Electronic devices in wizarding households
I'm not sure if this topic belongs here at the Reference Desk, but d'you think it's possible if Hermione (with the enthusiastic encouragement of Arthur) started the whole Potter-Weasley clan using computers and telephones? Because Owl Post's sometimes really slow, and like phones will be much faster. And I'm pretty sure Harry knows how useful computers are. So... what does anyone think?
I don't think it's likely that the whole clan would start using them, if they don't have any muggles to call it's impractical and expensive to set up all that stuff. It seems to be that hermione and ron might have a computer and telephone - given that ron took a muggle driving test and she has muggle relatives, which means there more likely to have telephone then a computer. Arthur would probably be wanting to come over all the time and use them. And if you notice the wizards have a way to adapting muggle devices for there use. The books were set in the early to later 90's when computer where just becoming practical for muggles, and at that point wouldn't have likely made there way into wizards view, especially considering the war. However depending how far after the war this takes place you could start bringing wizard version of modern muggle technology in.
Well, if this detail is integral to your story, you can post about it in Skele-Gro Plot Potion and get more advice. However, it also seems to fit here...
So... you ask if Hermione will bring the Potter-Weasley clan into a merge with Muggle technology? Not a bad idea, and certainly not farfetched either. But remember that in place of owl post, there is Flooing, and there is also Apparition. Besides which Muggle electronics go haywire in magic-buzzy places, and I suppose a Wizarding household, like the Burrow, for instance, won't channel triband or GPRS. And of course, they're not hooked up to electricity either.
But if, say, it's Hermione and Ron's own house, I can definitely see them owning a fax phone, a computer/laptop, a mobile, etc., because these are the methods of communication Hermione's parents will use.
As to Harry and Ginny, ditto, but we never saw Harry enjoying computers anyway, he didn't have much time and chance to get attached to it, so unless the Dursleys have an epiphany and will want to keep in touch with Harry, I don't see Harry owning a pc.
Arthur Weasley might get one, but really, it will be a hassle maintaining it for someone not used to it. I'm used to it and sometimes I want to throw the thing across the room...
A mobile is unarguably very convenient. But give a scenario where it's 'essential', and there's usually a magical counter-solution available, too.
Solid, helpful post. 5 points.
Not only does it go haywire, but if the whole family tried to start using a computer, or a phone to communicate, it would take forever for them to get the hang of it. Remember Ron's call to Harry at Privet Drive? He yelled into the reciever because he thought that nobody would be able to hear him.
Originally Posted by LucillaJoanna
Another thing is, most of the Weasleys are not home during the days, they are working. To have a mobile phone around the magic of Diagon Alley would make it nearly impossible to use due to the interference.
The use of Floo or Apparition is much more efficient in areas where magic is present, which is where the Weasleys spend most of their time.
I had this plot point I was going to bring into one of my fanficions about computers. It was an OC-centred fic placed at Hogwarts a couple of years after the end of the war.
In the story there was a Ravenclaw by name of Daniel Myugle (Muggle-born, of course) who was something of a computer freak. When he was going to start his first year, he lugged his enormous computer with spare parts of various kinds with him to Hogwarts, only to find that he couldn't use them, because electrical things don't work at Hogwarts. He was, of course, devestated, but vowed to spend the next seven years inventing a way to make computers work in the wizarding world.
In the end he was meant to figure out how to convert static magical energy into a powersource that could power a computer and set up a shop in Diagon Alley called E*Owl (which was to specify in computer technology for the practical wizard, including a type of Internet), but the story is currently discontinued until further notice (meaning I might pick it up in a year or two; Daniel's story was very interesting, but it wasn't the main plot, and the rest was rather tedious writing).
Not really sure if this was at all relevant or of any help whatsoever, but feel free to borrow any idea you like.
For years I've been trying to teach my grandparents to use computers. They have a computer, they have e-mail, a digital camera, a spiffy photo printer, and everything. They know how to use Microsoft Word (barely); they know how to use their e-mail (to recieve messages, they're still a bit scratchy on sending them); my grandpa kind of knows the internet (my grandma doesn't), and that's about it. Everytime I visit their house, they ask me to upload photos from their camera, e-mail something to whomever, why doesn't this cable do this anymore? It's really funny, actually. I was just there today for Thanksgiving and I uploaded photos from the camera and printed a bunch of stuff.
So the point in that story was that I think the Weasley clan would be the same way. They didn't grow up with this technology so they wouldn't understand it. Hermoine would spend half of her life uploading pictures and finding the correct cable. Oh Godric, imagine if Hermoine decided to give them an iPod, too. That would be madness!
Jo said in an interview that electronic devices won't work around Hogwarts because of the interference. I don't think one would work in Diagon Alley, the Ministry, St Mungo's or Hogsmeade, either, for similar reasons.
Individual homes, possibly, but not one like the Burrow, which is packed full of a bunch of magical people at once. And individual could probably have an operating computer at their flat (like, for example, Hermione), but I honestly think that after Ron & Harry showed up for the day, it'd start glitching out.
It also comes to the fact that most wizards, at least in Harry's time, probably don't want to learn about muggles. Wizards tend to see magic as superior to any muggle invention. Trying to integrate muggle objects like electronic stuff is feasible, but highly unlikely due to the higher popularity seen in wizarding culture.
When you're comfortable, and your current means of carrying out actions is perfectly efficient for your lifestyle, most people would see little reason to go out of their way to change the lifestyle. Wizards typically wouldn't want to bother, because though wizarding communication may sometimes be inefficient, it's very much effective. Why replace something which isn't broken?
And just as a side-note, I don't think Ron would ever avidly pursue muggle technology. He's too attached to wizarding culture. He might try and learn because of Hermione, but old habits die hard.
Hogwarts (and St. Mungo's, the Ministry, etc.) are full of wizards and witches, magical objects, potions, creatures, and strange things. Aside from all of the wizards to set electronics out of sync, in Hogwarts there is the Room of Requirement, the Chamber of Secrets, the ceiling in the Great Hall, secret passages, thestrals, and other things we don't even know about (or so I'd like to think!) That is a lot of combined magic.
Originally Posted by cmwinters
Harry, Ron, and Hermonie are only three people, and the The Leaky Cauldron may have a whole crowd of wizards at a time. If three wizards could make a computer glitch, imagine being in the store next to the Leaky Couldron. The cash registers and telephones wouldn't work, but that isn't good for secrecy, considering it's location in London. I think it takes a lot more to make electronics act up than having just a few wizards around.
Yeah, but you can have mechanical cash registers that aren't electronic. And the Wizarding World doesn't use telephones.
Originally Posted by Ghoul in Pajamas