Monday, December 3, 2007

Broken Laptops and Living on-line

This will be the first of a few post about how a broken laptop,
reading way too much about GTD and moving most of my digital life
online has not only kept me organized but has let me but has expanded
how I think about being organized and structure in my life and work.

This whole thing started earlier this year when my laptop's hard drive
took a break from working. My laptop was my digital life. It had my
email, my music, my photos, my movies and let me carry around large
files. It was great, I had everything set up just right and it was all
working smoothly. I had archived geeky nirvana and it was good. All
that was taken away when my laptop's hard drive ceased to function.

Now my laptop was not the latest or the greatest. It is a G4
Powerbook, dont get me wrong it's nice. But I really didnt want to
spend that much money to fix it and my warranty had already worn out.
With all that going on how was I supposed to get along? I had a tough
choice. Fix the laptop or find another way.

I choose to find another way. I realized that I could pretty much do
everything online. With a little planning ahead and the whole web as
an app thing going on. Tons of things are possible. On thing that is
probally important is that I have a lot of computers that I use all
the time. Two-3 computers at work, a couple at home and a few here and
there. Which means I didnt want to lug around a hardrive and I didnt
want to trust in a thumbdrive thats way to easy to forget someplace. I
really wanted something simple and something that would work
completely online.

The first thing I did was move all my mail to a gmail account. While
I've had a gmail account for a while. I never really saw the benefit
of it. I was perfectly happy using Gmail checks all of my
accounts at least every hour. Which is good enough for me especially
since I dont think there is a way to change it. Gmail also lets you
respond as your account which is great. So no even though you are
using your gmail account, clients and everybody else does not have to

Gmail is great as a store house of knowledge. It's much easier just to
search for the information than sorting through emails, trudging
through folders and conjuring from some strange mental state. It was a
bit of a stretch to let go of folders. After all I'm trying to
reorganize my life. How can getting rid of folders for my all
important in box help me be organized. The truth is that I spent too
much time organizing things that I really didn't have to. It's ok to
let the computers do the grunt work for me.

Now after you have moved all your email over what next? Bookmarks,
your list of places you've been things you want to read later and all
those things you should know more about you dont. While google has a
browser sync plugin ( that I do use) and they have a bookmarks app. I
mostly use Dellicous is just great for your own
bookmarks. Using tags to organize your bookrmarks makes a lof sense.
First of all you can orgaize by what ever system you like. The same
book mark can have mulitple tags so it can easily be in many locations
at once. So you can have tags for such things as "Home, Work, Linux,
3d, and whatever" so it's really easy to find everything about 3d even
if it has some linux stuff in it and vice versa. I know what you're
thinking, big woop.

This was my first experence with tags. So in the begining I tagged
everything very specifically. So after a while I started looking for
things again. But I couldnt find anything. I was being too orgainzed
again. It's amazing how many times you have to learn the same lesson
over and over, simple is beautiful. After a bit of reorganizing and
keeping most things to a few tags it's really easy to find what I want
at any time.

So I've talked so far about how I'm using gmail and Dellicous. Next
I'll talk about Remember the Milk, Google Calender and How GTD worked
for me.

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