Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Crow Brain

I am a big fan of technology, but sometimes I struggle in that buying technology for me isn't always about what the tech can do for me, but rather an impulsive behavior that really isn't in my best interest - I call it my "Crow brain" in that it's drawn to shinyshiny.  It can be confusing sometimes to figure out exactly which technology decisions are made by my crow brain, and which are made based entirely on solving a problem.  Here's an example of a 100% real technology argument I had with myself just 2 days ago.

The problem:  I want to watch some TV shows on the airplane.

Ooooh, the new TIVO that came out last fall - it allows you to transfer recorded shows to an ipad for you to watch offline.  That would be perfect...   But that costs money, I can't transfer my current TIVO service to it, and I wouldn't have enough time to actually record shows and transfer them across before my business trip in 12 hours.   $700 Option = Nope

Well, I've downloaded a few shows to my laptop, but I can't watch my laptop on the plane because it doesn't have a good battery and the coach seats are too small.  I need shows on an iPad-sized device.  BUT the Apple IPAD won't let me load the tv shows that I downloaded via "alternate means"...  But that new Google Nexus tablet looks cool has a slot and I can load up my illicit downloaded shows onto it - I just need to go get that tablet... and....  I used to have one of those and I never used it for anything.   $300 Option = Nope

Or I could just use the iPad I have and download a show via legitimate means.  $2 option.  GOT IT.

Seriously, in the course of an hour to solve a simple problem (watching a TV show on an airplane), I actually priced out a complete change to our cable service (which would have driven Pamela insane), considered buying a new tablet (which I've already had AND sold in the past), before settling on just using the tools I had on hand and paying the cost of a cup of coffee to watch a show.  

Bella recently came back from time with friends and insisted she wanted to use some of her savings to buy some "Beats" headphones - they're expensive and have a status element to them.  I asked her questions - what does this do that your current headphones can't?  Why now?  Can you sit on the decision for a few days and talk to both Mom and me about why you want them?

I realized that I was telling her to make technology decisions with more rigor that I typically do:  It was a pretty strong lesson for me.  The Crow brain is always there, and it has some very compelling arguments as to why this shiny thing will really make a huge difference in my quality of life.  I'm working on identifying when that crow is talking to me, and make sure my technology decisions are made around real needs.

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