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Putting Tech in Its Place

Putting Tech in Its Place

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Putting Tech in Its Place

146 página
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Lançado em:
Jul 24, 2018


Wouldn't it be nice to simply pick up a device, do what we need to do, and put it back down again?

In a world that's gone tech-mad, it's oh-so-easy to spend a ton of money on tech devices and service...and then stare at them all day long, for no good reason. When we do this, we make technology the master, not the servant.

I wrote Putting Tech in Its Place because technology had that kind of power over me. I used it too much, and spent too much for the privilege, to boot.

In this book we'll look at technology from the Bible's perspective, learning how to tame the beasts that sit in our pockets, by our bedsides, and on our desks. It's meant for anyone—young or old, tech "newbie" or veteran—that wants to take control of his or her tech life.

In Part 1: The Spiritual Side, we’ll look at how technology gets in the way of godliness and how can we re-take control of our lives.

In Part 2: The Financial Side, we’ll learn why we spend so much on technology, and learn how to reign in that spending.

In Part 3: A New Buying Guide, we’ll examine specific tech products (smartwatches, smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) as well as common tech services (home internet, cable TV, video services, etc.). What should we look for, what should we be wary of, and how can we spend less on technology?

If you’d like to learn more, please visit putting-tech-in-its-place.com/blog. I post several articles there each week, and I also suggest some tech products that should serve the average user well without breaking the bank.

Lançado em:
Jul 24, 2018

Sobre o autor

I'm a software developer turned writer. My first book, Thinking Beyond Coding, came out in October, 2014.

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Amostra do Livro

Putting Tech in Its Place - Erik Peterson

Putting Tech in Its Place

Redeeming Time (and Money) from Technology

Erik Peterson

Copyright © 2015 by Erik Peterson. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in any form without permission of the author except for brief excerpts in published reviews.

ISBN-13: 978-1519373267

ISBN-10: 1519373260

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Special thanks to my beta readers, Darla Turquette and Jacob Hudgins, for suffering through my still-forming ideas, and my editor, Wendy Sanders, for helping me gel those ideas in to the form you see here.

To my wife, Valerie, for letting me do this crazy writing thing.


What is technology? Once a boring box full of plain programs, today’s tech is so much more. It keeps us in touch, helps us navigate our days, gives us new entertainment options, and even answers our questions. Tech makes life better in many ways.

But there’s a dark side to technology. With so much tech around us, we must ask the question: do we control it or does it control us? And here society does us no favors. We’re encouraged to pull out our phones at every spare moment. We’re told that it’s okay to glue our eyes to our tech instead of our families. We’re expected to keep up on Facebook, or watch whole seasons on Netflix. As a society, we’ve given tech control.

And to make all this happen we like to buy the latest tech devices and tech services. Tech, once a necessary evil, is now a vital part of high fashion.

Where once technology enabled addictions (such as pornography, gambling, and gaming), now technology is itself an addiction. Devices we can’t stop upgrading, phones we can’t put away, Facebook feeds we can’t stop reading, TV we can’t turn off: tech abuse is the new national epidemic.

It’s time we stopped buying into this mindset. It’s time we wrest our lives back from our tech.

It’s time to put tech in its place.

About Me

I liked computers as a kid, but my interest in all things digital sprouted when I was a teenager during the 90s. I took this love to school with me, studying computer science and then spending 11 years as a software developer (that experience turned into my first book, Thinking Beyond Coding). More recently, as a deacon in my local church, I help maintain our website and computer gear.

Along the way I’ve used every kind of tech imaginable: PCs, Macs, Unix, Linux, Chromebooks, iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and even Windows Phones.

But while tech has given me a good life, all too often it’s sucked that life from me. I’ve been that guy in line, head buried in a phone instead of paying attention to the people around me. I’ve been the parent spending more time on the couch with a tablet than playing with my kids. I’ve been the nerd who spends mornings ogling and Googling the latest tech, afternoons at Best Buy trying them out, and evenings trying to justify those gadgets to my wife. And when those precious gadgets failed, I’ve been the one who got mad. Tech, for me, became a toxic mix of excitement, lust, anxiety, depression, and anger.

I’ve paid a hefty financial price for my tech longings, too. I got a palmtop computer in 1997 that did little and got used even less. I bought a laptop in 1998, but with no WiFi, e-textbooks, or all-day batteries, that laptop stayed in my dorm room. In 2001, I bought a folding keyboard for my PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), but soon learned that writing on a tiny screen is a pain. In 2007, I bought one of the first netbooks, but found it too small and too underpowered for real use. In 2011, wanting to try iPhone development, I skipped the more reasonable Mac Mini and splurged for a $1,500 iMac. In 2013, I burned two cell phone upgrades trying to make the most of our cell phone plan, but both of those phones failed in less than a year. In the past 20 years, by my reckoning, I’ve wasted over $5,000 in dumb tech purchases.

I’m not writing this book because I’m a paragon of tech virtue; I’m writing it because I’m an expert at giving tech control. But I’m learning how to curb this destructive cycle, and I want to share what I’ve found with you.

Today I use a boring mix of tech products. My smartwatch was a gift from my wife, as was my 8-inch tablet. I bought my Kindle e-reader with gift cards from my old job. My phone is a first-gen Moto G, bought on sale (and without a contract) for $99. Our printer is a basic all-in-one laser printer. My camera is a basic mirrorless camera that cost $300. And my rather pedestrian laptop cost $400. Far from the thousands I’ve wasted in years past, all of my personal tech combined cost less than that iMac I bought four years ago.

We’ve also cut down on our tech services, switching two lines to a prepaid cell phone carrier and cutting cable TV. Those two changes alone have saved us more than $1,500 per year.

Now, when I get a new phone, I shut off most notifications (including email) so I’m not distracted by stuff that can wait. My home life has more family and less Facebook. I spend more time in meditation and less time manically checking my phone. And I spend more time enjoying God’s world and less escaping into a virtual one.

I’m still learning, though. Tech still pulls at me, but I’ve learned how to fight back. And I want to share what I’ve learned about winning the war out-of-control tech wages on our souls.

About This Book

In part one of this book we’ll discuss the spiritual dangers of technology. We’ll look at the ways that technology toys with our emotions, how social media turns us into different people, how we can redeem our time and focus from our gadgets, and how our necessary tech isn’t really that vital.

In part two, we’ll look at the financial side of technology. We’ll look at counting the cost of technology, and different ways we can reduce what we spend on it.

In part three, we’ll work to make these ideas practical. We’ll talk about which tech specs matter and which don’t, and what to look for in various tech products and services. We’ll wrap up by outfitting several typical people with the devices and services they need, and look at the spiritual dangers they face.

I also encourage you to visit the book’s website, www.putting-tech-in-its-place.com. Technology changes too quickly for a book like this to keep up, so look to the site for the most up-to-date information. On the site you’ll also find device recommendations, as well as an email list to keep encouraging tech thoughts coming your way.

But before we get started, I want us to put our current tech problems into some historical perspective. If we understand how tech sneaks up on us, we can learn how to avoid getting bamboozled by next year’s gadgets.

Chapter 1: Some History

History done right is more than names and dates, battles and power struggles; it’s a way to make sense of current events. That’s one reason why the Bible is still relevant today: for all that’s changed in the last two millennia, people are still people, and we keep doing the same dumb things.

Even in the tech world, where things change quickly, the same problems will repeat themselves. If we can spot these patterns, then, we can put each year’s new gadgets and services into a better perspective.

Computer History 101

In the 1980s, a computer was a big beige box that ran programs every bit as plain; they were fine for writing papers and creating spreadsheets, but not much use otherwise. They were work machines that just happened to play some games, and at thousands of dollars apiece, buying one was a hefty investment.

In the 1990s, we saw the first glimpses of the computer’s future, as CD-ROM games gave us a new reason to buy high-end machines and the Internet connected PCs to the rest of the world. The 90s also gave us the first big price drops: my first computer, a bottom-end desktop, cost me $2,000 in 1994, but by 1999 that same two grand bought me high-end performance.

If there’s one word that can sum up 21st century tech, it’s mobility. There were laptops in the 80s and 90s, sure, but in the main we used them only when we couldn’t use a desktop PC. As the new century dawned, though, the laptop became good enough to serve as most people’s sole computer.

At the same time, high-speed internet led to many new services. Companies like Microsoft started sending out updates online. Games became huge multiplayer adventures. Instant messages morphed into Skype calls. Social networking let us share our lives—pictures and all—with far-off family and friends. And as our devices shrank we started to take these services with us.

The smartphone put a computer in our pocket. Digital cameras let us see our pictures without going to the drugstore. Netflix gave us TV on our schedules. E-readers put entire libraries in our hands. Tablets took our entertainment on the road. Now we have computers in our cars, on our couches, next to (or even in) our TVs, and by our bedsides—and in our hands, of course.

But what can we learn from the rise of cheaper, more pervasive tech?

The Hype Cycle

Most tech items start out life clunky and expensive, fit only for early adopters. Pre-iPhone smartphones, for example, were more shrunken-down laptop than finger-friendly phone. Only those on tech’s bleeding edge dared use them.

But at some point each new device becomes good enough for the masses. The first iPhone made the smartphone easy to understand—and, as a consequence, easy to want. Regular folks start buying the

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