I love technology.  I am unabashedly an early adopter*, love getting the latest new toys and playing with them**, and am fascinated with what is going to come next.

Nonetheless, one hard lesson for me is that you have to pick certain technologies and just stick with them.  Not forever, but certainly for the duration of the dissertation.  Changing major technologies mid-project isn’t productive; it’s procrastination.

The more I learn and work with Mendeley, the more I love it.  But I wrote my dissertation using Zotero and OneNote.  Mendeley adds features that basically integrate the two tools, but switching mid-stream would have just been a way to not get the hard work done.  Zotero and OneNote did what was needed to get me through, and now I can take the time to change.  (Of course now that I am done, I’ve discovered that Scrivener is out for PC.  Given the raves I’ve heard from mac people, I may have to try it.)

The point is that there will always be a latest and greatest technology.  The only justification for switching mid-project should be if that technology adds valuable features that you can make use of immediately AND the time-cost of changing is minimal.  It’s fine to upgrade to the latest version of something you already use (as I did with Zotero to make use of it’s syncing feature which gave me location independence), but it’s important to let the bright shiny things wait for a sensible break .  It’s really just procrastination (at which I am something of an expert) and not the best way you can spend your time.

* I bought, used, and loved my Nexus One, the Android phone that was bought sight-unseen from Google.  Then I gave it to my husband and got a Droid Incredible which I immediately rooted (the hard way, before the linked tool was available) and have been running custom ROMs on ever since.  The only reason I still have that is because I MADE myself not trade it out again mid-dissertation.

** I also bought a Nook Color, rooted it and installed Cyanogenmod 7 nightlies on it, because I couldn’t stand the idea of waiting for an actual Android tablet.

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