On Adopting New Technology

... big computers!It is amazing how many people are aghast when they discover that I have never owned an:

  • ipod / mp3 player
  • iphone / smart phone
  • ipad / tablet computer
  • e-reader
  • gameboy/misc. gaming device

But I’m still “looking”.  I have identified some key features that I want.  I need something robust enough to handle full featured Office products (not lite versions) AND handle Zimbra (my workplace email application).  I don’t think it will be a smart phone… A flip phone answers my text and verbal messaging needs. And yes, gasp (!), I also still have a home phone landline.  I recently checked again with several fire/police officials and they told me that emergency services still use landlines to achieve best response in times of emergency.  So I hang on to that archaic item as well.

E-readers are too single purpose for me, which was also my opinion of ipods, though I am dismayed that sometimes music production companies are not launching CD albums, but just mp3. I still feel like I’m much more likely to lose or ruin mp3 collections through computer/devise crashes than a similar set of CDs.  Likewise, I sigh upon encountering the novellas, pre-quels, in-between series stories that are released as e-read only. That I resolve with desktop reader applications, though reading via my laptop is not in the least ideal.. I confess that I still like paper books (and audio books I play in my car!) best for recreational reading. I simply don’t get the same feeling of comfort and joy being surrounded by computer files of books instead of a library corner with wall to wall copies of my favorite fictional friends. That being said, nothing beats online search ability and organization when it comes to professional reading.

I think this all ties to one of my key tenants for PKM…. if an application doesn’t meet my needs, it is not going to be a priority for me to spend time (or money) with it, no matter how shiny and appealing it is to my gadget-curious mind.  Instead, I read reviews, watch my friends and co-workers to see how they use their gadgets and bide my time for the device that has the features I most desire.  So far, that still appears to be my laptop with wireless connectivity.  This singular focus of device connectivity allows me to spend my time exploring other tools that will help me right now like Microsoft OneNote, mind/concept mapping tools, and, most recently, WordPress, the tool which has allowed me to create this blog/website which you are reading right now.

I’m also a fan of cloud technology and love the ability to sync applications like OneNote  which lives on my work computer with my laptop version  at home. Web-based bookmarking tools like Delicious and Diigo have also given me the freedom to capture and retrieve from any location my list of favorite websites and blogs. Cloud Storage tools like DropBox and SkyDrive save me the effort of carrying thumb drives or emailing files to myself.  New technology often vastly improves my workflow processes.  However, as I tell my students in my Productivity Tools workshop, you must weigh the time involved in learning a new tool and identify what difficulties that tool will solve for your current workflow before taking the new technology plunge.

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