The problem with planner portability

PC-based daily planners have terrific advantages, particularly one so graphically familiar and intuitively navigable as the Lotus Organizer. They are there, always available, on your computer screen, rather than on your actual desktop, and they can incorporate and quickly locate much more vital information than your paper planner.

The problem is, when you step away from your desk to attend a meeting down the hall or across the country, you generally don’t pick up your desktop computer as easily as your paper organizer to take it along with you. Even most laptops don’t seriously lend themselves to the degree of actionable portability that your hand-held traditional planner does.

Unless it’s a hand-held electronic planner; nowadays, of course, a mini-computer that is, in and of itself, vastly more powerful than the desktop that I finished college with. In the beginning, these came to be called personal digital assistants (PDAs).

The advantage of these is not only that they are as or more portable and easy to access as your paper planner – they can be synchronized with your PC-based organizer so that whatever changes you make to your schedule or notes on one device are effortlessly updated on the other. It can hardly get better than that.

I went through the main iterations of these before the age of the smartphone, which strives to integrate your cell-phone with your PDA. Later in the week we’ll take a quick look at the key stops on that journey. It’s surprisingly interesting. It seems that the issue is not just improving technology, although that is certainly helpful – it’s also getting a better grip on how to define the purpose for the product, make the right choices between power and accessibility, and integrating these decisions in an intuitively practical way for the consumer.

See you in a few days.

What I was listening to while writing this post: “Ken Peplowski’s Allstars Play Benny Goodman, Vol 1.” Easily one of my best finds in a year filled with terrific ones – discovered via the Wall Street Journal no less – give it a listen, enjoy the breathtakingly lucid mastery and artistry, expressed with driving energy and endlessly inventive excitement. Ken Peplowski Allstars Play Benny Goodman, Vol. 1 - Ken Peplowski Allstars

One thought on “The problem with planner portability

  1. Ginger Stiuckcemeyer

    So it seems that IBM orphaned Lotus Organizer. The markets seems to be driving users to portable PDA and SmarttPhones. Whay? Tablets are highly portable, lighter weight, powerful and size friendly compared to paper organizer, plus more readale that Smartphone screens.
    Llotus Organizer has yet to be outclassed for intuitive and graphic useability. Isn’t there somebody out there with the skills and desire to resurrect and enhance this terrific solftwear application?


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