I’m intrigued by technology. Of course, web technologies and computing technology is at the top of my list of things I need to do and do them NOW! At least that is my desire, the reality is I am not one that is on the ‘bleeding edge‘ of technology. I do wait a bit to see what others are saying or what they have experienced before spending my hard earned cash on technology.
Even if I don’t run out to purchase the laptop with the latest AMD or Intel chipset, the most recent version of software I use, the newest 3.0 USB thumb drive, or the latest attempt to produce whatever the perfect tablet is – that does not mean that I am unaware that technology is moving forward. And I write this to keep you aware of this as well. Why is that important to you? Because as technology moves on you need to understand when it may be time for you to move on in technology.
Some examples of this could include:
I am one that looks for a compelling reason to upgrade my technology. Just because a company has changed hands (like when Adobe purchased Macromedia) is not a good reason for me to purchase software that has limited updates and has only been rebranded to reflect a new owner’s name. But – if they have enhanced the software and I’m convinced I need the new feature(s), I will be upgrading to take advantage of the offering.
Keep in mind, if you are running a business and get customers that come to you with an item (like a web site) that has been built by others using the newer version of software, you may need to reassess your software needs to meet the needs of a potential customer.
Things to look for here are enhancements and potential costs if you choose to skip a version (or 2) for all software programs. Of course, the downside could be the need for compatibility with others in your business or internal to the company you work in.
Things keep on getting better, smaller, faster and more functional than ever. I look for specific needs and uses for the hardware I am looking to use. If my computer is only capable of USB 2.0 connections, do I need to spend more on an item that connects with USB 3.0 – or can I purchase older technology for a bit less to meet my needs? It is also wise to attempt to project future needs as you upgrade and migrate hardware to newer versions as well – especially be mindful of backwards compatibility of hardware and what specs you need to work with existing and newer items (do I need an IDE or SATA hard drive? what slot do I need to purchase for a new video card? is this the correct memory upgrade for this hardware?).
Don’t forget to look at those other devices you hook to your computer as well. If you love that old dot matrix printer that you have had for years and print invoices on it in triplicate, you may want to make sure your new hardware has a parallel port so you can plug it in as well as the drivers to make the printer work with the new hardware. Or it could be time to upgrade that printer!
This is a bit tricky at times. Not only will you find lovers and haters for any O/S, you will find that you need to make sure software programs and hardware will be compatible as you move forward to a new O/S. Don’t anticipate that game your child loves will magically load and work from your Windows ME machine to the new Windows 7 one! You may need to check that the Zip drive you have always used for backups on your old PC will work with then new one as well so you can do your backups the way you want to.
Use of Outputs
This is where you take a finished product and put it out for all to see. I’ve written before about items such as cross-browser compatibility and making sure what you put out works on whatever device your customer is using. With new technology this gets even harder to do!
It was not many years ago that a smart phone was developed. Now folks are doing work on these devices and others (think tablets as well as netbooks, laptops and desktop computers). One of the things designers needed to keep in mind was who would be working with the information they put out, would it display as intended on targeted devices?
It wasn’t long ago that web designers would only use JPG and GIF files on web sites. The reasoning was the lowest common denominator (what would customers be using – computers, displays and browsers). The hold up was not computers or displays, it was versions of web browsers most folks used would not support the PNG format of images, so it was best not to use that. Today, that rule is not the same and many sites use PNG images because the majority of customers now use browsers that support that image format.
This ‘output’ could also include technologies like blogs (like this one). Recently WordPress ramped up to the Gershwin release (version 3.2) and with this came some changes.
This is where current blog owners needed to make sure their hosting had the minimum requirements to ensure they could upgrade to this release. If you read the post Are You Ready for WordPress 3.2? you will find that outdated browsers were being dropped. Why? Because most customers are not reading blogs with very old browsers anymore!
In conclusion, it does not really matter if you or I are ready to move on or not – technology IS moving on. The question then becomes one of our planning to move and the ramifications of making the move. I hope this post gets you to thinking of what updates and items you need to take care of when you make the move to newer technology!