Inching Toward a More Unified Me
Keeping track of custom dictionaries, email signatures and alert tones is a hassle for users and a nearly impossible problem for IT to solve without spending more money than the problem is worth.I feel spread out at work. Like many IT knowledge workers, I carry a mobile phone and a tablet, and I have a laptop that uses a desktop hypervisor, thus making the laptop at least two or three virtual machines. Unlike most, I also use a VDI (virtual-desktop-infrastructure) session a fair number of times in the week. For example, I recently tested, with a great deal of satisfaction, a Windows 7 desktop that was running as a VM (virtual machine) in our VMware infrastructure that I accessed via an Apple iPad. Calgon, take me away! More places to work means more places to customize and control. I'm not just talking about passwords (for which there are well-known technology solutions) or file sharing (such as Dropbox) that are rapidly emerging to solve the "access-from-anywhere" problem. The problem extends to application options such as custom dictionaries, email signatures, default email accounts and even alert tones. The veritable explosion of the number of devices and location options is raising the specter of user-device-management overload.
What I want is a "wherever I work, there I am." To the extent that IT managers can solve the time needed for individual technology workers to manage the devices they need to do their work is the extent to which ubiquitous computing will achieve new levels of productivity.
I still yearn for a central management tool that would help me ride herd over my devices. Between the phantom ringing (hearing a device sound when, in fact, it hasn't made any noise or vibration) and not paying attention to audible alerts due to a lack of recognition is starting to be a real drag for me. Constantly right-clicking to add specialized tech terms to dictionaries is getting to be a real pain. And customizing email signatures on my many and several devices is a time-consuming bore. However, until there is a "User Multi-Platform Custom Personality" standard, I'll be playing Bo Peep to my flock of productivity tools.