The zen of mobile

I’m feeling pleased with my PDA at the moment, so wanted to take a moment to evangelise a bit. 🙂

We were missing a minutes secretary at the trustees meeting for SYA this week, and I drew the short straw for filling in. It was no problem because I had my PDA and my folding bluetooth keyboard in my pockets. I took out my PDA, spun the screen round and popped it on the keyboard stand. I then switched to my wiki program and started a new page – all ready to take notes for the meeting minutes.

There is something about using wiki markup that lends itself very well to taking meeting notes. Start lines with a ‘+‘ to make a heading marking out the different topics we discussed, and start lines with ‘-‘ to make lists. Then use *bold* and _underline_ here and there to highlight decisions and actions. Simple, but more than enough to write clear and organised minutes. And the syntax is concise enough that I could do it quickly without missing what was being said by having to get the stylus out or play around with menus and options.

Part way through the meeting something came up that rang a vague bell. I switched the wiki to View mode and opened the search box. A couple of keywords later and it showed me a list of three page names. The middle one was it – clicking on it showed me all my notes on it from about a year ago, and it all came back to me. With a click on the ‘Back’ button, I was back in my meeting minutes and taking notes again.

At the end of the meeting, I used ‘Export to HTML’ to create an HTML copy of the formatted notes. I then launched Outlook and emailed the HTML copy to our administrator – all from the PDA and all before the others had finished packing away their stuff and putting their coats on.

I folded up the keyboard and PDA and put them back in my pocket. This is what mobile technology should be about. 🙂

6 Responses to “The zen of mobile”

  1. blund says:

    Beautiful. I have similarly wonderful experiences, though running on an HP iPAQ. I use the Think Outside Stowaway BT Mouse, but not (yet) the keyboard.

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile, and I was wondering: I love your email triage menu. I’m running Windows Mobile 2003, and is it possible to set up something like that in this OS? My email (again) is When you have a moment in your busy schedule, drop me a line. I’d love to know more of what range of options there are.

    Thanks, and keep up the great site. I’m prejudiced(!), but I love the posts on Pocket PC hacks and use.

  2. […] my notes, it syncs with Outlook to manage my calendar and task lists, my bluetooth keyboard (that I mentioned recently) works well with it, and the integrated QWERTY keyboard is good for quick data […]

  3. […] But say the three of us get stuck on a train or a meeting from hell and decide to do some work on office documents or emailing. You two will be squinty and cross-eyed from your teeny screens, and wont get nearly as much done with your itty-bitty keyboard. In comparison, I’ll be relaxed and calm with a large and clear screen, and will have got lots done with the well-spaced keyboard (or even more if I cheat and use an external keyboard). […]

  4. […] mobile setup before this was using a smartphone with a folding bluetooth keyboard and small pocket mouse. This makes for a much more comfortable way to work than on the smartphones […]

  5. […] Note-taking :: idea-storm for projects or capture notes in meetings, and be able to quickly search for and retrieve info […]

  6. […] mentioned a few times before that I use a personal wiki-based notetaking app to keep myself […]