My old Microsoft Office 2007 book (rarely opened, I must admit).

My old Microsoft Office 2007 book (rarely opened, I must admit).

Was it way back in 2010 that I wondered about the utility of a new office telephone?

My concern (not an original idea) was that our cool new technology was outstripping our (my) ability to keep up. After all, 100 new features are merely salt in the wounds for those of us currently not using the 50 new features from the previous iteration.

That thought occurred to me again recently as I sat in seminars explaining the newest (for us) version of the Microsoft Office Suite.

I dutifully tried to grasp the great new features available as we move from Microsoft 2007 (never fully mastered in my simple mind) to MS 2013. Detail about Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Excel accumulated. (Understanding my serious limitations, I passed on the Excel session.) But did understanding follow?

All the information was helpful, but after a while it simply accumulates in unhelpful masses. It reminds me, oddly, of vacation time. On the beach, the first few mussel shells you encounter are beautiful marvels; by the 1000th shell, the soles of your feet are injured, and you wish you’d gone to the mountains.

So now I have new software—and another beefy textbook to answer my follow-up questions. Here’s hoping an old dog can learn some new tricks.

Do you experience the same in the law office race to keep pace with technology? We recently had an issue dedicated to practice management software. But do you look at all that information, sigh—and continue with your existing technology?

I hear you.

My brand-new Microsoft Office 2013 book. I'm counting on this and the new software rollout to revolutionize my life (or something).

My brand-new Microsoft Office 2013 book. I’m counting on this and the new software rollout to revolutionize my life (or something).

Cisco in waiting: My new phone awaits installation

Hello? HELLO? Since when did telephones become so darned complex?

Here at the office, they have just “rolled out” new phones for all of us. That means new “connectivity”—and a whole lot of learnin’.

My old phone was able to do about 75 things that I never asked it to do. My new phone can do about 100 things I will likely never ask it to do. And so we progress.

(It could be worse. The receptionist gets a new phone that rivals a NASA control panel, plus software. I may send her a condolence card.)

Before the rollout, all the staff had to attend a seminar on the new phones; the class was about an hour long. It was (surprisingly) good, though as the instructor walked us through the mass of buttons and options, my head did come close to exploding more than once (there was no button to help with that).

When it was done, we were told we could leave with the phone in front of us; they had already been assigned and programmed for our individual numbers—how organized! And even though the devices would not be fully functional for about a week (inbound calls would not work in that time), we were encouraged to “play around with them” to try the many functions.

An odder exodus I may never have seen. Masses of staffers left, bearing a telephone under one arm. It looked like Wall Street after the downturn, when formerly employed titans of industry were forced to give up sleek 3G PDAs in favor of vintage phones the size of a brick.

Bad connection: New (left) and old eye each other warily.

We all shuffled along, slouching toward telephony.

(Which, by the way, is one of the more offensive words foisted on an already-damaged language. How many other nouns will we injure by bolting a “y” onto the end? Injusticey, I tell you! But if you want to know what the word “telephony” means, click here. Just promise never to use it.)

Back at our desks, IT staff connected our new phones, right next to our old phones—which have to remain until the new are fully functional. My old battered and bedraggled phone stared balefully at the sleek new interloper, as did I.

And then my new phone rang.

“Hello?” I queried into a device I had thought would not yet take incoming calls.

“Hi!” chirped an office colleague, proud to tell me that inside calls worked.

Strike one against the new phone.

Have a great weekend.