12 Comments

Summary:

One of the best things about being a web worker is that you don’t have to sit at a desk to be productive. The always-on, always-connected nature of cell phones have revolutionized mobile working, and other portable technology like Blackberrys, thumb drives, laptops and UMPCs have […]

One of the best things about being a web worker is that you don’t have to sit at a desk to be productive. The always-on, always-connected nature of cell phones have revolutionized mobile working, and other portable technology like Blackberrys, thumb drives, laptops and UMPCs have given us the flexibility to work wherever we can get an Internet connection.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be covering the different gadgets you can use to get work done on the road and the software and services for maximizing their effectiveness.

Many functions that are a staple of web working, including email, Web browsing and VoIP, are all accessible on a mobile device, but the best tools for the task aren’t usually installed out of the box.

First cab off the rank is Windows Mobile 6 Professional, a powerful mobile platform that’s made all the more effective with some well-chosen software.

Web browser: Most of us live and breathe through the web browser, so it’s unfortunate that Pocket Internet Explorer in Windows Mobile is so underwhelming. Thankfully there are way to get around its mediocrity. One option is to install a plug-in like SPB Pocket Plus which, among other things, adds tabbed browsing to the mix so you can have multiple browser windows open at a time.

But if you’d rather ditch Pocket Internet Explorer altogether (and I don’t blame you!), you’ve got a few options such as Netfront, Opera Mobile and Opera Mini – the latter of which is my favorite for its speed and flexibility (not to mention the fact that it’s free), although it’ll only work on Windows Mobile if your device has a built-in Java client.

PIM: Windows Mobile devices have native Exchange support out of the box, but what if you use an online PIM like Google Calendar and/or Remember the Milk? Data from both of these services can be synchronized over the air to the PIM applications in Windows Mobile using client-side software. OggSync performs a two-way sync between a Windows Mobile device and Google Calendar, and is available as freeware (which lets you sync one calendar) or a Pro subscription service (which lets you sync multiple calendars in real-time).

Remember the Milk synchronization is offered from the developers directly as a bonus feature for Pro users.  The software is called MilkSync, and it works much the same way as OggSync, with over the air or cradle synchronization to the Tasks application, and you can also specify which lists get synced from the RTM webpage.

VoIP and IM: Skype has a client especially designed for Windows Mobile that works extremely well, but a far better solution is opting for a multi-platform IM and VoIP client like Fring. This is a free client-side application that’s compatible with Skype, Windows Live, Yahoo, Google Talk, ICQ, AIM and Twitter, and it can also be configured to work with SIP services like SIPNET and EuteliaVoIP.

Notes: Finally, if you haven’t managed to give the new beta of Evernote a try yet, perhaps the Windows Mobile client will convince you. Notes taken using the Evernote Mobile application – including photos and text notes – are uploaded to the central Evernote database online, and you can also search through your online notes if you need to access something in your database.

Are there any other Windows Mobile applications that you’ve found indispensable for web working?

  1. Jenneth, nice to see you here! As a web worker and writer myself this is a subject dear to my heart. One of the most exciting products I’ve seen recently for us is the Celio Redfly, which simply takes the Windows Mobile smartphone and extends it to a small yet functional laptop format. Kind of a smarter Palm Foleo if you will. I did a video review of it that might help demonstrate my point:

    http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/03/jkontherun-vi-2.html

    Share
  2. I don’t think I would consider browsing the web, using Skype, instant messengers, and syncing calenders to really be “work”. That’s more like kid’s stuff, isn’t it? And why would a business trust their data with 3rd party services like Google Calender and Evernote?

    How about editing Excel or Word documents, previewing Powerpoint files, approving PDFs, accessing SharePoint sites/database lists/etc.? What about tracking billable time and expenses? What about maintaining servers using SSH, Terminal Services, VNC, Aton Connect, etc.? What about documenting meetings with voice recording?

    I also use Live Search, Google Maps, TomTom and/or CoPilot Live to chech traffic on the way to/from meetings.

    Share
  3. What you need is a Nokia N810 device. It’s not a cell phone, but you can connect to any WiFi network or using Bluetooth to use your cell phone as “data connection”.

    Share
  4. I’ve set up my wife with http://www.emoze.com to synch calendar/mail and it’s been working well for her.

    Share
  5. Jenneth Orantia Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    Good to see you here too, James! :) Thanks for the link – I’d love to give the Celio Redfly a go.

    Adam, this article is written from the perspective of an individual web worker rather than an enterprise, and a lot of us do trust our data to web services like Google Calendar and Evernote.

    And the concept of work is subjective. As a writer by trade, I regularly use instant messaging and Skype to keep in touch with editors and fellow writers, and about half of my day is taken up with web browsing in the name of research.

    All of the things you mention like Word and Excel editing, tracking billable time and maintaining servers are indeed functions that Windows Mobile is capable of, but they’re out of the scope of this article, which concentrates on web-enabled software.

    Joe, emoze looks great! I’ll definitely try it out on my HTC Touch Dual.

    Share
  6. Jenneth Orantia Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    Stephane A: I’ll be covering the Nokia N810 in an upcoming article.

    Share
  7. Sorry, I got to this article through Google and didn’t realize the scope was intentionally so limited.
    If your work is only to surf the web and communicate with others via web-enabled services, then you should also mention the ability to transfer information between applications. For example, if you found some bits of research in a web browser and you needed to communicate to others or prepare a report that includes references to your research, you should mention which browsers enable that the best. Also, I would think the ability to document inter-personal communications would be another very important feature of an individual web worker. Is it not?

    As for VoIP, you know Windows Mobile 6 has native support for SIP VoIP (just like Symbian s60)? It’s only enabled if the manufacturer chooses, but there are other ways to enable it if you do a search. The native Windows Mobile VoIP support simply connects your regular phone dialer to an SIP VoIP service. So you can dial your contacts with Microsoft Voice Command, or any other normal dialing method. I.E. Just type the person’s name from the Today Screen. I’ve since uninstalled Skype because of the excellent integration of VoIP in Windows Mobile. Also, the VoIP call history is saved along with the regular call history, so you can reference and back-up that data in the same way (Jeyo Mobile Companion works well for that.)

    I wouldn’t consider the Nokia N810 to be much of a “work” device either (though apparently my concept of work is different than what is discussed here). The N810 seems like more of a sitting-in-bed-watching-videos type of device. I haven’t carried a non-converged device since 2001 though.

    Share
  8. [...] A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how you could optimize a Windows Mobile 6 Professional smartphone for web workers. [...]

    Share
  9. [...] follows her excellent look at turning a Windows Mobile device into a web warrior, capable of making sense of the diversity that is the World Wide [...]

    Share
  10. [...] Web Worker Daily » Archive Turn Your Gadgets Into Work Tools: Windows Mobile Professional « (tags: productivity windowsmobile pda) [...]

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post