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?