Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Does Personal Technology Really Simplify Life?

Does Personal Technology Really Simplify Life?

By Dennis D. McDonald

Does personal technology really simplify life? This question popped into my head while reading through Ariane Benefit’s blog, Neat Living, which is the target for this week’s Linkedin Bloggers Blog Boost.

She writes about self organization, discipline, and simplifying one’s life through topics such as closets, cleaning, donating computers, keeping track of one’s possessions, and being frugal. It’s a pretty wide range of topics. In one post, she even comments on the relationship between creativity and how one approaches staying organized.

Which brings me back to the role of technology in daily life. I suppose many people would say that technology does help them stay organized and prioritized, especially if they are the ones who are inclined to use tools to support the organization process. In my case, as a former gadget freak, I have resisted the impulse to keep acquiring more gadgets and have actually tried to reduce the number of systems I have to maintain.

That last comment is my main concern — systems have to be maintained. It seems that as one adds to the number of ef specialized electronic goodies one keeps that system maintenance does become an issue. One issue is whether or not one has to synchronize one with another, say, synchronizing a hand-held electronic organizer with a PC based tool. Since I use multiple computers and both Windows and Mac systems, I decided I didn’t want the hassle of synchronizing, so that’s one of the chief reasons I use a laptop, not a PDA, for tracking appointments, names, and addresses.

A second concern is battery maintenance. The more gadgets you have, the greater the variety of battery types you need to maintain. That means different charging and discharging cycles, different chargers (which have to be dragged around from location to location), and, of course, traveling with multiple types of batteries to swap in and swap out. I’ve got my personal battery menagerie down to three — a Windows laptop, a bare bones cell phone, and a digital camera. That’s enough for now, at least till I finally break down and buy an MP3 player so I can increase my DPCR (Daily Podcast Consumption Rate).

A third concern about personal technology is the “wall wart” current converter that comes with many electronic devices. It weighs a lot, is unsightly, and it takes up (usually) two outlets on an electrical strip. Obviously if you have fewer electronic devices to feed and charge, the number and variety of wall warts you have to worry about (and occasionally lose when you are traveling) becomes less of an issue.

To be honest, I’m probably just as much a gadget freak as I always was, It’s just that now my desire for variety is, to a great extent, satisfied by being able to access so many different types of applications and tools through my computers and through the Internet.  So it’s possible that my mind is now more cluttered than ever — even if I have been able to reduce the number and variety of rechargeable batteries I need to worry about!

Copyright (c) 2009 by Dennis D. McDonald


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