I just returned from a reporting trip to the vast metropolis that is Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters. (Shuttle buses, valet parking, 25 cafeterias—you get the idea).
One of my peak moments on the trip was my tour of the Future of Work Lab.
I arrived for my interview—decade-old Radio Shack tape recorder, pen, and reporter’s notebook in hand—and got a big guffaw from my executive techno guide. “You actually work like that?” he asked.
He laughed in my face. Not that I blame him. He had me. I am a TECHNO DISASTER. A late resister. Blogphobic. (Hence my poor showing on this new medium—mea culpa, my lovely blogettes!). I wait for all my early-adopter colleagues to figure it all out and then let the new technology seep in as if by osmosis. “Does anyone get the new performance management program,” I holler out to the office. “Help. Serioulsly. SOS!” I am sure I am on the most annoying list over at our tech support station in India. My husband often feels like my gadget sherpa.
This was all fine when I started out as a reporter. Back then—cue cigarette smoke and stake-out coat—all you needed was good shoeleather and a pencil. But in digital journalism land, my technological habits are a serious and crippling liability.
Which all brings me to the tablet computer. This beautiful Biblical machine I saw at the Future of Work lab at Microsoft, tricked out with the company’s latest software.
Do you Tablet? Does your staff? I know these little marvels have been out since 2002. But they’ve yet to truly take off in Corporate America. I nominate the Tablet as the workplace productivity enahncer of the year.
Instead of double fisting notes and a tape recorder, I could simply scribble my thoughts on my tablet and flick on the year’s worth of audio archiving to record every exchange. Doodle on someone else’s powerpoint? Log into a videoconference from my hotel room? No problem. Microsoft’s new software also archives all my notes and audio and allows me to search through them.
“My God,” I said to my new Microsoft gadget friend. “This computer, it could create, like, two or three of me.”
He nodded sagely, as they often do in Redmond. “Exactly,” he said.
Which brings me to a new conclusion. IM is to email what tablets are to laptops.
I use neither. Redmond made me realize I better change fast.
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