Letter to a Friend from a Tech - Do You Really Need Word?

Hello Friend,

There’s this great Latin phrase I discovered recently. Argumentum ad antiquitatem. Kind of rolls off the tongue, no? It could be a great name for a thrash metal band. But it’s not. Basically, its translation means, “This is right because we’ve always done it this way.”

This appeal to tradition, when applied to modern technology, gives me the clanks. In today’s society, new computers, tablets, and phones, and software pop up every three to six months. What was acceptable for people to use 15 years ago is virtually irrelevant today. Unfortunately, there’s something out there in the tech world that all of us have been using for almost two decades. I believe it’s completely irrelevant today, and we the people of the Internet Age need to take a step back and reevaluate its usefulness.

Since the mid-1990s, students, teachers, old folks, PC users, Mac users, and professional workers all have been conditioned to use Microsoft Word for creating and reading documents. It was a fine solution back when the operating system was Windows 95 and 98, and everything we did was saved on your desktop computer hard drive or floppy disk. Today’s computing world is much, much different.

Listen, I get that technology is not a very high priority in your life. You want your computer to work with as little effort as possible on your part. Totally understandable. But I am proposing that it is time to take a step back and evaluate your needs for creating documents. Just like that ultra-heavy, 27-inch console television with the fake wood paneling that sat in your living room for years, with only channels 2-13 on the UHF dial and many more on the VHF dial that we never used, there comes a time for the essential utilities in our lives to be replaced. The effort you are dedicating to using Word requires a lot more of you than other document-creating solutions out there. And ultimately, my friend, I want to save you some time.

You don’t need this confusion in your life. You don’t need to spend valuable minutes of your day mouse-clicking around your computer in a futile effort to locate where the memo to your staff from last week is located. You don’t need to have to re-learn a software program every three or four years. That’s my job.

So what should you be using? Glad you asked. My solution for you consists of the following criteria:

• You would enjoy a simple writing environment, devoid of distractions and fluff, to just simply write.

• You would be able to know exactly where your writings are saved.

• Your writings would be automatically backed up to a secure location.

• You would be able to access or share your writings from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone

Four important benchmarks, yet all are with your benefit in mind. There’s a solution I have in mind for you, and I think you might find some use out of it. There’s a website out there calledSimplenote that does just that. It’s cross-platform, meaning you are able to run it on any web browser on your desktop, and your tablet, and mobile phone. It’s a clean interface that doesn’t bombard you with notifications or distractions. Any change you make to a document gets automatically updated to the other devices. It’s actually kind of impressive to watch it happen in realtime as I’m giving a demonstration with it on a projector in front of an audience.

Oh, by the way, it’s free.

Should you wish, you can take your document, created with Simplenote, and publish it very quickly to the web for others to view your work! I did just that for this article here: http://simp.ly/publish/QjvsRf The cool thing about this is that when you make changes to your published document, it dynamically gets updated on the webpage.

Don’t be assuming that I’m asking you to stop using Word. Not my intention. And don’t be expecting me to hit you over the head with a multiple-paragraph lecture about why Simplenote is a good solution for your writing needs. I just want you to consider other paths to take in your writing life. Consider fresh ways to start an idea on your mobile phone, tap out a few outline ideas on your tablet, and go into full-on writing mode on your desktop or laptop when you’re good and ready. It’s a great workflow for me. I hope it will be successful for you as well.

- Your friend, the Tech