Keeping Up with Technology

When I was growing up, one of the big technology “wars” I remember was VHS vs Beta. For a number of years the two platforms battled it out for that spot beside the TV. And for years, video stores carried movies in both formats, electronic stores sold both players and people made their best guess which format would take over.

Ultimately, the VHS format won the day and Beta players were relegated to a niche role in production houses and video cameras. And eventually it didn’t matter anyway because DVD’s were introduced and changed it all again.

But this VHS/Beta war took years to declare a winner. Today – new technologies are introduced daily. Some break new ground – like the iPod, while others try to compete in new ways in old arenas – like Bing.

With so many new ideas, technologies and even new versions of favourite programs, how do we stay current?

At ZGM we share this job between all of us. We share links. We talk about new technologies we’ve heard or read about as we walk for coffee. We go for beers with other technology geeks and we listen to them. We monitor the social space. And we try things out. We experiment and report back to the herd.

And even with all this, it’s all we can do to keep up. For an individual without this kind of support network, keeping up would be a full-time job and even then you’d still likely drown in a sea of bits and bytes (which is different than drowning in a sea of Bits and Bites – which would be a delicious way to go).

And every once in a while, as we share new releases, new applications, new languages and new ideas – something comes across your desk that pulls it all together in a way that makes you sit back and say, “that’s cool”.

This is one such example that came across my desk a week or so ago. It’s an art experiment using HTML5, Chrome, Google Earth, Google Places and a really great band out of Montreal.

And it’s makes me think back to the Beta vs. VHS wars like it was cavemen discussing the merits of rocks vs. clubs. We’ve come a long way.

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