While reading about our resistance to technology, it is impossible to ignore one fact. We have computers. And Internet access. And how in the world could we have that, without relying on the grid?
First, the computer. We do own one desktop right now, and Rob uses it for gaming. It uses a ton of electricity, so when we are trying to reduce our consumption (like on the boat, or in the winter), he does not use it. We have a laptop, but that still consumes more electricity than we would like. Our solution: Netbooks.
However, we learned that you get what you pay for. We tried some refurbished Asus units from woot.com . Neither lasted a year. Yet, something like this unit would use little electricity and do everything we wanted. Shop around! A netbook could be charged on solar power, would run a long time on battery power, and would use very little energy.
So, what about Internet access? We currently have a MiFi from Verizon, which runs us about $60 a month. We had a poor signal when we first started out, but it was corrected after some calls to tech support (they sent some people out here to check out the network). It requires little electricity. I updated this blog while underway and while anchored out. We did need to recharge it every other day–that may be done in the car or with solar (or other alternative) power. We are considering switching to a smart phone, which could end up costing less and providing Internet access and a phone line (we pay for a separate cell phone from Verizon right now).
Technology is a great tool. I can look up recipes, talk with friends, and tell our story to anyone who is interested. It can be had with little energy usage, as long as you are conscious of your usage and time spent online.