Joanna Pineda, Chief Executive Officer of Matrix Group International, had fun talking to Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association members about the new gadgetry for business and personal use.

LAS VEGAS - If you think you have a hard time keeping up with technology, maybe you should ask your children for advice. That was part of the message in a speech to attendees of a special seminar at the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) meeting in Las Vegas recently. Joanna Pineda, CEO of Matrix Group International, hosted the seminar. Her goal was to help people decide what technology was best for them in their business and personal lives.

She warned SMACNA members that if they try and tie all of their gadgets together and expect them to all interface, “you will end up with a bewildering array of technology that doesn’t tie together.”

Pineda began by talking about PC and Mac computers. “PCs are going to be a little cheaper for the same processes and memory,” she said. “PCs are more standard in the office environment and there is more software available for them.

“Macs are coming down in price, they are easy to set up, and there is no need to install drivers for any new hardware.”

She uses a PC at work and a Mac at home and prefers the Mac because she is “a mom and moms like to send videos and photos easily, which a Mac does better.”

The next topic was cell phones. Pineda said buyers should consider the screen size, weight, and battery life as the most important features. She noted that cell phones have become a “cool factor” and are a way for young people to have their own identity.

“Some people only want a phone to make and receive phone calls,” Pineda said. “Others like to check e-mails, surf the Web, listen to music, or take pictures.” She noted that one feature is very helpful; customized ring tones for individual callers. Having a customized ring tone can tell a person who is calling simply by listening to the ring.

Cell phones can also play music, which led to the next discussion about iPods and MP3 players.

The emergence of downloadable music for iPods and MP3 players has given the rise to a new gift idea for employees. “Give an iTune gift certificate [which can be used for downloading music off the Internet],” she said. “This is a very popular idea.”

Pineda talked about GPS technology and how she couldn’t do without it. She recommended using a GPS provider that gives real-time traffic reports and diverts traffic to an alternate route if traffic becomes too congested.

She also spent time talking about protecting privacy while using the latest gadgetry. “You should use passwords on your cell phone in case it is stolen or lost,” she said. “Don’t use the same password for everything like your online sites or financial services and don’t use recognizable words like family names or pets.”

Pineda said it is possible to find out how many attacks are launched on internal Websites by Googleing “dictionary attacks.” She also noted, “Make sure you have a firewall on the computer network so that all computers in the network behind that firewall have their own individual IP addresses.”

Finally, she said that people shouldn’t be frightened by high-tech gadgetry and the many changes that are hard to keep up with. Her advice? “If you find yourself technologically challenged, stick to one brand and be loyal to it. Everything will work together.”

Publication Date:11/12/2007