A few months ago, I was approached in regard to writing a column on technology for Coastal View News. After pondering the possibility, I decided that with over 50 years in the field of systems and technology, I am uniquely qualified to address the subject and share my knowledge.

I moved to Carpinteria in 2015 after spending 14 years in Hawaii. I was born and raised in a large family in Washington State, and I am the eldest of five boys. I fell in love with Carpinteria the very first day I visited and over the years, I have become active in the local community. I am in the local Lions Club and on the Board of Directors for the Alcazar Theatre. I have also been active in improving a well-known landmark, the Castro House.

I would like to share a little about how I came by the knowledge I will be sharing in my column. It all started with building a crystal radio for a Boy Scout Merit Badge – and I was hooked. In college, I earned a degree in Broadcasting and later, as a young Army Signal Corps Lieutenant, I was the communications commander for Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. 

The years that followed my Army days have included a diverse array of projects and companies that allowed me to refine my appreciation of and expertise in the brave new digital world we live in today – a world that can change in what seems to be the blink of an eye. 

I have been involved in some wonderful projects, from mega estates to the largest airplane hangar ever built; and I have worked with great and creative people from techno barons to technophobes. 

To introduce my column, I thought it best to present a few questions I recommend you ask when considering a technology purchase and inviting technology into your life. Whether your technology purchase is a totally integrated premise solution or just the purchase of a new smartphone, these questions can help you feel confident in your purchase.


Where do I start? 

This is the first question you should ask before buying any technology and bringing it into your life. Are you tech savvy or does your brain hurt when you think about learning to use something new? Technology can be disruptive or enriching and I recommend you determine a good starting point as you perform due diligence before you buy.


Where am I now? 

Where you start your tech journey is an important factor, including your level of comfort with the technology you currently use and technology in general. Your ability to get the most out of your purchase is dependent on the simple fact that you will use it. How many tech items end up in a drawer or cupboard somewhere gathering dust? The question, “Where am I now?” also refers to the issue of compatibility and what technology platform you are using and most comfortable with, i.e., Apple, Windows, Android, Alexa, etc.


Where am I going? 

What do you want to achieve with technology? Will it integrate well with what you are already using, or will it be an outlier? Having to contort yourself or add extra work to your already busy life to use any technology will significantly undermine its value. Technology adheres to the old adage, “use it or lose it.” 


Do I need it? 

This is the big question. Want and need are two totally different sides of the same coin. Having the latest cool gadget is nice, it’s fun and it is a good way to impress your friends; but again, if it does not fit with what you already have and you will not use it, you are wasting your money. 


Will it improve my life? 

Technology can do one of two things, improve your life or really mess it up. Technology has promised us many things throughout the years. Do you remember Smart Home or CEBus? They were both systems that promised to revolutionize how technology would be incorporated into our homes, workplaces and lives. Neither one exists today, and they were underwritten by some of the biggest names in technology. 


Ask a friend 

If someone you know is using the technology you’re considering, ask them about it. Also use the internet; blogs, reviews and technology chat rooms are great resources. There is a wealth of information available, and if you want to Talk Tek you can reach out to me. I am happy to be of service and to help you have a clear understanding before, after and during the process of integrating technology into your daily life.

If you have a question about technology, please reach out to me at michael@michaeltalkstek.com or give me a call at (808) 684-3414. 



Michael Avery brings decades of experience to his projects and his clients. He has served as an owner, partner, principal and employee of some of the most progressive companies in the electronic systems market sector. Additionally, he has provided professional consulting services to a multitude of leading companies in the industry, just a few of which include Panasonic Technologies, CEDIA, AMX, Microsoft, GE Industrial, CompUSA and Paradise Theater. Today he is here in Carpinteria and serves as technical director for the Alcazar Theatre.

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