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VOL. 129 | NO. 43 | Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Susan Drake

The High Cost of Chrome, Glass and Surfaces

By Susan Drake

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I resisted the computer age. I really did. Then one of my generation’s early adopters encouraged me to buy a Leading Edge computer. My life was forever changed. No more Wite-Out correction fluid or carbon paper. I was free.

Today I was investigating the various new entries in the “gotta have it” space and I learned about Google Glass, which combines your glasses and a computer. To me, that would be the definition of disaster. Trying to walk and talk to my glasses to find out how to say “tulip” in Dutch would land me on the curb for sure.

Besides being hazardous to my health, it was only a short while ago that I learned to love my iPhone and an iPad. The only thing is, I have big fingers and long nails, which precludes my typing on an itty-bitty screen. Not to mention needing a magnifying glass to see the itty-bitty screen. (Hey, that’s an idea! A magnifying glass attached to my iPhone. #useful) Now we hear that Apple is supposedly going to make a larger iPhone, following the Samsung Galaxy that had it all along.

I could go broke just trying to stay up to date on the new devices that are coming out every few months. So, I am now suggesting that to have personal power you need a strategy and a line item for your technology. Here are just some things to think about.

1. Unless you’re wealthy, don’t be an early adopter of anything. Wait until the first version comes out, they work out the bugs, and on about round three, the device should be as good as it gets. Until they change it next year.

2. Ask yourself, what will this device do for me that’s better, faster or cheaper than what I’m using now. This is just good old fashioned return on investment. Can you process customer orders more quickly or with fewer errors?

3. Is it user-friendly? Except for the Millennials, no one is born knowing how to use technology. Undoubtedly our bodies will evolve to grow computer thumbs, but by then, they too will be outdated. Is this device worth the time it will take to become adept at using it?

4. Use delay tactics to see if you can get it, A) used or B) cheaper new. If you see an ad for a “Hot new (device name here) available tomorrow at midnight!” you can bet that in a couple of months it will be less expensive.

5. Use your network to find out who has it and what they think of it. Heaven knows, there are enough ways to chat online and see what people are saying. You should never believe the ad; believe your friends.

Remember, the least-best way to be uncool is to invest in something that will be dissed by the community. I’m thinking of my former father-in-law, an early adopter who bought both an Edsel and a Corvair Station Wagon – two auto disasters that lost ALL their value. Bless his heart. Power to the geeks.

Susan Drake is a marketing and communications professional. Contact her at susand@spellbindersinc.com.

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