I’m sure many of us are familiar with the feeling that technology is everywhere these days, but today I wanted to talk about some recent examples I’ve come across of technology appearing in unexpected (though not necessarily unwelcome) places.
Earlier this year, a friend of mine who’s very into crocheting was given a fancy new crochet hook that had a digital stitch counter built into the handle (ooooh), a little light to better see her crafting, and changeable heads in different sizes. It reminded me of one of those multi-tools where you can swap out the different ends for when you need an Allen key or a flat-head or Phillips screwdriver, but instead it has a 2.5mm hook, or a 4mm hook, and so on. Very nifty!
As a knitter myself, I was quite excited to see a point of connection between my hobby and my day job, although not quite excited enough to rush out and buy one myself just yet. They aren’t wildly expensive – if you’re interested, you can do a web search for “changeable crochet hook with stitch counter” or similar, and you’ll find they cost somewhere between £20-30.
I’ve already got a set of crochet hooks in different sizes, so I’m all set for now. But I could see it being the type of thing I’d get my mum for Christmas, since it would make her life that little bit easier, and she probably wouldn’t bother to get it herself. However, the fact that she reads this newsletter religiously (hi, Mum! Love you!) would probably spoil the surprise a little bit. Maybe next year…
Another example of tech sneaking into non-techy hobbies that I came across recently was thanks to my partner’s
obsession with – err, I mean, interest in – fishing. Or at least, in buying new fishing gear… He already has little beepers that go off if he gets a bite and a wicked slingshot to fire pellets and other bait out into the lake (I must admit, that one really is fun. It makes me feel like Dennis the Menace!)
But the latest toy that he got very excited about was a little remote control boat that you could load up with bait and send it out across the water, then when you press the right button it drops the bait right on top of your hook. You can even get ones with GPS (why, I’ve no idea)! Now I’m not suggesting that the concept of remote control toys is a new one, but the idea of spending several hundreds pounds on a little boat to do a job that he’s already pretty good at doing himself was a bit mad, even for him.
In both cases, I can see how these gadgets might be useful to hobbyists, even if the budgets for them are quite different. They may not be life-changing developments, but to me they seem more useful than a disco fridge or putting wifi and a touchscreen into a toaster (yes, really!). But thankfully, these types of gadgets are very much still optional extras – there’s no big push in these hobbies to “go digital”, and you can still get on perfectly well without the latest doodad.