Six Clues Your Technology May Be Falling Way Behind!

Posted in IT Stuff with tags , , , , , , , on August 2, 2011 by mjohnsonitstuff

Technology Has Changed While You Read This!  Wow! So how are folks supposed to keep up with this constantly changing barrage of new technology thrust upon us every day? Basically the task at hand is to not necessarily be on the “bleeding edge” of technological change but to avoid being on the “fleeting edge”! Simply put, don’t fall way behind by thinking that a technology never expires!  It does and it must be replaced with newer,better performing technology on a regular basis along with the improved processes to optimize the use of those new technologies. Don’t fool yourself, you cannot keep nor use technology much more than two to three years and continue to call yourself current, efficient, and productive. So here are a few things you might consider to determine just how current you are on the technological curve!

  1.  XP Lives!  Please convince me that your eight track tapes are no longer in use!
  2. “Just the FAX please!” Just like the old show “Dragnet”, it’s fairly black and white that much more efficient ways of sharing data exist.
  3. Blue Files, Red Files, Lots of Files  Paperless means paperless! Receiving, storing and retrieving virtually every type of information in a digital form should be routine by now.
  4. “Let Me Check My Email.”  Utilization of social media and other digital forms of communications are drastically reducing email traffic if you find yourself smothered by email.
  5. Cell Phone What’s the opposite of “smart” phone?
  6. Tablet  No longer “plop, plop, fizz, fizz” but “oh what a plethora of information there is!”

So, are you current or have you fallen behind?

Technology Does Expire Doesn’t It?

Posted in Ramblings on May 11, 2011 by mjohnsonitstuff

Technology isn’t what it used to be! Well excuse me, but duh! So why is it that so many organizations continue to utilize antiquated and obsolete computing resources? Time and time again I observe organizations clinging to their oldest computers and software in the belief that it is saving them money! Nothing could be further from the truth as this line of thinking strangles productivity and efficiency and stymies those team members willing to grasp the newer technologies. In many cases, younger team members are coming to jobs where the computing technology in use is inferior to their own personal devices such as their personal laptop and mobile devices such as a smartphone and a tablet. (please note the “mobile” nature of the personal devices!) So what does an organization do?

First, the organization must decide that information technology is a strategic investment and refuse to continue to look at it as an expense. By committing to update both computing hardware and software on a regular basis the organization secures faster computing equipment with more feature-rich software, period. This easily results in more productivity by all team members. In addition, investing in the time to provide proper training on the optimum use of the software and then productivity gains are virtually assured!

Second, consider making as many computing resources as possible mobile in nature.  In other words, embrace the use of laptops, smartphones and tablets! This mobility encourages team members to invest in their own computing skills development and provides much more connectivity throughout the organization as a whole. While data security and privacy are a concern, in nearly every circumstance the added mobility provided with this approach far outweighs the security and privacy challenges. Needless to say, Wi-Fi and internet resources are basically ubiquitous now and provide constant connectivity!

Finally, leadership in an organization should be willing to become advocates for technological advance. This advocacy does not mean providing just budget and lip service to technology resources, but leadership should be major adopters and users of the technology!  Simply put, leading by example in this area will pay huge organizational dividends.

The Anticipation is Over!

Posted in IT Stuff on February 11, 2011 by mjohnsonitstuff

Ok, so the wait for the Verizon Iphone is over! The device is already in the hands of many loyal Verizon customers who waited these long four years, including me. And simply put, the wait has been worth every minute of it. Here are some thoughts about the Verizon Iphone.

The phone is small, comfortable in the hand and carries a brilliant screen. It is easy to activate and easy to setup for basic operations. Utilizing various Iphone apps is straightforward and actually entertaining. And perhaps most satisfying of all is that phone conversations are clear and almost always are completed by the participants! Can you hear me now! Ya betcha!

Finally, all technology devices are valuable to the owner only to the extent they understand how to leverage it for efficient and productive use. Many time folks learn baseline opertions of their device and never truly experience the full benefits available to them. The Iphone’s baseline operations give the user a head start on other users around them when it comes to rapid response to emails, text messages, blogs, etc. along with many others. But if the user will take the time to formulate how the Iphone can truly assist them in the delivery of their business solutions they will find themselves vastly more productive and efficient than on most smartphones.

Hurry Up! …and Wait!

Posted in IT Stuff on January 18, 2011 by mjohnsonitstuff

Ironically, nothing ever happens fast enough for most of us. Take for example, the Verizon Iphone. Many folks have waited for what seems like a decade for this device to come to market even though it has only been a mere four years or so! Even now, with the much anticipated event happening in less than 30 days, many can hardly stand the delay!  Personally, I believe the wait will have  been worth it based on accumulated experience with Verizon and its network. Even with this much ballyhooed release though, there are those who still say you might want to wait even longer to see what the summer may bring in the way of an Iphone 5. Frankly, I believe the old saying of “He who hesitates is lost!” fits this situation rather appropriately and here is why!

First, Apple hasn’t shown any commitment to releasing a Iphone anytime soon that will take advantage of Verizon’s new LTE Network. Even if they did, a vast majority of the American landscape won’t have Verizon LTE service until late 2011 or early 2012. Second, this thing about talking and surfing at the same time on an Iphone is also way overblown.  Simply put, it doesn’t happen a lot and we all know that since most people tend to use their phones when they are driving anyway, it should be relatively seldom that someone is driving, talking and surfing at the same time! And finally, why give up the experience, productivity, and learning curve that can be enjoyed for the next six to eight months while waiting on what at this point is pure speculation!

So I say, Hurry Up and Do It Now!

What Comes First? The Chicken or the…..

Posted in Ramblings on September 8, 2010 by mjohnsonitstuff

“The hurrier I do…the behinder I get!”  Okay, I understand this quote may not strike you as intellectually deep, but with the information technology overload of today, I think we might find this quote provides some valuable insights for us. You see we have consistently been led to believe that the implementation of new technologies would aid us in being more efficient and productive in whatever we were about doing. It didn’t really matter what that doing was about, technology and especially information technology, was going to ensure we accomplished whatever we were doing quicker, better, faster while simultaneously accomplishing it cheaper and easier!

Somewhere though, we allowed the entire equation to get out of balance, mainly by throwing technology solutions at problems instead of solving problems with application of new technologies. For example, how about the simple use of electronic mail. From the early days of this technology, the tool was used mainly for communications, but quickly became a repository for all communications past and present requiring hours of management and organization time to simply catalog and retrieve predominantly useless emails. Worried about finding something we kept everything instead of deleting emails that required no further reference or attention clogging up disk drives with archives and email stores with always expanding disk requirements. Before long, we had created for ourselves additional work just managing the storage of all that email! The more email we got, the further behind we got! Then we added a calendar, a task list, and contacts! Again, the more we communicated the further behind we found ourselves.

Of course hindsight is 20/20 they say and I understand that as these technologies started we didn’t really have the tools available then to operate paperless systems like we do today but we could have done some things differently! Instead, we just kept grabbing the technology without stopping and truly applying how we could have best used it to solve our work problems. If we had simply reminded ourselves that at the end of the day we always emptied our regular mailbox at home, did something with that content, and then applied that same approach to our electronic email systems at work, we could have saved ourselves countless hours of wasted time!

So to avoid continuing this approach we should consider carefully our processes before we throw technology at it and instead determine the best process to accomplish our objective then apply technology to that process that will most efficiently achieve the desired results. This of course means developing and documenting processes before we decide on the technologies to use!  So What Comes First? The Process or the New Technology?

Bad Reality Show?

Posted in Ramblings on August 10, 2010 by mjohnsonitstuff

Is it live or… Is it Memorex? Many of you will remember those Memorex advertisements challenging people to determine if the music they were listening to was live or a recording on a Memorex cassette tape. And for the time, 1971 or so, it was a very good quality recording!  It was so good in fact that you actually did have a difficult time separating live sounds from recorded sounds.

Fast forward to today(no pun intended)! We have replaced Memorex tape with digital systems such as mp3 players and the Ipod, and the ability to distinguish between live music and a recording has become that much more difficult to discern. And in this area of technological advance, most music aficionados say thanks and wow! But for many others of us, not only has this advance in sound quality fallen on deaf ears, but so much of the technology available to us today has been lost or viewed as if it only exist in a bad reality show! 

You see, reality shows actually have very little  to do with reality. What they have to do with is entertainment, fantasy and illusion. Many folks view technology in that same perspective; as entertainment, fantasy and illusion.  What could be further from the truth or reality of our lives today! Just a few quick examples. When was the last time you stopped in at the local gas station and purchased a roadmap so you could make sure you reached your destination? Maybe you use Mapquest or some similar service on the internet to retrieve driving directions. You then print out the directions and use them while you are driving. Or maybe you have a GPS such as a Garmin or Magellan. Or maybe you even have an app on your phone that serves as a GPS.  Now that’s reality!  Or maybe you still use the paper yellow pages or call 411 to find a phone number!  Nearly all numbers can be found rapidly on the internet using a cadre of different services.  Many of them will provide not only the number but lots of information as well.  And if you are willing to drop a few bucks, you can find out more than you ever wanted to know about someone. Yep, more reality!

So you see, if you view rapid technology change as a bad reality show you might be losing your own grip on reality! Let me encourage you to consider creating some reality of your own by jumping into this new world of technology and its many fascinating benefits.

By the way, here’s one of those Memorex ads for your viewing.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUz4NWFEbiU

Don’t Blink!

Posted in Ramblings on July 20, 2010 by mjohnsonitstuff

Don’t blink, you’ll miss it!  How many times have you heard those words in your lifetime? More than a few times I’m sure.  However, those words may have never been more relevant than they are now when they are uttered in reference to the continued pace of technology change. Yes, in the time it takes you to blink an eye, something if not many things will have changed regarding technology.

The first personal computer I saw was a Radio Shack TRS-80.  It wasn’t too much longer after that I saw my first IBM-PC.  Both were dual-floppy models! For the younger ones of you that means that one floppy disk contained the programs and the other floppy disk stored the data. There was no such thing as a hard drive in those days. I honestly can’t remember the amount of memory on the machines, but I can assure you it was miniscule!  To say that the processing speeds of these machines were faster than a glacier is simply untrue! Blink!

Rapidly, as hardware began to develop, I hurried through the IBM-XT and the IBM-AT. Blink! Then on to a Compaq Luggable! Blink! Blink!  Then through a veritable plethora of Compaq notebooks and laptops Blink! Blink! Blink! to the HP EliteBook I use today! Blink! Oh yeah, I forgot my Ipad!  So in what seems to be in the blink of an eye I have seen my personal computing resources progress from a stand-alone, oversized, unconnected piece of metal to the light weight almost continously connected composite materials of a touchscreen device! Blink!  What’s next?

While I believe we will continue to see enormous advances in the hardware we use I am convinced that this rapid change is presenting all of us with overwhelming quantities of information and data.  Some of that information and data is valuable, the rest not so valuable. So the issue becomes how we utilize this information to accomplish what we do in our daily activities both on the job and in our personal lives before it becomes obsolete. Blink! Rumors are a second version of the Ipad will be available before Christmas!