A Computer Fit for the Amish

Last week, NPR’s Planet Money went inside an Amish trade show. The story focused mostly on the availability of power tools and conveniently glossed over the booths selling computers.

Where Microsoft is still relevant. #zingThose computers are basically 80’s-era technology, allowing them to run a suite of Microsoft Office applications, CAD drawings, parts inventory, etc. What they can’t do is surf the web, play music, download porn, etc.

It’s another reminder that the Amish aren’t against technology, they are just slower to adopt and more purposeful about the kinds of technology that enters their lives.

In general, the Amish are more willing to adopt new technology if they can justify it for business reasons and they can keep it out of the home. I met an Amish businessman who gave me his business card with a phone number on it.

I asked if [he] had a phone and he said yes — but he kept the phone in a separate building outside his home and factory. It had an answering machine they would check every couple of hours. But they couldn’t hear it ringing.

It’s an important reminder for those of us floating through our always-on, hyper-connected world of smart gadgets.

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