Thursday, July 28, 2005

Just Very Late Adopters

For a year or so, I've been doing the intellectual experiment of running my Intel box as a Linux appliance-client. I run off a Knoppix CD, using my local coffee shop -- which has free wireless -- as my ISP. I've gotten two nice things out of it:
  • I've learned really a lot. I can't really customize my environment, so habits I've relied on for years no longer work. I have to learn all the new, cool stuff.
  • I can't save anything, so I've embraced web services. Email? Gmail. Scheduling? Backpack. Bookmarks? A9 or the Google customizable home page or Furl or Blogging? Blogger and blogspot and technorati and Flickr. Music? Streaming audio and podcasts and Odeo.
By blind luck, I'm state-of-the art. Web services are all the rage. Cool. Except guess who's ahead of me? The Amish. Sayeth Wired:
What could be a better mark of irreversible acceptance than adoption by the Amish? I was visiting some Amish farmers recently. They fit the archetype perfectly: straw hats, scraggly beards, wives with bonnets, no electricity, no phones or TVs, horse and buggy outside. They have an undeserved reputation for resisting all technology, when actually they are just very late adopters. Still, I was amazed to hear them mention their Web sites.

'Amish Web sites?' I asked.

'For advertising our family business. We weld barbecue grills in our shop.'

'Yes, but '

'Oh, we use the Internet terminal at the public library. And Yahoo!'
Me and the Amish.


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