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Technology and the work life balance

Anyone who follows me on Facebook will know too well that I hate staying indoors.  Every weekend I am skiing (or in my case snowboarding) with the kids, rock climbing, walking up the mountains or throwing myself down a hill on the mountain bike.  Recently this has now started creeping into the working week too.  Let me explain.

I can solve most of my clients day to day issues from my phone using either Teamviewer or Pulseway. These two pieces of software form the basis of my remote working and without them it would not be possible.  For more complicated issues requiring a bigger screen I have a laptop in my car along with mobile wifi which I am never more than 45 mins from.  This setup allows me to do the things I enjoy (when I am quiet) whilst still providing support to my clients.  I have lost count of the number of times I have been “in the wilds” and fixed a clients issue within 10 mins from my phone.

It is not only me that is aiming for a better work life balance though.  I have clients that only work afternoons whilst some only do mornings.  I know of people whose “offices” are coffee shops with free wifi and others who work from home.  Gone are the days where everyone has to be in an office 9 – 5 and the reason – technology.

Most homes have broadband speeds that eclipse a lot of offices.  A lot of applications are now accessed through a website whilst emails can be accessed from anywhere.  Need a meeting – theres an app for that too!!

So next time you are stuck in an office on a warm day remember one thing, there is a better way!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Cisco, Windows, OS X and Linux based IT Support to small businesses throughout Scotland.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

Technology has made our lives easier but has it made it better?

Technology these days is great. You can purchase items from your phone via an app, we have cars that make travelling vast distances easy and we can even talk to people on the other side of the world using software like Skype.  The possibilities are endless so no argument then that technology has made our lives easier but has it made it better?

The reason I ask is due to a conversation I had with a client last week regarding Facebook. He has thousands of “friends” on Facebook and thinks nothing better than sharing his daily life with them.  He has got to the point that his entire life revolves around Facebook (i.e interacting with his “friends”) with little human contact with most of them whatsoever.  Even though I am a regular user of Facebook (and yes I do share pictures on it too) I consider myself old fashioned in that I still phone my friends up and speak to them.  The lack of social contact would worry me but to a lot of people this is now their life. Same goes for Twitter and to a lesser extent LinkedIN (not used Google+ so can’t comment on it).

Then there are calculators.  Lovely things that add and subtract numbers quickly so we don’t have to think.  Be honest when did you last do long multiplication or division?  I know so many people who basically can’t add up in their heads (my wife for example) and rely on calculators to do it for them.

These are just two examples of technology making our lives easier and to be honest I could write a list.

Technology makes things easier – yes

Technology makes things better – not so convinced (medical research not included)

I am very interested in everyone’s opinions on this so please feel free to agree or disagree with me.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Cisco, Windows, OS X and Linux based IT Support to small businesses throughout Scotland.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

Are older people getting left behind by technology?

I was called out to a client on monday (on my holidays too!!) to sort out an EPOS (Electronic Point of Sales) system which had just crashed.  While trying to get the system back up to a working state I got talking to an older gentleman who came into the shop to pay his papers.  The conversation went like this:

“Problems son?” “I am trying to get the tills back working again” “Ah I know the feeling. Everytime something goes wrong with my laptop I don’t have a clue. The older generation like myself are getting left behind with all this technology”

I can see his point. Every time a new technology comes out and I think my clients are going to start adopting it I learn it (Office 365 is a good example).  I accept this as IT is my business and I need to stay on top of it. What happens though if you are a regular user?

Kids are fantastic at picking up new technology as they are constantly learning new stuff on a daily basis (3 year old and a tablet anyone?) but the older generation can be a bit slower.  I would like to point out that I also know quite a few “older” people who love learning new technology but on the whole as we get older we become more set in our ways and therefore more reluctant to learn new stuff.

With the demise of Windows XP many old systems are getting replaced and of course they now come with a different operating system (whether Windows 7 or Windows 8) and I know a lot of older people who just can’t cope with the changes.  They miss knowing how to operate the system and hate having to relearn everything.

I know we can’t slow down the pace of technology but are we leaving many older people behind?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

 

 

Has technology actually made our lives better?

Here is a thought for you – has all this technology we take for granted actually made our lives better? I would expect the answer from most people to be ‘hell yeh” but what about the people who just “don’t get technology” or even the ones who have to clean up the mess this technology actually makes in the first place.  Let me explain.

Batteries.  Everyone uses them to power gadgets (myself included) but does everyone know about the destruction caused by mining the nickel that goes into making them.  I went on a motorcycle trip to Russia back in 2008 and while checking out Lonely Planet I came across a place called Nikel on the Kola Peninsula right on the Norwegian border.  I decided to go along and take a look. The photo below is what greated me. 11092008187

Everywhere you looked it was black.  There is no living vegetation within a 50 mile radius of the town and everything within the town is covered in soot (and I do mean everything). Now I know that mining creates jobs but would you really want to live in a place like this?

Lets now take computer parts.  Once we have finished with our ‘old’ computers we recycle them in the local tip.  They usually get sent off to places in China and south east Asia where people sift through them for reusable parts.

h109recyclingpoisons

Would you like your children working like this? Do you think that their standard of life is better?

Closer to home we have pensioners or the so called ‘silver surfers’.  Many older people don’t like using computers because it is so different to what they are used too. While many end up using them they the find that the ‘old’ way of doing things just worked.  A lot even shun using them altogether because they find it too hard to learn. They then feel excluded from society because they don’t tweet, use facebook  or even use email.

So next time you turn on that new gadget take a minute to think – is this actually making peoples lives better?

About the Author

P1020114Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk. Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

Should children be immersed in technology?


I was out having a meeting in a coffee shop last week when a girl and her mum walked past our table.  Nothing out of the ordinary there you would say but in this instance the girl (aged about 5) was holding an iPhone.  To this my guest piped up “I would never leave any of my kids have an iPhone at that age.  Just leave them be kids”.

This seriously got me thinking.  Should our children be allowed to get immersed in the technology we use on a daily basis or should we shield them from it, allow them to “just be kids” and sort it out at a later date?

Take my 3 year old girl as an example.  She loves my Blackberry Playbook to bits (it is kid proof by the way!!).  She has learnt how to access apps, switch between them and even load up Mr Tumble on You Tube (parents will know what I am talking about here).  She shows a lot of interest in playing with keyboards, using the Eeepc 701(again kid proof) and just computers in general. She also likes mimicking dad on the phone by talking into her toy phone while wandering around the house (we all do it).  Should I stop her doing all this stuff especially since it was not forced on her but rather she likes it? She still gets to “just be a kid” when she goes to playgroup or just sits and plays with her toys.

There is so much technology around these days that if we were to turn it all off the world would be cast back to the dark ages overnight.  If we like it or not it is here to stay.  To this end surely it is better to get kids used to it and show them how to use it responsibly rather than hide it from them.  Who better than your mum and dad to show you how to do things because believe me there will always be someone else available to show them if you don’t.

IT should also be higher up the school agenda alongside Maths, English (in our case) and Science.  Yes you still need the ‘traditional’ subjects but you also need the IT skills to use them.  For example when was the last time you wrote a letter?

At this point I want to clarify one thing.  I would never allow any of my kids to use Facebook until they fully understood the dangers of using social media. Social media is fantastic when used in the correct manner but it can also be used to cause great harm too.

So should children be immersed in technology?  Over to you.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

Is technology advancing too fast?

Here is a question for you how much of today’s technology do you really understand? Are you one of these people who uses technology to make their daily life easier but doesn’t want or need to understand how it works?

The reason I ask is I was trawling the internet yesterday when I came across an article asking if the Terminator films could ever become real. Could we ever create a system which could turn on us? (the answer in the article was unlikely by the way). It did however get me thinking that the pace of technology at the moment is so fast that some people are getting left behind.  I see a lot of this during my everyday work. For example I get a lot of calls to fix clients computers and when I get there they are riddled with viruses. A lot of people don’t understand that you can’t just go around the internet and download what you like.


When I was growing up if you had a PC in your home you were doing well.  Now there are multiple computers, laptops and smartphones in every home all connected to the Internet where you have people using Facebook and Twitter telling everyone what they are getting upto in their daily lives. Twenty years ago this would have been unthinkable.

We now have military drones which can take off and fly to a target, bomb it, fly home and then land again. The washing machine in my kitchen has more processing power than the Apollo spaceship which went to the moon!!!!!

Personally I think that all kids should have a better understanding of computers and computing should be given a higher standing in schools (along with English, Maths and Science).  This is the only way they are going to understand the technology that they are using everyday and the dangers that come with it.  As for the rest of us? Google it!!

What do you think?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

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