I’m glad for the variety of technological tools available to us these days, from medical diagnostics to digital cameras to laptops and the Internet. I wonder what we ever did without them.

But sometimes technology can bring grief and annoyance. Like when IE8 refuses to open a website I want/need to look at or my cell phone can’t get a signal in the middle of nowhere.  Or when I’m buying a new piece of tech.

The latter experience brought some reminders of lessons I should have learned, but never quite seem to:

  1. Ask lots of questions and get all the facts up front. I didn’t, so buying my new laptop was a great deal less pleasant that I wanted or expected.
  2. Don’t be in a hurry. I guess I wanted the techs at the shop where I bought my new machine to be miracle workers. It was unreasonable to expect that all my files would be transferred over from my old computer quickly and with no problems.
  3. Think things through. I deleted Office 2003 off the old machine before I had imported my .pst files into Outlook on my new laptop, and I didn’t know how to open those files. So, I had to call the tech at the shop. He was very helpful, but i should have made sure I had everything up and running on the new computer before getting rid of stuff on the old. If I had simply thought about it, I would have been more cautious.
  4. Remember Occam’s Razor. “All other things being equal, the simplest answer is usually the right one.” Neither IE8 nor Google Chrome would open certain websites. I had the problem on the old machine and on the new. I finally found the cause—a bad router—when I asked what the common element between the two might be and tested my theory.
  5. Ask for help. Besides the shop tech, I asked questions of a couple of my former students, who happen to be IT guys. Another problem led me to ask some clergy colleagues for a solution. All that assistance got me going again.

Now if I can just remember and practice those lessons, not only when dealing with tech but in all of life.

© 2010 Tom Cheatham