2007/01/14

Technology That Really Helps Non-Geeks

Technology exists that truly helps non-geeks enjoy life more than they would without that technology, but what are some examples of this?

Research will be done over the next two weeks to determine what technology tools and techniques are most valuable to those people who are not tech enthusiasts. If you have a suggestion for something that belongs in this category, please mention it in a comment on this blog post or send me an email.

Non-geeks should adopt technology tools that have been around for a year or two so the early adopters have had time to work out some of the bugs. In most cases, waiting for a piece of technology to mature not only gets rid of a lot of the bugs but also gives you more features for a lower price.

With some products, waiting a year or two may not get rid of all or almost all the bugs or features that could only be enjoyed by someone who loves technology. An example of this is Windows computers. Innovation and the global economy are responsible for some tech products never becoming truly user-friendly. Frequent improvements are expected and delivered in these products, and those improvements mean changes in the way things work. The last thing non-geeks want is technology that changes on them every six months.

People who generally find technology more annoying than fun need to be able to ignore most of the interesting tech services and products that their tech enthusiasts friends, along with the media, are continually oohing and ahhing over. Reality is a long way from perception with respect to new technologies.

In light of the above criteria, what are some technology services or products that really do help non-geeks? Below are a few examples.
  1. Digital cameras: It is almost impossible to buy a camera that isn't digital. For the average person, digital cameras have lots of benefits (see the photograph almost immediately, take nearly unlimited pictures, store them compactly) and few, if any, negatives.
  2. Online maps: Once you start using Mapquest, Google Maps, Yahoo Maps or any of the other online mapping services, you'll wonder how you did without it.
  3. In-car GPS: Some of the in-car GPS (global positioning system) navigation guides have progressed to the point where they're a great help to non-geeks. A non-geek friend recently took a road trip with his son to visit colleges in several different states. He didn't look at maps prior to the trip to figure out their route, but just relied on the GPS navigation system that came in the rental vehicle. He had no problems using the unit and was totally happy with how well it worked. He seemed sure that piece of technology did at least as good a job of navigating as he would have.
  4. Mac computer: The Mac computer is a perfect computer for someone who doesn't want to learn a whole lot about computers, but wants to do email and look at websites mentioned in the newspaper or in magazines they read.
  5. Global search for personal computers - When you have hundreds or thousands of word processing documents, pictures, songs and other assorted files on your personal computer, it was challenging to quickly find the particular file you're looking for with the older search tools. The new global search functions for personal computers can find whatever file you're looking for, wherever it is on the computer. These new search tools, such as Google's Desktop Search or the Mac Spotlight search function, don't just search by the file name, but will search for file content. You can easily find such things as an email you sent to Aunt Martha in 2005 telling her about the great birthday party your daughter had or all the files you have that discuss global warming or alternative energy.
If you want technology to make your life better, use tools and services that have stood the test of time and that your friends aren't complaining about too much. And call myDigitechnician if you need some help!

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