Al, the rat engineer from some of my previous questions, has a dirty secret: he's actually a technopath, capable of telekinetically building and controlling technology, reading blueprints off of existing devices, sensing advanced inventions in the world around him, and a whole host of other abilities. Back at the beginning of time, he abused this power a fair deal, and then ended up having to wipe the slate of technological advancement worldwide. Oops! Anyway, he's been hiding out on the edge of civilization for a long time, developing his own tech and keeping it secret from the world.
All of a sudden, enter Player 2. A sudden spike in the technological levels of the far north draws Al to a very strange new friend, with a very strange device full of very strange ideas. This repository of knowledge is absolutely amazing! As Al rummages through the nearly endless archives of this thing called the "inter-net," he finds all sorts of new technological developments that he can adapt on to increase his private technological wealth.
There's just a few things that have him questioning. For example, this Styrofoam stuff. It seems to be mostly used for safe packing of fragile items, and easily disposed dishware. Granted, that's marginally useful, but Al keeps his dishes clean; and, given that he's a bit of a loner, he doesn't need to worry so much about supply chains and distribution, so packing peanuts aren't all that important. A bunch of other materials in this archive are similarly of questionable usefulness; he doesn't need to worry about cheap resources, because there's no one to buy from or sell to, and all his older models are really only useful for recycling materials.
So, the question is, for a loner engineer with no need to worry about distribution, supply, and other such factors, what materials common in our modern world would be rendered useless?
EDIT: Oh dear, I seem to have made a significant blunder here. Let me clarify a few things:
- Yes, a4android has the right definition of technopath; I've modified the question to explain it a bit better.
- The term "obsolete" was a poor word choice; removed.
- The fact that he's a technopath actually doesn't have all that much to do with the question; I've altered the title and a few points in the text to reflect this.
The actual question concerns what would be useful to an engineer unrestricted by modern economics, supply chains, public distribution, and the like, and what he should just not waste any time on. What technological products of modern industry and society are simply not worth it for someone developing tech completely on their own, and for their own use?