Country Living Series

Monday, January 6, 2014

The house from hell...

It may come as no surprise to all of you that my childhood fantasies about the Perfect House involved variations on the same theme: something small, rural, cabin-like, cozy, rustic, and simple.



A small farm was usually part of that fantasy.


Thanks to the partnership with my beloved, much of this fantasy has come true. We are quite content on our little farm.

Anyway, this contentment came into focus when I saw an article discussing "smart homes" which boasts, "Your coffee machine, washing machine, heating, and even your garden will all soon be connected to the internet."

Rather than the timeless, patient joys of a cozy house, cherished garden, and farm animals... the article informs us that "The past 12 months have witnessed some remarkable innovations... Yet consumers admit to already being impatient for the next big thing. The honeymoon period for a new gadget is four months, with users confessing that boredom sets in beyond that."

Boredom. After four months.

(Zombie voice): "Need...something...new."


In four months, I can grow an entire garden, and every day there's something new. There's no possible way I want my garden "connected to the internet." Heck, I go to the garden to get AWAY from the internet and other worldly distractions.

But it gets worse. "[A] quarter of consumers claimed they were bored within just four weeks, eager to upgrade as their friends and colleagues got newer phones."

It appears technology is trying to save people from themselves. "[T]here is very much a next big thing coming. That smartphone or tablet is no longer merely a portable window on the web, it’s increasingly the gateway to an internet of things, whereby your coffee machine, washing machine, heating, even your garden, are all connected to the internet... What may sound like a futuristic set-up is approaching faster than anyone anticipated... And your yucca can even inform you, via an app, when it needs watering."

Apparently this worship of technology isn't universal. As one person succinctly commented, "Who, in their right mind, thinks this is a good idea..?"

Technophiles are getting to the point where they're letting technology think for them. You know why encyclopedia sales are in the toilet? Because it's too much work to physically look something up. Instead you punch the request for info into your smart phone and have the world of answers at your fingertips. But has this ability made people wiser? I don't think so.

"Smart" houses are rarely depicted as warm, welcoming environs. They're not places you can cozy up with a friend over a cup of tea. They're always depicted as large, impersonal, cold, sterile spaces with screens everywhere and controls panels on everything, a place where no one dares to put their feet on the coffee table and relax with a book. (Incidentally I don't believe it's an accident that Smart Homes never have cluttered bookshelves in them.) "Smart" people apparently don't read books.




I realize there's a certain amount of irony to rant about technology on a technological marvel called a blog, and I'm certainly not opposed to the judicious use of technology... but the fact remains my childhood fantasies have never died, and an "app" to tell me when my plants need watering seems supremely stoopid. People who need "apps" to water their plants should probably put the stupid smart phones down and check the plants themselves.

I don't want to live in the house from hell. I'd rather have my "un-app'd" life where I do things for myself.

Okay, rant over.

38 comments:

  1. You can come over to my cozy house and have a nice cuppa! Nothing "smart" here! Hehehehehe...............

    NancyLee

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  2. I totally agree. Give me the simple life any day. I know some people who are always bored and want others to do something about it. I never get bored there is always something to do quilting, crocheting, or some other thing. Life is full of things to do that don't require you to plug in. Great post and thanks for sharing.

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  3. Our culture has brainwashed a generation to be trendy band wagon jumpers. This near fanatical fascination with the latest electronic gadget is nothing more a manifestation of that. I wonder what the ever shallow "techies" are going to do when the power goes off.

    Huggs..

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    1. While I agree that tech-addiction is not doing anything good for current society or our brains, the desire to be current on "the latest and greatest" is nothing new. Check out Acts ch. 17 verse 21.

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    2. that's what i want to know. if the power goes off--and it will-- can they get into their houses or even open the fridge door or run a bath?
      djh

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  4. I definitely understand about going too far with technology, although when it comes to watering plants I think it might be helpful for me personally to know when they need watered, I tend to either kill them from over watering or under watering, I can never seem to get the right balance of what a plant needs.

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  5. A recent article referenced here described the Palouse as 'despairing desolation'. Ha! Look no further than the pictures of this sterile 'home' to see REAL 'despairing desolation'.
    Montana Guy

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    1. Exactly. All metal and plastic. No wood to warm it up.


      Steve Davis
      Anchorage, Alaska

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  6. As we prepare to have my son receive his second cochlear implant, bringing the 'bionic' blessing of hearing to him, I'm thankful - as you are - for many of the uses of technology! But I'm with you - the last thing I want is a sleek, sterile, cold "connected" home. I'd much rather light a candle, sip my tea, and snuggle on the couch with my boys and our books!

    Julie

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    1. That is a celebration of technology. Best wishes on the procedure!

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    2. You have a Deaf son? Cool! Do you guys use sign language?

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    3. As a "retired" audiologist, I am so happy for your son! He'll probably never know "boredom" as he ventures out to learn about what he hears and from my experience, he'll never take it for granted. Many of us lead lives that are so full of artificial noise we can't perceive the huge blessings of just being able to hear.
      Blessings to you and yours and best wishes for his success in life!
      sidetracksusie

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    4. As a "retired" audiologist, I am so happy for your son! He'll probably never know "boredom" as he ventures out to learn about what he hears and from my experience, he'll never take it for granted. Many of us lead lives that are so full of artificial noise we can't perceive the huge blessings of just being able to hear.
      Blessings to you and yours and best wishes for his success in life!
      sidetracksusie

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  7. I like my technology just fine...but I equally if not more content to just sit and read *gasp* a real book(yes, I have many dusty book shelves in my home!), or to sit outside at the campfire and a nice autumn evening...my kids, however, are tethered, and will be very lost when it hits...

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    1. our library, which the powers that be tried to close last year-they certainly didn't expect the public outrage they got--has seen an upsurge in usage since people have no jobs or at least no full time ones and their funds are limited.
      i said tho the librarian that i was so pleased people were rediscovering reading.
      she gave me a look and replied that the upsurge was in video borrowing!
      oh well, at least the powers that be cannot have reason to defund the library now.
      a friend told us that closing libraries in a depression is like closing hospitals during an epidemic.
      djh

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  8. When the power goes off, I start the generator if the item needed has no other source of power.
    In the heart of Silicon Valley life moves at a decidedly blistering pace. My Lovely and Talented Wife and I discovered this when the family moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana for about two years.
    WOW what a difference in pace of life! And, outside of town it slowed down further. It was a shock to go there and even more to return to the San Jose area.
    So, the gadgets are to a degree toys, but they slowly become needed items when one is flying fast and low as we do around these here parts.
    I forget that I even have plants. Something to remind me that I need to water the potted lemon tree would be good. No a calendar won't do it. I'd have to remember to check the calendar and THAT is the problem. With so much coming at me for my attention, if it doesn't interrupt me with a message I will probably miss it.
    No, this is not a good turn of events. I don't enjoy constantly running beyond my design RPM, but it is the life I currently lead.
    I need to feed the family and watch after my aging parents, so here I am in tech-land.
    Heh.. And I am playing around with Raspberry PI (NOT a food) and Arduino... What are they for - automation...
    Hmmm.. vicious circle.

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    1. How pitiful to be so busy that one forgets they have plants--Montana Gal

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  9. Hate it. Couldn't pay me to live there. It isn't real. It isn't natural. My life is not a Facebook status update. Thank you. And personally I don't want or need my household telling whoever on the internet wants to know what I made for dinner, how bad I am at killing potted plants, or whatever other information they want to collect. Thank you very much.

    Learning in NY

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  10. You're right again Mrs. Lewis.

    I recently saw a commercial of a fellow sitting on a porch swing somewhere use his smart phone to "secure the house". The scene cuts to a house turning off it's lights and even turning off the faucet (as if someone would leave the house with the faucet running)!

    The first thing I thought was "hacker's paradise"! You might as well as hang a spare key by the front door for all the security you'll get from the internet. Sheesh...


    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

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  11. As much as I love to read blogs and lurk, sometimes commenting, I would love to be totally electronic free....not all the time, but most of the time....When working in my home office doing scheduling, invoicing etc., my cell on the desk next to landline and computer all right here on my desk, I want to just chuck it all and just enjoy the day....
    AND NO TECHY kitchen....too sterile...much rather get hands on with cooking, etc.
    That is my rant....
    Love from NC

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  12. And now we know why pictures of the aliens have large fingers, small mouths and no ears!
    Kelly in K'ville,NC

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  13. Excellent "Rant"...its like people cannot be by themselves anymore without being beeped at, reminded to, or texted at! My husband and I read an article about new cars and how they can be hacked into and controlled from somewhere other than the drivers seat. We worry about identity theft but we put our information out there more and more through technology and connectivity! Self reliance and appreciation of "simple" things is a rare talent in these rushed days of tech...thank you for your blog...technology well invested!

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  14. As usual, I agree with on everything. Well, almost everything. I think the demise of the encyclopedia had more to do with size, price, and inability to stay current in an increasingly fast paced world, than simple laziness - though I agree it is surely a factor.

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  15. Technology fails. The more complicated the technology, the faster it can fail on you, with more catastrophic results. And as far as I can tell, there is nothing to date that will keep the power on in an emergency, or even a non-emergency incident that happens to disrupt power.

    If you make yourself dependent on a Magic Talking Elf-Box, what happens when the power that Magic Box requires disappears? Or becomes too expensive to use? (Yeah, I'm imprisoned in Kalifornia right now, why do you ask?)

    Give me a good old-fashioned well built house, and let me make my own coffee.

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  16. When my husband needed delicate spinal surgery I was immensely thankful for all the glitzy technology they used. Instead of a lifetime of pain and/or paralysis, he is healthy and happy.

    Still, I tend to hate everyday technology. I put perhaps 5 minutes a month on my "ancient" cell phone. I can't make it take photos, and I don't know how to make it text. If my microwave or TV doesn't work I turn them off and do things the old way with no regrets. I can no longer repair my own car or appliances, and I hate that.

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  17. The absence of books has always disturbed me in photos of 'perfect', desirable homes.

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  18. I've got decidedly geeky tendancies, but there's no way in heck I want a "smart-home"! First off, can you say "hacker"? Yah, just like I don't want a "smart-car" either. And for second, we get power-outages here, I might go through with-drawel without my internet, but at least I'd survive!

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  19. Just came in from barn, minus 10 outside. Had to leave heat lamp on chickens all night. Got up at 5am to start fire in shop, making "barn beams" for neighbors basement. Have a chicken boiling in the pot for soup later. Battery in 68 dodge truck needed charged, and ALL without help from computer! Haha Stay warm folks

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  20. I also don't know what the word "bored" means. I have so much to do: plant, read, brainstorm while it's so friggin cold. I'll soon learn how to sew, crochet, etc. My goal is to be like you, Patrice; self sufficient. That is not an easy task; but a lifelong journey. A journey of appreciation for all the goodness of God's nature. My best days are spent outside, weeding, planting and smelling the soild that causes the seeds to grow into amazing fruits, veggies and nuts. Wow! so much to do and so little time. Although I love my Kindle and reading your blog a few days a week, I can certainly live without them. Keep writing and blogging; you're awesome and such a blessing to me. Blessings and hugs your way...from homesteader to another. Oh, and I really love the second cabin. lol..Have a great day! :)

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    1. I loved the second cabin also, I thought it was very cozy and pretty

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  21. Very interesting comments on this subject! I loved reading all of them! I can always count on the comment section on this blog to be a good read.

    The one that struck me the most was the one that quoted the Bible. Wanting to fit in by having the newest and bestest thingy is nothing new. But, I think we outgrow that as we get older. Or maybe we just grow weary of the learning curves.

    Some day in the far off distant future, when code talkers are needed again, I'll step up and use cursive handwriting as a code. By then, there'll only be a few people left who will be able to read cursive. And, just like no one today can decipher ancient hieroglyphics, no one will be able to decipher my handwriting.

    Change is the only constant. Heavy sigh.

    Just Me

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  22. I hate gadgets. I have a few to help me process larger loads of produce, such as a food processor and a food mill. However, as many loved ones have learned, I won't fill my cabinets or drawers with "helpful" things. I have a large flat blade knife I smash garlic with, don't need a press. Heck, the fact that I think a press is techy is probably fairly revealing.

    However...I love that technology saves lives. My daughter lived on a monitor for over six months and it screamed the warnings more times than I care to remember. We beat back death more than once, thanks to that bleeping machine. She is now grown and has her own bundle of beauty to watch over.
    Technology also allows my mom to live at home at 82, fully more active than many her age. Her oxygen machine with it's loooonnngg hose lets her go from one end of her small house to the other, letting her get to her computer so she can skype with grand kids and great grand kids, who do so just to keep up with her. My dad is a facebook user at 84, keeping it all private but getting those updates on all the littles toddling around. We don't facebook and neither of my folks submit much, other than comments on the "littles".
    Technology has it's place and it's not in my kitchen, at my table, or in anyones hands when we are trying to talk. We enjoy the programmable thermostat we have in our guest cabin, but it's rarely used and since I check on the cabin daily, we could live without it. Yet, it is nice to go away for a couple weeks and know that the temperature of the cabin will keep it above freezing, but we know it could fail and we could have a catastrophe. So we rely on HUMANS to double check everything...and water the plants.
    I admit we've purchased some fancy appliances, in order to save energy. Another techy item...solar system. We live in an area of 9 months of winter and lots of outages. We don't have a Jetson house, however, and burn wood for heat. We like to think we have the best of both worlds.

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  23. I don't want a "smart" anything either! My husband bought me a smart crock pot; it was a pain in the neck because it limited the choices. I can think for myself, thank you very much, and prefer to take care of my home myself. Post it notes are enough of an app for me!

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  24. the only thing smart in our house is the owner and possibly her husband(me).

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  25. I mostly live simple. But I do like my computer to look up things, I don't like outdated encyclopedias. I enjoy reading blogs like this! I love to sit and ready a H.B. out of my library but am thankful for my Kindle when traveling because I have more room for clothes. I think there is a balance everyone has to find for themselves. What I have the hardest time with is the sound of electricity and appliances it sets my nerves on edge.

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  26. "Save people from themselves" is a good way of putting what gadgets and houses like this do to relationships - and its not a compliment!
    I wouldn't want a cold, uncomfortable, sterile house like that. The only thing I like about it is that it has good lights for reading.

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  27. They've made a movie about people who would own this type of house (not a Home) it's called Wall-E...

    And Yes! someone noted the 'lack of books' in my mind Most Notably The Holy Bible.

    GOD Bless!

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  28. Bless you, Patrice. Just when I'm looking at my jumbledy bookshelves and piles of toys and thrift-store furniture and thinking I SHOULD see a crap-hole that needs to be updated to reflect our means, you come along and remind me that I DO NOT HAVE TO THINK THIS WAY.

    I will keep my HOME. Thank you for reminding me that I'm not alone in finding a sleek, sterile magazine spread more than a little disturbing.

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