Purchasing

On the high seas of technology, you will meet many intelligent, educated, rational people who have an unquestioning allegiance to a particular brand, product or technology. This is often a strong, sincere, almost religious belief, hence the chapter heading. Recent TV reports showed someone who travels the world going to the openings of all Apple stores. In the I.T industry, it is considered normal to define yourself by your preference , for example as an Apple person or a PC person. This is partly because the sea is so huge that one person cannot truly, intimately know every corner, island, reef and hazard so people specialise. If you talk to a specialist, you will hear all the advantages of his or her preferred technology but maybe not an unbiased assessment of it. The biggest debates include Mac vs PC and IPhone vs Android but such wars break out all over the Seas of Technology.
As a business person, I’m assuming that you don’t care about words on a web site unless they make a difference to how you achieve your goals here and now, or into the future. A debate between academics at a famous American university or students here in Australia makes little difference to what technology best solves your problem. I would understand if you are feeling confused and overwhelmed and wondering if there is any way to get at the truth. There is good news. You don’t have to worry about who is right. All you need to know is what is right for you. Keep reading! We will show you how to determine that. There are only two things you need to know, the outcomes you want and what questions to ask to determine if the proposed solution is going to meet them.

The first few posts in this blog will be a guidebook to help you plan or guide you along the way on your journey through the Sea of Technology. The sea is beautiful but it is not the natural environment of humans and dangers lurk for us if we are not on our guard. So too, with the Seas of Technology. Sharks lie in wait for the unprepared and those who swim at dusk. Storms build up suddenly, with high winds, thunder, lightning and driving rain. Occasionally , slick-looking pirates without their cutlass, eye patch or parrot and hence hard to recognise, roam. Rip currents can sweep you up and quickly take you where you don’t want to go. In this post, I will discuss each of these dangers and how to avoid them.

Storm building

Sharks

Sharks in the Seas of Technology do  not have triangular fins. In fact, they are not fish at all, but humans whose behaviour is unethical and whose motivation is what is in it for them, profit at all cost. The good news is that there a simple defence against this species of shark. The following steps give excellent protection against them

1) Know exactly what you want before you buy. If you don’t know, research it until you are sure in your own mind that you do. Have a clear definition of what you need it to do  and make sure it does it.

2) Do not agree to anything unless you are sure, always compare prices and products

3) Resist any attempt to rush you if you have doubts

4) Check the reputation of sites and sellers before buying anything online. Follow your bank’s recommendations for keeping your credit card safe and consider having a prepaid card for online shopping or use Paypal.

5) If still unsure, go away and come back later. Talk to someone you trust .

6) Be very skeptical of unsolicited calls and email as there are a number of well known scams

7) Resist up-selling . You know what you want. Stick to it.

If you consistently do this, sharks should not harm you.

Storms

Storms cannot be prevented, nor can floods, bush fires, volcanoes or earthquakes. However, if you identify and prepare for the risks to your business, you will be well placed to cope with them. When purchasing technology, build resilience into your plans. Examples are buying an external drive for backup when you buy a laptop, and considering how you will charge a new phone  or tablet when on the road or if there is a lengthy interruption to power supply. In the wet season in Northern Australia, floods and cyclones have been known to cause power outages for a week or more. Thunderstorms are far more common but sudden, and frequently cause short power outages. Things to consider include

1) what if the power fails

Can I keep my business running? What would I need to do so? What about charging a mobile phone?

2) what if I have to evacuate my main place of business

Can I work from anywhere? Are the simple changes which would mean that I could (like backing files up to the cloud or to a portable drive).

For those in Brisbane, we may have major disruptions to access and transport this November with the G20 summit. We will keep you informed when we find out more about this.

3) what if there are transport disruptions

4) how to keep information secure e.g prevent theft

Keep up to date with security updates offered by your computer and device manufacturers and updates for specific software.

If there is an auto update function on your device, use it.

If it is recommended that you use antivirus or firewall software with your device, do so.

5) how to prevent accidental loss of information

Back up regularly and to more than one source! If you use a cloud provider, have a local backup as well.

Pirates

The pirates on the Seas of Technology may be disguised heavily. Piracy often  involves making copies of music, movies or programs that you don’t have a right to make under the licence agreement and often on selling them or uploading them to certain web sites. Steer clear. Not only are you breaking the law and risking the consequences but such sites may be riddled with viruses and other harmful programs, known as malware and you have no access to technical support if anything goes wrong.

The other type of pirate will try to hijack your computer for their own ends, either by sneaking into it and stealing data, stealing your broadband quota or making your computer part of an underground network sending out spam and viruses. To keep them out, make sure you install all the updates recommended for your device by subscribing to its automatic update service e.g Windows update . If recommended for your type of device ….

Rip Currents

The rip currents of Excitement and Sales Pitch pop up everywhere that technology is sold. Do jot get carried out of your depth! It is good to be excited but make sure you leave the waters if you feel things are moving too fast for you or you are in too deep. There is ALWAYS time to research prices and products and to know what you want and why. Limited time offers should not pressure you – there will most likely be a better one tomorrow . Check the reputation of the seller if buying online.

We will continue our guidebook next week!

Swim between the flags!

 

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