Rules for new tools
The problems we face as humans are as common and enduring as our race itself. Take the problem of communication. Though we have developed various tools over the millenia (cave drawings, smoke signals, pony express, telegraph, etc.) to aid us in our quest to communicate one with another, ultimately the problem persists.
That is to say, though the problems remain the same, it's the TOOLs that have changed. Today we live in a world of overwhelming technological tools. I'm intrigued by the criteria Wendall Berry has put forth for aquiring new tools (including technological). This is taken from his article, Why I Am Not Going To Buy A Computer, which is a great article in itself, and caused quite a stir when he published it.
Hope it provokes your thinking as you migrate across the quandaries of contemporary life.
1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.