News From Your Neighbors

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This month’s article comes from a member sharing ideas about neighborhood etiquette for modern technology.

Technosense & Technosensibility

Part of growing as a human person in parallel with technology is that we have to remember who is the machine and who is the human.

I am here to report on neighborly manners and considerations regarding the use of three technologies that, at first, sound like a good idea…technological devices that may affect you, your loved ones, and your neighbors. These technologies can’t have a bad side – or can they?

Let’s start with a favorite seasonal holiday gift: the drone.These flying wonders have cameras that can take still images, record video, and probably can get a rock sample from mars if you only knew how to fly one. Sure, it’s fun…it’s like the remote control airplane from our analog days. Let’s remember it’s probably not legal to film or photograph someone without their or their parental consent. I tried to find the laws regarding drone flying, and even read the handbook to pass the permit test. Owners are supposed to register the drone and know the flight laws, such as remaining under 400 feet above ground. The debate is still hot regarding how low and close up to private property a drone can go. FAA regulations have not yet addressed this, and in Mecklenburg County you cannot shoot down a drone. In short, it’s important to make sure we consider politeness and respect for our neighbors when using these fun toys.

Next up: Most of us in our heavily wooded neighborhood can relate to the double-edged sword of having wildlife that we like and respect, but don’t like the damage they may do to our landscaping and gardens. The Guardian, The Sentinel, and similar technological devices are being marketed for use in repelling wildlife using high decibel (volume), high frequency(sound pitch) that hurt the animals’ ears so that they run away. Many such devices also come with a strobe light to deter nocturnal wildlife, and hopefully not cause humans seizures and migraines. Let’s remember: Since humans have ears and eyes it is not only working against wildlife. These machines can easily irritate your loved ones at home, including your pets. This cheap fix is not going to work when you blast it all over the neighborhood, there are places where these machines could be appropriate; like deterring bats in your attic. In this scenario, you are not a noise nuisance to others. Let’s be neighborly and considerate of others.

Lastly: Video doorbells. These doorbells come with a live video recording from the doorbell button, and have surveillance of the area where the doorbell has a view. Thieves, deliveries, salesmen… everyone gets to be on video. These can be wonderful devices for reasons of public safety, and dispersing accurate information in real time. What’s perhaps awkward is that you might be taping your neighbor across the street 24hrs a day. Once again, let’s all be mindful of the impact such a device may have.

Before buying any new technological gadget, check with your human side and ask whether you would want to be submitted to the effects of the technology you are about to install. Please keep our neighborhoods peaceful by being mindful of others, both humans and animals. Machines don’t know the difference. We may get answers from machines, but we get manners from humans.

Thank you,
Your Neighbor Jane

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