2014-09-02

Living without a Cell Phone

While I wait for my warranty replacement phone to arrive, I am somewhat flabbergasted at how entrenched that evil little device has become in my daily routine. Here are some of the roles it plays:

  • Alarm Clock: Without my phone, I don't wake up on time.
  • Weather Report: My phone dictates how I dress for the day.
  • Calendar: Reminds me when I need to be somewhere
  • Flashlight: Allows me to pick clothes without turning on lights in the bedroom, waking up my wife.
Once I get on the bus, I have other uses for my phone:
  • Email: I get a jump on work-related topics before I get in, read personal email, delete SPAM...
  • Kindle: or I will read a book to pass the time
  • Social Media: What's life without Reddit, Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook, right?
  • News Reader:  Feedly to the rescue
  • Camera: capturing moments of life...
Of course, the phone has its general phone-like features:
  • Phone: Yep.. what it was designed for
  • SMS: Although I don't use this too often these days.
While I'm working,
  • PagerDuty Application: What emergencies have happened at work?
  • Jira Browser: Looking at opened issues, etc.
When I'm driving,
  • Maps or Waze: Show me how to get there
  • 4Square: Tell me where to eat
When I'm running or biking,
  • MyTracks: Where did I go?
  • DailyMile: Log what I did
So when I look at the $500-600 price tag for a new smartphone, I start to think that maybe it's not such a bad deal. With a typical lifespan of 2 years, that's $1/day. Still, there are things my phone can't do:
  • Deal with water
  • Avoid fall damage
  • Remind me not to leave it behind (unlikely as that might be)
  • Play with my children
  • Have a date with my wife
  • Fix the front-steps of my house
  • Mow the lawn
  • Clean the pool
  • Visit with family
  • Practice my guitar (as horrible as I am with it)
  • Run!
The all-in-one device is convenient, and maybe too much so. The last couple of days have been eye-opening; I spend too much time with my attention on the screen rather than the environment around me. It is too easy to grab for my phone when I need to look something up or need a distraction. Instant gratification is the rule instead of the exception. Time to change that.