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Tech Tuesday

Tech at Work

Amazing what you can take for granted these days when it comes to technology.

When you use technology and make it part of your life it's amazing how quickly it feels like that tech has always been with you. Remember when we didn't have email? While I wish I did some days, I don't remember and I'm not sure how we got things done.

Years ago - too many to list here - I took a trip with two other colleagues. This was before cell phones, email and all of that (cell phones might have been around but we were journalists working for a weekly ag newspaper and there was no way back then we could afford one). We were gone for four days, and when we returned to the office we has mail and a few pink messages from an administrative assistant - the "low-tech" form of voice mail. If I did that today - went offline (which I actually do for vacation) - I come back to hundreds of emails. Interestingly, only a few voice mails.

This occurred to me on a recent trip. If you follow my Twitter account you know I travel to events and I am on the road a lot. On that recent trip I realized that my smart phone has become perhaps a bit too important.

I checked into my flight and got my boarding pass on the phone. When I arrived at the airport, the rental car service had sent me a note telling me which car I had rented and where it was parked. I had already put hotel info into my mobile calendar so checking in was no problem.

On a trip last winter I was flying home from one city ready to drive to another the next afternoon and my phone alerted me to an upcoming winter storm warning that was to dump 15 inches of snow on my driving destination. I was able to make a hotel reservation from an app on my phone in that town, fly home get in the car and arrive in the target city just as the snow started to fall.

In the old days it would have been time on an 800 number (at least with a cell phone that's still pretty easy) hoping to track a room. Those folks on the phone can be a lot of help, but those apps, they're time savers.

On your farm you're using tech in new ways and I often encourage that when I speak to farmer groups. Whether it's making sure the elevator has your email in case they want a "flash delivery" of corn for a few cents more per bushel to fill out a trainload; or a Facebook page where you can share information about your operation with city-based landowners from whom you rent. This tech is valuable stuff.

And I'm not even talking about the precision ag stuff - though that's pretty tremendous too.

There's one link in all this to keep in mind - connectivity. I couldn't do what I do with my cellphone if it wasn't able to access the Web. And when I'm in areas where AT&T has decided that some "partner" should provide service, I feel the loss.

Takeaway from all this? Embrace the tech, you have no idea where it'll take you.

You can share how you use tech in the comments section below, if you'd like. I'd love to hear from you.

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