I would love to hear from any slashdotters who have been thinking about homesteading. I have been obsessing about getting out of the city and being independent, leaving some of the consumer world behind. My wife thinks I am nuts, and I don't think that we will actually move to some backwoods any time soon. Anyone else sharing my obesession?
Check out this link for more information on homesteading http://www.homestead.org/Editors/WelcometoHomestead.htm.
Having an occupation that forces me to deal with technology at a very low level, I think I have some insight into how things work. Specifically, I have been building international networks and large scale systems for over 12 years. I think I am beginning to have a unique understanding of how things work. Living through the dot.com era has certainly added to my point of view, especially since I made no-money. Many of my peers made or had significant amounts of money real and virtual. I am not bitter at all, but I can't speak for my wife.
Back to what I want to talk about, the relationship between technology, individual freedom, dependancy and corporate greed, and the fragility of our wired existence
Living through the dot.com experience certainly allowed me to see greed in a very raw form. I have always subscribed to a Lord of the Flies view of the world. The idea that when left to our base nature, we return to brutal selfish animal bent on dominating our environments. It is my personal belief that a strong understanding of right and wrong, as well as a belief in a higher-power is the only thing separating us from mutually assured destruction.
Greed fuels our desire for wealth.
How does this relate to technology you ask? Well, it doesn't directly, but it is technology that is used by business for advantage. By the admission of the business advocates, business serves only one master.
Wealth creation at any expense.
The use of technology, without great regard for its impact on the immediate environment and people in the name of the new ideologies of progress, science and profit. (Interesting how the word profit has two distinct meanings). This is almost the new definition of "business".
The final part that I would like to discuss, individual and freedom and how this is impacted by personal and business decisions on the use of technology.
My definition of the word technology is very straight-forward. Anything that enhances our physical attributes. This is as simple as a pulley, and as complex as manned space flight. Any Luddite that would like to remove technology from their life would like to return to a time that has never existed in human history, we have always used tools. Our choice of tools have often has direct impacts on those who used them, and those around the people using them. We all know stories of successful technologies like ships used to discover the new world, and unsuccessful technologies such as the hydrogen lifted airship. In fact, the modern person makes decisions about the tools she is going to use from the moment she wakes till after she has gone to sleep. More than ever, we are defined by our machines. (Medium is the message again?, don't know.)
The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.