Why I Value Technology
I'm not as bad as some (I won't mention any names, Steve Sjogren). And my cheapness inhibits me from being even more obsessive in acquiring and using technology. But I value technology because it helps me....immensely. Let me tell you some of the best ways I use technology.
1. It helps me pray. Many mornings, I pray the morning office while I exercise with a daily podcast from an Episcopal Church in Maryland. I also have an ebook version of Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours Pocket Edition on my iPhone and iPad, which I use when I travel (I was once kicked out of an empty ballroom on an upper floor of the Hyatt in Indianapolis, where I had found some solitude for prayer until a hotel staff member very apologetically gave me the bum's rush).
2. It helps me remember. When I make an appointment or schedule an event, I typically add an alert (or two) so my phone or computer will remind me an hour or two (or even a day, sometimes) in advance. Since my "forgetter" is much stronger than my "rememberer," this one advantage of technology is immensely valuable to me.
3. It expands my awareness of current and cultural events. I had quit reading newspapers several years ago (for several reasons). But with free USAToday, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal apps on my iPad, I'm reading the news again.
4. It broadens my reading. The iPad is the best reading device I've ever enjoyed. And, while I love me a good classic book made of real paper, the convenience and portability of the iPad (and numerous book and reading apps that offer many books for free, and others very cheaply) can't be beat--from Is the Bible True...Really? (which I recently downloaded) to Sherlock Holmes and the Needle's Eye (which I recently finished) to more than a thousand full-color children's books to read with my grandchildren. And many free or affordable audiobooks, too, via iTunes and the iPhone/iPad app "Audiobooks."
5. It organizes me. For more than thirty years now, I have used a daily tool called a "Bring-Up File" (some call it a "tickler file") to help me remember and follow up on paperwork, etc. I still use it. But productivity applications like Notes, AudioMemos, Dragon Dictation, Penultimate, and Springpad help me clip, save, sort, file, and remember things from travel itineraries to newspaper articles to sermon ideas and more.
6. It makes me healthier. Soon after I was given an iPad as a gift, I downloaded an application called Fat Secret and started recording everything I ingest, as well as daily exercise, and my weekly weight. It's so easy to keep track of--and improve on--my nutritional habits; the app not only remembers the foods I eat for easy entry later on, it quickly searches for nutritional information for virtually any food and allows me to scan a UPC, so I'm never left guessing about my intake for the day. It also gives me a daily diary that compares my activity to my calories.
7. It connects me. Yeah, I know social media like Twitter and Facebook are great time-wasters. But they can also be used to connect with people and share resources. They recently enabled me to inform friends of an opportunity to meet up with mutual friends from out of the country and enabled me to obtain a desperately and urgently needed costume for an upcoming speaking engagement. Oh, yeah, and the ability to text my wife and kids (among others) makes it possible to get a question answered quickly, even when they're at work or otherwise inaccessible via phone.
These aren't the only ways technology helps me. There are many others. But these happen every single day in my life, and that is something for which to be very thankful. And I am.