Solutions At Hand

Handhelds, smartphones, mobile technology and the digital lifestyle.

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    Michael is a trainer and consultant specializing in making mobility technology work in people's everyday lives.
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Archive for the ‘Eco-friendly’ Category

Sharing information and documents in the portable office (updated)

Posted by Michael Brown on February 19, 2007

Yup, another PalmAddicts post, one to add to the Paperless Office series. When you can keep digital stuff in the digital domain, it can help cut down on needless printing just for viewing. On average, things are printed to view just once, and more often then not are simply thrown into the recycle bin (or worse, the garbage). With the right tools, and a good strategy for managing digital information, it can make you more productive as well as being more environmentally friendly.

With today’s advances in portable technology, the portable office is more of a reality than ever before. To make it possible to share documents between a Palm Handheld or Treo and your desktop and laptop computer, you merely need to buy an SD card that also has a USB port on it, such as those made by Sandisk or OCZ, or use a standard SD card with a small card reader. When you combine that with the Portable Apps suite, available from, you can truly have a portable office suite. The only “gotcha” with using the Portable Apps suite is ensuring you save your work in a file format compatible with the software you use on your PDA. At the very least, you can also share music, pictures, HTML pages and text files: Music can go in /Audio, pictures in /DCIM, and for most handhelds with Documents to go, you can put text files (which can be edited by any computer or software including DocsToGo) in /PALM/Programs/DXTG. HTML pages can be accessed from anywhere on the card using file:///path/on/card in the Blazer address bar. Blazer puts things it’s downloaded in /PALM/Blazer/Download/, so you know where to look for those files. The portable office can be a real productivity enhancer in today’s digital lifestyle. was the original post.

2007-03-06 Update:
Here’s what my “portable office” configuration consists of right now.

OCZ Dual USB SD card

USB Mini Kart

The Mini-Kart 1G stick has my Windows Portable Apps suite on it (and an installation of Damn Small Linux that I’m playing with). I store my other data, documents, photos, music and videos on the SD Dual card, which allows me to pull it out of the Treo, pop off the cap, and stick it into a USB port.


Posted in Eco-friendly, PalmAddicts, Paperless Office, Treo | Leave a Comment »

The Treo can make the Paperless office more of a Reality

Posted by Michael Brown on February 19, 2007

Here’s another PalmAddicts post, one that I’ll probably turn into a series here at some point (hence the new Paperless Office category).

In the early 80’s people were saying that computers would make offices paperless by the year 2000. Well, that prediction didn’t hold true, mostly because those making the predictions failed to take into account we don’t spend our whole lives in front of the computer. Fortunately, that’s where my Treo and a sizable memory card comes in. With Docs To Go and PalmPDF, I don’t have to print documents in order to have them handy. Meeting minutes get logged right into my Calendar’s event notes or Docs To Go, and after HotSyncing to the desktop, can be saved to PDF on a network drive. Many of the documents and reference information I work with now never has to be printed. I don’t even buy newspapers; Plucker and the Blazer browser keeps me informed, wherever I may be. So, before you hit ‘print’ next time, maybe you could help save a tree by finding ways to go paperless, and make the 80’s prediction come true for 2007. was the original post.

Posted in Eco-friendly, PalmAddicts, Paperless Office, Productivity | Leave a Comment »

Borrowing from our children and our future…

Posted by Michael Brown on January 3, 2007

I live in Ottawa, Canada, and normally on a day like today, we would consider a balmy day in January to be about -15 Celsius. As I’m writing this, it’s a really balmy +6 degrees out. It’s like the Great White North has been exported south this year, and I actually saw some geese flying back here this morning. And we all play a part in this…

The sheer number of people who are on earth only accounts for a small percentage of global warming; what really accounts for it is industrialization and large industrial processes. So, most people figure that there’s nothing I can do, it’s all these big operations that are causing the problems. That’s where you’re wrong; there’s a lot everyone can do. And it’s really the little things that can add up to a big difference.

In our house, we’ve swapped out almost all the standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents, which will pay for themselves in energy savings within the first year. The standard bulbs we’ve left in are all on dimmers, so they never run at full power. I re-built my server and desktop computer this past year, and they’re more energy efficient than the older products they replaced, while being more powerful, and the parts used meets the RoHS directive for restricting hazardous substances. I also avoid printing things if I don’t have to; instead I rely on print preview or carrying the information around on my Treo. I’m also starting to eliminate paper bills, and relying on electronic statements and PDF printing wherever possible. And those are just some of the technological steps we’re taking (after all, this is a tech blog!). We also recycle whatever is recyclable.

In today’s consumer driven environment, we CAN vote our conscience with our wallet. Buy products that are energy efficient or eco-friendly, even if it means spending a little more. If enough people do that, they’ll all become energy efficient or eco-friendly, and cheaper, in order to compete. Use print preview instead of printing something to “check out how it looks”. Look for other ways you can make a difference; a whole lot of little bits can make a huge difference, especially when you multiply it by hundreds, thousands, or millions of people.

There’s an old Indian proverb about the earth; “We don’t inherit it from our grandparents. We borrow it from our children.” Let’s not leave it a mess for them.

Posted in Change, Eco-friendly, Environment | 6 Comments »