But in 2011 it’s become clear that ‘austerity’ is more than just a media cliche. And this Christmas as we’ve reconnected with old friends, people are talking openly about financial hardship, debt, negative equity and carefully managing strained resources.
But rather than putting a damper on all things tech, I have a feeling that hard times may drive innovation in a way that, for example, environmental concerns have not.
This week I’ve paid a 400 euro electricity bill for my home (which includes my office). We’ve upgraded our insulation and there’s a lot more we need to do to improve efficiency in the home and office, but as the storm battered the house the other night, I thought again about the domestic wind turbines one increasingly sees around the West of Ireland. Maybe the next time I see one, I’ll stop and knock on the door?
I’m also looking at cutting the cord. Like George Hook I love the way my Sky+ box gives me the freedom to record TV and watch it when I want. But I don’t give a damn about the 600 channels of crap that comes with that. Almost everything I watch is on 4 free-to-air channels. There are a lot of great options for Digital Video Recorders, and a great opportunity to tinker with tech!
There’s more: rainwater harvesting, solar power, energy monitoring, electric vehicles, biodiesel …. It’s a techies dream! What do you think?