Amish Conference Photos and Links

I wanted to share a few more of the photos I took at last week’s Amish technology conference. Quality is not great as I was using the camera built into my tablet. It’s a front-facing camera so you have to hold it so the screen is pointed away from you, making it awkward to line up a picture.

Despite the clunky setup I managed to snap some shots of exhibits and some of the talks. Speaking of technology, the tablet is my latest tool.  I don’t buy gadgets very often; the last was a Kindle 2 years ago.

Kevin Kelly talks about minimizing the amount of necessary technology in one’s life (while maximizing it for others).  I told Kevin I thought long and hard about getting the tablet and even left it in the box for a week after buying it, not sure if I really wanted it.  I realized it would affect my habits and patterns of technology usage and perhaps could make it easier to waste time and be less productive or distract from more important things.

I’m not trying to be Amish by saying that, though I’d like to think that studying and getting to know the Amish has helped me to think more about these sorts of things.

So far I think it is a net plus (without the tablet it would have been difficult to post during the conference, for one) but we’ll see if I continue to use it that way.

I’d be curious to hear from others who have tablets how you use them, and whether you think the tablet is a net positive or negative for you.  The top 3 things I use mine for: 1) web browsing; 2) Kindle app; 3) internet radio.

Conference Photos

More conference photos, in no particular order:









Conference Links

Below are a few links I’ve found to stories related to the conference.  There were a number of members of the media there.

I’ve also been getting questions about the livestreamed talks.  I still don’t have an answer as to if/when they will be available but will let you know when I do.

What Amish Hackers Could Teach Tech-Frenzied American Consumers” – Article in eWeek about Kevin Kelly’s talk: “The original term ‘hack’ was often something that subverted a rule or explored a loophole, and the Amish are often seen to do that,” said Kelly. “There’s a line and they’ll often come up to that line or cross it in a way that no one even thought of before. The difference between Amish hackers and English hackers is that English hackers don’t have such a line.”

“‘American Experience”s ‘The Amish’ gets Amish man’s approval” – Article on describing an Amish person’s response to viewing the PBS documentary at a private screening at the conference, plus comments from documentary producer Callie Wiser: One year, four months after its initial release, Shannon Latham – a Kentucky Amish man –  finally saw the documentary. “I can describe it in three words: quiet, compelling and powerful,” Latham said.

“Amish Conference at Elizabethtown College draws crowd of plain people and enthusiasts” – Article on sharing comments from Plain and non-Plain conference attendees, also covers Amish singing:  The conference concluded on Saturday night with an Amish singing. It was a rare treat for conference goers, as the Amish do not regularly sing in public in front of strangers. “I don’t think you’d find any other community other than the one in Lancaster willing to do this,” Furlong said. “Some people call it selling out, but this was a sharing.”

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    1. Thanks for the pictures and the links Erik! The “selfie” made me giggle because I remember doing that when I first got my tablet (iPad 2). So yes, I do have one. I use it mainly for reading on the Kindle app but also to check the weather and Facebook. 90% of the time it is used for reading on the Kindle app though. Sounds like an expensive piece of technology just to read but I happened to be one of those lucky ducks who won it in a contest. Would I buy another if something happened to this one? Yes. But that is only because I’m a bookworm and I’m frugal. And since Amazon has thousands upon thousands of free Kindle books each day, it’s a piece of technology that I find beneficial to me.

      1. Nexus 7

        Rose I was trying to take a picture of the ceiling in the Musser Auditorium but someone jumped in the photo 🙂

        I have a Nexus 7 (smaller 7-inch tablet) which I thought would be ideal (I can carry it in a coat pocket but the screen size is ample enough for me) and it is turning out to be a good choice. It was really handy for instance toting around the conf. and using for posting. If I had to carry a laptop all day there might have been just one conference post 🙂

        I can now see with all the apps, games, and other things available on tablets and smartphones, why people spend so much time on these. Someone I was speaking with recently felt games were the biggest danger in terms of taking over the lives of people who get addicted to them.

        I can see playing some games as a way to unwind for a little while, but the ones that are available now are light years ahead of the ones I grew up with (I had an Atari 2600 as a kid) and I can see how engrossing they could be.

        1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

          Distraction and devices

          I have a problem with modern technology, especially the internet enabled phones that people are texting and playing on while they are walking around high traffic public areas. I have nearly had people walk into me and glare at me like I was the one not paying attention when at the almost last moment people glance up and notice. And for a lot of these people simple words and phrases like “sorry” and “excuse me” seem to be foreign especially when their off in their little phone related world.

          Not too long ago I saw an internet video which expresses, in a round about my feelings about this with a bit of play on words. The internet comedians musicians Nice Peter and EpicLloyd lampooned Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in their “Epic Rap Battles of History” and I like the lyric “iphone, ipad, ipwn, isnap!” (that line was delivered by EpicLloyd as Bill Gates)..

          I lament certain aspects of our modern society. sigh (says a guy who spends a chunk of time each day on the internets for different perpouses).

          With everything going on in my offline life I sometimes distract myself by reading Amish America and watching music videos online, including the last couple of days several spins of EpicLloyd’s very creative “The L verse – Delux Edition” rap video.

    2. Laura

      Thanks for the photos! I’d love to hear a recording of the singing; is there any chance one will be made available? Just audio would be terrific, since I respect the Amish desire to stay off-camera. And I do hope some of the conference sessions are put up online; I was hoping to watch some of them live, but am self-employed and got swamped with work so couldn’t spare the time, unfortunately. It sounds like it was a great experience!

      I use a Kindle, too. I get free or deeply discounted books, and can keep up my reading habit that way without spending a fortune. Plus it’s very useful when traveling, not only for reading but for email, videos, and looking at websites (I got a Kindle Fire for that very reason). Fortunately, most of my discretionary spending is on yarn rather than electronics, since I’m an avid knitter, and that’s a timeless, portable hobby that doesn’t require any technology!

      1. Singing

        Hi Laura, thanks for asking and I know a lot of people would like that, but I can say definitively that there won’t be any recording released of this event…this was one of the stipulations for groups listening–no recording, no applause at the end.

        Good they made this clear to listeners as I’m sure both would have happened if they hadn’t. I know there are some recordings of Amish singing here and there online (there is also a bit in the PBS documentary) but not sure about slow church songs. Probably hard to get permission for that.

        I will let know if I hear anything about the session recordings, I haven’t gotten a concrete response on that yet.

        Interesting to hear about the yarn and knitting, and actually some would say that it does take technology–what are the sticks you use to do the knitting called? (guess you can tell how much I know) 🙂 Not high-tech, but a type of tech nonetheless?

    3. Debbie H

      Not to techie

      I have resisted most of the new tech gadgets. Just going from a desktop to a laptop has effected my habits and I find I waste more time. I did try my son’s Kindle but found I prefer my real books and laptop better. I also think it would lead to more time disconnected from those around me. I do not text message for that reason. My grand children and my children come to visit but stay on their phones or I-pads the whole time. They are here but not here. I miss the personal contact that all this new technology has replaced. Maybe that is what stirred my interest in the Amish. I crave their community life style.
      I see from the pictures that there were quite a number of fiction book displays. Like the shot of you. 🙂

      1. You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books

        Yes I was having fun between speakers 🙂 I kind of wish I took more photos of people around the conference but for some reason didn’t think to.

        “Here but not here”. Well put and too true.

        One thing that might be useful to know is that you don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle books–there are a wide variety of free programs from Amazon that will let you read Kindle books just about anywhere.

        I have Kindle Reader on my computer, as well as the Kindle browser app (both allow reading from my laptop), plus the Kindle app on my tablet. Just thought I’d mention it in case not everyone knew that–can read on an existing device without having to buy the reader.

        1. Free Kindle Books posted daily

          For anyone that is interested, each day I post a large selection of free Kindle books on my other site. There are also links showing you were you can get the Kindle app for the device you are using.

          1. Jean Junkin

            Amish Books

            Almost all of the books I saw standing on the table I have. Would the lady who said she has kindle books please send me the link. I would love to register for the free kindle books. Here is my e-mail address:

            Thanks Jean

    4. Debbie H

      What is the topic of discussion for the last picture? Family?

      1. Esprit advertisement & quilt collection

        That is from Janneken Smucker’s quilts talk. It’s a pretty fascinating history–the founder of the Esprit clothing company was apparently a lover of Amish quilts–purchased many of them and hung them in Esprit corporate headquarters. Part of this collection was eventually sold to the Heritage Center of Lancaster County. In the photo, the image on the right is an Esprit clothing ad from the 1980s. Janneken pointed out what seemed to be Amish quilt influences in the clothing.

        Here’s one account of the Esprit collection’s journey:

    5. Alice Mary

      I need distraction...

      Yes, I could use some distraction right now–my daughter is in labor with her 2nd child/daughter as I write this.

      I will check out all of those links once I send this on.

      I’m far from being a “tekkie”–my husband bought me an MP3 player about 10 yrs. ago (when the library where I work started offering downloadable audiobooks) and I may have used it two or three times. I don’t even know where it is right now! Two Christmases ago, (also because of library offerings), he got me a Sony Reader, which I use for reading & sometimes notes–I can access the ‘net from it, but it’s B & W & slow/tiny). Last Christmas, he got me a Kindle Fire HD (again, library-related—don’t forget,the public expects us to know how to use all of these gadgets-HA!) I’ve used it mainly to watch video (lots better quality than my OLD, “tube TV”, even though it’s small–tablet size) Good sound, too, so I’ve downloaded some music. I have some books loaded on it & read a bit, but I like my Sony for reading (thinner/smaller/lighter,and I don’t need color for black & white print!). I also play Words with Friends, but only with myself (player 1 & 2)—I never liked competition!

      Here’s something that was a pleasant surprise: Erik, you mentioned a book about an English woman who turned Amish (true story) which was only available via Kindle–this was probably a year & a half ago. So, I downloaded the Kindle app to my laptop, and purchased the book & read it on the laptop. When I got my Kindle last Dec. & set up my account, voila! That book was already loaded on my Kindle. I just never thought about it once I finished reading it on my laptop.

      OK, back to those links! And a thank you to Rose for the link to the free Kindle books! A great resource! Our library patrons would love the freebies—we can only (as a library) afford so many eBooks to offer patrons,and the waiting lists are usually pretty long, with only 2-week checkout.

      Aw, cute photo, Erik! 🙂

      Alice Mary

      1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

        Congratulations Mary Alice on the new addition to your family! The little one will no doubt provide distraction enough when he/she arrives.

        1. Alice Mary

          Thank you, SHOM, she certainly will, along with her “big sister” (2 years,3 mos. old).
          🙂 🙂

          Alice Mary

    6. Andrea green


      Hi Rose, have tried to get on your link for free books, but it wont let me access this site, i am not very tecno, and only use my Iphone for internet, hope you can help many thanks Andrea. 🙂 Hi Erik am loving the pics and reading all about the diffrent sessions happing thank you, great info. 🙂

      1. Free Kindle Books link

        Hi Andrea, try this link again:

        And if that link does not work for you, you can simply search “Rose Knows Coupons” in Safari on your iPhone and then click “Kindle Books” under the “Freebies” tab.

        If that does not work, you can email me and I will send you the link:

    7. Kathy Rowe

      Great articles on the conference, Erik. Loved the photo’s – especially the next to the last one!
      Is this yearly conference opened to the general public? Looks like it would be interesting to attend.
      Keep up the great articles. Don’t always comment on them, but I love reading all of them and look forward to them each day!
      Have a great summer!

    8. Alice Mary


      OK,this isn’t exactly another comment, but I didn’t know where else to post it.

      My second grandchild/granddaughter,Emma Adalynn, was born last night, June 14, 2013, 8 lbs., 4 oz., 20 1/2″ long.

      I spent last night at the hospital with “mother & child” and will be doing so again tonight (they’ll go home tomorrow). I’m in love again!

      I’ll have to research Amish birthing centers/birth experiences/traditions,now that I’m thinking about it!!

      Everyone at Amish America, be well, happy & peaceful!

      Alice Mary

      1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

        Awww, sweet!

        Congrats, Alice Mary!
        What a lovely name. I’m sure all our thoughts and prayers are with you, Mom, and the lovely little lady.
        God bless.

      2. Great news Alice Mary, congrats to you and yours. You must be glowing.

    9. kathy rowe

      Congrats, Alice. Love the name. I have a grandchild named Emma also. Enjoy her as she will grow so fast! All the best to mom and baby.

    10. Al in Ky

      I always appreciate it when Amish America posts include links.
      I enjoyed reading all of the articles that were linked to this
      post, and enjoyed viewing American Experience’s “The Amish”.
      Also enjoyed reading more of Saloma Furlong’s thoughts about the conference on her blog.

      1. Glad those links were of interest Al and I will keep that in mind 🙂 Thanks for pointing out Saloma’s post, I will check it out.

    11. Linda

      I came across a few articles about people that attended the Amish Conference. (Westminster College Professor, June 12) (Marta Perry’s blog, June 13) (Matt Landis blog, recap, June 21. Matt takes a “sabbath” from technology work one day a week.)

    12. Linda

      Amish Conference C-Span

      C-Span has the 1 hour, 28 minute video available titled, Amish People in America, from June 7, hosted by Elizabethtown College. The 3 co-authors of the book, THE AMISH, have a panel discussion with Callie T. Wiser at the conference, Amish America: Plain Technology in a Cyber World. You can see it at: