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Articles: Contemplating Technology

I often wonder how many of us really stand back and contemplate the world of technology. I'm sure some of us pretty much just accept whatever happens, while others delight in every new-fangled creation whether or not it really improves his or her life, and of course there are others that are pretty much suspicious of anything new. Those are all reactions but how about contemplations?

There are many of us who can think back to the days before the internet but notwithstanding the increasing number of young workers who have never known anything but, that's actually getting harder and harder to do. Everything's on the web. If an evil alien race approached our planet and needed to know everything possible about the human race before they attacked, all they'd have to do is steal a personal computer and start reading.

On one hand, it's pretty cool to sit at your desk and have all the knowledge of the world at your fingertips. My guess is that a lot of people simply take that for granted now. But what a paradigm shift that is! Throughout history, power rested in the hands of those who had the money and knowledge. Now that knowledge is available to any first-grader with access to a computer. On the other hand, less than 20% of the world's population currently has access to the internet. What's it all going to mean?

My first response is more of an observation than an answer. It's in regards to the human race in general: basically no one seems to ask that question. It's technology, it's cool, it gives you more information, so let's rock 'n roll baby! We certainly don't want Big Brother looming over us telling us what we can and can't do, so we plunge in headfirst, regardless of the consequences.

Perhaps the above is simply mentioned as a reminder: that with power, comes responsibility. Whenever you open the gates to all of society, you also open the doors to the nuts, knuckleheads and just plan nasty people those who want to inundate us with material even if it might be damaging to a portion of our population, such as children. And the spammers ugh. They waste our time in order to try and sell us snake oil and false promises, and they're wasting more and more of it.

(I truly wish the majority would sometimes step up and squash this small minority of knuckleheads. If a million people pounded a spam-destination website a day, they might have to think twice about being in the business.., or at least feel a little bit of our pain.)

There have also been tons of businesses affected by the web. Consider what it was like making travel arrangements before the internet. You generally called a travel agent. Nowadays, we mostly do that work ourselves (which is ironic in that it certainly takes longer than just calling a travel agent. Sometimes progress doesn't mean time saved and time is an ever-growing asset under assault). Sometimes that works, sometimes we probably pay more. But it's an unintended consequence, regardless of whether it's better or worse for us overall.

So is that consequence good, or bad? Probably a little bit of both. But the point is that it happened regardless, even if it was mostly bad, and was going to happen no matter what anyone said or wanted. The technology goddess beckoned, and we stampeded without worrying about what was going to really happen in the long run.

Sometimes, ignorance is truly bliss. In the past, you just had to hop in the car and run down to your local specialty store for whatever you wanted. Sometimes you paid more than someone in the next state over, but it was quick and easy. Now you have a multitude of choices, and a cacophony of opinions from blogs to ads to articles and more worldwide.

Anyway, we think about those things here at PowerMax, and we see that the internet has created a complex commerce picture that can create a challenge for many.

Businesses have rushed to make their websites cooler and more efficient and more information-laden, as well as of course making the check-out process quicker and easier (it's still always about selling stuff). We've certainly done the same but we haven't abandoned our core strategy to have well-informed, consultative and friendly people on the phone available for our customers.

I guess that makes us a throwback. But we see a future where people grow a little tired of fending for themselves all the time: of not knowing who to believe of feeling like they're on their own, or feeling like a number. We all need human contact, and the web removes much of those interactions. So, at PowerMax we make sure they're still there if you need it.

Accordingly, we'll be around as long as people appreciate that special human touch, that contact with someone who understands the industry, the products, and the things they can help our customers accomplish. Since we're one of Apple's largest Specialists, we're still able to be very competitive despite that additional service.

Maybe someday, when websites are able to feature interactive human-like robots that interface with you just like a real human being, we'll change our basic concept. But until that happens, we know there are a bunch of you out there who agree with our philosophy of harmony and balance. New technology is great, but let's balance it with other things that work too. Like real human interaction.
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