Project Parole: Day 1 - Netbooks and Nexus and Gnu...Oh My!

If I'm going to move to a vendor neutral platform, I knew that I needed to do some prep work.  So I inventoried the stuff that I use on a daily basis.  This included:

  • Operating System:  Windows 7
  • Office Suite: Office 2010
  • Email Client: Outlook 2010
  • Phone: Apple iPhone 3GS

This is high level, though it's a good start.  Obviously I use a bazillion other programs, but we'll start with these.

In order of priority, I decided to start with my email.

My most important tool today is absolutely email.  I have about 2GB of mail in my Outlook file...ouch!  The good part is, I use hosted Exchange for my personal mail, so it's already on the web.  The ugly part is, my hosting provider uses Exchange 2007, so the interface is browser specific to IE (Exchange 2010 is compatible with IE, Firefox, Opera etc.).

I have never used Gmail, though I decided that I would give it a shot.  There's definitely a learning curve...where are my folders???  I didn't take long for me to realize that the tagging system in Gmail is actually quite useful.  I archived my Outlook inbox and started with an empty Gmail account.

I'd say my phone is a close 2nd to email.  I mean, phones are basically mini desktops now anyway.  I have to say that this was my most difficult decision.  We all know how addictive the iPhone is, and I did love my 3GS.  As with the case of all other Apple products, it's beautiful though it's not as flexible enough for a really nerdy guy.  So I decided to trade it in for a shiny new Google Nexus One.

Operating System
Oddly, the the OS is not #1 on the list, but my needs are simple: a browser and a few apps.  Today the OS is just a tool to get to your apps, and if my apps are going to be free or web-based, does the OS matter?  I decided to purchase an HP Mini netbook and I was a bit insulted when it shipped with Windows XP.  I am not a caveman, so I decided to install a concept OS: Ubuntu 10.

In the epic saga of Ed vs. Linux, there appeared to be a turning point here.  It installed flawlessly and recognized all hardware, connections, sound, video etc.  Very smooth.  And the interface is actually very nice.  But again, all I am looking for is a browser, basic programs and a connection at this point...check.

Office Suite
Outside of Outlook, I typically only use basic functionality of other Office applications.  I decided that I would give both Open Office and Google Apps a try.  Both free, so no investment for me to try them out.

More coming soon!