Things I Should Have Done Sooner Than 2010

With the Black Friday shopping day behind us, there’s talk of new tech-related gadgets and such.  While reflecting on the hardware/software/gadgets I started using this year, it occurred to me that at least three of them fell into the “Why did I wait so long to do this” category.  So without further delay, here they are.

  1. Smart Phone – For a while I avoided smart phones because of the large glass display and their tendency to be relatively large and heavy.  I needed a lightweight, small and durable phone that wouldn’t be damaged when I was in Indiana doing farm work.  However, last year I accepted an executive position with a former client, and my “spare” time for playing weekend farmer went away.  Still, it wasn’t until this year that I finally gave up my small and durable flip phone for an iPhone.  Not long after getting it, I was traveling when a client emailed me an Excel workbook with a proposed project time line.  Let me just say, it’s quite an experience (or at least it was for me) the first time you get an email, open an attached Excel workbook, review it’s contents, send an informed and final email reply, and be done with a whole task, using just the phone in your pocket!
  2. SSMS Tools Pack – Mladen Prajdić [Blog|Twitter] is the developer of this add-in for SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).  If you follow Mladen on twitter, then you know he is constantly communicating with the SQL Server community about SSMS Tools Pack and features, fixes, improvements, etc.  You might also be like I was, at least until this year, and have not yet downloaded and installed it.  Big mistake.  It’s free and installation is easy, so give it a try.  When I did, I began playing with it for hours and wondering why I hadn’t started using it earlier.
  3. Non-browser Twitter Application – For most of the first year I was on twitter, I just used the web browser interface.  Without knowing anything better, it seemed to be sufficient. Plus there’s a large number of choices for twitter applications and I didn’t want to spend time researching them, or installing yet another application when just using the browser was fine.  However, once the script kiddies began having “OnMouseOver” fun on the twitter website, I decided it was time to try an application.  TweetDeck seemed to be the most popular, and it didn’t disappoint.  Okay, it’s one more application that asks to do updates from time to time, but so far it’s been worth dealing with that minor annoyance.  Following multiple streams at once has enhanced my twitter experience (I follow 4 or more hashtags at a time, which is a great feature during events), and the columnar layout is a nice interface for the iPhone.

Did you have similar experiences with any technology products this year?  If so then please feel free to discuss it below with comments, post it on your blog, etc.

About Noel McKinney

Noel McKinney is the administrator of noelmckinney.com
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6 Responses to Things I Should Have Done Sooner Than 2010

  1. Rob Drysdale says:

    Noel,
    I can totally relate to this post. There are times when I feel like a technology neanderthal and if it weren’t for Karen I would still be in the dark ages. I’ve never been a gadget person, so I’ve never really wanted the latest and greatest of anything. My phone is a 3 year old Blackberry that, while better than nothing, is older technology. I can do email and calendar, but it doesn’t synch well with my Exchange email and browsing the web on it is really painful so I don’t do it. I’m in the market now for a new smartphone, but I’m trying to decide between the iPhone and the Windows7 phone.

    I’ve never had a laptop or netbook and for the life of me don’t know why. I had to do a presentation at a client site recently and had to borrow one of Karen’s machines just to do it. I have an iPad, but only because Karen bought me one when she bought hers (isn’t she the greatest….). Now that I have it, I don’t know what I did without it. And while I’ve had the iPad for about 6 months, I just learned how to do something on it last night that I should have known long ago…I guess what I’m saying is I use “just enough” of a product or software to get by, but never use the full functionality. And I’m sure I’m missing out.

    Ah well, some of us are destined to be the followers and not the leaders when it comes to gadgets…

    Rob

    • I remember seeing on twitter that Karen bought you an iPad. You are a lucky man!

      Tamara is the gadget/device leader in our household. I typically get her hand-me-downs. My iPhone was her old one that she gave me when she got an iPhone4, and my laptops have always been her’s first (the netbook I got this summer to take on SQLCruise being an exception). Part of the reason for this is that I don’t like new and shiny things. I actually prefer things that are dinged and scratched up, have duct tape holding them together, etc. Must be the hacker in me 🙂

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  3. Karen Lopez says:

    Who is the Karen chick? I want to meet her and see what she will give me. That Tamara one, too.

    I think you may have inspired a blog post by me, too. Maybe you should do a series, Noel. I think it makes sense. Might help people with gift ideas, too.

    • Ha ha, Karen and Tamara are the great givers of all that is tech-y and gadget-y 🙂

      I came up with the idea for this blog post when we were all in Seattle three weeks ago, so doing a series probably requires that I go back there for inspiration.

  4. Faamasani says:

    Holy cow Noel! You were not kidding about the SSMS Tools Pack. After I read your post I downloaded it, reformatted some of the SQL Snippets, and added some of my own, I felt like a moron for not having downloaded this thing before. Thanks to you, my SQL Coolness Factor (an imaginary and almost arbitrary personal ranking of general SQL studliness that I just now made up) has gone up a full point. Also, I love your blog.

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