Saturday, August 12, 2006

Love the One You're With

I've had lots of questions this past week about products -- most costing in the upper hundreds -- that don't do anything that can't be done with things most computer users already have--like PowerPoint, MS Paint, and the MS Sound recorder. Become skilled at using--or at least knowledgable about-- the tools you already own. Check your programs-start-accessories button and take a look at what's there. And: know what you're trying to accomplish, then choose tools that meet your goal. Beware of solutions in search of problems!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Beware of "featuritis"

I can't say it enough...before you buy anything, identify the problem you're trying to solve. AND be sure that you can't already do what the new product does. There are endless products out there in the form of solutions in search of problems. For instance, I had someone come to me last week all excited about a new product he'd gotten an ad for: a 'cool thing' that would let you phone in powerpoint narration. I can't imagine why one would want to do that---there are a pile of microphones in my office (they only cost $10 anyway), and we actually have the luxury of having a soundproof room--but he just thought it was the neatest thing. Apart from the fact that recording sound by phone gives terrible audio quality, the product itself didn't do anything that powerpoint can't already do. Caveat emptor...