PDA for busy tech consultant - Handheld

This is a discussion on PDA for busy tech consultant - Handheld ; I'm a server/network consultant, and I've gotten to the point where a hardcover notebook doesn't cut it any more. I may visit several clients on any one day. I'm too busy, have too many notes to make, my scheduling is ...

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  1. PDA for busy tech consultant

    I'm a server/network consultant, and I've gotten to the point where a
    hardcover notebook doesn't cut it any more. I may visit several clients on
    any one day. I'm too busy, have too many notes to make, my scheduling is
    too complex and unpredictable. It's too hard to keep track of all my
    action items, let alone what I can bill for.

    I think I'm finally going to have to get a PDA. But which? Many people
    swear by their Palms -- apparently the software is well designed, and has a
    good user interface. Others like the Pocket PCs -- and they do seem to
    have an edge in terms of networking and PC integration.

    While I like the Pocket PC's advantages, I really need something that makes
    it easy to keep a wide variety of notes and billing info, and recall it on
    demand. I need to be able to make notes _quickly_, or I won't bother to
    use it.

    I need a great to-do list manager -- NOT the same as scheduler,
    because what I do is very hard to schedule (a call can easily take
    -50%/+100% of what I expect), and NOT project management software. But I
    do need to keep track of all the things I (or a sub) need to do for various
    clients, by client and, preferably, orderable by priority. Then track
    what's been completed, when, how long it took, what parts or software might
    have been required, and notes for site technical records.

    Someone I know has a Palm Tungsten with a thumb-keyboard, and he has macros
    for filling in client info. Looks okay. Somebody else has a Pocket PC and
    raves about how well it reads handwriting -- my printing will be a
    challenge for it. And maybe I should be looking at one of those Tablets.

    I'd love a discussion for what works for you folks.

    /kenw
    Ken Wallewein
    K&M Systems Integration
    Phone (403)274-7848
    Fax (403)275-4535
    kenw@kmsi.net
    www.kmsi.net

  2. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    I currently use a Palm T3, I was using a HP Jornada Pocket PC. Both
    are up to the task.

    For me the key is syncing everything to Outlook. I take notes at
    client sites on 3X5 cards I keep in a Levenger shirt pocket briefcase
    that lives in my shirt pocket (www.levenger.com) This is great for
    writing down IP stuff, passwords etc. When I get back to the office I
    update the information in Outlook (generally, the Notes folder) from
    the cards, and throw the cards away. I then sync with the Palm (or the
    Pocket PC) and I've got it with me. For more complex things it goes
    into an Excel sheet or a Word doc and synced through Documents To Go.

    But, taking quick notes on the handheld is frustrating, especially
    mixing numbers and text. It's far easier to transcribe the 3X5 cards
    using a keyboard and using the sync to get them into the handheld.

    I generally don't use a to-do list, but both Palm and PocketPC will
    sync your calendar and your task lists in Outlook, generally right out
    of the box. There are add-ons to both platforms that greatly enhance
    the built in tools.

    ymmv


    On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 00:35:51 GMT, kenw@kmsi.net wrote:

    >I'm a server/network consultant, and I've gotten to the point where a
    >hardcover notebook doesn't cut it any more. I may visit several clients on
    >any one day. I'm too busy, have too many notes to make, my scheduling is
    >too complex and unpredictable. It's too hard to keep track of all my
    >action items, let alone what I can bill for.
    >
    >I think I'm finally going to have to get a PDA. But which? Many people
    >swear by their Palms -- apparently the software is well designed, and has a
    >good user interface. Others like the Pocket PCs -- and they do seem to
    >have an edge in terms of networking and PC integration.
    >
    >While I like the Pocket PC's advantages, I really need something that makes
    >it easy to keep a wide variety of notes and billing info, and recall it on
    >demand. I need to be able to make notes _quickly_, or I won't bother to
    >use it.
    >
    >I need a great to-do list manager -- NOT the same as scheduler,
    >because what I do is very hard to schedule (a call can easily take
    >-50%/+100% of what I expect), and NOT project management software. But I
    >do need to keep track of all the things I (or a sub) need to do for various
    >clients, by client and, preferably, orderable by priority. Then track
    >what's been completed, when, how long it took, what parts or software might
    >have been required, and notes for site technical records.
    >
    >Someone I know has a Palm Tungsten with a thumb-keyboard, and he has macros
    >for filling in client info. Looks okay. Somebody else has a Pocket PC and
    >raves about how well it reads handwriting -- my printing will be a
    >challenge for it. And maybe I should be looking at one of those Tablets.
    >
    >I'd love a discussion for what works for you folks.
    >
    >/kenw
    >Ken Wallewein
    >K&M Systems Integration
    >Phone (403)274-7848
    >Fax (403)275-4535
    >kenw@kmsi.net
    >www.kmsi.net



  3. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    kenw@kmsi.net wrote:

    > I'm a server/network consultant, and I've gotten to the point where a
    > hardcover notebook doesn't cut it any more. I may visit several
    > clients on any one day. I'm too busy, have too many notes to make,
    > my scheduling is too complex and unpredictable. It's too hard to
    > keep track of all my action items, let alone what I can bill for.
    >
    > I think I'm finally going to have to get a PDA. But which? Many
    > people swear by their Palms -- apparently the software is well
    > designed, and has a good user interface. Others like the Pocket PCs
    > -- and they do seem to have an edge in terms of networking and PC
    > integration.
    >
    > While I like the Pocket PC's advantages, I really need something that
    > makes it easy to keep a wide variety of notes and billing info, and
    > recall it on demand. I need to be able to make notes quickly, or I
    > won't bother to use it.
    >
    > I need a great to-do list manager -- NOT the same as scheduler,
    > because what I do is very hard to schedule (a call can easily take
    > -50%/+100% of what I expect), and NOT project management software.
    > But I do need to keep track of all the things I (or a sub) need to do
    > for various clients, by client and, preferably, orderable by
    > priority. Then track what's been completed, when, how long it took,
    > what parts or software might have been required, and notes for site
    > technical records.
    >
    > Someone I know has a Palm Tungsten with a thumb-keyboard, and he has
    > macros for filling in client info. Looks okay. Somebody else has a
    > Pocket PC and raves about how well it reads handwriting -- my
    > printing will be a challenge for it. And maybe I should be looking
    > at one of those Tablets.
    >
    > I'd love a discussion for what works for you folks.
    >
    > /kenw
    > Ken Wallewein
    > K&M Systems Integration
    > Phone (403)274-7848
    > Fax (403)275-4535
    > kenw@kmsi.net
    > www.kmsi.net


    Don't even think in terms of "Palm or Pocket". Go on the Web and look
    for the SOFTWARE which will do everything you want, the way you want
    it. Then buy the machine that can run it.

  4. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    In article , kenw@kmsi.net wrote:

    > I'm a server/network consultant, and I've gotten to the point where a
    > hardcover notebook doesn't cut it any more. I may visit several clients on
    > any one day. I'm too busy, have too many notes to make, my scheduling is
    > too complex and unpredictable. It's too hard to keep track of all my
    > action items, let alone what I can bill for.
    >
    > I think I'm finally going to have to get a PDA. But which? Many people
    > swear by their Palms -- apparently the software is well designed, and has a
    > good user interface. Others like the Pocket PCs -- and they do seem to
    > have an edge in terms of networking and PC integration.


    IME, Palm devices are hands-down (palms-down?) easier to use than PocketPC
    devices. At a basic level, this just means that it takes fewer clicks to
    find or do anything. If you're rearranging your appointments, editing and
    writing notes, looking up contacts frequently, I think the Palm device
    would be the better choice.

    As for networking and PC integration, I think this depends on what you
    exactly need. The newer business-oriented devices from PalmOne integrate
    with Outlook very well, and come with Documents To Go, which preserves
    formatting on MS Office products better than the Pocket versions of Word,
    Excel, etc.

  5. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    Can't address the tracking time for billing side of it, but I can say I've
    been in systems & networking for nearly 15 years and I've owned pretty much
    every platform out there.

    I keep wanting to love Pocket PC... I've wanted to love it since the early
    days of Windows CE. Microsoft didn't get it "right" with version 2.0 or 3.0
    or PPC... I'm still recovering from an awful 3 month experience trying to
    love PPC 2003 and make it work. Even ready access to several completely
    free WiFi hotspots and WiFi installed at work wasn't enough for me to stick
    with it. It's just too cumbersome to do something simple like create a
    to-do item with a due date on PPC.

    Personally, I hate the little thumb-boards on any platform, but then, I've
    been using graffiti for a lot of years... G2 is a pain in my opinion, but if
    you pick up a unit with G2 installed, it's fairly easy to revert to G1 (the
    way God meant it to be).

    In your shoes (not accounting for whatever time tracking software you may
    want or need) I'd be looking at the Tungsten T3. Docs to go handles native
    Word and Excel files, note taking is quick and easy, voice memos built in,
    plenty of memory, fabulous expanding screen, and fast. (integrates well
    with Outlook too by the way. Download the latest conduits from Palm for
    2003 support)

    The only downside is the non-user replaceable battery. In the long run,
    this may turn into an issue when the battery reaches the end of its usable
    life, but I've never had a PDA last long enough to do that... In the short
    term, extra juice can be had with a car charger (probably the best option
    for you if you're on the move so much). I picked up the PalmOne Power To Go
    sled for around $60 at Amazon.com. That will easily get me recharged and on
    the move enough to last 3 or 4 days.

    If you have any friends who are PDA users, odds are they might have a
    slightly used, somewhat older model sitting in a drawer gathering dust that
    you could borrow and try out to get a feel for how you might do things. (I
    have at least 4 gathering dust at the moment, not including the ones I've
    already given to my children).
    wrote in message
    news:lqlv309i0e4qgfl9gtbitp0etn5g08nfru@4ax.com...
    > I'm a server/network consultant, and I've gotten to the point where a
    > hardcover notebook doesn't cut it any more. I may visit several clients

    on
    > any one day. I'm too busy, have too many notes to make, my scheduling is
    > too complex and unpredictable. It's too hard to keep track of all my
    > action items, let alone what I can bill for.
    >
    > I think I'm finally going to have to get a PDA. But which? Many people
    > swear by their Palms -- apparently the software is well designed, and has

    a
    > good user interface. Others like the Pocket PCs -- and they do seem to
    > have an edge in terms of networking and PC integration.
    >
    > While I like the Pocket PC's advantages, I really need something that

    makes
    > it easy to keep a wide variety of notes and billing info, and recall it on
    > demand. I need to be able to make notes _quickly_, or I won't bother to
    > use it.
    >
    > I need a great to-do list manager -- NOT the same as scheduler,
    > because what I do is very hard to schedule (a call can easily take
    > -50%/+100% of what I expect), and NOT project management software. But I
    > do need to keep track of all the things I (or a sub) need to do for

    various
    > clients, by client and, preferably, orderable by priority. Then track
    > what's been completed, when, how long it took, what parts or software

    might
    > have been required, and notes for site technical records.
    >
    > Someone I know has a Palm Tungsten with a thumb-keyboard, and he has

    macros
    > for filling in client info. Looks okay. Somebody else has a Pocket PC

    and
    > raves about how well it reads handwriting -- my printing will be a
    > challenge for it. And maybe I should be looking at one of those Tablets.
    >
    > I'd love a discussion for what works for you folks.
    >
    > /kenw
    > Ken Wallewein
    > K&M Systems Integration
    > Phone (403)274-7848
    > Fax (403)275-4535
    > kenw@kmsi.net
    > www.kmsi.net




  6. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    In article , kenw@kmsi.net
    says....
    >
    > While I like the Pocket PC's advantages, I really need something that makes
    > it easy to keep a wide variety of notes and billing info, and recall it on
    > demand. I need to be able to make notes _quickly_, or I won't bother to
    > use it.
    >


    Personally, taking notes on a PDA is a pain. Sounds good in theory,
    fails in practice. Writing on a Palm (owned one) or a PocketPC (current)
    is slow, slow, slow. and the screen is too small.

    If you absolutely must use an electronic device, check out a Tablet PC.
    Bigger screen area and more powerful handwriting conversion software and
    CPU.



    --
    Bait for spammers:
    root@localhost
    postmaster@localhost
    admin@localhost
    abuse@localhost
    postmaster@127.0.0.1
    nobody@localhost

  7. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    Stoic wrote:

    > Personally, taking notes on a PDA is a pain. Sounds good in theory,
    > fails in practice. Writing on a Palm (owned one) or a PocketPC
    > (current) is slow, slow, slow. and the screen is too small.


    True, but with notes-on-paper things can get cluttered and disorganised
    pretty soon. I found that tools like Progect (PalmOS, Opensource, with
    desktop component) allows you to keep things&todo organized pretty neatly.

    You can try the desktop component, it works just as well without a Palm
    PDA.

    --
    Randy Simons

    When replying to this message,
    please follow the nettiquette and quote correctly.

  8. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    RE/
    >I'm a server/network consultant, and I've gotten to the point where a
    >hardcover notebook doesn't cut it any more.

    .......
    >I think I'm finally going to have to get a PDA. But which?

    ......
    >I need a great to-do list manager


    I do application development and don't think I could get through a day without
    mine - certainly, I've gotten 3/4 of the way to work a few times and turned back
    when I realized I'd left it behind.

    I would suggest that you also need a pretty-good heirarchical list keeper - so
    you can keep various factoids and group them by
    application/client/system/building..or whatever.

    I'd also suggest that you want a device with an flip-up cover - as opposed to
    one that has to be put in a little wallet/book-like cover to protect the screen.
    With the clamshell case it goes in and out of your pocket easier and coins/keys
    or whatever don't get wedged against the screen. It's also faster to deploy
    with a flip-up cover.
    --
    PeteCresswell

  9. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    RE/
    >
    >If you have any friends who are PDA users, odds are they might have a
    >slightly used, somewhat older model sitting in a drawer gathering dust that
    >you could borrow and try out to get a feel for how you might do things. (I
    >have at least 4 gathering dust at the moment, not including the ones I've
    >already given to my children).


    Geeze! After reading that spiel; maybe I'll run out, buy a Tungston, and try to
    sell the OP my trusty Clie NX-70...-)
    --
    PeteCresswell

  10. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    Hi,

    I recomend a PalmOS based PDA, because of:

    1) size (shirt pocket)
    2) battery life
    3) easy usable basic applications (address book, appointments, todo,
    memo pad, etc...)
    4) very good synchronisation possibilitys (Windows, Un*x)
    5) tons of additional software (check www.palmgear.com)
    6) the newer models (like Tungsten T3) also have stuff like Excel
    included

    I know many business people working with their palm's every day - they
    love their palm's.


    .... Collin

    --
    Collin R. Mulliner
    BATAVERSiON Systems [www.betaversion.net]
    info/pgp: finger collin@betaversion.net
    Computers are like air conditioners: they don't work well if you keep
    windows opened...

  11. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    I really appreciate all the suggestions everybody has offered. It looks
    like Palm is the way to go (although I still wonder which has better
    handwriting recognition). I need speed and convenience more than complete
    Windows integration.

    The factiod organization angle is important, but I think more important is
    time management: keeping track of what I need to do when, and what I've
    done where. Oh, and being able to recall it later by client and keyword.

    There's no way I have time to transcribe from paper, even if I had the
    self-discipline. The T3's voice note feature is intriguing, though;
    sometimes I think I could use that for blow-by-blow troubleshooting logs.

    I wonder, though, whether a tablet PC is worth considering... 'Course,
    they run Windows, and I suspect that, as has been said, Windows is probably
    better for desktops.

    Someone made the point that I should first pick the software I need. A few
    people have mentioned specific software; it all appears to point to a Palm,
    but it's really not clear that the software I need even exists. Although
    'Progect' looks good, that's beta, and I couldn't find the Windows version
    that supposedly exists. Other recommendations are welcome.

    Perhaps I should just slow down.

    /kenw
    Ken Wallewein
    K&M Systems Integration
    Phone (403)274-7848
    Fax (403)275-4535
    kenw@kmsi.net
    www.kmsi.net

  12. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    The Windows version of Progect is called PDesk..here's the link:

    http://www.alawa.ch/?show=16&language=en

    As far as text entry, I use Word Complete myself--pops up a list of
    frequently used words. You could use Text Plus too--pretty much the same
    thing.

    I use Agendus for my PIM (Personal Information Management) software. If you
    ask me...go Palm--a lot more software out there.

    Best regards,

    Todd
    Palm User Since 11.26.2000

    wrote in message
    news:9b5540tg25k1o2lppcgs2g80e43vnpie9i@4ax.com...
    I really appreciate all the suggestions everybody has offered. It looks
    like Palm is the way to go (although I still wonder which has better
    handwriting recognition). I need speed and convenience more than complete
    Windows integration.

    The factiod organization angle is important, but I think more important is
    time management: keeping track of what I need to do when, and what I've
    done where. Oh, and being able to recall it later by client and keyword.

    There's no way I have time to transcribe from paper, even if I had the
    self-discipline. The T3's voice note feature is intriguing, though;
    sometimes I think I could use that for blow-by-blow troubleshooting logs.

    I wonder, though, whether a tablet PC is worth considering... 'Course,
    they run Windows, and I suspect that, as has been said, Windows is probably
    better for desktops.

    Someone made the point that I should first pick the software I need. A few
    people have mentioned specific software; it all appears to point to a Palm,
    but it's really not clear that the software I need even exists. Although
    'Progect' looks good, that's beta, and I couldn't find the Windows version
    that supposedly exists. Other recommendations are welcome.

    Perhaps I should just slow down.

    /kenw
    Ken Wallewein
    K&M Systems Integration
    Phone (403)274-7848
    Fax (403)275-4535
    kenw@kmsi.net
    www.kmsi.net



  13. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    On Sat, 28 Feb 2004, Stoic wrote:

    > In article , kenw@kmsi.net
    > says....
    > >
    > > While I like the Pocket PC's advantages, I really need something that makes
    > > it easy to keep a wide variety of notes and billing info, and recall it on
    > > demand. I need to be able to make notes _quickly_, or I won't bother to
    > > use it.

    >
    > Personally, taking notes on a PDA is a pain. Sounds good in theory,
    > fails in practice. Writing on a Palm (owned one) or a PocketPC (current)
    > is slow, slow, slow. and the screen is too small.


    A PDA works well if you can pre-load most of the data and limit
    interactive data entry to ticking off checklist items. If you will need
    to make extensive notes in the field look for something with a keyboard.
    The real advantage of a PDA is that you can take quite a lot of fresh
    information with you to a customer site if you have some idea what might
    be required.

    If your clients have typical business computer systems, a USB memory key
    is a better solution. Before you leave you can load it with reference
    material, diagnostic software, and updates. At the client site you can
    capture data and make notes using the client's computer.

    There is lots of room for some vendor to make support people very happy (a
    good strategy for selling more boxes) by bundling support for using
    portable devices to capture system configuration and diagnostic records
    via USB.

    > If you absolutely must use an electronic device, check out a Tablet PC.
    > Bigger screen area and more powerful handwriting conversion software and
    > CPU.



    --
    George N. White III
    Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

  14. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    In article <9b5540tg25k1o2lppcgs2g80e43vnpie9i@4ax.com>, kenw@kmsi.net
    says...
    > I really appreciate all the suggestions everybody has offered. It looks
    > like Palm is the way to go (although I still wonder which has better
    > handwriting recognition). I need speed and convenience more than complete
    > Windows integration.
    >


    Let us know what you think after using it for a while. It will be
    interesting to see if you regret your decision.

    --
    Bait for spammers:
    root@localhost
    postmaster@localhost
    admin@localhost
    abuse@localhost
    postmaster@127.0.0.1
    nobody@localhost

  15. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    RE/
    >but I think more important is
    >time management: keeping track of what I need to do when, and what I've
    >done where. Oh, and being able to recall it later by client and keyword.


    If somebody knows of a Palm-based product that works, I'd like to hear about it.

    I've tried a few and always come back to scribbling in my trusty DayTimer and
    transcribing those notes into my own time reporting system at the end of each
    week.
    --
    PeteCresswell

  16. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    Personally I use the ol' spiral notebook and Palm combo. I can handwrite
    notes much quicker than on the Palm and then transcribe them as necessary.
    The Tablet PC is the most interesting to me but I am waiting for version 2
    or even 3 so I can get rid of my desktop and Palm. The Tablet PC looks cool
    because you can enter standard text as well as hand drawn pics or notes.

    TC

    "(Pete Cresswell)" wrote in message
    news:t3k74014rjiir4fu6q17do33mhfo4avb8d@4ax.com...
    > RE/
    > >but I think more important is
    > >time management: keeping track of what I need to do when, and what I've
    > >done where. Oh, and being able to recall it later by client and keyword.

    >
    > If somebody knows of a Palm-based product that works, I'd like to hear

    about it.
    >
    > I've tried a few and always come back to scribbling in my trusty DayTimer

    and
    > transcribing those notes into my own time reporting system at the end of

    each
    > week.
    > --
    > PeteCresswell




  17. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    Pete,

    Handwriting is pretty darn fast; however, you can get some real speed with
    Word Complete or Text Plus--not to mention using Palm's shortcuts. There's
    another product out there too--it's a Palm hack that inserts custom phrases
    and messages at the touch of the stylus.

    Personally, I use TiggleToggle lite--it allows me to perform fast switching
    between my Tungsten's Notepad and Memo pad applications just by pushing the
    Memo key. If I want to scratch a quick note, just press the Memo key.
    However, if I want to write a memo, just push the Memo key again and the key
    launches the Memo Pad application. Works pretty good I think.

    Best regards,

    Todd

    "(Pete Cresswell)" wrote in message
    news:t3k74014rjiir4fu6q17do33mhfo4avb8d@4ax.com...
    RE/
    >but I think more important is
    >time management: keeping track of what I need to do when, and what I've
    >done where. Oh, and being able to recall it later by client and keyword.


    If somebody knows of a Palm-based product that works, I'd like to hear about
    it.

    I've tried a few and always come back to scribbling in my trusty DayTimer
    and
    transcribing those notes into my own time reporting system at the end of
    each
    week.
    --
    PeteCresswell



  18. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    Somebody mentioned voice recording -- on the Palm T3, I believe. I've
    toyed with that concept for a while.

    Something that time stamped every recording, where I could note arrival
    times, blow-by-blow notes, summaries, to-do list additions, etc., might
    really work well. I really want to record _more_ than I do now, and I'm
    afraid the overhead of manual note-taking on a PDA would make me record
    _less_. And, clearly, getting out a keyboard isn't going to work for
    recording one-liners while walking around.

    How well does Palm voice note recording work? Does it time stamp? How
    much capacity does it have? Is it just push-and-talk, or does each note
    require manual setup?

    I presume it doesn't do actual voice recognition... so I could probably get
    someone else to do manual transcription. Kinda the way I see doctors
    doing. Hmmm...

    /kenw

    Ken Wallewein
    K&M Systems Integration
    Phone (403)274-7848
    Fax (403)275-4535
    kenw@kmsi.net
    www.kmsi.net

  19. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    I'd use a PDA (I think PalmOS is much better designed and easier to work
    with, but whatever) with a good PIM replacement like ACT! for the PDA or
    one of the better Outlook-compaible ones that support journaling and
    custom fields. Pocket Outlook or the built-in Palm apps probably won't
    do it for you.

    I would not count on using a PDA to actually take intensive notes
    on-site, though. Writing more than a sentence at a time gets pretty
    tedious, and if a laptop wasn't doing it for you, this won't either. A
    PDA is for looking things up and inputting the little things like
    to-dos, appointments, etc.

    Instead, every morning, print off your daily schedule including calls
    and to-dos and work from that. Hopefully your PIM has a good report
    format for this that includes contact info like phone numbers next to
    all the contacts you've associated with a task.

    Get a decent paper notebook for long notes and anything that would be
    too cumbersome to enter into the PDA on the spot, maybe a bound
    composition book so pages don't fall out, and do not use little notepads
    or post-its. Put every note you make either directly into your PIM
    (wheteher on your laptop or your PDA) or in the ONE NOTEBOOK in
    chronological order.

    As you work, cross things out on your printed paper schedule; mark them
    done on your PDA or laptop when it's convenient, and at the end of the
    day or during downtime, log ALL the new things you've written in the
    paper notebook to the PIM, including new tasks that have come up. Then
    throw away the printed schedule and print a fresh one the next day. For
    time billing and expense tracking, you'll be able to find an inexpensive
    PDA app that works the way you do. Use one that can export its data to a
    desktop application or a spreadsheet.

    Don't consider a Tablet PC unless you've talked to someone you know and
    trust who has one and likes it. They sound good, but they sounded good
    15 years ago too. They work for some people, but consensus seems to be
    they're anemic as laptops and extremly cumbersome as PDAs. It doesn't
    really sound like it would address your needs since it sounds like
    taking notes on a laptop is too clumsy for you. Writing on a tablet is
    even slower.

    Technology alone can't do everything. What you need to do is figure out
    how you work best and use the right mix of tools to help you.


    kenw@kmsi.net wrote:
    > I'm a server/network consultant, and I've gotten to the point where a
    > hardcover notebook doesn't cut it any more. I may visit several clients on
    > any one day. I'm too busy, have too many notes to make, my scheduling is
    > too complex and unpredictable. It's too hard to keep track of all my
    > action items, let alone what I can bill for.
    >
    > I think I'm finally going to have to get a PDA. But which? Many people
    > swear by their Palms -- apparently the software is well designed, and has a
    > good user interface. Others like the Pocket PCs -- and they do seem to
    > have an edge in terms of networking and PC integration.
    >
    > While I like the Pocket PC's advantages, I really need something that makes
    > it easy to keep a wide variety of notes and billing info, and recall it on
    > demand. I need to be able to make notes _quickly_, or I won't bother to
    > use it.
    >
    > I need a great to-do list manager -- NOT the same as scheduler,
    > because what I do is very hard to schedule (a call can easily take
    > -50%/+100% of what I expect), and NOT project management software. But I
    > do need to keep track of all the things I (or a sub) need to do for various
    > clients, by client and, preferably, orderable by priority. Then track
    > what's been completed, when, how long it took, what parts or software might
    > have been required, and notes for site technical records.
    >
    > Someone I know has a Palm Tungsten with a thumb-keyboard, and he has macros
    > for filling in client info. Looks okay. Somebody else has a Pocket PC and
    > raves about how well it reads handwriting -- my printing will be a
    > challenge for it. And maybe I should be looking at one of those Tablets.
    >
    > I'd love a discussion for what works for you folks.



  20. Re: PDA for busy tech consultant

    On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 00:35:51 GMT, kenw@kmsi.net wrote:

    >I'm a server/network consultant, and I've gotten to the point where a
    >hardcover notebook doesn't cut it any more. I may visit several clients on
    >any one day. I'm too busy, have too many notes to make, my scheduling is
    >too complex and unpredictable. It's too hard to keep track of all my
    >action items, let alone what I can bill for.
    >
    >I think I'm finally going to have to get a PDA. But which? Many people
    >swear by their Palms -- apparently the software is well designed, and has a
    >good user interface. Others like the Pocket PCs -- and they do seem to
    >have an edge in terms of networking and PC integration.


    Well, Pocket IE is a better web browser than anything I've seen on the
    Palm,. but actually Word and Excel documents display, edit and sync better
    with Documents To Go on the Palm than with Pocket Word and Pocket Excel.

    >While I like the Pocket PC's advantages, I really need something that makes
    >it easy to keep a wide variety of notes and billing info, and recall it on
    >demand. I need to be able to make notes _quickly_, or I won't bother to
    >use it.



    Palm's got the big edge here.

    I use a Tungsten W celfon/PDA - picked it up for CAN$280, eBay. Get the
    International Edition, and you can signup with Rogers, FIDO or any of the
    Microcell companies.I have a T-Mobile plan stateside, US$30 for
    all-the-data-you-can-eat, or add it to any voice plan for US$20/mo, but
    your mileage WILL vary.

    My wife uses ATTWS with her Tungsten T3, faster and with more RAM, but must
    tote a separate Bluetooth celfon (she uses the Sony Ericsson T616 and likes
    it greatly). ATWS also costs here about US$70/mo for data+voice, count your
    blessings.

    The WeSync www.wesync.com freeware alows me to sync my schedule wirelessly
    so she's always got the changes pushed to her WeSync account, viewable on
    her desktop PC, or on her Palm when she syncs. If sharing schedules is
    important, that could help.

    >I need a great to-do list manager -- NOT the same as scheduler,
    >because what I do is very hard to schedule (a call can easily take
    >-50%/+100% of what I expect), and NOT project management software. But I
    >do need to keep track of all the things I (or a sub) need to do for various
    >clients, by client and, preferably, orderable by priority. Then track
    >what's been completed, when, how long it took, what parts or software might
    >have been required, and notes for site technical records.


    Progect freeware from freshmeat, IIRC. Good outliner, task-breaker-downer.
    Also look at www.freewarepalm.com

    >Someone I know has a Palm Tungsten with a thumb-keyboard, and he has macros
    >for filling in client info. Looks okay.


    I just open a memo pad note (or any other note in any other app), tap
    {Shortcut}DTS and I've just time-stamped the note I'm working in.

    Enter a shortcut for every client, and every key person at every client,,
    and that will save much time. Works with thumboard or Grafitti.

    >Somebody else has a Pocket PC and
    >raves about how well it reads handwriting -- my printing will be a
    >challenge for it.


    Yep. Takes much longer to handwrite, recognize and then correct, than just
    using Graffitti on the T3 or the thumboard on my TW. I've added NewPen to
    mine so I can use Graffiti as needed, too, for when it's too dark to see
    the keyboard.

    >And maybe I should be looking at one of those Tablets.


    Two kilobucks, last time I looked, and it you lose their $100+ proprietary
    stylus, you are SOL until you get a new one. Me, I like my US$5 Bic
    pen-pencil-stylus, even comes in Bic Banana Yellow.

    --
    Nobody but a fool goes into a federal counterrorism operation without duct tape - Richard Preston, THE COBRA EVENT.

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