Blogs tagged as No Tech Day

  • Technologies for good … and bad

    For No Tech Day, a Saturday when most of us are not at work, the suggestion was to put aside for 24 hours the tech we use for leisure. So, what to do instead of watching DVDs or iPlayer? Parlour games? Board games? I opted for reading a book – admittedly something I might have done anyway. And the book I started reading a week before seemed appropriate to the occasion: Robert Winston’s Bad Ideas: An Arresting History of Our Inventions.
    On Saturday I didn’t get to the part where Winston writes about the tech I’d substituted him for. But I did learn that the capacity of the human brain limits us to a maximum of 150 friends. So all of you with several hundred, if not thousand, ‘friends’ on Facebook and other social networks, take note – either you’re kidding yourself or you’re just point scoring.
    In his book Lord Winston is making a general point that for every invention by humankind there are both potential good and bad effects. His first example is one of the earliest technologies ever – the use of flint stone blades, which can be weapons as well as domestic knives. This example also highlights that almost everything we do involves the use of some form of technology. (And Winston notes that human beings are not the only species to use simple tools.)

    In a couple of chapters on innovations in agricultural production, Bad Ideas suggests that many of the negative effects of technologies are unintended. The perils of industrial agriculture are well described, and derive from the time when agriculture became a business and driven by commercial imperatives. When food producers and sellers are distanced, physically and socially, from food consumers the checks and balances from interaction with 150 trusted people are lost. More complex social institutions become necessary – and that takes us from innovation and technology straight to politics.

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • Getting the family to give up their mobile phones for the day

    March 30th, 2010

    I had asked my family to try and give up our mobiles for the day. 

    Initially, I thought it would be extremely difficult as we cannot function without our mobiles and especially as I was planning a weekend away from my children.  My daughter had run out of credit and asked for a top up so my response was that “it was no tech day so I wouldn’t be topping up for her”. 

    Normally when I spend time away from my children, my daughter would be texting/calling me constantly though out my time away (from a very early age!) so this is something that I had got use to so it felt really strange not hearing from my daughter all weekend !!!…

     It was nice not to hear from her as her usual calls/texts are about making me feel guilty for not taking her !

    1 Comment » | Add your comment
  • No Tech Day in pictures

    I have to say I found it a huge struggle to give up my home computer for the day – but it did make me think!

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • No tech – no water!

    No Tech Day was always going to be a challenge for me. Not because I’m addicted to gadgets, but because I have very few. No iPod, no Blackberry, no games console. Not even, to the incredulity of my colleagues, a mobile phone. And then, as I was pondering this in the week before No Tech Day, fate intervened to remind me how truly dependent we are on basic technologies.

    We woke up to find the taps had run dry – a burst water main had cut off the supply to the whole village.

    Suddenly simple things that we take for granted became much more difficult. No shower, no water to brush your teeth. Going to the loo became something you had to think carefully about – can you hold it in a little longer?!

    Of course, the village school was closed, as 90 children and no flushing toilets don’t go well together. And yet, that is the reality for millions of children around the world. Lack of sanitation is a major obstacle to education in many places, especially for girls, and suddenly I could understand why children would be reluctant to go to a school that, at best, might have two covered pits shared amongst all the pupils.

    In the end we filled up a five gallon water butt from a tap at my office, eight miles away, which would last the family the day while I was at work. But we had a car to transport the water. For millions of women – and it is usually women who end up with this work – the long journey carrying water would be on foot, and water is heavy. All this for one of the absolute essentials of life.

    This is what “no technology” really means.

    Our lives went back to normal after 10 hours, thanks to the Water Board. For many families around the world it will take a lot longer than that to get access to even a simple water supply or basic sanitation. But I’m proud to be working for Practical Action, who use technology to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands every year. Technology can be a real force for good – although sometimes it takes an impromptu “no tech” day to remind us of this!

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • No Tech Day

    No Tech Day is a challenge for gadget addicts to go without their favourite tech toys for a day this Saturday, March 27th 2010, to raise awareness of how much we all rely on and use gadgets in our everyday life, and think what life is like for people in the developing world who do not have the same access to technology and energy.

    No Tech Day - could you go cold turkey?By pledging to go without technology for a day you’ll get a taste of what life might be like without it, and get an insight into why the work that Practical Action does is so important. And, if the experiences by our ‘featured tech addicts,’ including writer and broadcaster Adam Hart-Davis, BBC Click website reviewer Kate Russell and top gadget magazine Stuff news editor Tom Wiggins are anything to go by, you might even enjoy it!

    Sign up to take part, nominate the tech addict in your life, or simply lend your support by sharing No Tech Day with your friends. If you’ve got a blog or website we’ve also got some great adverts you might like to put up too.

    Check back over the coming week to browse the stories of those taking part and vote, and if you’d like to let us know how you found your No Tech Day you can drop us an email, or find us on Twitter. We’ll be posting the best stories here.

    And of course, thanks to one of our supporters we’ve got the most talked-about gadget of 2010 to give away to the tech addict with the most votes by the end of the challenge. Someone has to win it, so if raising awareness for a great charity and a great cause isn’t enough, perhaps the chance of winning an iPad will be!

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • Two weeks to go

    Two weeks to go to ‘No Tech Day‘ and having agreed to participate, I, for some reason woke up thinking about technology. It’s probably a bit like diets – the minute you go on one all you can think about is food!

    I woke in a cosy, centrally heated house – on a work day Radio 4 would have prompted me to get up but today being Saturday I could laze with my thoughts.

    Bathroom -shower, wash hair, warm towel from towel rail.

    Breakfast – tea and toast (kettle and toaster), listening to the radio as I prepare and looking up routes on the internet while chatting to my husband as I eat. Lights on as our kitchen is dark.

    Load things in the dishwasher but don’t switch on. Answer call on my mobile. Use hairdryer. Clean teeth. Get dressed in clean clothes I washed and ironed earlier in the week. Phone my sister.

    Its now 9.10 am and as we head out for the day hugely conscious of the amount of technology I’ve used and beyond that the technology I take for granted – clean water, decent loos, electricity for lights, gas for heating – technologies that made the bread I toasted, that broadcast the news I listened too even the medicine I took to subdue my cold.

    Conscious of all the people who invented, created, made and even shared or marketed these technologies.

    My plan for No Tech Day is to use only those technologies that are essential – not surprising now I think about it that I’ve already started to worry. Imagine if it was everyday – I am truly glad it isn’t!

    No Comments » | Add your comment