Update: As of 2013, data is now included with my cell phone plan. But thanks to my four year break from it, mobile data no longer interrupts my life like it use to. When used sparingly, it actually enhances it.
A year ago this week, I canceled my data plan. The unexpected catalyst was an awesome trip to Montana. After being tied to my Blackberry for four years, here are 10 observations of “my rebirth” into mobile obscurity:
- My quality of life has improved while productivity has remained constant. By that I mean I get as much done as I did before, only now I enjoy a lot more personal time without work interfering. In many cases, that translates into greater productivity upon returning to work the next morning or after the weekend. Believe it or not.
- My relationship with my wife and children has improved. I recognize them more. I play with them more. With fewer alerts to interrupt us, it’s a lot more fun now.
- Email still waits for me on my computer. Continue reading…
This is cute: “Do we still need websites?” asks some guy writing on a website.
Next time write it on Facebook, mister, and see how that works for you.
DISCLOSURE: I regularly design and publish websites.
When I first discovered RSS, I went crazy. I subscribed to more than 400 feeds out one time. Ridiculous. And even though I’ve since reduced that number to a mere 40, I’m still inundated with repurposed, rehashed, and regurgitated information. Why can’t someone just point me to the good stuff?
Actually, someone can. At least as it pertains to business and technology headlines. They’re called Smart Brief. They claim to “read everything” so “you get what matters.” And after a week of subscribing to their various newsletters, I can honestly say they deliver on their promise.
As a result, I’ve unsubscribed to even more feeds. Now if only Smart Brief covered more consumer areas, I might be able to relegate my Google Reader to personal feeds only.
Facebook is a great way to stay connected with friends.
It’s also a great way to get fired, have your insurance benefits revoked, or suffer public humiliation. As a result, a number of users are deleting their accounts and leaving the popular networking site behind.
“It just became too much,” says grade-school buddy and long-time friend Josh Rhine. “More an obligation than fun. It also started to smell like some one cracked an egg of high school over an old gossip rag.”
Continue reading at VentureBeat…
Microsoft thinks so. And they’re newest commercial says so: “I can’t pick a restaurant in all these links,” an indecisive women using Google replies, when asked “What’s taking you so long?”
I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve never felt overwhelmed by Google results. It’s not information overload if I find what I’m looking forward on the first results page, second at most. It’s almost as if Microsoft is confusing relevance with lack of choice.
I’m all for keeping Google on their toes through competition, but build a better mousetrap if you want to compete.
Here’s a nice summary written by Newsweek’s Daniel Lyons on how the Internet “ruined” newspapers, movies, television, music, and even Microsoft in the last decade. Why waste time reading 1,000 articles on the subject when this does all the heavy lifting for you? Get that.
Wanna search the web faster? Ditch your browser search bar and use URL commands instead. In minutes, you’ll be burning down the information superhighway (aka cyberspace) at neck-breaking speeds. To do this in Firefox, follow these three easy steps: Continue reading…
Dateline: July 2004. By the color you would think I was selling hamburgers. By the home page copy you would have wondered, “what the crap does this guy do?” And by the cryptic stock photography, you would have thought I was either a motivation speaker or Chinese rice farmer—not a web designer, like I was at the time. Plus it had about eight too many pages. Funny how the look represents everything I currently despise about design (broad ambiguity). Incredible it was only five years ago. At least I had the insight to bet big on open source!
The girls and I just got back from a sweet vacation to Teton, Yellowstone, and Montana. It was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had, given all the sights and activities we were able to participate in. One of the coolest “features” of the trip: no cell reception, internet, or TV at our cabin. We were utterly disconnected, which allowed us to be completely present in the moment. “It totally changes the dynamic of the group,” my wife told me yesterday. It sure did, for the better. Can’t wait to go even longer without a connection next time.
In preparing for this story, I asked a friend who uses the internet much less than I do some questions. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read the following addendum to his answers:
Things I hate about online people:
- Everyone thinks they are an expert or critic.
- People become increasingly aggressive when shielded by the blanket of anonymity online.
- Online folks are much more interesting within the confines of their computer than they are in real life.
If you’re a Facebook user, you know how fun status updates can be. The good ones give you specific insight into what your friends are doing, how they are feeling, and what they really think. The bad ones are vague, cryptic, menial (you just checked into some hotel — no one cares), and wouldn’t know wit if it punched them in the baby maker.
These, on the other hand, are much worse — 25 status updates you should never make on Facebook. 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
Slate has an enlightening story on how failure became “fail” in popular, always-abbreviated, internet speak. Not only is “fail” a hilariously fitting disciption for utter incompetence, it seems the nerb (or voun) is here to stay, just like other verb to noun combos such as “to bike” and “bike,” and “to lock” and “lock”. Definitly not fail.
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?
It’s amusing when ignorant people start using the internet. (via Digg)
According to the Associated Press, “The French state and Internet service providers have struck a deal to block sites carrying child pornography or content linked to terrorism or racial hatred, Interior Minister Michel Alliot-Marie announced Tuesday.”
I’m all for outlawing illegal communications like child pornography and terrorism, but hate speech isn’t illegal. Wrong, yes, but not illegal. Unless I’m missing something, it looks like France may have infringed on free speech, though I have no idea if they have an equivalent first amendment.
I just finished watching IJsbrand van Veelen’s excellent 50-minute documentary on the glamorization of amateur content producers and the potential negative effects that it may or may not have on society, especially as experts (informed individuals who work for, reason with, and experience wisdom) are waning in popularity. Here are some thoughts: Continue reading…
I always get a good chuckle hearing people say something other than “Internet.” Having personally celebrated over 50 years* online, these are my favorite alternatives:
- Cyberspace. A fancy word presumably created by school teachers to give the simple sounding Internet a sense of exploration. Use sparingly for comedic delivery.
- Information Super Highway. School teachers that took the glitzy sounding Cyberspace to the next level. Never use in serious situations. Continue reading…