2006/12/22

Better Living Through InfoComm Tools

The internet sucked up a couple hours of my life this morning, sparking the decision to write today's post on the topic of "Better Living Through InfoComm Tools."

By "InfoComm Tools", I mean information and communication tools, especially those tools related to the Web, the internet, computing and consumer electronic devices.

The Lifehacker website does a good job of covering infocomm tools, as do many other sites, but in spite of all the info available about the infocomm tools, there are many times the "There must be a better way to do this" feeling pops up.

While much of the "better way to do this" feeling may be attributed to people always wanting what they don't have, and some of the feeling is due to specific tools not having yet been developed, a significant reason for the desire for better tools is because most of us do not take time to learn how to use available tools.

A "better way to do it" situation that repeatedly makes itself known to me is scheduling meetings. Figuring out a day and time for meeting with others seems like way more of a hassle than it ought to be. Whether it's a meeting with one other person or a project meeting with eight other people, it seems to take forever to set up a meeting.

One reason to meet is to communicate with others regarding tasks required to accomplish a common objective. Much of the communication required to complete those tasks can unquestionably be done via email, IM, collaborative web tools or some other means that does not require two or more people to be connected at the same time. With most people and collaborative efforts, though, a certain amount of synchronous discussion is beneficial.

One key to scheduling meetings is to do it as far ahead of time as possible. However, even for project teams and other meetings that can be scheduled in advance, the meeting scheduler needs to figure out who the key participants are and make sure the meeting time will work for them.

A well-designed online calendar and meeting scheduler tool will be a 'killer app.' I won't use the scheduler as frequently as Google, but it will be just as indispensable. If you use a meeting scheduler tool, please post a comment with links to the tool and details of how you use it.

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