What's New in Technology for August 2000
You Have an Invitation to the Inauguration!
So, who will it be? Will it be George W. Bush or perhaps Al Gore? Perhaps it will be Ralph Nader?
But then again, we really don’t care for the purposes of this article, because we aren’t speaking about the Presidential Inauguration. We are talking about the inauguration of our new “Tech U” section and are we excited!
We have big plans for this new section. So big, in fact, that we expect we will eventually eclipse Bill Gates in importance in the world of PC and Internet technology.
Well, maybe not that big, but we do plan on helping you make better decisions about what technology really is and how you should use it and, more importantly, how you should not use it.
With that little introduction, let’s define technology.
If you are like most people, when you think of technology, you think of some wacky computer guy trying to teach you and all your adult friends how to work that box on your desk that your two-year-old already knows how to use. In fact, the wacky computer guy may be your two-year-old.
If your are a business person, you are probably thinking, “Oh, no! Something else to pay for.”
If you can identify with either of these images, you are only partially right. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “technology” as a) the application of science, especially to industrial or commercial objective or b) the scientific method and material used to achieve a commercial or industrial objective.
This much broader definition is how we tend to look at technology. Our view of technology includes everything from the telephone by your bed to the “Supercomputers” used by the most sophisticated of computer users. That car you use to get to the office or wherever it may take you is part of today’s technology. Your television is “technology” and so is your microwave. In fact, when you get right down to it, even the toaster in your kitchen is “technology”.
But don’t worry, we aren’t Consumer Reports and we don’t intend on becoming anything near that. Our job, as we see it, is to expose you, our friends, to the possibilities. Possibilities such as getting the work done faster so you can go to your kid’s ballgame or make it to that date with your wife or significant other tonight.
Just imagine, this technology stuff may just allow you to have a life other than work. To many of us, that’s a novel idea, but completely possible through the “proper” use of technology.
So, what do we mean by the proper use of technology? We mean using the tools created by our current and future technology to do your work smarter, faster and, yes, better. We mean using technology to take care of your domestic needs faster and easier to allow you the time to spend with your children.
What we don’t mean by “proper” is keeping you or your employees from using your equipment to surf obscene sites or forward a plethora of meaningless e-mails to family and friends. We may give you some ideas in the future of how to control these things, but our purpose is not to tell you what is a “right” and a “wrong” use of the technology available to you. While we may have our own ideas on certain of these issues, “you” must make the final decision for yourself or your company.
To give you an idea of how “technology” has made life easier from a business perspective, let’s talk about clothing. That’s right, clothing. How un-high tech can you get? Contrary to popular belief, when Fred Flintstone wanted a new suit, he couldn’t just go down to the local Bedrock department store and get it. First, he had to go kill something - preferably something with fur if it was a winter suit, but only after he had paid the hunting license fee. Then, he had to skin the animal and do something with the meat, the bones and anything else he didn’t plan to wear. His next step was to get Wilma to tan the hide and make it suitable for wearing. Finally, she had to cut it and put it together in some in appropriate form to cover all of Fred.
No doubt this took a significant amount of time.
Then, long after Fred’s time, a miracle happened. Someone discovered that they could take various fibers and spin them into a long stringy thing called “yarn.” Not only that, this genius found that they could weave this “yarn” together into a very big piece of fabric that could be cut and fitted like an animal skin. If Fred were around then, he would have been happy because he really didn’t like the way bearskin felt and Wilma would have been ecstatic because she didn’t like the way it smelled. This also meant Fred controlled, to some extent, what he wore because he wasn’t dependent on whether it was bear or dear season.
Still, all of this was done by hand and it took a long time to weave the cloth for new clothing.
The centuries wore on and, little by little, various technologies were employed to the point where today it easier, quicker and cheaper to produce fabrics. Today, if Fred wants a new winter suit, it takes him only an hour or two to go to a store, pick out a suit, try it on and have it altered. Another half hour to pick the suit up when it is back from alterations and voila, Fred has a new suit for Monday morning at the office.
All of this is due to technology – the application of scientific principles to industrial needs. In this case, not only is Fred’s life made easier, so is his Wilma’s. Because of the specialization required by the new technology, jobs are created so other people are happy.
Best of all, the bear is really happy because it still has its skin and the clothing is cheaper than Fred ever thought it could be.
If all this sounds like a win-win situation, it is and it was all brought about by the use of technology.
This is a simple illustration and we hope it brings the point home that “technology” isn’t a dirty word, but a concept that can make your life easier, more productive and, yes, more fun.
Like any change, though, using new technology will make even the most adventurous a little uneasy. That’s where we hope this column will help. We won’t be able to eliminate your trepidation about using new technologies, but we will help you make informed decisions. With that, your fears should be relieved somewhat.
So, join us for future articles about computers, software, telephones, copiers and similar technologies that can help you at home as well as work. Until then, have a good month and don’t forget to call us with any questions you may have.