I Didn’t Learn SH*T in my EE Classes, Part II

OK OK so I slept on it and had further thoughts on this. Technology has made products a helluva lot more complex but they work better, and they’re smaller and use less power, etc. etc. In the recent past, you could actually work on your own car because everything was mechanical; now you need a laptop to read the diagnostics and you end up replacing the whole unit because there is a microcontroller in there that you can’t just replace by itself. It’s easier to replace the whole thing.
Sometimes I think that technology has made us stupider. When I was a kid, my dad and I created crystal radios from scratch and they would actually work. Today, create a XM radio from scratch? Pretty tough. Even basic stuff like soap – in the old days, settlers in the West would make soap from leftover grease and fat. They’d put it all in a big tub and stir it with some other ingredients (which I have forgotten) and it would eventually thicken into soap. Now you just go to the supermarket and buy it.
Ever read apocalyptic science fiction like Lucifer’s Hammer by Jerry Pournelle or Dies the Fire, The Protector’s War, or The Meeting at Corvallis by S. M. Stirling? Some major event happens like a meteor hits earth or nuclear war, or technology is wiped out. Humans need to survive, so all the stuff you get in modern civilization is quickly being hoarded and used up and nobody is replacing it, because factories are destroyed. Pretty soon, people are back to making the basic stuff all over again.
It’s a little scary sometimes and makes you wonder what would happen in a world where you’d really have to go back to all the SH*T you learned in EE class and rebuild some of that from scratch…