Editor’s Note: No More Computers For Me!

by Carla Schroder
Managing Editor

I’m heading out on vacation for a week, so I’m counting on you
fine readers to behave yourselves and not make my substitute
editors cry. Anyway they’re both tough, grizzled old grouches who
don’t care, so you’re in good hands. I intend to spend the entire
week nowhere near a computer.

I love tech and computers, and would probably stay glued to a
computer screen for all of my vacation if I didn’t make myself do
something else. But I have a lot of interests and a change of pace
is always healthy. There is plenty of outdoor work to do here on my
little spread, and I like taking care of my place. If I didn’t have
to work for a living I could easily spend my days puttering like an
old person. Have a perfectly-groomed lawn, and plastic daisies and

I think more computer geeks and industrial designers of all
types should broaden their horizons. How can anyone design products
for other people to use if they don’t know what types of tasks
their customers do, and how they do them?

This is farm and ranch company, and high-tech has been creeping
into agriculture for some time. Wheat growers use special GPS units
to control seeding; more seeds are deposited on hilltops and fewer
in the gullies because they tend to get washed or blown downhill.
GPS also gives the tractor drivers precise positioning so they
don’t overlap or miss spots.

Big herbicide sprayers have special weed-recognition optical
gadgets that apply herbicide to the weeds rather than spraying
everything. I think this a much superior solution to breeding
herbicide-resistant plants; that is just begging for bad

The one downside to electronics is they tend to be
all-or-nothing, they either work or they don’t. If an electronic
component breaks you can’t jury-rig a temporary repair; it has to
be replaced. You can’t improvise interesting customizations with
simple tools like a welding torch, hammer, and anvil. Huddling over
a warm real-time operating system just isn’t the same. There is
always a tradeoff, it seems.

Have a great week and I’ll see you when I get back!

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