Tech Savvy: Advancing techKNOWLEDGEy | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Tech Savvy: Advancing techKNOWLEDGEy

Posted: August 10, 2012 - 8:33pm
Kelly Humphrey Phil Seibel (left) and Jessi Pierce show how Skype can be used with an IPad and a smart phone.
Kelly Humphrey Phil Seibel (left) and Jessi Pierce show how Skype can be used with an IPad and a smart phone.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve reviewed some of the great apps that we’re fans of, talked about some of the new trends and have hinted at reviews in the making. But that was really only part of what Tech Savvy is.

Another, and most important, component of this column is to help you. As business owners, employees, entrepreneurs and just people living in this technological world, it is important to stay ahead of this tech curve and be able to adapt your habits to what’s here and what is coming.

New technology has fundamentally changed the way we interact socially, with email and social media now providing instant interaction between our networks across all demographics and ages. And now, more than ever, we are also seeing how it has even affected the way we work.

We’ve talked to a few people who have expressed their hesitance in moving forward and accepting the vast amount of technologies, and for reasons we understand. And in that, we would love to hear what your questions are. What are your fears of using the new technologies? What struggles do you face in putting them in place? As you look to implement mobile plans and new online ventures, how is that affecting how you make decisions for your business?

As the year goes on we will still cover some of the fun things that we really enjoy about tech and new trends, but we also want to make sure that we are providing good, reliable information that is easy to understand and implement them for you.

Making changes is going to be necessary. It won’t be the last time you make them and more often than not you will experience some setbacks before you can reap the rewards.

So in order to help alleviate some of the resistance, we wanted to break down the importance of advancing technology in both the workplace and our personal homes this week.

Let’s figure it out together. Let’s figure out how we can share all of this information together.

The importance of advancing tech in the workplace

BY PHIL SEIBEL

In my office alone, there are employees who have used tech that has spanned decades. Think about all of the changes that have happened in the last 30 years; manual typewriters, electric typewriters, the first desktop computers, all the way up to today where mobile is quickly becoming king. I am one of the first generations that will not know what it was like not to have a computer and internet in my home my entire life. Cassette tapes are old news to me and I fondly remember using the Number Munchers game on a Mac to help me learn basic math in elementary school.

Translate that over to the working world and technology has also fundamentally changed the way we work. In a company where we have vast resources in sister companies in Georgia, Florida and Alaska, I can use email to get information, send contracts and images and keep large groups of people on the same page. We’ve migrated from merely using conference calling to using video chat to hold meetings and discuss new ideas. Even here at the newspaper, we’re not just a newspaper. We’ve adapted to become a full fledged media company that can offer multiple platforms, delivery methods and marketing solutions that even a mere 10 years ago would have been impossible.

This is the case the world over. The way you did business, even two years ago, is not the way you do now. How many of you remember thinking that you would never need a computer, a work email address or a website? It can be overwhelming when you think about how in 100 years the largest changes came by introducing radio and television. Earth shattering, no doubt, but still platforms that remained relatively unchallenged during that time. It had been the same with print before that. All of a sudden within the last 30 years, the internet has evolved and been implemented to turn everything inside up, and upside out! This can lead to a real anxiousness, and even fear, over what new tech can bring. There are horror stories about people having their identity stolen, losing years of data from a bad hard drive, and even losing touch with etiquette because of this technology.

The big question many people seem to have is: “How much can I trust this new tech, is it necessary that I use it? And if so, where do I begin?”

Well, I’m here to tell you that there will always be change. There will always be that fear and trepidation, and the best that we can hope for is that we can make informed decisions that will help us be the best prepared for any scenario that results. It’s perfectly fair to assume that if you invest in a new computer, you expect to be able to use it for more than a month without it being outdated. You expect that if you invest in training your employees how to use a video chat, that they will be able to continue using it for a respectable amount of time.

I’m also here to tell you that you don’t have to figure it out all on your own. The items that we will cover here are certainly not the be all, end all, but we will try to provide information to you that will help you understand some of the new tech, feel more comfortable using it, and be a resource to you when you have questions. We love to have reader submitted questions, we’re not experts in everything in the world, but Jessi and I both have a passion for learning, and if we don’t know the answer to your questions, we dive right in to learning what the best solution is.

PHIL SEIBEL, Digital Manager, may be reached at 855-5862 or phil.seibel@brainerddispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pseibel(@pseibel).

Expanding communication, not losing it in advancing technology

BY JESSI PIERCE

“Oh great, so now that photo you just took is going to be all over Facebook isn’t it?”

I can’t count the number of times I have heard my mom say that of all the pictures I take during family events. And, nine times out of 10, she’s right. Facebook, along with other social media phenoms like Twitter, LinkedIn and so on have become extremely integrated into our society that it’s almost becoming second nature for most, especially those in my generation and younger who don’t know otherwise.

Our versions of photo albums have become digital on all of the aforementioned platforms, but the great thing about that is that those digital versions are easily shared with friends and families across the country and around the world with little snail-mail interference.

Social media and social technology excites me because of the ever expanding capabilities that they possess.

It makes staying in touch and updated on what people you know are doing in today’s fast-paced and busy lifestyle.

“Why can’t you just pick up a phone and call?”

Like the print edition of newspapers, phone calls are something that will never become obsolete — although land-lines seem to be nearing extinction for most — even in today’s technologically advanced world where text messages and emails seem to reign king. The reason texts and emails are so prevalent is because there are great for a quick question or answer and can be sent in mass quantities. Say you want to have people over for a game night, rather than calling 15 of your closest friends, a quick text or email gets the invite out with a quick hit of the send button. Talk about a timesaver. In today’s world, communication is instantaneous

Of course a phone call and voice conversation can never be replaced as a great catch-up tool, but how many times have you wished you could just see your friend, mom or son that is thousands of miles away? Thanks to technology you can with video chats on social media sites like Gmail, Skype and even today’s iPhones.

And while there will always be some resistance to the ever-changing world around us — I agree with my mom that an actual photo is better than staring at one on the computer and can understand my grandma’s annoyance with the ever constant texting — it’s part of the world we live in today. Good, bad or ugly. But as Phil said, take a ride along with us and we will help you through it.

Welcome to the future!

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or jessi.pierce@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jessi_pierce (@jessi_pierce).