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Opinion: Smarter than a smart phone

October 11, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Find the .PST file. Rename it from whatever it is (probably Outlook.pst) to something else (like Goodbye.pst). The name change will prevent any application from accessing and changing your Outlook data, and will help you go "cold turkey" from Outlook.

But by keeping the file around, you can simply rename the file and be back in business with Outlook if something goes south. Since you had previously established a "Connection" with Plaxo, Outlook and Plaxo will sync, and Outlook will be brought back up to date.

After you've gained trust and comfort with your new, online system you can uninstall Outlook.

Of course, there are downsides to this whole approach. If you're on an airplane, for example, or in a place where you have no Internet connection, you won't have access to your online data. Also, your personal information, although better protected from phone thieves, is less protected from online hackers. Some people aren't comfortable putting their PIM data online.

The upsides, however, are great. You can get your PIM data from any PC or phone, so if you have an unrecoverable crash, you'll still be able get at your vital data. You can pick any phone on any carrier (I've got my eye on the Helio Fin), even those that were eliminated from consideration by the old requirements of Outlook support, PIM applications and the need for a big keyboard. Phone thieves can't steal your data. And, best of all, you can kiss Outlook goodbye forever.

With freedom comes responsibility. So make sure you're using good passwords. Take the time to really learn and master these new services to enjoy their maximum benefits. I've just skimmed the surface with what you can do with Plaxo, Google Calendar, Gubb and Jott. By exploring and trying all the options and features, you'll be able to tailor them to perfectly suit your style of work and play in ways your old setup could never even attempt.

Outlook who?

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. Contact Mike at or his blog, The Raw Feed.

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