Bits in the Sticks

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Welcome to Connected Country, where I talk about bringing some technological advances to rural lifestyle. The intent isn’t to automate and digitize all the things, but there are conveniences and tools which can improve our lives that don’t take away from why we moved out of an urban center.

A bit about me: I grew up way out in the boonies. Going to the grocery store was an event, most of our neighbors required wheeled transit of some kind to get to in any reasonable time frame, and we didn’t have a whole lot of visitors. On the other hand crime was mostly non-existent, neighbors all looked out for each other, and nobody cared too much if kids were loud.

After moving to dense suburbia for quite a while and starting a family, we decided we’d had enough of the constant noise, pollution, traffic, proximity to criminal activity, and cramped space. We’ve since moved out to a rural location where groceries are still accessible but everyone sits on multiple acres of land. It’s spacious, fairly quiet, safe, and between epic sunrises and deer frolicking in the yards and pastures our states of mind are definitely improved.

In our last home we’d become accustomed to urban benefits like gigabit Internet and lots of smart home things. In some cases those became necessary (like security cameras to deter miscreants), in other ways they were just nice to have. I also learned a lot about which services and devices made the most difference or were things I’d change in the future after quite a while of trying them out.

With rural life comes certain compromises. Gig Internet gave way to double-digit speeds (at least until someone runs fiber down our paved but country road), and being a remote tech worker I need every bit of that capacity during the day. I’m also more concerned with privacy and where my data lives as times goes on, so I want to incorporate systems which don’t rely on closed cloud servers to operate and can integrate with whatever I choose to use without consuming all of my limited bandwidth.

This blog will become a series of articles exploring a calculated connected lifestyle, lessons learned and why I choose certain technologies (or don’t), and hopefully some useful tips for anyone else looking to do the same. As always your needs will vary, and you should always do your own research.

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