In life, there are certain combinations that don’t quite align.

A black tuxedo and brown shoes, government and fiscal efficiency, and, yours truly and anything technology.

The fact that I once searched in vain for a spark plug on an electric lawnmower should tell you something about my understanding of the way things work.

It’s not that I’m completely flummoxed by such technological esoterica as terabytes and storage clouds —after all I can handle a MacBook Pro fairly well — it’s just that in a roomful of technocrats, I tell myself that, more often than not, I’m the least informed one in the group.

And every so often I receive a humbling reminder of that fact.

Recent case in point: After 20 minutes of fumbling to set my DVR, I ran headlong into a sobering dose of Gen Y reality as it took my 12-year old daughter roughly 30 seconds to program a night’s worth of recordings.

After that, I felt as though I should have sat in a corner with a conical hat atop my head.

Which is why, I assume what I refer to as my “sponge” posture when attending any technology-centric conference. Hopefully, I can absorb enough content as not to showcase my woefully inadequate body of knowledge.

Earlier this month I attended the AICPA’s Information Technology Conference in Las Vegas where for nearly three days, I sat in on sessions and keynote speeches on the current state of technology in the accounting profession, and perhaps more importantly, what’s coming ahead.

According to far brighter minds than mine, “simplicity and virtualization” will be two oft-mentioned trends during the coming year as technology providers will now focus on intelligent design rather than their past business models of “one size fits all.”

There were session-headlining acronyms that I was actually familiar with such as SaaS as well as one of the fast-rising technologies — business intelligence, which this year, ranked No. 8 on the AICPA’s annual Top 10 Technologies roster.

Most interesting perhaps was the fact that the accounting profession — which through its reticent nature allowed other credentialed fields at least a decade head start in areas like, well, technology — has now migrated into Second Life. Several CPA firms have established virtual firms in Second Life, while the Maryland Association of CPAs recently unveiled its  “CPA Island.”

I did manage to learn about the meteoric rise of WiMax, which apparently is targeting a user audience of some 140 million, as well as the fact that by 2010 or even earlier, SmartPhones will feature many, if not all, the capabilities of a PC.

A lot to digest for sure, but now perhaps I can hold my own, albeit briefly, in a short technology discussion.
But I’m sure my daughter will still have to record American Idol for me.

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