Clearing my head

Okay, so, I need to join in the “fun” in order to figure things out in my head. That’s what this blog is for, anyway. And it doesn’t always have to be about crafts.

So, there’s this really interesting question going around on some blogs, especially in the biblioblogosphere, about technots. What technologies do you not use and are you still a techie regardless?

I’d been thinking about this already, with the smartphone question in my head that I posted about last week. So, what am I techie about and what not? And what’s the principle behind my techiness? And what does techie mean? Actually, I think the principle for me is easy to figure out — is it useful to me and will I use it? (which are not necessarily the same things) Regardless, I want to list out what technology I use and how I use it — and why. It helps me clear my mind on decisions about where I want to spend my time, money, and energy.

Well:

  1. I really like the computer and the Internet and I love having them at home. If I had to choose between tv and computer/internet, I’d probably dump the tv. I use the computer for a greater variety of things, including the entertainment and background noise that the tv provides.
  2. I am not a total computer geek, but I still built my own computer and am going to do so again. This is, however, not really a love of technology, but rather frugality and the enjoyment of customization. Also, I enjoy the challenge of figuring things and understanding my computer. Not that I completely understand it, but truth be told, I think I have more problems with the software than the hardware.
  3. Software: I do use quite a few pieces of social software online, which I find useful. But much of it leaves me cold. For examples, blogging software, flickr, wikis, delicious, feed readers, IMAP email, etc. are thing that I find useful. Others are completely boring, useless, irritating, or disruptive to me, such as Twitter, myspace, Linked In, Second Life, etc. In another area of software, my html skills are out-of-date, and although I’ve tried, I have not had time or sufficient reason to give to other programming languages, such as php or xml, though I have tried. I do try to continue to be aware of what they are capable of in general, even if I have no clue of how they are able to do it.
  4. It took me a long time to buy these things, because of that whole question of usefulness/use question, but now that I have them, I love them: my pda and an iPod. It took me three years to decide on the pda, and I’ve had it for three in April (I think). My reasons for changing are detailed in the post on smartphones, so I won’t go into detail here, but if it weren’t for those problems of battery life, weight, and simplification, I would continue to use it. It took probably three years again for me to decide on an iPod. I considered the other brands and whether or not I would use such a thing; I finally decided it was worth the expense, but I also waited for the price to come down. That never really happened, but I did get more bang for my buck (80GB instead of the earlier 30 GB, for the same price). I have found in the now five months that I’ve had it that I love having it and thoroughly enjoy using it.
  5. A cell phone also took me a long time to get, which was based on my dislike of the telephone in general and the endless availability that it encourages (that’s why I really don’t want a Blackberry). I finally caved and have found it convenient and helpful, but I still use a prepaid plan because I’ve never used it a lot. And I still don’t really like the phone. I will probably go to a monthly with the new smartphone, but only because I am thinking that it’s finally time to get rid of my landline phone. And even then, it will be the cheapest of plans and text messaging ain’t gonna happen, unless somebody sends me something. (Although the WiFi capability that comes with the new phone is interesting. But there is NO WAY I am paying for mobile internet access.)
  6. I am interested in the newer tv’s, but that is not because of their new capabilities, but rather because I really like the space considerations. Although I do like the sharper image that comes with the LCD screen and high-def tv, I’m just not obsessed with it, because the tv is ultimately not as important to me as other sources of information and entertainment. But it’s only recently that they’ve come down enough in price that I would even consider one. However, my old one works well enough that I’m in no rush. When I do get a new one, however, I am not getting the really big sizes; somewhere in the mid-twenties will give me plenty of screen space. I will like being able to plug my DVD player directly into my tv without that RVF(?) splitter thing and getting rid of the cable box.
  7. Some years ago (five?) I bought a stereo amp that I really never used to its fullest extent, mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to plus in the sub-woofer properly. The directions were less than enlightening. I found this frustrating, but I think I just need someone to show me how to hook it up and get the most out of it. And I’ve found a way to hook up my iPod to it, so that I can listen to my music with full sound capability rather than through the dinky computer speakers I have. I would then be able to leave the DVD player permanently hooked up to the tv rather than to the stereo and — who knows? I might actually get rid of all my CD’s, now that I listen to them all through the iPod far more than I ever did through the stereo. I’m not quite ready for that, however, it is coming.
  8. So where am I now? Oh, yes, the digital camera, which, like the ipod and the pda, I bought slowly and after research, but I really like it now that I’ve got it. I’m going to get rid of my other small camera, but I’ m keeping the old 35mm Canon AE-1 that is a hand-me-down from my mother, because I’d really like to take a class with it and learn how to use it properly, as a potential hobby.
  9. Next, I have a Bernina sewing machine that is computerized. It is not the latest and greatest — in fact, I think you could call it a transitional one in the computer connection sense of the word — but that’s okay. The capabilities that it does have are advanced enough for me to have plenty of room to grow before I even think about a newer one, and that will take quite a few years more.
  10. In the house, all the other technologies I have are the normal types: car, kitchen appliances, household appliances, power tools, HVAC, etc. I’m not interested in the latest and greatest; I’m interested in the ones that will suit me best and last a long time. For example, I would really like a gas stove, not electric, but that will come eventually, if I’m in the house long enough. And unlike many people, I do regard these as technology.

I am such a list-maker.

I’m a usability techie; if it’s not useful to me, I’m not interested, except in an abstract way. I do like knowing about technologies that I don’t use, but that’s all.

In reaction to all this, my greatest hobbies are all non-electronic in the technology they use: spinning wheel, needles and thread, loom, etc. And I’m going to keep it that way as much as possible.

That makes reflect on what technology really is. How philosophical of me.