It's early in the morning and quite typically I'm running late. As I'm running out the door, I grab my cell phone and pager. As usual, my cell phone vibrates with new messages as I turn it on while hopping into the car. While on the drive in to work, I pick up my cell phone's voice mail and check the voice mail at my office. When I arrive at the client site of my current consulting engagement, I check my client-provided voice mail. As I'm listening to those voice mail messages, I boot up the client-provided PC. Last night's e- mails start to come in as well as a few old and unsuccessful "RU There?" messages from the instant messenger system I use. Later, as the day progresses, I'll check my office Web-enabled e-mail and when I get home at night I'll pick up my personal e-mail.

This daily litany is driven not by the need to communicate but by the sheer quantity and diversity of the communication tools employed today. Personally, these tools can be totaled as follows: three voice mail-enabled phones, three e-mail accounts, one pager and one instant messenger, for a grand total of eight, count them, eight different, incompatible and not-close-to-being-integrated communication tools. What's amazing about this is that I am no where near being a techno Bill out of a Dilbert cartoon with this multitude of devices velcroed to my belt. I am merely a technical-savvy guy trying to use currently available and popular technology as efficiently as possible.

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