Saturday, June 9, 2012

High Tech & Low Tech

Technology of all sorts has always fascinated the people on our planet. Some Technologies are rated as High-Tech (most modern, best), while I actually found something really Looooooooow-Tech the other day.

Everyone has a doorbell. Simple thing. You push a button - it rings.


The most low-tech construction I found in an old person's apartment was the following:

A doorbell that does indeed ring when it is pushed, but it expects the inhabitant of the apartment to actually use the door opening button inside their apartment, to respond to the ringing, so the doorbell can be rung again later.

If you don't touch the opening button, it makes a tiny lamp go on, that shows that someone rung. But then you still have to push the button for the system to be able to ring the bell again. So if the person is not at home and someone rings, and they oversee the tiny lamp when they come back and leave the ring "unanswered" in that way, the next person who tries to use the doorbell will not have much success, since the bell simply won't ring until the old ring has been answered. (Which they don't know about unless they check that tiny lamp which can be easily overseen, especially for elderly people).

So that construction of a door-bell-mechanism gets from me the lowest-low-tech-award-in-history.

Second place for low-tech goes to Thomas Alva Edison's Direct Current. Which was too unstable when transmitted over long distances, so for it to be stable it would have required a power station ever mile. (Feel free to look at 19th century New York photographs, they looked more packed than even nowadays, despite the fact they had a lot less people back then, but a LOT more wires, power stations and stuff.

Lesson from today:
Door Bells that need to be answered before they can ring again are bad, mkaaaay.
Direct Current was bad, mkaaay.

Long live Alternating Current and proper door bells.

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