Technology is like food; you need it morning, noon and night. Almost anything needed to be done involves it. Technology has been blended into our lives so much that everyone knows at least a bit about technology. Everyone has individual reasons and purposes for using it.
Making decisions about what technology to use is a personal choice and involves many considerations. The decision might be economic or the ease-of-use or an industry standard. For still others, political or business factors. In a free economy people are able to make their own choices. Take Microsoft. Why is Bill Gates one of the richest men in the whole world? He is rich because people choose to use his software. Forget about issues regarding monopolies or cost. The fact is, for a variety of reasons, people choose to use his software. And who is to say their decisions are right or wrong?
People have criticized the University’s decision to negotiate a deal with Microsoft. The criticism is shortsighted and often comes from one-sided opinions. The University’s job is to prepare students to go out and be successful. The fact is: Microsoft is the product of choice in the marketplace. The decision to negotiate with Microsoft was not a political decision, it involved many considerations. All you need to do is check with the student body and check with industry. Most of them are using Microsoft products, with or without the University’s support. The University does not make students use Microsoft or hinder them from using others.
Take Webmail. Some have criticized the University’s Webmail application because it does not include all their favorite features. Webmail was designed to be a simple, free mail-reader. Those who want more features are free to use others. The University’s e-mail system was intentionally designed to work with all Internet standards-based mail applications. The University does not require students to use Webmail to access their University account and does not hinder them from using other products for forwarding their mail. Do not be quick to judge or criticize others for their technology choices; these decisions are freely made by the individual based on their own personal considerations.
Shih-Pau Yen is a resident of Minneapolis. Please send comments to [email protected]