You Can’t KNOW Until You Actually DO

Lot’s has happened these past few months.  I’m going to share just one thing tonight.

Surprisingly, what I share below did not come with any kicking and screaming!

I’ve re-learned a very important lesson, that seeing/understanding something is not the same thing as *knowing*.  This came to play when I got an iPhone for my upcoming trip to Italy.  I wanted to be able to stay in touch online, without lugging a laptop across the country. Through other projects, I did some research and found that the iPhone has WiFi connectivity allowing it to be used at local hotspots, with no extra charge (as long as they were free).

Frankly, I’ve not understood the fascination with “web 2.0”, social websites, smart-phones,  or half a dozen other “innovations” of the past fest years.  They all seemed kinda silly, and a waste of time.  Do we really need more ways to communicate, and keep in touch?  Aren’t cellphones, and their ability to talk to anyone, anytime enough?

Heck no!

I’m finding out first hand exactly why people are standing up and shouting that these things are the future.  While not usually part of the crowd mentality, I can truly say that *get it* now.

Now I understand why people love the iPhone, Facebook, and all the other new media tools available to them.  Put simply, they allow a sense of connection to the rest of the world.  They don’t feel left out, alone, or disconnected.

Let me explain a little.  I got a cell phone long after everyone else I knew.  For the past 3 or 4 years I’ve asked my wife to put in new phone numbers and contacts into my other phones.  It’s not that I couldn’t do it, it’s just that I didn’t care.  I used the phone very little, and when I did it was to 1 or 2 other people almost exclusively.  So who cares if I have the numbers to my eye doctor, dentist or friend in Arroyo Grande, CA in there?  It wasn’t like I’d talk to them more than a few times a year.  What’s the big deal?

No, the contact info in the phone is NOT the big deal.  The other uses are the big deals… (but the contact info helps)

I can now check email from almost anywhere in the USA.   This incluled a recent visit to a very remote location where there wasn’t even a hardwired phone line.  There was an AT&T tower [barely] within range, and about half the time I was able to both connect to the regular phone service, as well as the older “edge” data network for email/web browsing.

You’re going to think I’m full of it, but for a very good reason, we even checked on recipies for cooking squirrel! No Joke.  Just ask my brother, who’s friend it was.

Did I mention this was a remote location!?

Anyway… What I’ve found is a new way to communicate, stay in touch, and feel connected regardless of where I go.  The Apple iPhone application (app) store has thousands of programs on it.  Many of which are actually useful.  It was another big ah-ha moment when I actually atarted using them.

Let me just run down when I’ve used in the past week, from memory (beyond the native email app, which is a given, and probably # in terms of use)..

1) An RSS reader to keep up with the latest blogs I visit.

2) A to-do list (Toodledo) which tracks projects/to-do’s.

3) Jott, a joice to text service which allows me to post entries to Facebook, Toodledo, Twitter and many other locations.  It translates my spoken commands and info into text, and does what I want with it.

4) A great recipie program to give us cooking ideas while at the supermarket.

5) Games to kill time waiting at the ____ office

6) Music — I can use it as an MP# player, and I’ve loaded about 8 gigabytes of my 200+ GB music and spoken word MP3’s (yes, all converted from purchased CD’s!)

7) Checked the yellow pages for auto parts stores in the area, as well as the number of the Toyota Dealership for my brother–while driving around.

8) Used the GPS and Google Maps while snowshoeing at 9000 ft in the sierras

9) Found the wi-fi signal at my wife’s work, to verify a laptop wireless network card wasn’t working.

10) Checked the weather forecast

11) Looked for nearby restaurants

12) Checked on my client site’s Google Analytics

13) Found out what it was like to read a Kindle book on a smaller screen (hint: it’s not bad, but not as good as the really thing–just ask my wife, who loves her Kindle 2.0!)

14) Downloaded a guide for Rome, and an Italian translation app for our upcoming trip!  Man, I’m starting to be abl eto travel light!

15) Check local movie times

16) Fool around with Google Earth…

17) Read parts of some self-development classic books

18) Update and read Facebook status

19) Check the reviews of a wireless USB network card on sale (refurb) at Fry’s for $9.  Surprisingly, it was a good one and I got two (should have gotten 3 or 4!  The two are already taken, and I find uses for these things more often than you might imagine.

20) taken some pictures

Ok, I exagerated a tiny bit.  This was in two weeks!

This was all done by someone who didn’t use the cell phone he had much at all.  Someone who didn’t even put contact info into it.  Someone who didn’t “get it”.

Let me tell you this, and you really should listen, even if you have no interest in the iPhone or other new gadgets.

You don’t know something until you experience it.  You can’t learn to swim, perform heart surgery, or understand Web 2.0 until you get your hands dirty.  It’s really the only way.  I used to think that I understood the whole web 2.0 scene.  I just chose not to follow that path. It didn’t make sense to me, so I stayed away…

Well, I was a fool, and didn’t have a clue.

Not because I didn’t follow that path (because it’s not always the right path), but because I didn’t really understand it, and without true understanding, the right choice is impossible.

What might you be naive about (maybe unknowingly), due to lack of direct experience?   If you “got it”, would any of these things present new opportunities or markets to you?  Are there things you’ve passed up because they didn’t make sense at the time, but might if you took the time to dive right in?

It really was an amazing feeling to understand the fascination with something that was otherwise looked at as a distraction, and I plan on making it an ongoing persuit to try new things, instead of assuming I know all about them.  I suggest you keep your eyes open to opportunities, and do the same.

If you have any questions, or comments, let me know!  Please, I know there are people posting comments just for the back links… That’s fine, but be aware that unless the comment relates directly to the post, I will likely not approve it.

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Be Well,


About Tim Gary

I live in Reno, NV with my wife Careen, and the ever so talented kitty named Milo. Programmer by trade, web surfer and learner for fun, I have a ton of interests, and you'll hear about each of them in time!

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5 Responses to You Can’t KNOW Until You Actually DO

  1. Terry@ Lab Coat April 26, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    I understand Janey. But that does not mean the things that Tim pointed out which can be done with the iPhone are unnecessary. We have different needs thus what’s necessary for me might not be necessary for you. If I’m an automotive technician, I would say that a complete set of power tools would be more necessary than an iPhone.

  2. Dan Gazaway April 16, 2009 at 10:13 am #

    Great Post Tim! The same thing is true when you actually start an internet business. so many people I speak with would “love an internet business” they want a “residual income” yet they don’t take any steps to obtain that goal. They see others doing it and they also know much about the technology to make it happen. They will never know their true potential without “doing.” and the trial and error that comes with it.

  3. Janey@Saving Money April 15, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    Wonderulf you’re loving your new gadget but… think of the time you spent with your head DOWN instead of being where you are? I watch my son with his iPod Touch and he is missing what is going on around him (not any more now that use is limited!). I think that “being where you are” is something fewer and fewer people know how to do, and *that( is where opportunity lies. Many of those items on your list seem completely unnecessary to do in the moment. Do you now only go where WiFi gets you “connected”? what about “connecting” with where you are, in the moment? Well, enjoy, but it’s not for me, in case you couldn’t tell;)

    Tim Says: You may be surprised to hear that I agree with you for the most part. Part of my point was that things are going on around you that you may not understand, but falsely *think* you understand. You don’t have to follow the course that others take, but sometimes knowing and/or really understanding their motivation can help in unforeseen ways. In this example, you don’t have to do all the things I did, and I don’t do half of them anymore, but I now understand some people’s motivation and fascination with the devices, where I didn’t before.

  4. johnathan@comforter sets March 29, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    its really weird how web 2.0 and advanced cell phones are connected. Can’t wait for the future of things, Great post Tim!

  5. Radio Controlled Boats March 20, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    I love my iPhone too. It was a big leap for me to get one because of the expense compared to my old phone. I have email setup as well as synchronized contacts and calender. It’s so awesome and that’s without mentioning the cool add-ons.