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The four biggest hurdles to using technology effectively
1. Complexity
2. Cost
3. Not realizing what can be done
4. Time

Although these are quite different issues, in one important sense they are all related: good advice on purchasing, good user information, and effective instruction can help in each case.

Look for tech that is user-friendly
Technology is made for your use, and in almost every category there are examples that do not sacrifice ease of use for effectiveness. Often the opposite--user-friendly tech is often more elegant and sophisticated.

Shop and compare
The most expensive tech is not necessarily the best or easiest to use. Be especially on the lookout for the latest solutions to a problem, since new versions are often less expensive and more refined.

Stay focused on what you want to accomplish more than the technology itself
Knowing what you want to get done, your preferred final product or result, and how you want to use the tech can help you select what's most useful for your purposes and save you time and money.

In all these cases, a human, in person or on the web, who is already doing what you want to do can be an extremely good source of info.

Save time and trouble when getting started
The easiest way is to dive right in and try out your new gear. You'll learn immediately the places you are getting stuck or want to know more.

At this point, efficient instructional materials can get you started right.

Most equipment and software now comes with tutorials, often videos. Start with these, then branch out if you need more info.


Sources of Instruction

These online and live classes provide in-depth instruction about getting started with using blogs, websites and online stores to promote and sell your ideas and products.

Ryan and Bill are especially good at showing the variety of things you can accomplish using internet technology, and different media such as podcasts and e-books that you may not have considered.

Computer Arts Magazine
A great monthly graphic arts print periodical, plus extensive online free graphics tutorials, software reviews and news.

Visual Quickstart Guides
If you have a particular piece of software you want to learn, these books from Peachpit Press have long been the standard manuals for learning software. They also have lots of free info on their website. Especially good as backup reference books, since we never advise that you learn more about tech and software than you need to know right now. That's because both usually have more features than you will ever use, and change rapidly.

Lynda.com offers a wide range of software video tutorials.

And the amazing YouTube.com provides tutorials on just about everything, if you take the time to wade through the dross.

© 2009


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