One of the things I’ve been thinking through as I finish out the Greer America trilogy (and Retrotopia specifically) is the concept of “tech levels” in personal life - and I’m still thinking through a lot of this.
But the concept is along the lines of “What is your target time point for how technology interacts in your life?” With the endless treadmill that modern consumer tech ends up being, I don’t think it’s terribly feasible to actually run decades-old tech in practice, but I think there’s a lot one can apply in terms of concepts.
I’ve realized that what I’ve been aiming for is somewhere around a “2000” tech level in my personal life, and so far, it’s not a half bad place to hang out. Cell phones existed (my current flip phone being a bit more advanced than the 2000 versions, but not by much - come 2002 or 2003, texting was well established), computers could do just about everything I care to do on them, but they weren’t pervasive - they were something you went to, for a while, and then walked away from. Laptops existed, but without wireless networking, they weren’t nearly what they’ve become today. And, of course, smartphones didn’t really exist.
The one chronological oddity I’ve been making heavy use of is the e-ink reader concept - not just for books, but also for reference materials and web articles as well. It’s more or less a less-papery version of “just print stuff out,” which was certainly a thing in a 2000 tech era, but with a bit less money spent on printer toner.
My vehicles, also, fit more or less in that model (some being actually that old - I realized that one of our motorcycles is almost old enough to drink, and the truck being a '97). I’ve got some basic smarts like fuel injection (in… actually, not that many vehicles, now that I think through it), the car has a built in satnav system and I’ve got a GPS in the truck (pretty sure it didn’t handle the epoch rollover, but it still works), and they don’t have always-on cell connections tracking me and OTAing and all the other stuff that modern cars seem to consider required. The Volt has an Onstar module, but it talks to towers that no longer exist, so I may as well remove it.
I work in the weeds of modern tech, but it’s been an interesting way of thinking about personal technology. Is this a helpful model at all, or just off in the weeds?