Digital Life by Live

I mentioned earlier that I’ll put up my idea about implementing technology, especially Windows Live in my daily life several days ago.

Personally, I consider myself tech enthusiast type, wanting to try implementing things. Borderline to impulsive consumerism and made me realize the function of money as the restraint chain for humanity from over-consuming this planet’s resource. ^^;

Situation: I work from Monday~Friday, 07.30~16.30. The workflow are mostly chaotic, we do things manually and adapt to situation right there. A standarized proccedure are not likely to work well with the workers work culture.
On weekend, my activity is going out with friends, or sometimes alone, looking for ideas.

My online activities are mostly browsing with no particular interest. Or most of the time, activities in online forums. Shifting the model to social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace is least of my interest. I do had an account, but eventually, I had more interaction through the older method.

When analyzing the case, actually there are two main hurdle in implementing. First is my own routinity and peoples around me which doesn’t make interaction using online services easy. Second is the services itself, which in my opinion, in many place is still a step short from being usable.

PC and the activities around it. I had four devices. The desktop PC in my home and my office; my notebook computer, and my phone (Windows Mobile smartphone).

I usually wrote my story of the day in Live Space or LiveJournal. The main motive is just to write it down, and sharing is not really a main concern in doing it :)
And I think I hasn’t effectively used Space’s social networking side, because I don’t have many contacts using Space. Only small fraction of my close contacts have online presence like online journal or social networking profile, and it’s scattered in various providers.

Lately, I also wrote in Twitter, but come to think of it, it’s actually easier to twit using my Messenger personal message text. I’ve just realized that when seeing the Digital Life clip at Microsoft UK. Of course, there’s no tracking what someone write.

Eventually the heart of my online community is always online forum. I started it in 2000, and after 8 years, I’m still at it. I don’t think this could be replaced by social networking and I like this media better than newer model of social sites.

Outside social, I recently moved my browser homepage to Live personalized page. From there, I put the feeds I followed most. Another tab is Live’s home to have an overview of my space. For the home, I used the en-us market’s layout because it has overview of calendar and shortcut to Live workspace. en-id (Indonesian) market’s page doesn’t even have the weather info.

Another new online tool I’m trying is Office Live Workspace. I’ve been using this to save some writing I made and keep a single copy to use in my desktop or my notebook when I’m outside home. The main charm is collaboration work on single file, but at the current stage, I only use it to remove the need of file synch routine.
Before this, I used USB flash disk and Sync Toy to do the job.
I could also use this to keep copy of my works from office and do it home without the hassle of flash disk also. Only the problem is, I’m too lazy to do those homeworks :P

Mobile activity. The phone works as my PDA, saving my contacts, schedules, tasks and notes.

But there are limitation. Windows Mobile Device Centre only want to sync with Outlook. From the Live Mobile suite, the only things that can be synchronized online are Contacts and mail. I can’t sync against Live Calendar.
Considering that I keep my phone with me all the time, I prefer to manage my appointments in Outlook. It’s cumbersome to manage two sepparated calendar at once.

But there are many requests for synchronize feature in the Calendar beta update announcement though, so I hope it will get implemented. If it does, I’ll start moving my PDA data up to the Live’s cloud, for a really good reason better than technology or convenience :)

When I’m away from my PC, I used my phone for text messaging, e-mail, instant messenger and browsing, more than talking (more on this next time). Because I don’t have e-mails that frequent, I set the synchronize schedule to every two hours as long as I’m awake.

Actually, e-mail and IM is a lot cheaper than using text messaging. In Indonesia, I think the text messaging could be 1500% more expensive. Depending on carrier, GPRS cost in the major carrier goes around Rp.0.1~10/kb. In comparison, text messaging cost Rp.150~350 / message. By yesterday’s closing, 1 USD = 9’137 IDR.
But, not many of my friends used mobile internet. This is cultural, and I tried to at least gave them ideas about using that GPRS that’s cheap enough for e-mails. Even if they don’t like Microsoft, there’s a lot of providers like Yahoo and Google.

Even at home, I sometimes used my phone for internet using the wi-fi network I set up. It’s a lot more compact than having to bring my notebook while in the kitchen or dining table or while watching TV. Works are still done in the bigger devices though.
The limitation of browsing using phone is, other than the keypad input device, the rendering by Pocket IE is still not so nice for unoptimized pages. So, until Microsoft Deepfish is out for public, I used Opera Mini.

Unfortunately, music is not so automatable. 90% of my song collection had their ID3 written in Japanese, which doesn’t show nice in Windows Mobile’s media player (although the ROM of my phone supports English and Chinese, unicode for most applications). So I had to manually convert the files and rename the tags before moving all to memory card.

Verdict. As I mentioned about hurdle. I’d like to use the services, but unfortunately, there’s still many issues, features cut short, before I can optimize the use in my life to the fullest.

[Note]: What’s after this is generalization of my experience and should not be accounted as picturing of the whole society.

Culturally, Indonesian are not really the most timid peoples in the world. This is a generalization though, and I won’t claim the same thing applies to business. But in casual activity, we have very flexible appointment time. By flexible, that means 1~2 hours late by some attendants are to be expected.

Also, it’s common for attendance to be cancelled in the last days or even hours. In my opinion, an example would be, you might plan all activity for the next week, but your parents could make a sudden family event and they have all veto right to cancel all your carefully planned schedule. Not to mention transportation for the younger peoples without their own vehicle.

The thing is, SPOF works here. No matter how time disciplined you are, or your closest person are, if one of the link is not, the whole plan fails. Depending on who messed up the plan, saying “no” is not always the best answer. There are politeness factor in the victim’s part, and the denial from admitting they’re wrong to do schedule without coordination by the people that caused the schedule to change.

This means, my arranging of schedule (mostly are going out with friends) is also prone to such sudden unexpected troubles. It’s as effective as planning schedule that tomorrow I shall study in my from 18.00~21.00.


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