The Sweetie Shop Syndrome

When does choice become too much to be useful?

A trip down the coffee aisle at a large supermarket, the options on offer at the ice cream stand in a good cafe and the bewildering selections of chocolate bars in a reasonable sized petrol station.

All these and more can leave you dizzy with choice –


Do you always pick the best options?

Do you walk away not picking any?

Or do you grab a couple – just in case?

The mass of free software, on-line resources, stunning activities and mind-blowing free on-line tools makes me ask a question. Are too many of us too busy finding stuff to really (and I mean REALLY) get the best out of it?

I’m asking this question of myself really. But I think it could be asked of a lot of people.

I found a really good blog the other day. On it the writer mentioned she’d used a screen capture tool, and I suggested an alternative. Why? They were both free tools, I guess the tool she’s using was doing the job just fine – I was trying to be helpful.

A few years ago schools in the UK had a fund specifically to buy software. Our team installed a lot of this software in our customers (local primary schools). Then, we commented that ‘package x’ was doing a similar job to ‘package y’.

Now, are we getting to the same point with free stuff? Are we grabbing it, using it, sometimes learning it, rarely stretching it – because it’s there and it’s free? Or because it’s really beneficial?

Here’s a few winners for me – Twitter, MyMaps on Google Maps, Google Reader, Microsoft Live Writer, Photosynth, Xobni, Community Clips, Cropper, OS on BING

And a few losers? Wikispaces, Facebook, Windows Media Encoder

What’s your experiences?

Photo ©


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