Keeping Up With The Digital Joneses

Like all mortal men, I have an irrational fear of becoming irrelevant as life goes on. I’ve always prided myself (and built my career on) being cutting edge and knowing the latest and best ways of doing things. Technology is moving at a very fast pace, and now that I’m not in Silicon Valley, I’m totally into the FOMO movement. Oh, just in case you’re not hip and current like me, FOMO is Fear Of Missing Out.

So what do I do? I force myself to change. Sometimes simple things, sometimes complex things. I remember changing over to Mac a few years ago and I enjoyed how it stretched me. I still hate not having a backspace key, but other than that I no longer miss anything from the PC world.

Today I completed my move into the cloud for email. Since the early days of email, I’ve always relied on a local client to process email. Outlook dominated most of the early years, with a smattering of Thunderbird and other early 3rd party applications. I still have all my Outlook backup files from 15 years ago. It was comfortable and familiar knowing that I could look up and retrieve any email or attachment simply by opening a local file. When I switched to Mac, I simply adopted Apple Mail.

Six months ago I stopped using Apple Mail on my work Mac. I did this because of bolt-on functionality for CRM and other needs that work for gmail on the web, but not in a local client. This was a huge step and I kept saying that I would do this for home when I got the chance.

But change is hard. I never found the time nor had the inclination to change at home. Today, however, presented itself with over 200 unread messages in my home mail account and I simply broke. I didn’t want to go through them all.

The change from a local client to a web client isn’t just interface changes. It’s workflow changes. For example, on Apple Mail I would delete any message I didn’t need to keep but kept messages needing action or a reply in my inbox. Others were put into folders for easy retrieval later. One simple glance at my inbox showed me my action items.

On the gmail web client, I star things that need action and do a bulk “mark as read” to process all the emails I don’t want or need to read. If I need to retrieve an email, I do what Google wants me to do: search. If I need to see my action items, I view only starred items.

Fortunately, my company uses corporate gmail so I now have the same provider for both work and home. Thanks to the change today, I now have the same process for both. The blurring of lines continues.

This email change was voluntary. Some changes aren’t.

This is my old phone, Android, after I ignored the Tennessee State Fair Midway’s advice of removing valuables from my pocket before a particular ride.

2014-09-16 16.43.21

This is my old school spare phone, iPhone 4, which I’ll use until my newish Android phone arrives. I’ve always “gone both ways” with mobile technology, rocking an Android phone and an iPad, but changing to all iOS still requires me to exercise changes in how I process messages, calls, alerts, calendars and more.

2014-09-16 17.11.45

So this week is a banner week for me keeping up with changes. I feel the tug of irrelevancy on my life, but I’m refusing to give in!

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1 reply »

  1. I’m with you Paul, I never want to be obsolete. You and I won’t be because we are naturally curious and want to learn and remake ourselves. That’s why I am so excited about my new Intervention teaching position. I will get to take part in Los Alamitos Unified School District’s staff development opportunities and they are on the cutting edge in educational trends. I’ll get to start learning about concepts like CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction) and Depth and Complexity icons which are big in the GATE community. I leave you with a great quote, “The race for excellence has no finish line.” (Author unknown)

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