Networking for Undeveloping Regions

I wrote the short position paper below, with a bit of help from a colleague, for an academic audience, but never published it. Today I was thinking about it and realized that it synthesizes some of my thinking on computing and economic trends. For the last decade there has been an active area of computing … Continue Reading

Programmable Permaculture

There’s a cultural phenomenon, one that has been growing for the past decade, of hobbyist hackers exemplified by Make Magazine and TechShop. These hackers want to have the experience of building something in the physical world while still applying the tools and techniques of computing. With the rise of open hardware platforms like Arduino—even whole … Continue Reading

Free Services

A while back I had considered free energy as it exists in modern industrial society. Today I want to consider free services provided by nature, but that are ignored for what they are, especially in the context of a long-running trend that is finally getting notice in the tech-centric media: the tension between automation and … Continue Reading

The Invisible Technological Midpoint

Some time back Adam explored the notion of minimalism, and I’d like to revisit that in the context of technology and civilization. The conclusion he seemed to come to was that some sort of middle course is the right one—shunning all technology can be just as limiting as embracing all of it. In part because … Continue Reading

Reversalism and Hedging Strategies

It seems there are many camps when it comes to our energy future. Some don’t think there’s a problem. Some think we’ll not only solve our problems, but produce even more energy more cleanly. Some think we’re doomed and have no chance of anything other than catastrophe. Some think we’re in for a long, slow … Continue Reading

Computing in the Long Emergency

Where will computing go in the coming years? I thought I should find out, so I watched this roundtable and other talks and interviews on the subject (warning: it’s pretty dry stuff). I came away underwhelmed. Maybe it’s that besides technological utopians of the Ray Kurzweil variety, the visions of the future presented by technologists … Continue Reading

What are the Internet’s dependencies?

In my last post, I looked at the Internet’s energy use, broadly construed, and contended that we might offload other societal functions onto the Internet.  In this post I’d like to consider in what ways that might be an unwise approach given the dependencies of the Internet. A couple of months ago, Greer argued that … Continue Reading