I have a good friend who works for a large, reputable technology consulting company and we were speaking recently on some of the things his employer was testing in the technology realm. A couple of these upcoming advancements gave me visions of The Jetsons, while others—like a software program that automatically transcribes your voicemails into emails—seem a bit over the top.

I mentioned to my friend that I thought perhaps some technologies were reaching the point on the bell curve where they became less useful.

 “Less useful?” he responded, stunned. “But why would I want to listen to my entire voice mail when I can just skip to the important part?”

I find these types of “improvements” funny, especially in an economic environment where some of us have been forced to somewhat spurn modern technology. Take for example, my new favorite website for the DIYer: This site shows ‘home cures’ for fixing your broken stuff—most of which seems to involve duct tape. One image shows a piecemeal automobile engine with a Pringles can comprising the middle of a rather important-looking tube. Another shows plates and aluminum pans clipped to a balcony overhang, entitled “Dish Dryer.” Before I get a rash of angry letters, I’d like to reinforce the fact that I’m referencing this website simply as an illustration. Most of these ‘fixes’ are accidents waiting to happen, and should not be attempted.

Still, the thing I like most about this is that amongst the ineptitude, there sometimes surfaces a gem of DIY brilliance. When there’s not an “app” for it, there is still probably a solution involving duct tape and chicken wire. I grew up watching MacGyver. Just sayin’.

It seems funny to me that today’s technology realm has some of the most technical minds in America working on fart noise apps to sell at the Apple store. Has this “you can do anything with your brain” attitude meant we try harder to find creative solutions? Or does it mean something far less interesting, and more modernly American: we waste our time and resources on diversions like shaking digital dice or breaking bubbles, and zoning out to reality TV and celebrity gossip blogs. While I am in no way advocating an airplane wing affixed with duct (or any) tape, do-it-yourselfers can be the most innovative of the bunch—especially since their goals are day-to-day reality, like trying to (safely!) get a few extra miles out of an ailing piece of property.

Either way, a recession sometimes can mean the most interesting advancements. Due to my non-technical brain, DIY solutions are more of the hand car washing, home manicure, Moonshine (kidding…) variety, but I’m sure IMPO readers are full of sound advice on how to stretch a dollar by doing it yourself. Any tips? Email me at

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