The Support Group Blog

Aha! FileMaker Go

I’m an old school guy.  I started with an Apple II Plus in 1980 with a text-based operating system, audio cassette player for storage and a whopping 4K of memory.  I thought I’d died and gone to heaven after purchasing a 5 1/4” floppy disk drive with an incredible 113K storage capacity.

I was the guy you read about staying up all night working away on some software or other.  I loved to program, and lived for that “Aha!” moment when the solution to a problem suddenly appeared.  Researchers have shown that the “Aha!” moment is associated with the release of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and an array of endorphins.  That feeling is real and something I lived for.

When I went to work at Apple in 1984 I had that “Aha!” moment when I first used a Mac.  Something just clicked.  It just made perfect sense.  It was a thing of beauty.

I’m a rarity in our office.  I’ve never owned an iPhone.  Mostly that was a decision driven by prior bad experiences with AT&T.  But I did buy a iPod touch.

As hard as I wanted to become a fanboy of the iPod touch, it mostly sat unused.  I tried, really I did.  But there was never that “Aha!” feeling.  Certainly it was an impressive piece of technology.  But I’m not a big music guy.  My car stereo has 11 speakers and mostly I listen to talk radio and discussions about the issues of the day.  I did like the ability to have my photographs, but they were small.  I’m not a big fan of pinching and swiping and such to get a decent sized view of my content.  Square peg, round hole me thinks.

In January Apple and Steve Jobs introduced the iPad.  I watched the introduction with great anticipation.  I wanted a larger device, something that would show more information and minimize finger gestures.

Well, I have to say at first glance I was disappointed.  Damn… it’s just a bigger iPod touch.  Intellectually, I just did not see how this would make a big difference.  Steve Jobs did say, “You just have to try it to see what I mean.”  But in my heart I just was not sure.

Then it happened… I had a chance to play with one.  I was intrigued.  There were some very interesting pieces of software.  I could check my mail or surf the web.  I could play a game of Sudoku or watch a slideshow of my favorite photographs.

From a functional point-of-view the iPad represented the convergence of what were separate devices in the past.  It could replace my beloved Garmin Nuvi, handheld game system, iPod touch, Kindle—even make phone calls on Skype.

I had the “Aha!” moment.  I bought one and have not looked back.  The iPad is used more than my laptop at home.  I check emails, read articles online, or text message with my kids.  It is akin to the Swiss army knife of the tech world.

So Steve Jobs was right, you do have to try it to see.  Saying that it is simply an enlarged iPod touch simply is unfair and inaccurate.  The new size and form factor create a different experience, particularly for us old guys that can’t see the little screens very well.

The iPad creates an interesting opportunity for delivering and collecting business data.  Data that is collected and memorialized at the moment—rather than trying to recollect it later—is likely more accurate and valuable.  For a manager, having instantaneous and ubiquitous access to operational information allows for greater ability to react and respond to varying business situations.

And now with FileMaker Go we have the ability to quickly and easily deliver “data to go”.  That data can either be stored on a server and accessed via a 3G or WiFi connection, or can be stored locally on the iPad itself.  Reports can be viewed, data entered and decisions made with a small, light device and a couple taps and a swipe.

It’s a bold new world.

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