At work they installed a new paper towel dispenser in the bathroom. Wave your hand under it, and the paper towel automatically rolls out. Great! Fewer germs and bits of wasted paper.

Except, it didn’t work. I waved my hands and nothing happened. No manual release mechanisms so no paper. So I just waved my hands in the air as if I didn’t much care.

In this case, my preference is for the regular paper towel dispenser. Fewer moving parts, less chance to break. Despite being a technologist and gadget enthusiast, there are two other areas off the top of my head where I prefer the low-tech approach.

  • Voting. The ongoing revelations about software and security flaws in the touch voting booths deployed across the country are supremely demoralizing to me. My preferred technology for voting remains paper, and probably will remain so for eternity.
  • Poker. While I love the game, I don’t care for online poker. I prefer real cards, real human players sitting near me (so I can study their expressions), and real chips on real felt. Online poker is plagued with being illegal, the possibility of bots, the ever-present danger of collusion, but most of all, I find it boring.

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