Technology: Bring Me Simple Solutions

In honor of the retirement of Andy Rooney from his video editorials that closed the iconic CBS show “60 Minutes” for more than three decades, I’ll start my column off in like form:

Did you ever notice that getting new technology is like a kid getting the Christmas toy he’s been begging you to buy for months to get, only to find him playing with the box it came in after 10 minutes?

I had a similarly giddy moment when I received my new Android smartphone in August, and I was pleased for placing myself within 12 months of having “the latest gadget on the market,” as close to technologically hip as I usually get.

I admit that the prospect of being able to download applications and “maximize my Droid experience” was part of the excitement, along with receiving and reading email closer to the way it appears on computer, and view Microsoft documents and PDFs the way they were intended to be viewed.

What I found was sort of disappointing — a lot of the applications that looked enticing ended up being a letdown. The more that was promised, the less they seemed to deliver.

The things I do find functional provide the simplest solutions — the navigation does a reasonable job of finding where I am and directing me to where I am going. The airlines and hotels that provide check-in and other travel tools do a nice job. The mobile Yellow Pages is fantastic for finding local business wherever you are. Finally, the voice recognition capability that allows you to speak a command or do a search by voice has far exceeded my expectations.

OK, I will admit to downloading Angry Birds. Sometimes, even with a ton of work to do, I need a diversion.

My point is, technology has to be really functional to provide the payback that makes it worth the investment, and it’s not the whiz-bang stuff that makes the difference, it’s the small things technology can do that allow ME to do more of the big things. The endless capabilities make you want to try it, but functionality keeps you coming back.

My relationship with my phone was an inverted bell curve — I loved it at the start, became a bit disillusioned for a while, but now I’m very pleased with what it can do. It takes some research, some networking with other users, reading online reviews and just plain digging in and using it. But if you focus on the benefits to business, you’ll find lot of hidden power inside mobile technology.

Another reason I’m pushing myself on the technology side is the upcoming Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) annual conference coming to Boca Raton, FL, later this month. Daren Coppock, president of ARA, is focused intently on presenting new technology and helping retail attendees to understand how it fits into the ag retailing business. He has some top-notch speakers lined up, and networking with top retailers is always of great value.

Coppock has brought a passion for new and emerging technology to the organization, forming committees (of which I am a part) to help direct technology education efforts within the organization. He’s doing a fine job at the helm of ARA and it should be an outstanding conference.

I hope I see many of you there! You can find conference information on the Web at

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

Confluence of St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers in Minnesota
Paul SchrimpfRoads, Rivers, And Rail: Improving Infrastructure At Every Level For Agriculture
November 2, 2015
October is a wonderfully predictable month of naturally recurring cycles here at Meister. Our baseball team draws the curtain on Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
Paul SchrimpfBuilding Relationships With Farmers During Tough Times
October 9, 2015
“So, other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” Most of you I’m sure will recognize this as one Read More
OpinionTaking Data Head On
September 2, 2015
As you read this column, I’m hoping that if you picked up the phone and gave me a call, you’d Read More
OpinionTaming Data Overload
July 15, 2015
For the past couple of months, a significant chunk of my professsional efforts here have been dedicated to getting a Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100CHS, MKC Consider Second Grain Terminal In Milan, KS
November 30, 2015
CHS Inc., an energy, grains and food company and the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative, and MKC, a full-service farm cooperative Read More
CropLife 100United Cooperative Acquires Four ADM Wisconsin Facilities
November 12, 2015
United Cooperative, based out of Beaver Dam, WI, recently acquired four grain and agronomy locations from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Car Makes NASCAR Xfinity Series
October 29, 2015
BRANDT will join JR Motorsports with driver, Justin Allgaier, for the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity (NXS) Series season. Allgaier will pilot Read More
CHS Building exterior
CropLife 100CHS Leaders Help Shape Succession Report
October 22, 2015
Succession planning was listed as a main concern of cooperative leaders at this summer’s 15 regional CHS owner town hall Read More
Fall Harvest
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases Eight Regional Seed Companies
October 12, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has announced the purchase of eight regional seed companies to advance its seed business. Pinnacle has acquired: Read More
MRM Agricultural Service
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires CropLife 100 Ag Retailer
October 8, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has successfully acquired the Missouri-based agronomy business of MRM Agricultural Service, LLC and its affiliates (MRM). Operating Read More
Latest News
CropLife 100CHS, MKC Consider Second Grain Terminal In Milan, KS
November 30, 2015
CHS Inc., an energy, grains and food company and the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative, and MKC, a full-service farm cooperative Read More
Dow AgroSciences Logo wall
HerbicidesGowan Co. To Acquire DNA Herbicides From Dow AgroScienc…
November 30, 2015
Gowan Co. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the entire global dinitroaniline (DNA) herbicide portfolio from Dow AgroSciences Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
Herbicides‘Back to the Future’ Weed Control: Herbicide Outlook 20…
November 30, 2015
What’s new for herbicides in 2016? Well, not much, but the learning process is sure to continue for fine-tuning resistance Read More
Tim Hassinger Dow AgroSciences President and CEO
HerbicidesDow Expects Enlist Duo To Be Available For The 2016 U.S…
November 30, 2015
Relative to EPA’s recently filed motion to vacate the registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, The Dow Chemical Co. is confident Read More
HerbicidesBREAKING: EPA Pulls Registration On Dow’s Enlist …
November 25, 2015
EPA on Wednesday withdrew approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans, Read More
FertilizerYara Tampa Ammonia Terminal Garners ResponsibleAg Honor…
November 25, 2015
Yara has received its first ResponsibleAg Certification for its Tampa, FL, Ammonia terminal location. This achievement demonstrates Yara’s commitment to Read More
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More
Fall Harvest
Seed/BiotechArysta Launches New Seed Protectant
November 19, 2015
As spring wheat growers begin planning for a strong start to their season, Arysta LifeScience North America announces RANCONA V Read More
Crop InputsInocucor Receives U.S. Patent For Microbials
November 19, 2015
Inocucor Technologies Inc., the Montreal-based agriculture biotech company, was issued patent No. 9,175,258 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect Read More
ManagementSyngenta Rumors and ARA 2015 Preview
November 19, 2015
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj looks at the latest rumors involving Syngenta selling its crop protection business and talks about events Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Finalists For Operator Of The Year Honor
November 19, 2015
AGCO Corp. has announced the four top operators chosen as finalists for AGCO’s 10th Annual Operator of the Year program, Read More
High Plains Aquifer
StewardshipStudy: High Plains Aquifer Overall Usage In Decline
November 18, 2015
A new Kansas State University study finds that the over-tapping of the High Plains Aquifer’s groundwater beyond the aquifer’s recharge Read More