Friday, February 10, 2012

"What's Outlook?"

Some 10 years ago, I made the move from organizing with paper to organizing digitally. I bought a Palm and noticed pretty quickly that the installation CD-ROM that came in the package gave you two options for synchronizing your data. You could use the Palm Desktop, which was a very good and very simple application which mirrored the operation of the Palm handheld. The other option was to synchronize with Outlook. Because Outlook contained an e-mail component and the Palm Desktop did not, I chose Outlook.

Ten years later, I am still using Outlook. For an explanation of why, please read my post on "Why Outlook?"

A Visit to the Apple Store 

During a recent visit to an outdoor mall, while Davonia was looking at clothes, I spent the time visiting stores of a little more interest to me. I stopped at the Apple Store to play around with the iPhone4 and iPad2 to compare them to my BlackBerry and PlayBook.

A very helpful salesperson was telling me about the virtues of the iPhone, and I was impressed with his knowledge of the product. Then I asked the question,"If I were to buy an iPhone, how would I sync my Outlook data with it?"

The response floored me..."I really don't know that much about Outlook." We walked over to a computer and he performed a Google search with the keywords "Outlook," "sync," and "iPhone." He pointed to the first hit and said, "I guess that's how you do it." That was the end of that conversation.

Wal-Mart 

While at a Wal-Mart during a recent out-of-town trip, I visited their mobile phone display. They had exactly one BlackBerry. "I see one BlackBerry here," I said. "Do you also have other models?"

His response was, "Why would you want a BlackBerry?" My response was similar to what I wrote in this post. When I talked about the ability to sync with Outlook, there was that same, "Well I don't know much about Outlook" response.

He talked about how he could keep his calendar on his Android with Google Calendar, as if I had never heard of it. When asked how he kept his tasks, the reply was that he just tried to remember them. Good luck, buddy!

What's the Point? 

There are some great devices on the market. Not long ago, we were amazed we could carry a phone in our pockets. I remember when the only person with a phone on his person was Batman! When the capability of sending and receiving e-mail was added, we thought we were in Paradise.

Now, every device not only makes a phone call, but also takes pictures, records videos, includes a voice recorder, calculator, alarm clock, and does everything but wash your clothes. We turn up our nose if it has less than a quarter-million "apps" available, although we are unwilling to pay more than 99 cents for any of them and expect most for free.

While we expect so much, we are wiling to settle for so little in terms of the basic software that helps us run our lives. While we may or not need to be able to play "Angry Birds" at the drop of a hat, we probably do need to see our calendars, view what we need to be doing, or look up phone numbers. I have examined many programs, and have not found one that does what Outlook does.

When I have a program that does what Outlook does and a handheld that syncs so easily and as well as the BlackBerry does, I am a pretty happy camper.

But What About Everyone Else?

When I talk to people about paper planners, I talk in terms of the best paper system I can give them. When I talk to people who organize with Outlook and a BlackBerry, I give them the best possible system for that arrangement of tools. For the huge number of people using an iPhone, Android, or other operating system, I want to give them a solution that will work with the equipment they have.

During February, we will be talking about the best solutions regardless of the equipment you have.
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