Using Technology to Make Your Life Easier

Technology changes so fast these days that you have to run like crazy just to keep up.  It seems like hardly a day goes buy that the "gurus" are aren’t touting the newest and best.  If you follow technology at all, you wake up every morning with an inbox full of messages about the latest tools.  The cycle usually runs like this.  Today you get a ton of messages announcing that Microsoft, or Google, or some new company has come out with a new service or piece of software that you absolutely have to have.

Tomorrow you get a flood of messages telling you what’s wrong with the same new gadget.  It’s buggy.  It crashes all the time.  It’s likely to make your computer explode.

Then things get pretty quiet for a few days until next week when we start all over again with something even newer to replace last week’s hot item.

Here’s the thing.  Computers and other high tech tools are exactly that–tools.  They should improve your life, either at home or at work. If all the new bells and whistles don’t do that, then why waste your time and money?  Combining an iPod with a cell phone to create the iPhone was a great idea, but it’s not for everyone.  If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.  If all you want is a device to stay in touch when you’re on the go, isn’t a simple cell phone with a reliable signal all you really need?  The more services and the more buttons you add to the phone, the more difficult it is to just make a call.

Personally, I use the heck out of Facebook and twitter, but I realize that they’re not for everyone.  If you like that kind of social network, then which one(s) do you choose?  Jaiku and Pownce are similar to twitter and MySpace is just one alternative to Facebook, although it is the most popular.  Then there’s Friendfeed which falls somewhere in between.

This morning I wanted to send a message to a friend.  I know that she’s on Facebook, Friendfeed, twitter, Jaiku, and has her own web site.  Where do I post my message?  I thought this stuff was supposed to make life simpler, not more complicated.

I suppose that over time the marketplace will make the decisions for us.  Remember VHS vs. Betamax?  Even the powerful Sony Corp. wasn’t able to force it’s system on consumers who prefered the VHS format.  It’s not unreasonable to think that a similar shakeup is coming with social media.  Meanwhile, we have to take the claims for the latest toys with a grain of salt.  Newer doesn’t always equal better.  Microsoft Vista anybody?

I’m writing this post sitting outside at a local coffee shop, St. Louis Bread Company.  (Outside of the St. Louis market they’re called Panera Bread Company.) The network at the office has been down all morning making it hard to get anything done.  But through the magic of WiFi, I’m able to move MYOB and the rest of what I do to a remote location and actually get more done than if I had stayed at my desk.  That’s what got me to thinking about tools that make life easier.  There’s nothing more exciting here than a laptop with a wireless connection and a business that offers free access to the web.  What’s in it for them?  When I get done with this post, I’ll stay for lunch.

With some of the newer, sexier tools around, what I’m doing isn’t all that unique or exciting.  There must be a dozen other folks around here working away on their notebooks.  But it gets the job done, and that’s really all that counts.

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3 Responses

  1. Who has the time to use all these tools? I find a lot of these so called tools are just time suckers.I think some of the problems with young people they spend so much time at the computer they miss a lot of interaction with other people face to face. Maybe that’s why people are putting on so much weight, to much time sitting.
    Sometimes I wish I could just sit and do nothing but that happens so seldom.

  2. Who has the time to use all these tools? I find a lot of these so called tools are just time suckers.I think some of the problems with young people they spend so much time at the computer they miss a lot of interaction with other people face to face. Maybe that’s why people are putting on so much weight, to much time sitting.
    Sometimes I wish I could just sit and do nothing but that happens so seldom.

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