them.

I gain portablilty (#3) not so much from the list manager software but more from the platforms.  The IBM X61 is the best PC laptop I've ever had, and I have it with me nearly all the time I need it. Outlook is usually always running and usually only a click or pen gesture away. If I'm going some place without my X61, then I have a good sync with the AT&T Tilt Windows Mobile Phone so I don't miss many @phone, @store, etc items.  Using this setup to capture is pretty straight forward, but I actually use a combo of 3x5 cards and Moleskine for the most of my capture which is probably a topic for another post.

The part that is probably completely personality preference is #5: 'is this attractive enough to you to use it or not? ' It is probably also one of the most important questions that you need to tackle or you'll have a hard time getting things done.

What works for you?

Multi-Topic Update: San Diego Fires, Jersey Boys, Technology

The last week or so has been extremely crazy and busy. 

First up the San Diego Wild Fires (aka FireStorm 2007) have been all consuming, and I'm happy to report that my immediate & extended family, friends, and co-workers in the San Diego area have been spared major hardships.  But our hearts go out to those who lost love ones or their homes.  The fire fighters and public safety folks have been outstanding and they deserve a ton of credit & praise.  Thanks!

The weirdest thing about the fires, was that during the whole time it was going on, Christy and I have been in Jersey Boys heaven.  They have released a new Jersey Boys Book, Frankie Valli has an excellent new album out called "Romancing the 60's", the touring cast is in San Diego, and we traveled to New York City (NYC) / New Jersey (NJ) on Sat. 10/20 returning Tue. 10/23 for the Fan Tribute and to interview Tommy DeVito. And did we mention we've seen the musical three times in six days: Fri. 10/19 (Opening Night in San Diego), Sun. 10/21 (Broadway), and Wed. 10/24 (Cast Talk Back in San Diego).  Yes ... we are crazy.

Lastly a quick update on some technology stuff.  Things are still going on over at TechNewsRadio but a little slower than I'd like.  My fellow FriendsInTech members have put together another new Halloween special called "It's The Great Server Chuck and Kreg."

Other quick tech mentions:

I recently upgraded from a Cingular 8125 to an AT&T Tilt and I'm really loving the new phone with high speed 3G/UMTS/HSDPA connectivity plus Windows Mobile 6 and integrated GPS.  The camera is also a big improvement, as is the keyboard/button interfaces.

A couple of weeks ago I did upgrade my 8-GB 2nd Gen Apple iPod Nano to an 8-GB 3rd Gen Apple iPod NanoI have some unboxing pictures posted to Google.  I like the video option a great deal. I used it to watch dozens of video podcasts recently on the trip back to NYC/NJ.  I have also been using it a lot at home sitting in bed or by my computer using a DIY  Lego stand.

I have also picked up a copy of Apple's new OS X via Amazon.  I hope it gets here soon so I can rebuild my old G4 iBook for Christy and finally get her off of Windows XP and spare her the horror of Vista.

TabletPC Thoughts #1 - Upgrade from Toshiba M400 to ThinkPad X61

I am about 30 days into my complete migration from the my old TabletPC the Toshiba M400 to the ThinkPad X61.  Thanks to Marc Orchant and James Kendrick for their early suggestions on some migration questions I had.

The big changes include Vista Ultimate, Office 2007, OneNote 2007, Visio 2007, and Project 2007.  I also have only been adding applications as I need them, this included: Firefox, ClipMate, Newsgator, PDF-X Change Lite 3, IBM SameTime, and MindManager Pro 7.

Things I like about this new setup:

  • Form factor - smaller and easier to pickup and move
  • Performance - much faster processor and other internals
  • Screen - very good even outside
  • Sleep/Hibernate - this is extremely fast and works every time without errors
  • ThinkVantage utilities - well thought out functionality wise and useful
  • Battery performance - easily double from the M400
  • Keyboard - there is something special about the ThinkPad keyboard

Things I'm still getting use to:

  • Smudges on the X61 screen - you have to clean it a lot
  • Differences between Windows XP and Vista when you want to do a power user task (like TCP/IP configs or change wireless networks)
  • Missing the trackpad
  • Not having an integrated DVD/CD (haven't needed it but it makes me a little nervous)

All in all I am really enjoying the X61, Vista Start Menu Search (it works very well!), and Office 2007 especially Outlook & OneNote integration.

Only real downside at the moment is that my organization has not yet completely figured out how to enable VPN access.  The problem is an integration issue between: Vista, Cisco, and DOD CAC PKI.  Hopefully it will get resolved soon and then everything will be working great.

Good Geek Birthday Presents

I got some great birthday presents today (Thanks family!):

The Logitech Wireless Music System has been un-boxed but not installed.  Not sure how it will work with Vista.  Hopefully I'll have time to play with it tomorrow

The MindManager 7 upgrade is great.  I was in the Beta program and find it a great improvement over version 6, and more in-line with the Windows version minus the Microsoft Office integration.

The QuietPoint headphones are excellent.  They might be better than the Bose QuietComfort 2s I use to have before they were stolen. I've only used them around the office and in the jury waiting room today.  They worked great.  No airflight test yet. Maybe by the end of the month I can comment on that experience.

Windows Vista Status - Two Installs Completed

If you have spoken to me in person over the last two weeks or so, I probably mentioned I'm on my second Windows Vista install. 

My first work install was a Toshiba M4 Tablet PC that also had RC1 and then died with RC2 (long story), but is now working pretty well with Vista Ultimate edition.  My only real issue is the strange way video out works and how to control it.  Things seem much better after downloading all the Vista drivers from Toshiba.  This system also is running Office 2007, but it is not my primary system so I've only been doing light work on it. So, other than launching all the new applications, that is all I've done.

I have ordered a new SATA laptop drive for my primary laptop system for work (a Toshiba M400 Tablet PC), and I'll be upgrading that soon now that I know more about issues to expect based on experience.

My second update is my custom home desktop PC.  It is going a long fine without too many issues.  These have both been clean installs with new hard drives, no upgrading in place.  So, most issues are pretty straight forward to solve with latest software or drivers.

I really like some of the new performance monitoring features in Vista (how-to) but I did have some trouble finding were the TCP/IP configuration options got moved to.  I do not have Aero Glass at home (the NVIDIA Quadro NVS 285 is not powerful enough I guess), but the Toshiba M4 does have it.

Questions?!?  I'll keep the blog updated on anything new.  BTW ... I did notice that Dann Sheridan recently did an upgrade from Windows XP to Vista Business.

IE 7 Beta 3 Doesn't Work With Vista Beta 2 Build 5384

I got an error trying to install IE 7 Beta 3 on Vista Beta 2 Build 5384.   The installer said - "Your operating system is not supported by this package."

Kinda funny ... [UPDATE: I'm a dork ... I tried to install the Windows XP version on Vista. Duh!]

BTW ... Vista Beta 2 Build 5384 and Office System Beta 2 Kit 2007 (both from MSDN) are installed on my Toshiba M4 Tablet PC.  So far I've enjoyed the new UI changes with Word and with Outlook. 

The UI changes in Visita are nice and flashy.  Tablet functions are even more impressive after about 1 hour of moving around and just doing standard stuff.  No OneNote testing yet.