Making Technology Simpler

Marty McFly hoverboard
Great Scott! This scene was set in 2015!

In the 1940s, we saw Dick Tracy’s wrist-radio and thought of how much easier life would be if we could call people without finding a pay phone.

In the ’60s, we saw Rosie, the Jetsons’ robot maid, and dreamed of how much more enjoyable life would be if robots could clean our houses.

In the ’80s, we saw Marty McFly riding that hoverboard and dreamed of…well, being able to skate across water?

Personal technology[1] has always seemed to promise an easier and more enjoyable life. But if you walk into an electronics store today, you can buy a wristwatch that allows you to make phone calls or a robotic vacuum cleaner. (I’m still searching for the hoverboard aisle.) Why then aren’t we all wearing smartwatches and having our floors vacuumed by Roombas? I say there are two main reasons: price and complexity.

From lightbulbs to phones, each innovation in personal technology has been introduced to the public at a price that you or I can’t afford to pay. But as time marches on, these innovative products are improved upon, and previous models become more and more affordable.

For example, in 1984 the Motorola DynaTac 8000 was the very first cell phone sold. It cost $4000 and weighed almost 2 pounds. As the price dropped and cell phones continued to improve, more people began to use them. Now almost half the people on the planet use a cell phone. New innovations and just-released products aren’t bought by many people…not yet, at least.

These new inventions and innovations might give us a glimpse into what personal technology will look like years down the road, but I will rarely talk about them in this blog. On the other hand, many of the personal technology products available to us today have reached a price point where their benefits in our daily lives might very well outweigh their cost.

This brings me to the second thing that keeps us from adopting new technology into our daily lives: complexity. Often, new devices just add more headache to our lives than benefits. In some cases, I’d say the answer is to stick with what you’re used to.

But many times these new technologies only feel overwhelming until you understand them better, and then you begin to realize their benefits in your day-to-day life. Maybe you’ve heard someone say you need to back up your computer, but you have no idea how. Do you even need a smartphone? What about lightbulbs: incandescent, fluorescent, LED, halogen? DVD or Blu-Ray?

That’s where I hope this blog will help you out. My goal is to help you make sense of the options out there in personal technology, and in language that’s understandable. What options are there, and what’s best for you? Will it actually make your day-to-day life easier and more enjoyable? Maybe you already have a certain product, but you’re trying to figure out how to use it more effectively.

I won’t be able to troubleshoot specific problems, but other people probably have those same questions you do. I’d love to help you understand what you’re using more clearly and make technology simpler for you.

Welcome to the first post on my new blog! If you feel this blog might be helpful for you, please come back. I plan to post on a new topic weekly, and I’d love to talk about what matters to you. If you want to get my posts sent to you by email, just click the “Follow” button on the right side of this page.

Maybe you feel pretty tech-savvy, but you know someone who could use some help in this area. Pass this on to them!

Fill out the form below to send me a question, and I’ll do my best to answer it. See you next week, and in the mean time, let me know what you want to talk about!

1 – When I say “personal technology” I’m referring to technology people use on a regular basis. So this includes things you might carry with you (like phone or laptop) but also things you would use in your home (TV, air conditioner, Wi-fi router, Xbox, etc.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: