Some people are hardware snobs.

They always have the most expensive hardware device that they insist is the best, and they won’t use anything else. Some don’t understand that they are participating on a network or using a chat service that works on only one platform.

It is easy to get so wrapped up in the tool and technology that we forget what it is for.

We can choose our friends based on the hardware they use, but it would be foolish to limit who we do business with based on hardware.

Yet we sometimes do that by insisting on using one piece of hardware or software for most communications.

For business I like to try everything. I feel like I need to be able to speak any technology language, but I rely on products that are the most universal.

I want to be as inclusive as I can be, and I want to reduce barriers to communication instead of creating them. We will continue to meet people who do not have iPhones or Macintosh computers, and if we want to survive we will need to figure out how to work with them.

We may even need to work with people who don’t use computing, mobile technology or the Internet at all.

There are applications that are universal and that work on multiple operating systems. Facebook is an example, and so is Twitter. Google Chat seems to work on most any device, and Skype works well on most platforms too.

The communication tools I find the most valuable are those that anyone or most anyone can use. If I use my phone to make a phone call, most people can accept the call and we can have a conversation. If I choose to use text messaging, there are fewer people that I can communicate with.

There are so many different instant messaging systems that I have lost track. There are several that run only on a couple of platforms like Blackberry Messenger. Or there’s Kik Messenger, which runs on iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices, but isn’t available for Blackberry.

Most of my friends and contacts use only one type of instant messaging. I use most of them because I am flexible and I don’t like the idea of choosing who I am going to interact with solely based on software or hardware.

I had a friend a few years back who uses only iChat on his Macintosh to keep in touch with friends and collaborate on projects.

I often wonder how it would have worked out if we had been able to collaborate on a project. I was using a PC, so our relationship never really developed, even though we both used programs that worked on both platforms. Windows-based PCs still have a much larger market share than Macintosh computers. I always liked Macs, and used them for many years.

When Google Plus first became available for beta testing, I felt so left out. My friends were all talking about it and on it and I could not get in because I was not chosen as a beta tester. A geeky friend found a back door so I could try Google Plus. I am amazed at how many people have stopped using other platforms and started using Google Plus instead even though they are excluding many of their friends and family members from the conversation.

I recently started using Instagram, which is a way of sharing photographs. The application works on Apple iPods. iPhones and iPads. The only way to upload photographs in order to share them via Instagram is by using one of those devices.

The easiest way to view photographs from friends on Instagram is also through mobile devices. For the longest time I could not figure out how to see photographs on Instagram through the Internet, but it can be done.

There are plenty of ways to share photographs on the Internet. If you ask me, there are an overwhelming number of ways to share just about everything.

The photo-sharing site Flickr just celebrated 6 billion uploads last week. Flickr can be used and accessed from most any platform. There are applications available for almost all mobile devices too, and the search engines can find the photographs on the Internet.

When I remember to use Instagram, there are 20 or 30 people that I interact with. A friend that I went to an event with hounded me until I got an account so we could share pictures at the event and after it. Instagram is becoming more and more popular, but it is by no means mainstream.

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