Staying locked on
Dec 1, 1997 12:00 PM
Never in history has humanity made such rapid technological progress as ithas within the scope of this century. The last 97 years have fosteredadvances ranging from the automobile and propeller-driven aircraft to jets,space shuttles and nuclear submarines. Yet, in the midst of this churningsea of progress, we are all still forced to make a living. We make a dailyroutine of sitting among screaming fax machines, ringing telephones andbeeping computers, but if we stop to examine everything – how far ourtechnology has actually climbed even in the last decade or so – then itbecomes very easy to be overwhelmed. When a new innovation takes its firstbreath of life, it is terribly difficult to determine whether or not wehave been blessed with a legitimately viable product or concept rather thanbeing cursed with yet another technological dead end. Even the mostadvancements are worthless if they neither serve a practical function norprovide a basis for further advancement. Worse, such decoys, offering sweetpromises just outside the realm of possibility, can lure us away from thetruly beneficial inventions – those that will make our lives and the livesof our clients easier. As new and flashy offerings streak by, it ismind-numbingly laborious to try to stay focused upon that which is actuallyvalid.
This month, however, you have been granted a small reprieve, a brief momentof serenity. S&VC has provided,in this issue, valuable insight into some ofthe emergent technologies that are sure to affect the manner by which youdo business. Whether digital signal processing, CobraNet or videoprojectors, the innovations are real, and they are here today. In thefollowing pages, you will find no promises of phantom technology ortantalizingly vague mentions of substantial innovations. Rather, you willlearn of both the foundations upon which they were built and the ways theymay be applied to your career as a contractor, thereby allowing you toignore the ghosts and lock on to the tangible.