Screen Estate, or that moment tech envy becomes tech need (or does it?)

IMGP0085Screen estate. That moment you realize that you don’t have enough real estate on the screen you have and need a bigger screen. Or as I like to call it Tech Envy. You go into someone’s office, or their home office and there, on the desk is a 42-inch monitor for their computer. Or three monitors, four monitors all neatly connected and you look upon their works and you think, I wish I had that.

There are a lot of I wish I had that moment. The measure of the impact of a technology is millions of I wish I had that. Every single Crowdfunding campaign I’ve ever worked with has that envy as they start their new project. They want to move their cool technology from the wow that is real to the wow, I have to have that.

Wound around all of that is the reality of technology. Many projects that I think are sure-fire, fail. Many that I think might fail, are sure fire. My percentage (hit versus miss) is about 60%. It is a good percentage of hits.

Technology is and remains a phenomenal toolset. For example, you can get technology that lets you watch your TV shows anyway if you want to. It isn’t hard (DirectTV, most cable providers and of course Dish Network) can provide the service quickly. Or you can cut the cord and go to the new Sling TV offering which is Internet only TV. I still like to watch the evening news from my local station (my favorite in the DC area is channel 7, the local ABC affiliate).

But the reality of technology is a need rather than want. For example, if you are out on a boat, in the Chesapeake Bay, you really care if the barometer drops a lot, suddenly. That means it is time to power up the engines and get a lot closer to shore. If you can find a cove, drop anchor and ride out the storm that is coming. Boating tech that knows when the Barometric pressure is dropping suddenly is good to have!

IMGP0088In your car, you care about objects that are nearer than they appear, as you look in the mirrors. Having radar in your car (sometimes called collision prevention or obstacle avoidance) is valuable. You are less concerned in a car, about rapidly dropping barometric pressure unless that is coupled with a tornado warning then you are concerned.

The context of the technology and the reality of its implementation is critical. How, when and where you are using something determines a number of factors including moving the item from want to need and then back to want again. A good flashlight is a need. One that is waterproof to 10 feet is a want until you drop your good flashlight into the water, then the waterproof flashlight goes from want to need.

As a technologist, there are things you know you have to have. If you travel a lot, there was a time when you wanted to have a portable GPS. You don’t need that anymore with your smartphone, but you should consider adding one of the downloadable apps for mapping. Google and Apple maps are great, but Co-Pilot, Tom-Tom, Garmin and others also add other features that are valuable when you are in a strange place late at night. The Google product Waze is a great traffic tool to add as well. Knowing what is around you makes all the difference.

It is funny, where once I carried three or four devices, now it is all on my smartphone. What once took sleeves and PCMCIA cards for my PocketPC, can now be done natively in software. The fewer things you carry mean more room in your suitcase.

IMGP0090It all goes back to that initial concept, Screen Estate. Or you can call it screen envy or green eyed tech wants! It isn’t that wanting new tech is a bad thing. Nor is feeling like the want is really a need. It is important though to make sure your need is really a need. While a huge TV in your media space is nice to have, it is not a need by any means. Sometimes we have to stop and realize that Tech Envy is just what I called it, Envy!

Digital images today courtesy of Dr. Hans O Andersen

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Tech Envy is only Envy is you don’t need it!