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« Surprised By a Diary | Main | Hipster PDAs, Work Diary Observations & a To Do Concept »

Desire for the "New Thing"

Over at PDA 24/7, I've been following some excellent articles by Neil Brown about PDAs and technology. Yesterday, I read his article, entitled Is it time for a change? I found it interesting to read Neil's comments about Palm OS and being nearly enticed away by Pocket PC.

Now, most of you know that I prefer Palm OS, but PPC devices certainly do have nice features. As always it really comes down to what you want to do and what you truly need in a device. However, this bit in the article caught my eye:

It's weird; I have an incredibly nice PDA, a good range of useful software, and I make use of it every day. And yet something inside me wants to talk a walk into the abyss, to find and utilise something new. And probably get used to it crashing.

It's interesting because Neil nails something I've seen in myself from time to time — a desire for the "New Thing". By that I mean I have this insatiable desire to try new things all the time, particularly Mac software and gadgets. However, over time I've been learning to resist this desire more and more.

Why? Well, I'm learning that I need to be much more selective about what I choose to explore in new software and hardware. What I've found is, new software, while often cool, takes more time to learn and fiddle with than tried and true software I'm already using. I try instead to evaluate the new features against "fiddle factor" before I install a flashy new app or run an upgrade.

As for hardware, it's similar. I now have a Tungsten E, and don't much mess with new software anymore — I've spent enough time gathering solid apps like Wordsmith, iSilo, DocumentsToGo, e*Mail and many others, and see no huge need to explore at the moment. I probably don't even have the latest versions, because what I have in place works so well. And, I don't crash.

I still remember years ago, when I used Mac OS 8. Back then, I'd encounter frequent crashes (multiple times daily) and problems with my Mac. I became so frustrated, that I imposed a ban on installing any new or upgraded software, unless it was critical. A few days in, I was surprised to find crashes had lessened greatly. In fact, I'm still careful about software on my Mac.

Now, I don't mean to say that I'm uninterested in new software — quite the contrary! If something compelling comes along, I will still be interested. It's in my nature to be interested in new software or hardware. However, I'll certainly apply the of features vs. fiddle formula in the decision.

I think the antidote to the "new Thing" bug is to put new things into perspective. Be real about the advantages measured against the true value you'll get in return. Most of all, be real about the disruption the new thing will have on your life and normal processes.

Hey, have a great weekend everyone!

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