My Netbook, OneNote and Phone

Over the next few weeks, I’m traveling around the world spending time with friends and family. I plan to stay unplugged from work the entire time. But unplugged from work doesn’t mean unplugged from technology. :-)

Here’s how I’m balancing the art of staying unplugged from work and still remaining connected for surfing, email, photos and Skype – of course:

1. Shut down the work laptop and boot up the netbook. The easiest way to leave work behind is to leave the work laptop behind. I booted up my netbook, upgraded the netbook memory to 2GB and installed the latest updates including IE 9.0 and Windows 7 SP1. I also installed Windows Live Essentials to manage photos and write blog entries (like this one). And of course, I have my favorite software installed: Office 2010. I wrote an earlier blog entry on how I used Project 2010 as well – worth checking out if you haven’t.

2. OneNote Everywhere. OneNote is really useful for work and home. It’s the perfect way to keep a journal, track things I have to do, take notes and track important information such as hotels, tickets and pictures. What’s really special is that I can use OneNote from my netbook, Phone and any browser. Not only that, but my wife can do the same. It makes it really easy for the two of us to have one single OneNote notebook. I’m also lucky enough to be on the latest Windows Phone 7.5 (“Mango”) – and WP7.5 + OneNote is pure magic. Let me give you my real life example: I have OneNote installed on my netbook and I’ve created a Notebook (“Personal Diary”) that is stored in Skydrive (free cloud service). I have two sections right now – one for “Diary” and one for “Information”. In the “Diary” section, each page represents a day; Information has pages for Hotel and Flights. And because the Notebook is stored in the cloud, I can access it seamlessly from my Phone through the Skydrive integration in WP7.5 (if you haven’t tried it out – amazing) as well as any browser on any computer. Absolutely killer. The more I think about it, I’m surprised more people aren’t doing this for their blog. Much richer and easier to author and access.

3. Windows Phone 7.5. I removed the work Outlook tile and unchecked email sync. Here are some of the features I’ve been using on a daily basis:

- Hotmail. Conversation view with WP 7.5 makes it easier to read and manage email.

- Zune Music Pass. I’m the biggest fan of the Zune Music Pass. I have a large music collection on my phone that I really enjoy and I’ve been able to easily find great english and hindi music.

- People Groups. I have a family group tile where I can easily keep in touch with family and see what’s going on with them – for example, mass e-mail and SMS. I really like the ability to view “What’s new" that aggregates Facebook information.

- Task List. In the calendar hub, there’s a native To-Do list/app that can sync with an email service like Exchange or Hotmail. Very convenient and great for work and home.

- OneNote/Skydrive as I mentioned above. I’ve created a tile that takes me right to my “Personal Diary” from the Start screen with one click. Once I’m in the notebook, I can take notes, pictures and even record audio.

- Pictures and one click upload to Facebook. Makes it easy to share pictures and videos with family.

- Deeper integration with social networks like FB, Twitter and LinkedIn. Not only is aggregation a key service, but the ability to post natively from the phone to FB and Twitter is really cool and convenient.

- My favorite apps like Yelp, IMDB, Amazon, MSN News, etc.

- And a lot more features like Bing Scout, maps, etc.