How do you use yours? Redux

After the interest Whatley created with his power user’s diary, this week Ewan has asked me to write one myself. My world’s a bit different to James’ – I’m tethered to the corporate machine – but there are a few similarities…

iPhone, E61 and Laptop

The tools of the Trade – An iPhone on O2 and an E61 on 3’s X-Series
(ignore the Vodafone branding, it’s been unlocked)

07:00 – It’s time to wake up and my E61’s alarm goes off – Bach, Air on the G String (stop laughing at the back, not that type of G String). I’m not particularly a classical music buff, but it’s the least offensive of Nokia’s included offerings at that time in the morning. I hit ‘snooze’ with my eyes still shut with a ninja-like accuracy.

07:10 – The E61 tries again. More Bach. I must find out how that peice goes after the first 8 bars…

07:15 – Across the other side of the room, my other half’s work-issue Nokia 6021 shatters the peace with a beeping that causes actual physical pain. I’m up.

07:45 – Whilst I crash around the flat getting ready, my E61 explodes into action still on the bedside table. Text messages from my bank and credit card provider tell me various payments have been made, received and that payday had better be soon.

08:00 – My keenest colleagues are in the office and the ‘daytime’ profile in Roadsync on my E61 starts the push e-mail service. A few minutes of quiet buzzing ensues and the first e-mail of the day is received. The home screen of the E61 shows my day’s schedule and which office I need to be in. I review the day ahead and anything urgent-looking e-mail-wise.

08:15 – As I get ready to leave, I throw the iPhone into its cradle in the living room. It quickly syncs music, podcasts and any unwatched TV that my Mac Mini has recorded from Freeview (DVB-T to the non-brits) and exported to iTunes. This is a recent addition to the routine (since November!) and it still feels strange to sync by wire. My E61 has not connected to a PC (by wire or bluetooth) for ages.

08:20 – Out of the door and off to the station – it’s a London-office day today. The iPhone goes on and I listen to a podcast as I walk to the station. I’m a particular fan of the BBC offerings.

08:40 – On the train and another quick check of the work e-mail. There’s a few important ones come in so I respond and use Roadsync’s sub-folder syncing ability to file things away in the right place. I try to keep organised with a GTD approach to e-mail so this filing ability is really useful.

08:45 – Back to the iPhone and I skim my personal e-mails. Google Alerts has sent me the previous day’s press clippings relating to my firm and my clients so I quickly browse the summaries and follow the links to any interesting articles, appreciating the ease with which the iPhone’s browser handles the column layouts typically of the newspaper sites. Once done I delete the deluge of Facebook notification e-mails and flip over to the iPhone Facebook site to respond to messages and wall posts which most of my friends prefer over e-mail now.

08:50 – I open Google Reader on the iPhone, again with a customised interface, and read the latest feed updates (about 100 feeds at present), particularly the SMSTextNews comments feed to see where the interesting discussions are developing.

09:05 – At Waterloo, the iPhone automatically switches over to The Cloud WiFi network – it’s included with the O2 tariff and after registering once it’s completely seamless now. I finish my reading on the faster connection and switch back to the podcasts for the walk to the office.

10:00 – I head into a meeting and switch my phone to silent. SpinVox picks up my voicemail as I’m engaged in an especially vigorous white-board session and miss a call; it’s from the garage with a quote for some work on my car.

10:30 – As I leave the meeting, I notice the chap from the garage left a direct-dial number in his message. I select it in the message and call him back directly without needing to write it down. I know I can find it again later in the e-mail copy too.

11:00 – I’m talking to my boss about next month’s holiday booking. I pull out the iPhone and look in the calendar where my Tripit calendar has all the travel details synced from an iCal feed. It’s spotted my outbound and return flights and booked the time in-between as ‘away’ automatically. While I’m doing that, I notice another iCal feed warning me my local rugby club has a home game this weekend – I need to warn our visitors parking will be tight so fire off a text.

12:00 – I need to book an appointment to get my hair cut so I fire up the Nokia Search application on my E61 and search the Yellow Pages for somewhere in the place I’ll be working later in the week. There’s a big chain listed so I click and call the number directly from the listing. I’m sitting at my desk by now, but this is quicker than looking it up on the laptop.

For the rest of the day I’m largely non-mobile, except for a few calls and SpinVox coming to the rescue again as a desperate Spotlight search of my inbox for some information I need turns up in a voicemail – I’d have never found it without transcription.

19:00 – I’m meeting a friend for dinner at the Royal Exchange, but she’s stuck in a meeting and running late. There’s more Cloud WiFi here so I do a little surfing and lookup the restaurant on Google Maps on the iPhone. My work-brain is exhausted for the day so I throw the E61 in my bag grateful that Autolock will prevent any accidental dialing, but wondering why it’s not a standard feature…

20:00 – Over dinner we’re talking about a recent wedding I was at. I don’t have the pictures with me so I fire up the Soonr mobile site and connect back to my Mac. The image preview is a bit flaky, but it’s enough to pull up the important images and I’m pleased I left it running. It’s saved me on a previous occasion too when I was able to email a document I’d left at home direct to someone who needed it from the train.

22:00 – I catch the slow train home and pass the time watching recorded TV on the iPhone.

Other things I use less frequently but wouldn’t do without:

  • Shopqwik for Ryanair flight bookings (although it does more).
  • 3’s MobileMail for push e-mail from my personal IMAP account on my E61 when the iPhone’s not with me.
  • Textperts to settle pub arguments.
  • 3 Like Home‘ for zero cost, data inclusive, roaming on trips to Ireland.
  • Skypephone for ‘pub phone’ use and tethering to the laptop for 3G access, but ironically not much Skype.
  • Proporta Mobile Device Charger for ‘in bag’ or ‘in pocket’ recharging of any of my phones from a battery with enough capacity to fully re-charge several devices from something the size of a cigarette packet.

By Ben Smith

Ben is an expert on enterprise mobility and wireless data products. He has been a regular contributor to Mobile Industry Review since 2007 and is also editor of Wireless Worker.

14 replies on “How do you use yours? Redux”

I honestly feel like a minimal user when I compare myself to these power users. I thought I was a heavy user but maybe not so much. I may just track my usage one of these days.

@Jeb: Poweruser is a bit of a meaningless tag. The key thing for me is that these tools serve a useful purpose every day… plenty haven’t lasted. Also, the list changes over time as my work and priorities do.

The key question is “what’s getting in your way” and what’s out there to plug that gap. A power user is just achieving all they want to as comfortably as they want.

Exactly Ben; it doesn’t matter the hardware or amount of software, as long as the device stays in te background I say. If you will, the services have to add to my life, and not take away from it. Now, some of us who are fanatical tend to change up our paradigm a bit more than most, and so we talk about what we do a bit more; but the fun part is that we explore and others learn. Life goes on and we all win out at some point.

Great overview of the day; you’ve got me thinking of a few online services that I haven’t looked into.

Is it just me, or is the iPhone crack in an aluminium wrapper?

Having been a complete phone tart for the last ten years, I’ve had no problem dropping a handset for a new one or swapping during the day.

But my iPhone…oh…er…the damn thing does so much, so well…I thought I’d be back & fourth on the N95, but Nautilus rusts in the yard while Mr Job’s Devil device is constantly being poked, prodded, shaken, flicked, spin, rotated, nudged….

So I took the time to look in my phone and really think about what I use on my phone regularly if not daily.

I have an alarm clock that I made with my wife (she wakes me around 5am and at about 7:30 starts sticking her fingers in my eyes) so I don’t use my phone alarm except when I have somewhere to be.
First thing I do when it’s time to get up is grab my E61i and check my email
Then I check my SMS (I get the news sent to my phone day and night)
I usually take my daughter in the morning and let my wife sleep a bit more, while my daughter is playing I read more email and start to check my Google RSS (when I had an N800 checking my feeds was the best
As soon as the baby sitter shows up and I get to work (I have a 40 foot commute) I start in on the phone, average month was 3,000+ min and max was over 5,000min
During the day I will use Fring to keep up with IM while away from my desk
I also use Jajah to make international calls to mobile numbers
I also use Truphone for the rest of my international calls
Anytime I leave the office and don’t know how to get where I’m gong I use Google Maps
I use Calcium calculator
I use WorldMate all the time to check the weather, exchange rates, and time all over the world
My favorite newish addition on my phone is Jaiku mobile (I’m on it all the time)

I plan on switching in the very near future to using Truphone for all my local and international calls while I’m in the office so I can lower my mobile bill from $150/month

I have been testing OneFone, ShopQwik (great service), and Opera recently

These are the services I use thorough out my day. I am cutting down on my minutes used but upping my data usage like crazy.

What about everyone else???

@Mike: You’re right! It’s slower and less capable, but I still find myself choosing it in preference to other devices well able to perform the job.

@Jeb: Good write up! Envy your 40 foot commute, if not your wake-up routine 🙂

@Ben The wake up kick in the back of the head by a little foot is rough when it happens but when I roll over and see her little face it’s all worth it.

Aaaahhh….the great sideways-sleeping late-night bed invader syndrome. Know it well.

Ben – slower, but where & when? The vast majority of my time I’m in WiFi coverage (home, office) so GPRS just isn’t a hassle. When I DO need mobile connectivity, it’s for critical stuff which is mostly text-based, so GPRS isn’t a problem.

Or Texperts is just down the line!

@Mike – I’m the opposite – only in WiFi coverage at home or on commercial hotspots during the commute – so I’m on EDGE most of the rest of the time, but it’s still my first choice for browsing… Strange – I always thought I was a speed freak, but it turns out usability trumps that for me…

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