Blog category showing work artifacts and discussing projects.
Blog category showing work artifacts and discussing projects.
By Dominique Jones
So many clients ask questions about adopting a new technical tool—a new type of computer such as an iMac, a handheld device such as a smart phone, a new type of software, using Facebook and Twitter in their marketing strategies, or a new application service such as Smashwords to publish their ebook. The answer is, inevitably, it depends.
What does it depend upon?
The technical environment, the person’s abilities, the uncertainty of the person’s computing situation, and the complexity of the technology. Somehow, though, that list feels like business- and techno- babble.
Deferred Decisions about Adopting New Technologies
It’s a lot like a situation I find myself processing in life around installing a ceiling fan in my dining area. I have been circling a solution to upgrade the ugly gold-colored pendant that sits directly in your line of sight as you enter our home. The main problem is that it clashes with everything else in our house. For years I have gone through a hemming-and-hawing process.
I have heard that changing a light fixture is simple. I have a loop in my mind that is always looking for the ultimate ceiling fan/light fixture that will blend into our southwestern architecture. I find something that costs at least $500, ponder, and dismiss it as too extravagant. After having fixed our water filter through research and experimentation, I also started researching how to hook up a light fixture on my own. I read a few sections in a book while standing at Home Depot. I watched home shows in frame-by-frame motion to grok the process of hooking up light wires in the ceiling. Of course, I searched online and watched YouTube videos. I even considered taking an adult education course on electrical maintenance. And I ended up getting a $15 replacement pendant cover to hook somewhat recklessly onto the bottom of the existing chain.
I am simply not comfortable changing and upgrading the light fixture at the wire level, no matter how much I read. And this story has been unfolding for five years.
That is a long time to suffer a line of sight I would like to improve. I think some of my clients suffer technology woes with the same non-starter experience. They have the spirit to move forward, and they know they would like something different, improved, more modern. They just feel inadequate to handle the whole thing, and they don’t even know which parts they should do themselves vs. which parts to contract. A feeling of discomfort leads to deferring the change that could help them appreciate technology more.
Personal Design for Technical Literacy
Like home design, there are so many choices in too many places when it comes to adopting a new hardware or software tool. There is a whole industry with its own language and standards that can serve as a barrier to action for someone who doesn’t know the right words to use to explain what they would like. The sheer number of choices and lack of simplicity conspire in a situation fraught with entropy. While commercials and emergent social mores send the message that technology is passing us by, the truth is that many people are passing technology by because they are presented with too much to absorb.
We are in times of change, like the early 20th century when electricity was not yet stable. Rural areas did not all have electricity at that time; just as rural areas do not all have Internet access at present. Electricity was run as a for-profit business and unregulated for decades. It was a young industry, and, similarly, we are still in the first 50 years of the widespread propagation of computing and networking.
Because the Web and the new communication abilities have brought such a dramatic change to our lives, in many cases easing burdens and making life easier, we focused on innovation after innovation. And businesses have a stake in prompting us to buy the latest generation of items. However, there is another aspect to creation that has not yet been experienced and embraced in the technology world: appreciation.
Multiple Approaches to Learning New Tech Skills
Instead of experiencing the joy of all our new capabilities as time progresses, we appear to be stuck, like a record skipping on a turn-table, in a cycle of innovate-improve-innovate-improve-innovate when it comes to interacting with technology. It feels like a techno junkie yearning for the latest gadget, or it sounds like someone throwing up their arms entirely and saying “I am just not technical!” It looks like the delusion that if you do not understand technology you are not “smart.” Or it looks like the delusion that all our students have access to the Web and to the tools they need to “compete in the 21st century.”
Instead of training our future generations to compete with technological skills, why not view tech as one more in a set of tools we can use to personalize our life experience in new and fascinating ways? After all, the technical tools we use are like other tools we use to build our environments, and we don’t require everyone to become an electrician in order to enjoy better lighting.
Or, we can view the technology we pick up and use as a game that is not so serious. Or, my personal favorite approach, we can view our interactions with technology as an art that we use while living our lives—a creative way to express ourselves as we paint the story of our lives onto the canvas of time.
Positive Technology Adoption
Whatever our circumstances in the technical world, we can consciously choose to enjoy our next steps. Positive psychologists who study happiness, such as David G. Meyers, are helping us define new definitions of human progress, and I think this applies to human technical progress as well. Meyers’ research showed, in his article “Who Is Happy?” that “wealth is like health: its absence can breed misery, yet having it is no guarantee of happiness.” I would extend this concept about happiness to our interactions with technology as well.
Being cut off from modern technologies can be limiting and painful as you try to navigate the online world, but after you have acquired a fairly small set of technical skills, you will have enough to get around. It’s like visiting a foreign country and learning enough to order in a restaurant. As you spend more time in the country, you will naturally learn more of the language. However, requiring yourself to learn limitlessly can set you up for feeling pressure. If you are suffering in any kind of technical project, know that the problem-solving and meeting the project timeline are a lot less important than witnessing your enjoyment in learning and creating new abilities. You have the power to choose your level of engagement, and you may find a happy truth that when they are made easier, you do enjoy things like video conference with your friends and family, recording your own audio podcasts, sending text messages or email on a smart phone while you are traveling, and other creative projects.
The freedom to choose is the greatest freedom I know so far, and we deserve enjoyment as much (or more) than we deserve innovation. Technology’s rise has brought with it a speed that is akin to desperation and technical innovators are tangled in a trellis of dark capitalism/competitiveness that has swept our culture for a few decades. Possibilities, however, have emerged alongside the greed and addiction. We can choose from profound communication capabilities and powerful automation capacities.
As it stands, however, there are trade-offs for implementing powerful technologies. It takes considerable capital and a hefty investment in learning new details. Even choosing an option to try is a process of details, details, and more details. It’s a delusion to think we can buy a new smart phone and immediately use all of its features without studying them and trying them out in several ways. We will not merely flip a switch and be able to navigate the virtual world.
You and Technology, Hand-in-Hand
One of the secrets to choosing technologies that work for you is to pace yourself. Choose only as much as you need. If you study and learn fewer things, you will have more time to enjoy your knowledge about the things you already have. Similarly, if organizations keep their automation projects more humble and realistic in scope, rather than reaching to be on the edge of innovation and to customize extensively, they can enjoy the improvements in their operations more.
The decision about how much to learn and imbibe of the new virtual landscape is very personal and we all can feel good about our level of interest. A good decision can come from the place where you feel genuinely curious about something, and free from pressure. If you start asking a lot of questions about a technical subject and you feel joy while you are asking (instead of dread, fear, frustration, or some other barrier), that is a clue that it would be a nice thing to explore learning to do yourself.
If you do not want to learn something, but want a system set up for you that is a great option, too. For example, I would not want the electrician I hire to change my light fixture to explain everything they are doing in detail so that after they leave I can change my own light fixture the next time. I would rather just hire them twice.
Hiring a person with expertise can help you work with a new technology a lot faster than working on your own. It is the solution to making a major change if you don’t feel comfortable as a DIY techie. If you want to interact with technology, the proper support can help you more naturally evolve in your relationship to the digital elements available in the world. An evolution peppered with support can enhance your life in our communication age. My opinion is that everyone who seems to be a “techie” has had considerable help along the way.
Humans have not yet found the best ways to express themselves through machines and networks. This is not to deny the transformational waves of improvement that have come about through what, in distant ages, would be called magical and miraculous communication methods. It is simply to acknowledge that we are in an age of technological chaos and that humans find more enjoyment and beauty in simplicity.
Technology is in the process of being created—it is not yet finished. Just like a gift, half of the joy is in its being received. When technology can find simplicity, we can add appreciation to innovation, and its creation will be complete. In the mean time, although not as easy as a light switch, you have lots of options and you can decide the level of engagement you would prefer in the virtual world without worry about whether you have the “right” setup.
We redesigned the HTML Newsletter for SEI. SEI uses the InfusionSoft service for their marketing needs, and their HTML newsletter is an integral part of staying in contact with their community and stakeholders each month. They needed Web expertise to make a more attractive and stable newsletter template so that they can focus on the content of what they have to share rather than coding for the Web.
By the way, Soaring Eagle Institute is our preferred partner for our business coaching needs, and we have a post under recommendations that provides some information on their seminar Thriving in a Chaotic World: Working More Effectively With Stakeholders.
You can see the before and after.
BEFORE: June 2010 Newsletter
After: February 2011 Newsletter
Please consider contacting us for affordable rates on HTML Newsletter Design Services and help your organization to soar to the e-mail of your qualified leads in the very near future!
A project like this can be done within a day or two, depending on whether you have your content ready to go. If you do not have your content ready, you can also utilize our services to help you write or find articles for your newsletter.
The Daddy of all web hosts? Yes, in my humble opinion (imho), GoDaddy is great as far as a Web host. We have had sites hosted here for about a decade, and we can attest to the reliability, customer service, and software availability on Godaddy. It’s also as economical as any other Web host out there, depending on your needs.
We have a special right now, where you can have us handle organizing and setting up your Web hosting, e-mail, and any other online services you may need (such as online file sharing, faxing, calendar) for only $199 plus the GoDaddy hosting fees. Contact us at 505-977-8827 if you’d like to get started today, or email us.
That means you can gain the efficiency of our GoDaddy knowledge, as we have worked with their systems for several years. You can get your site set up fast, with any support you need for moving forward. This is a great advantage, since it can take a while to learn about host software, WordPress (if you want to start a blog), and Web design and security at any Web host. We can handle all this for you!
To keep it real, the only down side I have ever experienced is a little bit of need to study how their Web site is organized. Sometimes it is apparent, but sometimes I need to hunt to figure out how to do something. This is better than being limited by services not offered at all.
If I call, their customer service is available 24 hours a day, however. So any difficulties are ameliorated by their strong customer service.
What are the things I have done on Godaddy? Well, here is a partial list:
- Worpress sites
- Web sites and Email (including Web mail) for clients’ domains
- Securing Web sites with SSL
- Online Fax Services / Email Faxing
- Ecommerce & Web Shopping Carts
- Linux/Unix and Windows Web sites
- Web applications (.NET and Java)
- Linking domain names to Google Blogger sites
- Drupal and Joomla Content Management Systems
- Video and audio podcasts
- Online Calendars
- Getting Dedicated Servers for Clients
- Storing large file online
You can depend on GoDaddy, like any good patriarch 🙂
We created a YouTube Channel for 7000BC, New Mexico’s coalition of independent comic writers and artists. If you like these videos, there are several other artists and writers you may be interested in connecting with at 7000 BC.
We posted the first lesson (three videos) in Making Comics Our Way, a series of lessons in comic creation.
These are only the first in a series of educational, free videos that will be available to the public. Paul Ziomek (overthetopcomics.com) and Chuck Larntz (larntz.com) produced this video and you can view them below, or visit the 7000bcComics YouTube Channel.
7000 BC Comics is in the process of producing educational videos for comic artists and writers. This set of 3 videos comprises lesson one on creating characters. We at larntz.com directed and filmed the videos, edited the videos, provided graphic design, created a Youtube Channel, and published the videos on YouTube.
You can also see more of Paul Ziomek’s work at Over The Top Comics.
We helped a client design and develop an HTML newsletter that they can reuse to keep their clients updated on the latest news from their company. Please view the result by clicking here.
We have a special rate for an HTML newsletter project (design and development–you supply the content), of $500 per project. If you would like some Web/HTML support to get your newsletter in tip-top shape for e-mail distribution backed up by a Web landing page, please contact us.
If you would like a recommendation on e-mail distribution programs, try ConstantContact. For a more robust solution, try InfusionSoft.
Hillside Community Church struggled for many years with a Web site that was unchanging and not designed. Today, they have current information and a site that flows better. We organized the information contained on their site, developed it in WordPress, and implemented the go-live process.
View it live at www.hillsidechurch.net.
Earcandy Archive is a site dedicated to music and music lovers. Larntz Enterprises provided file organization/management, graphic design, Web site design, WordPress and WordPress theme integration, host setup, multimedia (audio) integration, and technical support/training.
We helped the proprietor of Eternal Haunted Summer ezine both fix their menu and fix several display issues within their current template. They are now set up to add additional issues of their ezine without their menu growing with a menu item for each magazine issue. Instead, there is a drop-down menu item named “Issues.”
Also, see our review of their Web host at Supergreenhost.com Recommendation.