♬It’s work, the most important thing is work..♬
I was part of an online email dialogue today on Tablet PC’s. I have long been an admirer of these devices that are closer to a pad of paper than any other computing platform. I liked the idea that you could take out a stylus and start drawing, writing, clicking – rather than being limited to using a keyboard. I felt that this was a positive step in the development of the portable computer.
However, I was dismayed to find out that the experiences of my colleagues (all of whom are lawyers) with their latest tablets were less than satisfactory. There were relating troubles of the devices constantly reconfiguring out of the blue, simply going to a blue screen of death, shutting down without warning, being slow (this may be related to the processor speed) and similar problems. The manufacturer did not seem to be important – the complaints were widespread across different Tablets by different manufacturers. Vista was certainly a common factor among the users.
But this post is not a Tablet or a Vista bash. My point is that now – over 20 years since the launch of the PC – that we *shouldn’t* be facing these kinds of problems. One would have thought that the platform – the foundation – would have been settled and the basic workings ironed out. Instead we find ourselves wrestling with decisions on what is compatible with what, does this run under this operating system, can you find a driver for this etc.
But this shouldn’t be the case – businesses – especially today – need to be able to invest their IT funds in systems that are dependable, reliable and secure. I have talked to many lawyers who find that while they must live with technology, they find it mystifying and the choices and configurations confusing. I find myself attempting to assist them through the maze, all the while concentrating on the ends that they wish to achieve.
Yes this is a specialized area and yes, as professionals it is only to be expected that we need to engage other professionals with their skills to set up, maintain and secure our IT systems.
Some, like myself, have recently gone to a Mac, seeking a quieter, less stressful and certainly less technical involvement with the technology. While not eliminating the issues, it has certainly lessened the requirement to have to deal with them and the technological interface on a continual basis.
But my point is that the technology is not an end in and to itself – it is a tool to be used to accomplish goals and increase productivity. The tool – like any good tool – should be intuitive, easy to use, be effortless in terms of how it works and should be a thing of beauty itself. That is my image for information technology – regardless of platform, manufacturer and software. Perhaps I am dreaming…reality has this way of intruding on any great theory…but I think that we should be concentrating on the results we should be getting from the technology at this point – and not on the technology itself.
Sometimes I get the feeling that we have (temporarily) lost sight of the fact that the most important thing is work….