Humility, Technology Out of Context Style

These aren’t the kinds of things that should happen to someone who has designed a half-dozen websites, who can adjust his own php and css and who otherwise has somewhat of a clue about technology. At least, technology that relates to his every day existence.

Last night, wearing my free-lance sportswriting hat, I was covering the Suns-Sixers game for the Associated Press. It happened to be the first appearance of the well-traveled Vince Carter in a Suns uniform; after waiting 20-odd minutes for him to a post-game appearance in the locker room, I surrendered and returned to the press room.

Fortunately, someone else had stayed and caught the audio on a recorder. Unfortunately, it was one of these new-fangled digital thingys which left me absolutely and utterly helpless to unlock its audio secrets.

(How do I get quotes, you might ask? Something called a pen and a notebook … it’s a really cool concept.)

The last tape recorder I purchased was just that – a tape recorder – and it was somewhere around 1992 or so. Apparently, recording technology has changed a little bit since that time.

Anyway, she hands me the recorder and mutters something about USB. Which I understand, or at least would have if I were prepared for it in context and had not instead been expecting to press a play button and (horror of horrors) listen to the audio directly from the recorder.

“Do you have a USB cable?”

“No, but I’ve got a pen.”

With a sigh she pulled out the cable and then we found the USB port on my laptop. I knew where it was – I really do use it all the time – but at this stage I was so flustered I might as well have been operating an Etch-A-Sketch. So we find the file, I make a copy to the desktop – the kinds of things I do every bloody day but couldn’t do because of the aforementioned flustering – borrowed a set of head phones because, you know, I’ve got a pen, and got the quote.

When it comes to real estate, I’m good with most of the technology or at least those technologies that I’ve decided matter and will help me help my clients. All of the programming stuff, custom fan pages on Facebook, that sort of thing – good. QR codes – meh. Twitter, the new favorite toy of my friends in the press box, was conquered by the real estate set almost three years ago. But hey, welcome to the party, kids!

When it comes to sportswriting, I’m still a pen and paper kind of guy. I mean, I’m not Jim Tom Pinch with his geezer-codger typewriter, but I’m certainly not working to keep up with new developments in audio recordings as they mean almost nothing to me.

This is the kind of thing I try and keep in mind as I tweak my online presence and try to create a quality experience for my clients. Just because something might seem technologically cool to me doesn’t mean anyone else not in the consistent context of the real estate world will give a damn. And so I focus on more minimalist upgrades, including what I think will be some wicked cool search abilities once I’ve got the time to sit down and work out the kinks.

About the last thing I want to do to folks already somewhat overwhelmed by the thought of spending six figures in the Phoenix real estate market is make them even more overwhelmed by beating them over the head with technological bells and whistles.

You shouldn’t really need a USB cable to cover an NBA basketball game. And you shouldn’t need a smartphone and a QR reader to search for real estate.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • jim little 7 years ago

    Just a dumb question here. Do journalists use some form of shorthand when using pen and paper?

  • Jonathan Dalton 7 years ago

    Some do, I don’t … my handwriting is a train wreck and I almost never write vowels … about as close as I get to shorthand but it works for me.

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