QUESTION FROM JAY
I wanted to talk to you in regards to the principle of why you posted that article in your blog. [Click Here to read the article being discussed.]Â Not to harshly criticize the content, or even the effectiveness of the application, but more so for my own interest as I am looking at entering into assistive technology consulting for my local area.Â
My question comes down to the principle of simplicity. I find that my life runs well when there are fewer variables, and I use the appropriate tools or resources that best cover my needs. While I was reading through the Google Application, I found that opportunity to be quite a hassle, for I am using Microsoft Outlook that contains an accessible calendar that is easy enough to use. Now I am not discouraging the Google application, but it seems to have quite a bit of upfront work, not to mention that I am going to make the assumption that your phone may need service in order for it to be affective.
My point is in curiosity of why I would be compelled to recommend and assist with this application, when the Windows Mobile will automatically synchronize with Outlook, and I would rather them be proficient with what they have, rather than using bits and pieces of several applications.
I like your investment into technology and resources, and fully support your adventurous opportunities into all that the technology market offers. I just noticed that this was in response to some people requesting specific assistance, and I failed to see how this was the best or perhaps most beneficial due to whoever’s circumstances.
ANSWER FROM MARK
I am more than happy to answer your very thoughtful question.Â
Like you, I am a huge fan of the Microsoft Office products including Outlook which, as you stated, can be used very effectively to setup reminders.
Also, I completely agree that where technology is concerned, less is quite often better.
So then, if I completely agree with you on these two very important principles, how then can I recommend an in the cloud solution like Google Calendar over MS Outlook, a product which I continue to use everyday?Â
There are many people who do not use MS Outlook either because they choose not to or because they cannot afford to purchase it.Â
While there is some upfront work that must be successfully completed before reminders will function as desired, the Google Calendar is absolutely free, data charges not withstanding.Â Remember, you can have Google email reminders, as well.Â
As I am sure you are aware, many companies including Microsoft are slowly but surely moving their Desktop applications into the proverbial cloud and from a technical support perspective, it is easier supporting a well known and universal web app than it is to support a Desktop app whose configuration may vary from computer to computer or from operating system to operating system.Â
For those wishing to have reminders sent to their mobile devices, employing a web application, like the Google Calendar, does not add any overhead to the deviceâ€™s operating system.Â
Many average users will find it easier to enter information into a familiar web based calendar form, using their standard computer, than entering it on a tiny QWERTY keyboard.Â
As with all technology, there are times when one’s phone may fail.Â If this happens and a person does not have a comprehensive backup saved, all data will be lost.Â Using an in the cloud solution insures that your data integrity is not dependant upon the device on which it will be used.Â This is a crucial factor especially for less sophisticated technology users who may need assistance in maintaining their calendar and/or medication reminders.
Using a third-party application such as the Google Calendar allows others, such as caregivers, to setup and actively maintain a schedule of medication reminders.Â So, in effect, one only need be able to read the SMS message or email in order to be reminded of her/his medication information.Â
Jay, these are just a few of the reasons why one may recommend an application such as the Google Calendar instead of MS Outlook.Â
Of course I realize that any one of the points listed above may be disputed in favor of a more traditional solution, however, taken together, they certainly make for a convincing argument in favor of the alternative.Â
The truth is, no one solution will be right for everyone; it depends upon any one of a hundred factors all of which must be taken into consideration when making a recommendation.Â
There are many who would most likely not use the Google Calendar for medication reminders just as there are many who would not use WEB TV to access the Internet.Â
When itâ€™s all said and done, I generally recommend Google Calendar because it is free, device independent, screen reader independent, operating system independent, well known and vetted.
REPLY FROM JAY
Wonderful and thank you so much for your patients.
I appreciate your ending remarks, for I agree with the idea of having a broad tool belt is absolutely essential.
I am in the process of compiling a variety of resources that could be used in helping low vision or blind individuals become more accessible. As I mentioned previously, I could not see a benefit of this tool. I am one driven by speed, convenience, and compatibility of sighted people. Many of my friends would consider me to be an Outlook evangelist, for it is an amazing solution for organizing one’s complex and overwhelming electronic life style. However, I know that I am biased; for I tend to use my hardware in such a manner that is unfamiliar or not desirable by other blind people that I know.
So I say all that to say, thank you.