Archive for July, 2010

Nick’s Mobile Tools

Written by Nick B. Nicholaou on . Posted in Articles

© 2010 by Nick B. Nicholaou, all rights reserved
President, Ministry Business Services, Inc.
Reprinted from Christian Computing Magazine

I travel a lot and rely on a number of mobile technologies to help me stay productive while on the road.  Whether you travel a lot or not, mobile technology can help you in your personal and professional life.

Staying in Touch is Not Enough
Mobile tools, like smart phones, are obviously good at helping us stay in touch. But today it’s important to have the tools at hand that help you be productive when you want to be productive.  In addition to the time you’re at the office, of course.

Tools I Use
I’m writing this article while flying on a plane 38014 feet over Arizona at 478mph.  Because I always have mobile tech tools with me, I’m able to be productive on my terms.  Here’s my arsenal…

Notebook Computer
I use an Apple MacBook Pro for the heavy lifting.  When I’m in my office it’s connected to an Apple 24” display, full wired Apple keyboard, and a Magic Mouse.  When I take it with me it has a full copy of our network’s data drive so I can use any file at any time for any reason.  The software I use most on it is:

  • Microsoft Office 2008 Business Edition.  It completely synchronizes with our email and calendar server (Exchange 2010), and lets me create sharable documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with ease.
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection.  When I need to quickly access our SQL database or manage our (or our client’s) servers, I use RDC to fire up a Terminal Services session.
  • VMware Fusion.  When I want to do work that requires more Microsoft Windows software and utilities, I run a virtual Windows PC on my Mac.  It’s configured with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and runs Office 2010, Visio 2010, SQL 2008r2, and a bunch of other stuff. I also run SmartSync Pro to synchronize data between our network and my Mac and Windows drives.

Even though I have written many articles that objectively assess the Mac, I really like mine!

Tablet Computer
For lighter mobile duty I carry an Apple iPad WiFi 64.  I use it for managing my email, calendar, and tasks, to keep in touch with my social communities via TweetDeck (which I also run on my Mac), play a few games (you’ve got to have some fun, right?), and it also carries a full set of my personal data and a lot or our corporate data.  Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t have a version of Office that runs on the iPad, so I use iWork (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote).  In fact, I’m writing this article on the iPad in Pages right now!  I also have The Logos Scholar’s Library installed on my iPad, which is a great Bible study tool.  (I also have it on my Mac!)

SmartPhone
My smartphone is a Google Droid by Motorola.  Our firm is a Verizon shop, which means I don’t have the option of an iPhone.  The advertising about Verizon is really true!  It really does have the best coverage map, and because our ministry work takes our team to all parts of the country, Verizon keeps us connected like no other provider can.

  • TouchDown is a good Exchange tie-in that goes beyond email, contacts, and calendaring.  It also synchronizes tasks, which is very helpful when I’m out driving and need to look up an errand task I created in Outlook (or Entourage, the Mac’s version of Outlook).
  • I’m an analog clock guy, so I have a couple of them on my Droid.  Tiny Clock Widget is always on my home screen, and I run NHK Clock full screen when I speak publicly or if I am in a meeting and need to keep track of time.
  • Advanced Task Killer is a free app that kills all of the processes when I tell it to, which is easier than powering off the phone to reset it.
  • The You Version Bible, courtesy of LifeChuch.tv, is a terrific free Bible app that I use when in church or doing devotions.  I also have it on my iPad… it’s terrific!
  • EStrongs File Explorer is like Filer on the Mac or Windows Explorer.  It nicely gives me great access to the entire file structure, something I wish I had on the iPad.
  • Google Goggles is a free fun app that’s also a great tool!  I won’t say anything further about it here so you can check it out and discover what it does yourself.  Have fun!

Well, those are some of my favorite applications that I run on my mobile devices.  There is one other device I should mention though… and it’s one I jokingly like to say makes me a walking cellular tower!  It’s a Verizon MiFi card, and it lets me host up to four computers (via WiFi) to the internet at a time.  It’s a great way to avoid the vulnerabilities that come with public hotspots.

Well, we’re in our descent to LAX, so I better shut down.  I hope you find that helpful!  And if you have some tools you think I might like on my mobile devices, email me (nick@mbsinc.com) and let me know!