Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Choosing Technology

The Amish are not a people frozen in amber. They pick and choose technology on the basis of how it will affect their community. They do adapt and add technologies, only much slower than everybody else. While my goals may differ from the Amish, like them I pick and choose my technology.

Some of my choices might seem odd. My dad just shakes his head and says, "I've never seen anyone work so hard to live like my grandfather."

Now while it's true I use a wood cook stove that would not have been out of place in my great grandfather's house, I'm no Luddite. I'm not afraid of technology. I'm just careful to pick and choose what works best for me.

One example: snow removal. Now most people around here use either a snowblower or a plow. We are deep in snow country. One might think a snowblower would be a good fit. Here's the thing, I don't only look at the time saved to clear the driveway with a snowblower. Sure it is quicker than my shovel and scoop, but that's not all. There's a whole universe of things that come with a snowblower. It has to be purchased. Heck, I might even have to get a job to do that. Where would I find the time? Then there's gas, oil, maintenance, and storage. Also, I'm not really fond of the noise and smell of a snowblower. Considering everything involved, doing things by hand works best for me.

Now it would be possible to mount a plow on my bit Ford F250 4X4 truck, but it isn't going to happen. I've used plow vehicles years ago. Used to do a fair job of it. Even if a plow was given to me, it won't go on the truck. Plowing causes a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle. It's hard on the four wheel drive, the whole front end assembly, and it doesn't do much good for the transmission either.

The way I figure it, it's easier to shovel snow by hand. It beats the hassles of both snowblower and plow. I shovel snow by hand because I'm lazy. It's easier in the long run than the alternatives.

That's just one example. There are more. I don't have a microwave. Sure, microwave ovens are super energy efficient, but I don't like the taste of food that comes out of them. Also, I'm not in that kind of hurry. It's easier for me to put something in my cast iron Dutch oven and let it slow cook.

Got rid of my drip coffee maker. We go camping so much that I really grew to like the taste of coffee perked in a regular stainless steel peculator. Works just fine on the woodstove or propane stove. Everything is reusable. There are no disposable filters to deal with. Perked coffee is hotter than drip, so it stays warm all day in an air-pot. Coffee brewed in the morning is still hot in the evening.

Don't have cable or satellite TV. We only watch movies and TV shows we get from Netflix. Commercials make me crazy so it's nice to have done away with them. It's a real blessing during election years. Political ads enrage me to the point where I want to do an Elvis and blow away the one eyed monster.

I do listen to the radio, usually commercial free NPR or shortwave stations. Most of my news and informations is gathered from the Internet.

Got rid of my powerboats. Only use canoes, kayaks, rowboats and sailing craft. No gas to deal with, plus I don't have to register them. I catch just as much fish trolling my lake in a canoe as I ever did in a powerboat. Works for me.

As you may have figured out by now, I'm not too concerned about keeping up with the Joneses.

I like technology. Hey, anything that provides cold beer and hot showers can't be all bad. Really enjoy my computers. Love my solar electric system. There's lots of cool stuff out there that I'm willing to support. The thing is, nothing is assumed or taken for granted. Always ask if the benefit of a technology is worth the cost.


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