Thursday, April 13, 2006

MEME: Weekend Assignment #107

image of a REMSTAR auto CPAP machine

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #107: Tech You'd Miss

Weekend Assignment #107: Which recent piece of technology would you miss the most if it suddenly disappeared tomorrow? By "recent," I mean in the last two decades or so (if you didn't have it in 1986, you can't have it now). You can also consider tech which did exist in 1986 but wasn't in common usage. For example, the Internet existed in 1986, but no one except a few geek at universities used it. Any tech is up for consideration, whether it be consumer tech, medical tech, security tech, or whatever.

Extra Credit: If you were cut off from the Internet (like, say, me), how long would it take for you to go completely insane?

Dear John.

Sorry about your troubles. Back in 1986 I was using multiple PC's (all S-100 buss CP/M machines with 300 baud modems) which allowed me to write, connect to my email account at the University of Maine and, of course, conduct research via the card files at Fogler Library and on ARPA Net. So I'd really miss my computers. There's no way I want to return to the “good old days.”

However, I can identify one piece of technology I rely upon to keep me alive every day and that is my automagic CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. The “automagic” part is that it adjusts the pressure automatically, based on the depth of my inhalations and the force of my exhalations. Thus preventing my tongue and uvula from blocking my airway. Good thing, that. The only other way I can sleep without killing myself is upright in a chair. So, the loss of a CPAP machine would really bug me no end, y'know?

I have actually acquired a back-up DC power supply that i can use to power the machine for a full night's sleep, just in case of an extended power outage (not so rare around here). Once depleted, I can then recharge it off the car alternator, or even the lawn mower! Of course, on DC, no heated humidification is available, but thats minor, compared to no CPAP at all.

So, I can do without TV and computers and cell phones and even my DSL line if necessary. In many ways, society might be better off if we returned to typewriters and a slower mode of life. But I'm not ready to forgo all the benefit that microchip electronics has brought us. Not by a long shot...

May Krissy and Athena be well and happy and keep your nose to the grindstone, even if it is only a virtual one.


PS. Extra Credit: Day and a half, at the outside. I am, after all, addicted. But insanity has its own rewards, not to be missed.

No comments: