Okay people, the end is nigh. According to the New York Times, Wing, the drone-delivery unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has received the Federal Aviation Administration’s first approval to use drones to carry and deliver packages commercially. And one of the most commonly delivered products in a test to date? Coffee. So, I guess we can all look forward to getting our caffeine buzz from a buzzing drone!
Even as Linda and I prepare to move into our circa 1895 light keeper’s house here in mid-coast Maine we are trying to decide how much technology to allow into our historic abode. In an effort to limit the number of gadgets I need to upgrade, charge up, sync up, back up, and update, I recently donated an old iPod and iPad to local charities. And while we need high-speed internet to work from home we are debating about whether or not to finally “cut the cord” and forego cable television.
In his latest book Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, author and professor Cal Newport calls for what he describes as “a philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”
Another person who is doing just that happens to be New York Times book editor Pamela Paul, who states her philosophy in the article “Save Your Sanity. Downgrade Your Life.” as she writes, “And so, I resist. I downgrade, I discard, I decline to upgrade. More than a decade ago, I got rid of cable TV, then network TV. I cut out personal phone calls (unless the person is a continent away), then anything other than businesslike emails. If I want to catch up with a good friend or a family member, I wait until we actually see each other.”
As for dealing with more recent iterations of technological gadgetry, Paul likewise practices abstinence: “Never got a Nook, a Kindle, an iPad, don’t want them. Until quite recently, I thought Alexa was a joke, a wild, hypothetical Orwellian item that might one day be foisted upon the world, not something that anyone might actually desire, pay for and willingly allow into her home.” Amen to that!
Besides getting rid of our older Apple devices we also are planning to dispense with our Kindle Paperwhite, as Linda does not read e-books and I much prefer printed ones myself. And I was elated to learn the other day those dastardly drones are not allowed on lighthouse property so that is one less nuisance for us to deal with. I usually brew my own coffee but I will walk to the general store if I need a cup of joe, thank you very much.
And while I am on my soapbox, it thrilled me no end to see that the venerable Masters golf tournament is maintaining tradition as the sole major tourney to ban cell phone usage by its patrons. Suffice it to say that is one tradition worth upholding. Now, if we can just keep them out of movie theaters that would be a welcome break.