Building the virtual cubicle

Tablet PC MVP James Kendrick describes how he uses mobile technology to quickly set up a functioning office wherever his business might take him. This "virtual cubicle", as James calls it is a sterling example of how the way we work is changing.

James and I do a podcast together called OnTheRun with Tablet PCs. While recording this week, I talked a bit about this new ZDNet blog and what topics I planned to cover. It inspired James to describe his current setup for mobile work. As a consultant, he is on the go all the time and frequently sets up in a client's office to do his work. Hence the virtual "cubicle".

He describes how he has all but eliminated paper from his workflow, using PDFs and, when all else fails, a fax back to himself to keep everything in digital (and inkable) form. Perhaps the most unusual practice he describes is how uses his iPod as a portable backup and archive drive to make sure he has all of the documents he needs at his disposal. I'm continually amazing and delighting my iPod carrying friends and associates when I show them this often overlooked use for Apple's portable music (and video) player. 

While I'm not an iPod user myself, I do have another brand of hard drive-based MP3 player and I regularly use it for backup when I'm on the road. It's a lot faster than writing to a CD or DVD and saves precious battery life on my Tablet PC. 

James promises to follow up with a more in-depth description of his hardware and software choices for mobile knowledge work in future posts. As a veteran mobile worker, he will probably introduce you to a new idea or two. His tag line on his blog is "using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds". As a former user of both a Kaypro and Mac Portable, I can sympathize.


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