essay, started in three parts…
have this theory about progress.
applies to technology, but the framework fits several categories.
And, because we all like to laugh, it can be summed up in a joke:
early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
(I’m not citing this, as I’ve seen several possibilities, but
never anything definitive and I have no clue where or when I
first heard it. I think it’s become classic enough, and almost
cliched, that you understand.)
that established, here’s the theory: I often find that those that
make the biggest splashes in new areas are not actually the ones
that did the first work in that area.
theory isn’t perfect, and it’s certainly not exact, and it probably
should be referred to as a concept instead of a theory. Whatever.
I ask you… all of you that have, or had, or at least know of DirecTV
and Dish Network… what is PrimeStar?
kind of a trick question, since I believe much of the business
that was PrimeStar eventually was sold to DirecTV, but the idea
remains. Twenty-five years ago, more or less, PrimeStar was the
first massive attempt at a breakthrough satellite television group.
There had been renegades in the field previously, and humungous
dishes set up in backyards around the country, but the company
that really made the first advances in trying to shift consumers
from cable to satellite that most folks were aware of was… PrimeStar.
didn’t make it. People were aware of it. People didn’t create
a tidal wave of interest and sign up with them. Now though, look
at that, we have DirecTV and Dish Network. The business area survives.
reason I suppose theory doesn’t work as a description is because
it isn’t always the first handing off to the second followed by
success. Sometimes the second has to hand off to the third. Sometimes
one that seemed passed sticks around. Tests of permanence and
accuracy fail or blur. But theory or no, as a concept…
explodes, then PlayStation and Xbox take over. We still see Nintendo
though, don’t we?
heard of WordPerfect?
still exists. And the fact that so many of you (1) use Word, and,
(2) are surprised WordPerfect is being released in new and updated
formats… yeah, we are building on that concept.
parents have cell phones.
exactly a shocking statement. Cell phones are fairly common these
fun part of the statement comes from the idea of parents and technology.
As most of us know, for assistance with anything new, look to
the generation the follows. Parents with questions call children.
parents have cell phones and a computer and know about streaming
services. They even use them. Ahh… but when they have questions…
cell phone rings. (Or, the grandchildren. They love to ask the
grandchildren. Bragging usually becomes involved when the stories
are retold. (And rightly so.))
thing about Word and iPhones so on. Open them up, use them… or
those made under a different brand name… and they feel so… so…
you used WordPerfect as your choice twenty or twenty-five or whatever
years ago, you could sit down at a computer that only offered
Word and begin to work. You’d understand that you could change
fonts and adjust font sizes, or play with bold, italics and colors.
Things might not be identical… can’t be, since we are talking
about big companies with lots of attorneys… and yet they are similar
enough that you can work it out.
you accept that there has to be a way to justify the text edges,
the rest is simply finding that way. Word or WordPerfect or something
else, there will be differences… and there be a lot that feels
of a summary…
not someone that jumps on the latest and greatest technology with
amazing speed. Give me a cell phone that makes calls, handles
text messages, and can take a picture… not looking for much more
four years of my using the same smartphone, my parents updated
theirs. And the models they added managed to fit snugly in between
the one I first had and the one I have now.
using a Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel or Apple iPhone have experience
with earlier and later model types? Care to explain how smoothly
modifications from one edition to another work?
you have the iPhone 4 and someone else has the iPhone 6, I can
pretty much guarantee you some headaches in problem solving. Looks
the same. Feels the same. But there are big differences along
then the ribbon on top…
called me the other day.
was having problems with his laptop. It had been a while since
he had fired it up, and he decided it might be time to get some
updates sorted out. Plus, while he had it opened and running and
a bit of time that particular afternoon, he figured it might be
nice to get some things organized to his preferences. And with
that, he set off to look over his internet favorites and get a
bookmark or two (or more) placed.
frustrations pushed him to his phone.
main computer he uses has Internet Explorer as his primary browser
of choice. He doesn’t need anything fancy… doesn’t surf the web
for anything fancy… and falls into his habits and comfort zones
established over time. Fair enough.
was having troubles though, because even though he realized he
had a different versions of the browser on the computer and the
laptop, and the laptop was working on newer software, nothing
was even close to where it should be. He couldn’t find anything.
tried to talk him through it, but everything I suggested brought
on the same reaction.
he see this symbol? Could he right-click on this part of the screen
and select this option? Could he…
talking about it over the phone while walking around the garage
picking up some other stuff wasn’t working. Finally, I headed
to my office. While walking there, I asked him to take a picture
of his screen so I could look at it and attempt to guide him with
us sort of seeing at the same thing. And with that picture he
sent, I began to grasp our communication problems. Because the
Internet Explorer he had opened wasn’t like any Internet Explorer
I had ever seen.
out… it shouldn’t have been. We quickly worked out it was Microsoft
Edge. You know… that other Microsoft product for web browsing.
One that also happens to use a stylized E as a symbol.
a crazy world out there. Supposed to be getting easier, and, for
the most part it is. But it’s certainly no less frustrating. All
we can do is take a deep breath, step back to slightly alter our
perspective, and hopefully realize that the answer is there. It
just might look a little different.