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10 Tech Rules to Guide Users

By October 11, 2010Uncategorized

I've been thinking for the past few months about some 'rules' (guidelines, whatever you want to call them) that people who have to deal with technology should think about. I've made a lot of mistakes by pushing the envelope, but I've also developed some above-average instincts for where the trouble areas lie in adopting new technology. 

Whether your goal is to become paperless, or just to get more out of the technology you use, you need to (1) find the easy ways to do things and (2) avoid the hard ones. Technology promises a lot, and can deliver on many of those promises, but not all of them.

Some propositions that seem wonderful when you hear about them don’t work well when you try them. But there are some things that work great and cost almost nothing; often you’ll find that people don’t adopt these technologies because they don’t know it’s available. Or they resist a technology that seems (to them at least) more dangerous than it really is. Here are 10 key rules you should be aware of. If you work against these rules things will tend to be harder; you’ll spend more money, waste more time, and encounter more stress. That's my theory anyway. Feel free to send me comments if you disagree with any of the propositions.

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  • Ernie says:

    Ronin: making the old stuff paperless is a waste of time and money, but firms do it because it’s not disruptive (b/c there’s no value in the old files) and because it allows them to pretend they’re on a path to becoming paperless. User acceptance of change is the real sticking point; no one likes change, especially if it disrupts a core business process that everyone is familiar with. Agreeing on a format should be easy, but sometimes isn’t. PDF is the standard in e-filing in federal courts, and it’s the most versatile format for ‘digital paper.’ File-naming and location can be an issue if you’re really small. If you have 5 or more lawyers then you need a DMS and those issues become irrelevant.

  • RoninV says:

    A few firms I handle IT issues for have been debating the “paperless office” idea for years. I’ve found that the main complaints in going this route are (1) making all the old stuff paperless, (2) user acceptance of change, and (3) getting everyone to agree on format (file names, location of data, etc.). I will definitely give these scan apps a look.

  • Ernie says:

    The note-taking apps are: Notational Velocity and SimpleNote (iPhone app and online sync). If you have Windows you can substitute Resophnotes for Notational Velocity. All free, and all very powerful because the synching through Simplenote is so fast and so reliable. There is an iPad app too for SimpleNote.

  • Jim Reed says:

    Just curious, what are the note-taking apps you refer to in #3?


  • Ernie says:

    I had not used Scanner Pro. I was using JotNot. I have downloaded Scanner Pro upon your recommendation and will check it out. I see that it integrates with DropBox, which is a big plus.

    Thanks for the recommendation Julie!

  • Julie K says:

    The scanner apps on the iPhone are just about as killer as the ScanSnap for the Macs. Which one do you prefer? I started with Jotnot, but have added Scanner Pro.

    We have been paperless for over 2 years and I totally agree at first you are impressed with the storage and search (spotlight) capabilities with everything OCRed, but later you realize how the cloud and iPad can revolution your workflow again!

    Excellent points especially as it relates to free or simple solutions. I often over think my options and your suggestions are well taken.

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