I don’t know if falling in love is more challenging today than it was before. But it can’t be easy with the constant allure, cover, and distraction of smartphones.
Case in point: I saw a guy macking on a girl recently—or at least trying to. He was obviously interested; his attention undivided. She was preoccupied with her phone, however. She occasionally rejoined his advances with peppered smiles and words, but she mostly focused her attention on the tarot card-sized device she cradled in hand and poked at with thumbs.
From a distance, I couldn’t tell if she was coping with embarrassment behind her phone, considering a counter-flirt, or not at all interested. If I had to guess, I’d bet on the latter because newly crushing or in love couples usually stay fixated on each other’s eyes. Of course, interested males are horrible at deciphering this universal truth — always have been, always will, with or without smartphones. But I know first-hand how complicating phones can be to loving relationships. Continue reading…
After six (sometimes) productive years, I abandoned the sinking ship that is BlackBerry last week. In it’s place, I upgraded to the “magical,” status-enhancing iPhone.
As early adopters discovered a few years ago, it’s more than a phone: it’s the greatest piece of personal technology ever invented. Phone, texter, navigator, iPod, mini TV, game console, digital assistant, e-reader, and tiny computer all in one. Not only did it serve as the inspiration for the more popular Android clone, the iPhone is the more organic and less painful version of touchscreen phones, i.e. not unlike what Macs often are to Windows machines.
Of course, like all smartphones, the iPhone can be a total drag on your analog life if you don’t set limits. (In my case, that means shunning a data plan, turning off all alerts except for voice calls, staying away from it as much as possible on nights and weekends, and only connecting to the internet when I need it, as opposed to the more common always-on, always wired, and always distracting “push” internet mode. More on that in my forthcoming book.)
But the iPhone gets a whole lot more right than it gets wrong. In fact, I count only three usability flaws on the device: Continue reading…
… on the impending irrelevance of Blackberry. This coming from a six-year Blackberry user (but I’m in the minority, and only use it for texting and voice calls now — no portable apps or Internet for me).
In other words, I use a dumbed down smartphone, so I’m not a target candidate.
Courtesy of Joey Reiman for Pink Magazine, published in 2005:
- Thou shalt not take the BlackBerry to any table with food on it or family around it. A BlackBerry is not a fruit, nor does it come from a tree.
- Thou shalt not use the BlackBerry as reading material in the event of insomnia. It will only worsen your situation.
- Thou shalt not BlackBerry in lieu of responding to a child’s request (e.g., “Wait a second, I’m reading something.”).
- Thou shalt not place the BlackBerry within distance of hearing its incessant beeps while at home. It is not a bird.
- Thou shalt not check BlackBerry as if it were your baby. It will not cry or stop breathing.
- Thou shalt not confuse number of e-mails with self-worth.
- Thou shalt do everything possible to misplace your BlackBerry on weekends.
- Thou shalt remember that a BlackBerry is not a body appendage. It is a device that belongs in your briefcase or on your desk, and not in social settings.
- Thou shalt refrain from bringing the BlackBerry to events involving family interaction. Extraneous dialogue with this contraption in lieu of real conversation suggests addiction.
- Thou shalt never, ever, ever bring the BlackBerry to bed.
Since canceling my data plan last year, I haven’t broken any of these. (Thanks, Josh)
I wrote on article on cell phone abuse, to be published on GigaOM, and was unable to use the following, which I thought was rather insightful:
“When cell phones were first introduced, they were expensive and obtrusive,” says Dr. Lisa Merlo, professor of psychology at the University of Florida. “As a result, the people who had them and used them did so for ‘important’ reasons. For example, physicians might have a cell phone while on-call. So, people excused the rudeness associated with talking on a cell phone because there was a legitimate reason for doing so. However, cell phones have become ubiquitous, and the rules have not changed to accommodate this.”
I’ve been an avid BlackBerry user since 2006. I think they’re great if you can moderate their use. (You don’t want to be the loser in the room who plays with their phone all night, right?) But I would also like to see some changes for the better. And becoming an iPhone is not one of them.
- Multi-color LED alerts. One of the best features of the BlackBerry is the ability to glance at it from afar without activating the screen to see if you have an unread message. For example, the little LED in the upper right corner blinks red when I have a new message. But I wish I could set different types of messages to display different color alerts. For example, the Curve’s LED blinks blue when in Blue Tooth mode, and green when fully charged. Why not put those colors to good use?
- Continue reading…
“Blake is abandoning the internet until Monday,” I wrote Wednesday afternoon on my Facebook status. It wasn’t a pithy attempt to grab attention. I meant it. And I’m happy to report that I stayed the course.
In doing so, I was able to unconditionally enjoy my family’s company during Thanksgiving. It also reinvigorated my professional spirits, ideas, and motivation as I turned to off-line content (you know, books). Granted, I rarely, if ever, have a case of the “Mundayz,” because I enjoy what I do. But today, I’m rearing to go, more than normal. And the break provided some much needed inspiration.
I’ve gone longer than four days without using the internet, namely during designated week-long vacations. But from now on, I’m committed to doing so on the weekends as well. What a novel idea, eh? Taking a break on the weekend.
Note: I’m (still) planning my attempt to ditch the Internet for an entire year
In January, I made the switch from an unlimited data plan to email only. This means I no longer have access to T-Mobile internet.
I had the unlimited data plan for two years (service is a little slow, but still convenient), but I’m happy to report I’m doing fine, saving a little money, and likely to father fewer Blackberry orphans as a result of my downgrade.
What’s more, my trusty Curve supports Wi-Fi, so if I really need access to the internet on my phone while not at home, it’s not that difficult to find a public connection.
For as technologically inclined as I am, it’s ironic how technology averse I can be, in an effort to maintain some level of privacy and social sanity. Do you ever feel the same?
I got my first Blackberry, a pancake of a thing, back in January 2006. One replacement and 31 months later, I finally upgraded to a quasi outdated Blackberry Curve — I guess I’m what you call an apathetic technologist.
I’ve quickly grown fond of the 8320 and prefer it to the iPhone for the keyboard alone (though the camera, iTunes syncable media player, 2GB SD card, and Wi-Fi are more than functional).
But I digress. How often do you upgrade phones? It seems like some people swap every 6 months…
Google has released an updated version of Google Maps Mobile (2.0) that includes a “my location” feature in addition to the proven mapping goodness. The jerry rig GPS uses cell towers to approximate your positioning. I tried it on my Blackberry, and it was eight blocks off from my actual position — but still pretty good for my general vicinity. You’d be screwed in areas with zero cell phone service, but cool nonetheless. Here’s hoping accuracy increases once the application leaves beta.
Photo credit: GigaOm
My Blackberry inexplicably died on Saturday afternoon while napping on the kitchen counter. Two years of age seemingly put the kibosh on the device’s ability to connect to T-mobile.
So I called T-mobile to solve the issue. It turned out my phone had in fact died and was no longer under warranty. I would need to buy a new phone.
Reality bearing down, I decided to do what I’ve done so many times to successful results as a consumer: ask if my continued business would be worth an exception — in this case having to fork over $100 for a replacement.
“You’ve been with us a long time, Mr. Snow,” the last manager happily said over the phone. “We’ll send out a new phone right away (read: your $1200/year cell phone account is worth a $100 concession).”
Half of life is simply asking.
The Wall Street Journal reports of the effects of Blackberry parents on their children which are cleverly called Blackberry orphans. From the article: “They are fearful that parents will be distracted by emails while driving, concerned about Mom and Dad’s shortening attention spans and exasperated by their parents’ obsession with their gadgets. Bob Ledbetter III, a third-grader in Rome, Ga., says he tries to tell his father to put the BlackBerry down, but can’t even get his attention. ‘Sometimes I think he’s deaf,’ says the 9-year-old.”
I like my Blackberry, not just because I’m addicted to email, but because when used effectively, it lets me attend to business without sacrificing flexibility. However, I don’t want my one year old daughter to grow up with a father more concerned with a portable piece of plastic than her company. More importantly, I know my wife could do without the constant checking. (Commits to leaving the Blackberry in my office after 6pm.)