Robbie Blake

Robbie Blake

Robbie Blake is a Research Assistant for Practical Action

Recommended reading: http://www.practicalaction.org.uk

Posts by Robbie

  • Not so no-techy……

    Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, UK, Leamington Spa
    March 30th, 2010

    I’ll come clean: I was a very poor no-techy. 

    My No Tech Day endeavour was broken even before I woke up, when my radio alarm came on automatically (as it always does) and I spent a full hour pleasurably listening in for a snug Saturday morning – before remembering that this was breaking The Rules!  I immediately felt the loss switching it off: the sounds and voices that emanate from my digital radio provide an accompaniment to my life – and source of information and engagement (Radio 4 all the way!).
     
    I managed to do without my computer.  Which, in many ways, was neither here nor there.  I caught up on emails and internet banking on Sunday instead of Saturday; and was glad to be free from wasted hours surfing the net, watching Youtube and playing mindless games of solitaire.  No, I have no trouble banishing my computer away into its case.  For a day.  A full weekend?  That would be a different story!

    I didn’t do so well on the mobile phone front.  On Friday night, my aunt, uncle and small cousins made a short-notice suggestion to visit for the day on Sunday; there were arrangements to be made, and I had to postpone alternative plans for a visit to London.  Nope, couldn’t do without my mobile phone that day: I am truly beholden.  This is the real value of modern communications technologies: they’ve allowed us to make plans at the last minute, without much need for advanced forethought.  Hurrah for that!

    Finally, two technologies that – without intending to – I didn’t use on Saturday, but which I would never be without permanently:

    1. my bicycle;
    2. my washing machine!

    After the wheel, possibly the two best inventions in the world, ever.  Forget all the fancy gadgetry and flashing lights of consumer tech.  These are the real practical technologies that make my life better.  A life of walking 10 miles to work and washing by hand would be a real drudgery.  In my opinion, that’s the kind of ‘intermediate’ technology that the founder of Practical Action knew is really transformative for people’s lives.

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