Editor’s note: My app lament: Neither paper free, nor truly mobile to be

April 15, 2012

I can’t decide how I feel about apps.

I have about four or five screen-fulls of icons on my smart phone, and many more programs that stay hidden behind my menu button.

On my iPad I have far more; a bunch placed there by family members during some particularly long-forgotten car trip.

Every now I cull through them, and look for new ones to add. Its cathartic in a way, like cleaning the closet.

I have perhaps a dozen or more I use regularly. They help me keep tabs on my friends, my schedule, what I eat, how far I’ve run, what I’m listening to, or reading, how my teams are doing and much more. I have a separate BlackBerry, and I use that mostly for e-mail and taking notes when I am out and about.

These days, almost all of that data is backed up to the cloud, so if I lose my phone(s) I don’t lose my life.

More importantly, placing it in cyberspace means I can access it on my desktop, and it is on my desktop where that information can be shared and copied and organized and mused upon with far more ease than any of my mobile gadgets.

And that’s the rub.

As a group, all of my apps tend to do one thing well. But they don’t particularly seem to play well together. The few that have thought about such complexities drain my battery in no time flat.

I sometimes think how cool it would be to ditch the desktop and live tether-free, roaming the workplace on nothing more than a wireless connection, searching for an empty cubicle to set up base camp, waiting for inspiration to find me.

Inevitably, though, I come back to my own desk and chair and find it so much easier to get things done.

It reminds me of the days when I carried my Palm Pilot around and dreamed of one day going paper free.

That didn’t come to pass either.

Just ask my work mates by the office printer.

Dan Beyers is the founding editor of Capital Business, The Washington Post’s go-to source for news about the region’s business community.
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