7 technologies that can help you weather the crisis
While some politicians would have us believe the crisis is over and we're recovering I think we can never be too sure, at the very least. Respectable people who are widely credited for predicting this crisis (George Celente, Peter Schiff, Ron Paul etc.) are saying there are even worse times to come. Suffice it to say it would probably be a bad idea to go get too comfy right now and think saving and being prepared is no longer so vital.
If there really is a bit of an economic uptick right now and you're above the water financially, than it's only a good opportunity to prepare for the worst while there's time. Since this site is about good uses of technology here is a selection of seven technologies which may help you weather the crisis.
1. The Internet
You're already using it, of course, but the key is in how you are using it. There are web sites and services which can help you track your expenses, organize your time more efficiently, get better chances of finding a job and even get part time work if you're out of a job or need some extra income (freelancing).
You could even start an online business if you do a bit of introspection about what you could offer. Maybe you have some unique knowledge or experience which you can share in form of a blog or an ebook or maybe you're a programmer and have some interesting web application ideas. You can do some research into what people might be interested in and give it a try.
The good thing about trying your hand in online business is its low barrier to entry. You don't have too much to lose so it's all the more worth trying. And contrary to what many might think, more people doing online business, while it does mean more competition, means that the overall market is richer and there's more money to go for everyone (bussiness to business or B2B).
Furthermore, the internet can provide cheaper means of entertainment, from music and movies streamed directly from the web to online gaming.
- Search: "sites that help save money"
- NetBuilders.org - A good forum for people wanting to build web sites
- Freelancer.com, Elance.com and oDesk
2. Solar technology
On a small scale and very cheap to get into you can use solar gadgets like solar laptop and mobile phone chargers to save a little bit of electricity. On a larger scale you could invest into deploying solar panels on your home in order to either partially or completely cut your dependence on the electricity grid.
You can take this progressively. Just one solar panel can mean a lot and as you save energy on it you can use the money you saved to buy another panel and so on until you have the entire house covered.
Alternatives to solar energy are other natural sources of energy such as wind. If you have more wind than sun where you live then perhaps this is what you might consider.
To take this to the extreme you could even power your vehicle with the sun if you buy an electric car that you can charge from the outlet in your solar powered home. Blessed be the sun.
3. Kill a watt
If you cannot replace your energy source with one that is more cost efficient then you could try to limit your use of electricity as much as possible. Before you can do that however it helps to know how much exactly are you spending.
Kill-a-watt is a famous little gadget that comes in handy for exactly that purpose. I first found out about it via ThinkGeek.com which have this to say of its capabilities: "The Kill-A-Watt allows you to connect your appliances and assess how efficient they are. A large LCD display counts consumption by the Kilowatt-hour, just like utility companies. You can figure out your electrical expenses by the hour, day, week, month, even an entire year. Monitor the quality of your power by displaying Voltage, Line Frequency, and Power Factor."
How about growing some of your own food without actually living in the country side and working your own land? AeroGarden is a device that lets you do just that. It grows the green stuff inside of your own home even if you live at the top of a skyscraper. All you need are some seed kits and to follow some simple instructions.
If you have a spare room or some free space you could even buy a multiple of them for an increased effect. For some fascinating details about this device check out their Frequently Asked Questions.
5. EcoloBlue Atmospheric Water Generators
While you're making your own healthy food in-house why not make your own clean water as well, and from thin air at that? Well amazingly enough you can with EcoloBlue "Water from Air Atmospheric Water Generators" which generate clean drinkable water from humidity in air.
You could then use this water for drinking and cooking saving a little bit on your water bill. Need I say any more?
- EcoloBlue site
- Ecoloblue on Amazon
6. Linux and Free Software
An upgrade to Windows 7 will cost you over $100 USD. Various production applications tend to cost even more. Many people don't even buy only an OS, but rather go for an entire new computer to get the new OS. You might want to ask yourself if this is really a good way to spend this money?
Mac's are unfortunately not that much better in terms of costs given that you'll also have to shell out for an entirely new computer. The most obvious alternative are Linux operating systems and Free Open Source Software in general.
Popular user friendly and easy to use Linux OS's such as Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSuSE are being updated every six to eight months with new capabilities and they're evolving fairly rapidly compared to Windows. Yet you get all of this juice absolutely free. Production applications are evolving as well.
You can still keep your current version of Windows on dual boot for what doesn't work so well on Linux (like games), but at least that wont warrant doing an upgrade to a new OS. Windows XP will still do just fine in most cases.
While not such an advanced technology bicycles can often be an upgrade rather than a downgrade to cars as means of transportation, at least within the city. You get a little bit of exercise and fresh air while avoiding traffic jams and gas costs. They can be quite a pleasure to ride and give a renewed sense of independence.
And if you do want something more advanced, well then check out these 5 High-Tech Bikes You Can Actually Buy.
I hope you find these helpful, but if you know of any other technologies which could help us save money or do more with less please post about them in the comments below.