Monday, October 19, 2009

Welcome to the Future...

When I was very young, still living behind enemy lines in Chicago, we would occasionally go visit our kinfolk in Iowa on their working farm. I remember these visits only vaguely as very bucolic idylls...

This morning, at OhMyGawdThirty AM, I emailed a question to Farmer Frank. I received a reply a few minutes later, and sent him another email in return... "Bing!" I had a response in my Inbox in not ten minutes.

I looked at my clock.

I looked at my calendar.

There was no way on God's Green Earth that a working farmer was sitting in his office at this time of day, this time of year...

Another email was sent, and I quote: "Please tell me that I am not having emails answered by a farmer out in the back forty with a Blackberry. Let me cling to my quaint 20th Century illusions."

Yup.

Welcome to the 21st Century, y'all...

22 comments:

theirritablearchitect said...

Should we all laugh in your general direction?

The man's more up-to-speed than me, I can say that.

Tam said...

"Should we all laugh in your general direction?"

Why not? I'm laughing at me. :o

Jeffro said...

Wait til' you visit some of these quaint old farms - with the office "out in the shed." The one with the multiple 'puters networked and on broadband, the odd DTN monitor or three, conference table, fridge, den with satellite tv, shower in the can - well, I've never seen one with cubicles at any rate.

Tam said...

Jeffro,

Do you have to take a flamethrower to my illusions? Can we not just leave them face down and twitching in the bar ditch?

pax said...

... I've never seen one with cubicles at any rate.

I have. Used to work at such a place.

Anonymous said...

Nevermind the gps'ed tractor towing a sprayer that's refering to a satellite picture to judge the amount of spray where they are on the field.

In near real time.

I hear they are starting tests of doing away with the driver of the tractor - or at least give them them something else to do besides the driving. You know, mount a cubicle on that puppy, and only involve the operator if the robot feel a little lost.

theirritablearchitect said...

Seriously, given enough time and money, I'd pay Farmer Frank to mentor me at some of his craft.

Lorimor said...

Nevermind the information age whizbangery, have you seen what these newfangled corn pickin' machines can do?

Truly technological wonders. Of course, farmers hope to operate at a profit so it won't be long before they too will be in the Obama Admin's sights.

fast richard said...

On the other hand the Amish still have farms scattered around the midwest where they don't use anything more modern than horse drawn farm implements.

James E. Griffin said...

Had the chance myself to look in the "cockpit" of a late model combine. Reminded me of the inside of a helicopter. Then there was the demonstration of the - bear with me here, I'm not a farmer - planting machinery, all linked to satellite systems which took into account field conditions - what part needs more or less water, fertilizer, etc.

Modern smart phones and Blackberries are electronic leashes. We can use low earth orbiting satellites and get total coverage, instead of earth standing towers. That means, much to my dismay, my Blackberry was working in the middle of the freakin' Black Sea.

Silly me, I used to say if I had a laptop and a phone line, I had an office. Now, I is one. And we still call the damned things "phones." I'm with Bobbie X on this stuff!

Rob K said...

It's neat to ride in one of those big combines and watch it drive itself down the field. I've gotten to do that a couple of times.

Jeffro said...

Well, it wasn't my intention to burn your illusions to a crisp!

Sounds like you need to recharge your inner farmer by going to an Amish farm - like fast richard brought up. There is a large community near Yoder, KS that has had to slightly modernize over the years - their horses were being eaten up by flies. So, you'll see small tractors with iron lugged spoke wheels retrofitted to them, with old tire casings stretched over the metal lugs. Kansas won't allow the lugged wheels on the roads, so the carcasses protect the roads, and keep the road speeds down. Keeps 'em from being too worldly.

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Funny how GPS'd tractors take all the fun out of plowing contests at fall fairs.

Even this city boy could plow a straight line with one.

Hard part would be digesting the instruction manual which, I suspect, rivals that of an F-18.

Immelmans in a John Deere? Coming soon to a field near you.

Joanna said...

I remember back in high school (which was close to 10 years ago) I read an article about how the (then) biggest WiFi cloud available was over some 700 square miles of farmland in Oregon. The farmers put it up to talk to their equipment.

I'm right on the bleeding leading edge of the generations where this stuff is normal. It's a fun place to be.

Crucis said...

Heh, heh, heh.

In the 1970's I was installing computer system for farm co-ops all over Kansas. My biggest customers were Mennonites. Specifically the Mennonite Church.

They did everything from crop yield modeling to equipment inventory and use scheduling. A lot of the larger pieces were owned by the church (co-op) and rented out to members for a user fee to cover fuel, POL, insurance and maintenance.

staghounds said...

I knew that I was trapped by technology two years ago, when I was lost and called my littermate for directions.

Because she could pull up google maps.

She was in Copenhagen.

I was in France.

In the hunting field, on the back of a horse.

Sheesh.

Tam said...

Staghounds,

Very like Caleb's tale of his mom calling him for directions to the sought-after burger joint near her position in San Fran, so he used his iPhone to get said directions... while he was at work here in Indy.

John said...

Bah! If it's the future, where are my flying cars^H^H^H^Htractors?

Bruce B. said...

John Peddie - "Immelmans in a John Deere? Coming soon to a field near you."

Gawd I hope not.

Farmers are traditionally early adopters of technology, or at least in my family. We had a Tandy Model 1 with a low three digit serial number way back in the '70s

HTRN said...

Joanna, here's a PDF on the Wifi Hotspot you mentioned.

You'll note that one of the big users is the local government.

Vaarok said...

What, when you only get to town once a week, make town come to you.

You should see modern dairy tech. Pedometers, piezioconductivity for somatic-cell readings, Afi-Flo or related on-the-fly milkweight registers, and tons of other fun stuff.

Larry said...

Sniff. Can't be too modern if he's using a Blackberry. iPhones beat the crap out of Blackberries: I should know, I have to carry both..