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First Pandora, now what?
September 2, 2009 10:21 AM   Subscribe

What technology (websites, webservices, or handheld devices) would you recommend to a non-techy person?

My boss asked me this the other day and I totally drew a blank. He's a mid-30s guy, married with three young kids. Very demanding day job, and a fairly senior position as a military reservist. He's great with technology, but he's not a gadget guy and isn't typically on the cutting edge of new technology. Not a television watcher. Carries a BlackBerry for work, and won't be getting an iPhone. Was recently turned on to Pandora and Jott and loves both of them (which is how this conversation started).

Recommendations that he would probably look into would be either passive (like Pandora, running in the background) or active but would improve performance or productivity or something like that. I think he's more likely to engage with online services or sites than with a handheld device, but that's just my guess.

What would you suggest someone in that position look at?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I should note, he's made it clear: no Twitter, no Facebook.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:44 AM on September 2, 2009


I like referring people to Google and Google News; flickr's "explore" page and/or Photobucket; Today's Big Thing; Instructables; and Apple's Quicktime Movie Trailers page.

Subscribing to About.com's various email dailies gives you some decent reading material every once in a while and it's blackberry friendly.
posted by Khazk at 11:15 AM on September 2, 2009


Perhaps introduce him to the wonders of a feed reader? (I use the Google reader)

If he is interested in increasing productivity, perhaps set him up with some starter feeds aimed at that kind of thing? Maybe some news aggregators for topics he is interested in?

Feed reading has saved me countless hours checking for updates to sites that just don't have anything new.
posted by steadyflux at 11:18 AM on September 2, 2009


(For the record, I'm 36 and heavily-techy...)

I'm curious .... have you asked him (or has he explained to you) how it is that he understands the usefulness of things like Pandora and Jott, but not Twitter and Facebook? (I'm going to assume that he just has some personal bias against Twitter/Facebook?).

I understand that he may be dead set against those things for his own personal reasons, and its somewhat jerk-ish to continue advocating for them when the line has already been drawn in the sand------BUT, software is simply a tool. It can be used for great or ill. While social services like Twitter and Facebook do get a lot of bad press for shallow uses (degenerative txt-speak, posting what you had for breakfast,etc) ,.. there are ways to use these services to maximize their potential for connections and leverage. It just all depends on how you use them. (Example: a while back I was viciously sick with diarrhea and posted on Twitter asking if anyone would bring me some Gatorade. A friend happened to be in town and knocked on my door w/ Gatorade and bananas) Or another example you can use the Greasemonkey script "Facebook Purity" to strip all the games and toys leaving you with just status updates, photo updates,etc. Makes Facebook rather useful again.

Seems like an odd question to me. It's like you're setting aside the past few years greatest options (social networking and iPhone) and then asking: "Ok, from whats left,.. what would you recommend?"
posted by jmnugent at 1:09 PM on September 2, 2009


Have you asked him (or has he explained to you) how it is that he understands the usefulness of things like Pandora and Jott, but not Twitter and Facebook?

Not explicitely, but I think it's because both Twiter and Facebook can be huge timesinks that in many ways provide more benefit from a social-interaction perspective than from a productivity standpoint, or passive entertainment (having Pandora open and running in the background provides entertainment value; FB doesn't).

I should note, I'm a huge user of both FB and Twitter, but I understand where he's coming from.

Seems like an odd question to me. It's like you're setting aside the past few years greatest options (social networking and iPhone) and then asking: "Ok, from whats left,.. what would you recommend?"

Actually, that's pretty much exactly what I asked...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 2:18 PM on September 2, 2009


I had to think about it for a bit, but one thing that comes to mind as a possible suggestion is PC Magazines frequently updated "Top 100" websites list. It might make a handy reference for "whats hot" (whether that translates into "whats useful"..for him??... but it is a good list. )
posted by jmnugent at 3:43 PM on September 2, 2009


How about evernote and backpack? Instapaper is my new love (I have a touch not an iphone until it comes to Verizon . . .), but probably not for him. I'm constantly amazed that most people with ipods know nothing about podcasts.
posted by revan at 2:17 PM on September 3, 2009


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