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Out of sync at 35,000 feet

Jack Gold offers the ultimate road warrior's complaint--but when will tech vendors start to listen?

As I sit here on yet another long-distance flight, the person in front of me has reclined the seat, and now my laptop truly is in my lap.

The top of my screen is wedged up against the seat back. With barely enough room to type on the keyboard angled into my midsection, I wish I had a small, light "road warrior" machine (or that I could get to fly first class).

Like so many business users with more than one computer, I do have a smaller notebook I could have brought. But I rarely end up taking it on the road. It is much too difficult to keep the machine up to date with all of the files I am working on. Transferring files I keep in "My Documents" would not be so bad. But the real problem is keeping two completely synchronized and up-to-date Outlook files.

Why is it so hard to keep multiple machines in sync? It is a question I increasingly ask.

I can't see spending an hour or two synching up Outlook between machines each time I leave to travel, and then doing the same upon my return. It just isn't worth it.

Why is it so hard to keep multiple machines in sync? It is a question I increasingly ask. Why haven't the vendors solved this problem for us? For instance, why can't Microsoft figure out the synching problem at the operating system level? Why can't Intel come up with a scheme with all of their nice concept machine designs?

Yes, there are some third-party applications that do this (though probably not adequately for Outlook), but why should I have to buy another piece of software when this is such a fundamental requirement?

Does having two machines raise all kinds of issues for enterprises (cost, additional licensing of apps, etc.)? Yes, but this is only temporary, and the future will bring more user-based licensing rather than individual machine-based licensing (especially if significant numbers of people have more than one machine and push back on vendors to make multi-machine licenses affordable).

Certainly, offering another machine to some employees raises a cost issue for companies. But often the cost of the second machine is less than the cost of a nice executive office chair or fancy desk--an area in which many companies don't seem to have a problem when it comes to spending.

So, Mr. Gates, as you think about enhancements to your next-generation operating system, please figure out how to easily and safely keep two (or more) machines in sync for us traveling types. By the way, it means I will be buying two machines--twice the revenue for you and the hardware manufacturers (sort of like the two-car family). And don't forget allowing us to put Office on our other machines as well.

As for Intel's Paul Otellini, please look at an easy, user-friendly way to do synching at the machine hardware level that would make users' lives easier. It doesn't seem like it would be that hard to do. Many of us who have multiple machines would be very grateful (not to mention that you would sell lots more chips).