Monday, April 02, 2007

New toys, new techniques

One of the most interesting things about changes in technology is how those changes inspire us to change the very ways that we use technology. This is obviously the case with big, sweeping changes in technology. No one can argue that things like the telephone (in its day) and the Internet (during the last decade) had a massive impact on the way we communicate with each other.

But smaller changes in technology can also change the way approach our day-to-day lives.

When I first got my blackberry a couple of years ago, it was nothing but a cell phone with a bunch of kind-of interesting features attached to it. But after playing with it for a few months, I started to wrap my head around those other features, and I began to modify -- in small ways -- the way in which I used technology. I started scheduling things instead of actually depending on my memory. I stopped checking my email on my computer, and started to get it on the blackberry. More and more of my life began to find its way into that little device.

Mind you, this level of dependence has caused more than a little panic on the one or two occasions that I was convinced that I had lost the damn thing somewhere, but that's not really the point I'm trying to make.

The point is that in order to really progress in the 21st century, you can't pigeonhole new technology into the old ways of doing things. You have to invent new ways to capitalize on what new technology offers you.

In the last week, I've started to play around a bit with Google's "Docs and Spreadsheets" and "Notes" -- both web-based applications, and both incredibly cool, if you are able to look at them in new ways.

There's a new project currently under development at the newspaper I'm working at, and I'm currently trying to find ways that these online tools can be used to make this project more efficient. The ability to open both your word processing documents and your notes to collaborators means that processes like story editing and project planning can be more easily performed by multiple people.

I'm sure I have yet to maximize the possibilities provided by these two Google services, and I may never get around to doing that. But already their existence is inspiring me to rethink the way I do some of the most integral parts of my job. And, assuming those changes lead to improvements, that can only be a good thing.

1 comment:

Bandeau said...

Well as for the new project at work I really want to help out with that however I can. I know I didn't seem overly enthused about it before, but that's just the thought of impending doom coming from the ad reps side. Otherwise I know it's something I would actually want to pick up and read, so if I have a chance to help create it in any way I'll take it. It might not show but my life revolved around art back home, and here I have been seriously lacking in that and it’s fairly depressing. I’m hoping this will be something to look forward to at work, and I’m glad someone put enough thought into it to make it a reality.