The Adult playground – The Technology Seesaw and Efficient Play

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September 22, 2014


IT IS NO SECRET that the internet is a double-edged sword that swings like Edgar Allen Poe’s pendulum to slice your day in half. Of all of those wonderful intentions that you had for the day over your morning coffee, even 7 P.M. had only half of them done.

Like a bad comic book, you’ve been victim to the Sword of Surfing – free this and free that, all promising to make a difference in how you used your day efficiently. The organizational knight has swung his sword and your efficiency is halved because we forgot the basic blocking move regarding technology –

--It only works as a balance to your life and not the answer to the problems in it! Technology can make you more efficient, but you have to handle it with care. One doesn’t learn from technology: one only gets to the learning faster by using it – that is the understanding that makes an efficient person even more efficient.

Therefore, in being invited to do a close review of several free programs that tout making your life more efficient, three emerged as having distinct possibilities – if, however, one remembers the metaphorical technology fencing rule for blocking a thrust – maintain a balance of use at all times by making technology work for you – not the other way around, which is often the case.

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Rescuetime.Com – This is a wonderful feedback tool. It has potential in assisting you in time management simply by virtue of tracking and cataloguing your daily routine – Spending too much time with secondary detail in the workplace? This program will map that time spent. Too little time spent with clients? Too much? Not enough time for the ones you love which is the reason that you overwork in the first place? Rescuetime will tell you. Using a series of online scheduling applications that help you monitor your busy schedule, RescueTime.com can help you see where time could be better used.

We use a budget to track spending. Why not spend the time we aren’t using efficiently in finding out the reason. It’s not for everyone, such as writers like myself who have no concept of time; only words, but for busy professionals where crunch today means lunch tomorrow, Rescue.com can really assist in pinpointing weak spots. Consider this potential technology a “Pinterest™ of your own time management on a daily basis.

TinyURL.com has some commendable practices to it. As more demand for internet space occurs, URL’S have become insanely long – to a point where there is more blue ink than black. This program allows you to effectively “shrink” a long URL so that it isn’t broken on your page like a bad day as an IT programmer. Neatness is the efficiency here, giving your work more sophistication without all of the obtrusive blue ink that marks the standard URL in TR 12 font. As a professor, I welcome TinyURL – it will be easily adaptable to my online students who know my other technology-balance rule – “if I’ve got it in blue-- then it is something to do…” – the shrinkage will allow me to develop more insight on the lesson and eliminate space taken up by the perpetual blue URL line of linking.

OnlineConvert.com – This isn’t a new idea. Online conversions have existed but OnlineConvert has given us a little credit for intelligence. Basically, in other conversion programs you received two things --  a hard sell of something in order to use the program, and; a dictionary of every “case ending” extension. They’ve converted those ideas to customer-based service.

All I know is that my video or audio won’t work, I want it fixed. I don’t care if you call the extension .Pla or .Pfft – I just want it to work. This program gives you a conversion chart that predicts the outcome for you – not only that, but they’ve put up the belief that they can help you with some strange conversions. There is some bravery there. Just choose the conversion twin that you want and click.

I did a couple conversions – basic stuff, but the video and audio came back clean. That’s what I need when I need it – I don’t want my students to miss out on the 14 parts of speech Grammar video I developed – who would want to miss that? J Anyway, OnlineConvert is simplifying and mainstreaming the conversion process in a world that is increasingly video and audio driven.

In truth, I find technology as much as a hindrance toward efficiency as I do a benefit. So my balance rule comes into play and I say “no” to most of it with the speed that the junior high girls I went to school with said to me when I asked them out on my $3.00 budget.

These three programs, however, have potential in keeping balance. Rescuetime.com lets me see where I could make more writing time, TinyURL.com can make my papers more smooth and helpful, and OnlineConvert.com can allow me to make some fun audio and video processes on a number of different platforms.

My adult playground is one of open space and a place to balance work and play – based on that, I’m giving these three programs a place in my sandbox that I call my joyful, yet hectic—life.

--T.E.


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