My Philosophy of Technology

My Philosophy of Technology has matured over the last several years into (I think) a fairly common-sense, practical approach. I’m a huge proponent of Open Source software, and I rarely if ever purchase commercial software.  Having said that, I don’t recommend Open Source for everyone, nor do I think it’s appropriate in every situation.  By the same token, I use a lot of online services and do much of my business (banking, purchasing, scheduling, communicating, etc) on the internet.  I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, especially those without a good, reliable, high-speed internet connection, but I’m comfortable telling most people they can easily use the internet for much of their basic daily to-dos.

This will certainly be a work-in-progress, as I change my mind or find new examples of dos and don’ts, but for the most part, I think this is fairly complete.  So, for anyone wanting my general thoughts on software or other things technical, here’s my take.

1 – Try free first

Use free and open source alternatives when possible and appropriate.  For the majority of everyday tasks for the majority of personal and even business users, there are perfectly capable, full-featured, and completely free programs and tools available for everything from office documents, to graphics, to accounting…even professional-level desktop publishing.  And for those of us who like to do more and more of our computing on the net (assuming we’ve got a decent connection), many online services use a “freemium” model in which they offer a basic, limited, and/or low volume version of their service for free with an option to step up to paid levels for higher volumes or additional features.

2 – Use the net

Use online services, including freemium sites (see above) when possible so you have instant access to your data no matter where you are. There are definitely risks inherent to letting a net-based program keep all of your data (especially for business users), but there are pros as well as cons that tend to balance out that risk.  For example, using online systems instead of PC-based, local programs can help upgrade-proof and crash-proof your data…if you change computers, you need only fire up a browser to get access again.

3 – Know your ‘-ability’ profile

Making a decision about what software or system you want to use involves a multi-pronged decision process. What’s most important to you can change over time and according to the type of system in question. In general, you need to take these factors into account and decide which is more important than the next:

Stability
Extendability
Accessibility
Usability
Affordability

Once you’ve got a picture of how each of these “-abilities” stacks up against one another, you can start to figure out what system you’re leaning toward.

4 – I ain’t your Big Brother…I’m more like your Cool Uncle

I’m not necessarily going to tell you exactly what to do (or what you can’t do), but I’ve got some opinions on what’s a good idea (and what ain’t). Id rather let you try something yourself than impose rigorous limitations, but I’ve got your back if you get in over your head, and I’ll let you know if you’re wanting something that’s just downright dangerous.

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