Thursday, May 19, 2011

Choosing the Tech

When I learn about a new technology tool, I often want to try it.  Then I want everyone else to try it.  The problem becomes too many choices.  Many tech tools have the same basic premise, with just a few unique twists.  You can end up with a lot of accounts, a lot of software on your computer, and a lot of add-ons, plug-ins, browser extensions, and widgets.  At some point, you have to pick one to keep up your productivity. 

A great example is universal chat clients.  The idea is to save you from having to support G-Talk, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, etc. by making them all accessible through one interface.  That's great, but there are various ways to do this. Some require a download/installation and some only require an account. - Set up an account with Meebo and log in to your various accounts there. Uses any web browser, so no downloads or installs required. - Not only can you access your various chat accounts, but also alerts you to new emails and activity on your social networks. - Access your various chat accounts through one easy-to-use interface. Requires download and installation. - Everything Pidgin does, but includes mobile access for Android, iPhone, and Blackberry.

Chat clients is only one example.  Think about how many social bookmarking sites there are (,,, picture sharing (,,, Twitter platform alternatives (,, could go on and on.

My point is that I want to try lots of them so I can decide which one has the best features for the way the tool or service fits into my workstyle and my projects.  I want to be aware of lots of services so I can recognize them when I see other people using them.  I can't use them all at once, though.  Deciding which are worth trying sometimes comes down to who else I see is using them or which are mentioned in blogs, articles, and conference presentations.

Ok, now I have to go uninstall some redundant software and install some new platforms to try!

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