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New tricks

By   /   July 12, 2011  /   Comments

Did you ever get in a rut doing something in a particular way and later find out that there was a faster, more accurate or just plan better way? Technology poses challenges to us that make it necessary to periodically examine our practices. We need to systematically take advantage of the helpful gadgets, softwares and productivity tips that come along. Yes, I know we get into a comfort zone with old technologies and resist change, but listen to some of my recent experiences.

Here are some recent personal revelations. One of my office work stations had an old mechanical mouse (i.e. with ball) and over a period of time it started to drag and ignore my commands; usually at a time when mouse action was important. Sometimes it would stop moving altogether and I would even have to restart the PC to make it work again. I ignored it for months and one day in frustration I disconnected it and reached over to another desk and picked up a new wireless optical mouse and plugged it in. Instant success, quick decisive movements and I’m left thinking, “How dumb was it to let that old mouse cause me frustration when the solution was so readily at hand”?

I had a similar experience with a router that I bought a few years ago and even bought a range extender so that I could get a decent Wi-Fi signal downstairs from the upstairs router. It could cause frustration after power losses (pretty common) when I had to restart the router, then the signal booster to get the network back up.

After advising one of my clients to buy a new router to take advantage of the progress that’s been made in Wi-Fi hardware the last couple of years, I had one of those “Duh” moments on the way back to my office. By the way, my new router doesn’t need the booster anymore and I get a better signal downstairs than before with the booster.

A few months ago, I advised a reader to buy the Amazon Kindle when asked about eBook readers. At that time they were head and shoulders above their competitors. Today, times have changed (prices are pretty comparable), even if you don’t want their color model; I recommend the Nook by Barnes and Noble simply because they’re the first to get hooked up with libraries so that you can borrow virtual books. Now I’m sure that Amazon will get into that technology very quickly, but for today…

Speaking of libraries, there’s a venerable institution that’s constantly improving to keep up with technology and today’s demands for 24/7 access to services. According to Ashley Moore, Interim Director of the Dougherty County Public Library, over a thousand titles have been downloaded so far this year via Nook connections which use the Adobe EPUB format. Dougherty and Lee County Libraries both are members of the “Georgia Download Destination” a consortium put together to access eBooks for library clients all over the state.

In a future column I’ll showcase some of the other innovative ways that our local library is keeping up with the times and making more of their services availably virtually. You can preview them at www.docolib.org.

So, rethink your old ways and try something new.

jimhallWritten by Jim Hall. Email your questions to geekspeak@mchsi.com . You can find Jim online at HallsTrainingSolutions.com

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About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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