Techno Fetish

Often, I am labelled a “techy”. It happened again yesterday and the pigeon-holer had barely known me more then 10 minutes. In my opinion, the term implies that I’m someone with a fetish for technology and I wear it on my sleeve, perhaps in the form of too many portable electronic devices actually on my sleeve. I admit that I do have a fetish for technology, but my preference is for a much broader category then just electronic devices and I like to think it is more practical then aesthetic.

I believe the best technology isn’t high-tech but rather simple-tech. I more often have a multi-tool in my pocket then an android watch on my wist. I’m more excited by a well crafted carpentry tool than a new tablet. I reject Luddite rejectionism and admire Amish selectivism. What’s the difference? Luddites reject technology as a source of evil or corruption while the Amish don’t purchase or adopt technologies they can’t maintain themselves. As I understand it, Amish citizens are permitted to use “high-tech” tools when borrowing them from non-Amish and using them under employment to them. I saw an Amish carpenter using a cordless drill to do a job while under employee for a house building firm. Amish don’t hate technology but rather abide by, what I think are, a rational set of criteria for their relationship with it.

A critical factor in technology selection by the Amish is that the technology must be sustainable by them without the need for the outside world. Self-sustainable seems a good logical reduction of their criteria. Perhaps this is driven more by thier need to be apart from the “English” or their bad influences (morally) but the result seems very prudent for more then religious or cultural reasons.Self-sustainable technologies have, by their nature, less social risk. Technology dependency, which all of us city dwellers suffer from regardless of our obliviousness, becomes moot since any technology that does become a critical part of our infrastructure can be maintained without the risk of fatal withdrawal.

What does this have to do with my technology fetishes. Quite a lot actually. My criteria for technologies which I choose to adopt is that I should at a minimum understand it and my dependence to it, so that if I can’t maintain it myself, at least I am able to supplant it with another technology or process. This requires me to learn before adopting. I ask a lot of questions about technology and have amassed a fair amount of expertise on many technical subjects. Knowledge which I like to share :)

Remember I said simple tech is in my mind better then high-tech. Simple tech is both easier to understand as well as maintain. Often there is a lot of understanding required to fully master a simple technology. I have made it a personal goal to learn as much as I can about AC wiring since every appliance and light source in my house is dependent on it. As a result in the 10 years of owning our home I have yet to pay an electrician to do any work and our house is closer to code now then when we first bought it. I have as a result also learned that most electricians (at least the ones that worked on our house before we bought it) operate on the premise that ground wires are more of a nuisance than a requirement to getting the job done.

Ok I know that not everyone undertakes to do their own household electrical work but most do cook their own food. Cooking is full of technology and I don’t mean in the appliances. The process itself is all kinds of technology related subjects such as thermo-dynamics, chemistry, biology, botany and physics. In my opinion Everyone should take the time to learn what salt really is and how to use it beyond shaking it on their food according to the recipe. Start at salt and make your way as far as you can to the pressure cooker. If it’s an electrical appliance you should focus on what it does versus how it works. For me, the appliance that has probably taken the most amount of unexpected study has been the barbecue. Ironic, considering it is certainly one of the oldest technologies we use in cooking our food. It is a very rewarding piece of culinary technology!

I am rambling again, which is actually more to my original point. I like to ramble about technology. I don’t much care about what the technology applies to. It could be Mobile devices, Electrical repair, cooking, sustainability, it really doesn’t matter much. It all leads to rambling. I guess I am a techy.

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