My instinct is no longer to check my phone when I'm bored or waiting. It was rough at first, but I can be pretty content just standing in a line with my own thoughts.
Nobody can call me at any given time, whenever they want. Social anxiety has a mental toll on my energy, so not having a phone around gives a significant boost.
It's easier to accept not knowing something.
Plans are planned significantly more concretely.
"You don't have a phone?! What's wrong with you?!" -everybody
Not having a GPS/google makes things hard to find in certain circumstances.
There's a huge expectation when dealing with any modern service that you'll have a cell phone and can be contacted at any time. For example, it's impossible to order an Uber on a laptop.
(I realize the article is about smart->dumb, but the problems are still surprisingly similar)
It sounds like a lot of people in this thread do not need to quit using a smart phone, and instead need to quit facebook. I don't do FB and do not have many alerts at all on my phone. My email apps are smart enough to only show me alerts for things that matter and everything else I get to when I get to it.
I do agree with you on one thing though. When hanging out with people leave your phones in the car. Nothing is more annoying that having a conversation and people messing around on their phones.
When I had a smart phone, the methods of communicating with me were email, work email, work IM, facebook, skype, hangouts, phone, and text. Because of work, it wasn't possible to do airplane mode and it wasn't possible to do a sleep-mode bypass for specific phone numbers because of the oncall situations.
The only way I could find to manage notifications properly was to essentially create a black list for my contacts and blacklist all apps. It worked up until somebody on the black list needs to reach me, so they get added to the white list to avoid the issue. Oh, shit, they're texting me while I'm trying to work - back to the whitelist!
It eventually just becomes an incredibly tedious task to manage your notifications properly - which in itself is a dang distraction.
Agreed on leaving phones elsewhere - just as long as you live in a decent area. Some of the most awkward times I've had recently are while hanging out with others where everyone is on their phones and I can really only just twiddle my thumb. Bringing the subject only results in "hipster" comments, rather than an actual discussion.
Since it's possible to send a text to an email address, I just tell folk to shoot me an email with anything important. The conversation can sometimes get weird when they ask, "Why can't I just send a text to your computer?". I'm pretty curious about where that dissonance comes from, as it's happened maybe 4 or 5 times already.
I really don't understand why a bunch of people here feel like they need to get rid of their phone, or put it in airplane mode, or get a dumbphone, or whatever. I guess you all have a whole lot more friends and family than I do. If I don't want to be bothered by people, it's simple, I just go about my business and no one calls or texts me most of the time. And if someone does at a bad time (and half the time it's a wrong number or something anyway), I just ignore it.
Of course, as a few people mentioned, I don't have Facebook installed on my phone either. What a waste of time (and battery power).
As for hanging out, that's easy: if you're having a conversation, don't get your phone out and mess with it. Is that really so hard? I keep mine handy on my belt holster, and if I'm talking to someone, it stays there, unless I have a really good reason to whip it out, such as wanting to show them something on it. I'm not the most socially-adept guy around, but even I know better than to get my phone out when I'm talking to someone and use it (like for texting) to the exclusion of that person's attention.
Just so this post is relevant to conversation... I use a Blackberry Q10 with the keyboard. I only have SMS and phone and it is great for those purposes. I used to have an Android but it was too intense for my fragile millenial attention.
But probably not possible to sign up without a phone?
Plans are planned significantly more concretely.
GPS devices have a host of annoyances... Lack of live traffic information (unless you want to pay a subscription), no Waze reporting (a feature of Google Maps), slow power up and lock, difficult to pick waypoints manually and zoom around freely, etc. Maybe they have gotten better in recent years but I haven't been very impressed in the past.
I think next-wave hipsters won't have phones.
For the last 4 years I had a dumb phone, but 6 months ago I got rid of it and have gone back to no phone at all.
I've never had a "smart phone" and given that I'm addicted to the internet/computers, I think it's best that I don't, else I'd be the guy constantly on my phone rather than engaging with the people in the room with me.
The negatives are sometimes annoying, but I only need to see how tied to their phones other people are to remind me of the positives.
I suspect I could do without a cell phone of any type. I'm just not the target demographic, I guess.
Except this year. For example, the last time I went to the pub (a week ago) the other party got there bang on time, to the minute, having apparently freaked out at his other half and made absolutely sure that she'd give him a ride to the pub in time, because he knew there was no way to contact me. Now that I'm known for not being contactable, people actually start planning around it and make an effort to be on time.
I do this all the time when I want peace and/or focus and it does the trick for me. I still have the benefit of a phone nearby if I have a genuine need to make a call or to get some information, but I don't have the inbound calling or popups which come with having data enabled.
Your battery will last much longer. You won't get constant popups showing you your life isn't as good as your friends lives. And you can access the internet if you need to.
I had an Android phone with no FB (I probably deleted it after I got the phone), and after the system upgrade it got installed without me agreeing to it. And I can't seem to undo it.
Every new generation seems to wonder how life on Earth existed without the technology they were raised with. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.
Indeed! It's just so sad that there are legions of people who do allow their toys to own their lives, who would be lost without their modern conveniences. That's all I'm saying.
Why on earth would I want to go back to the days when it was easy to get lost, and I had to mess around with crappy paper maps, and had to try to find businesses using phone books, and you could only talk on the phone at certain points like your house and otherwise your spouse had no idea where you were? The rest of us abandoned all that crap for good reason: it was a pain in the ass.
> Are you going to try living like that too, so that you don't feel dependent on modern conveniences like houses with running water?
What's with the ad hominem "hipster" crap (this isn't Reddit, so please take your childish insults back there), and when did I ever say that I was living like that or insist that everyone else should? I'm a technophile, as much as anyone else here. I'm not saying we all need to go back to the stone age, I'm just saying that total dependence on any technology to the exclusion of self reliance is a bad thing. Putting words in my mouth to prove a point that doesn't exist makes zero sense, dude.
To put it another way, sure I can call AAA when I'm on the side of the road with a flat tire, but what happens if I'm out of range of a cell tower? I still need to know how to change that tire. In other words, don't get so dependent on modern luxuries that you forget how to handle the necessities of life without them.
Every time you get in your car and drive any significant distance, you're "dependent" on technology. Are you going to try to walk 100 miles so you don't have to be dependent on technology? Cellphones are no different.
AAA is not "technology", that's a service. Please try to learn the difference. Someone coming and doing something for you because you're too lazy, ignorant, or disabled to do it yourself (the last one is excusable, the others not so much) is not "technology" any more than a business having a telephone number is a "tech company". Changing a tire isn't hard, it even tells you how in your car's owner's manual. What this has to do with cellphones, I have no idea. If you don't have a cellphone with you because you're a hipster moron who doesn't want to be "dependent" on technology, and you're on a rural road and just had a car wreck, what's the "handling the necessities of life" method of calling an ambulance, smoke signals? Technology allows us to do things we couldn't do before, and turning your nose up at it because of some hipster ethos is just stupid and shortsighted. And no, you're not a technophile, or else you wouldn't have even come up with this idiotic argument.
Your insults and assumptions ring false, and since they are the meat of your argument, you have no argument to make.
You can buy heroin on the street corner too, it doesn't mean you have to do it every time you walk by.
My girlfriend and I used to be on our phones all the time. It turned us into reactionary consumers of information and we didn't like how our conversations and feelings were essentially being dictated to us by our information sources, so we stopped using phones in the evening, and we have significantly cut back in the morning.
Working hours are hardest. The flip side of intense focus is a craving for distraction when energy is between peaks. I have experimented with the Pomodoro Technique from time to time, but so far I've had trouble breaking the habit long enough to make it an expectation rather than an exception.
But other HN users may find it useful. Pomodoro helps you work with the time you have, instead of against it, and it helps enforce a protection from distraction by design.
I see the potential advantages of a smartphone, but the tech isn't there yet, and it is moving in the wrong direction. I don't want a thinner, wider, taller thing with more pixels. I want a smaller, tougher, cheaper thing with more battery life.
Needless to say, I declined their offer... but I bought an iPhone shortly after so I wouldn't ever face that situation again.
Entering text hasn't gotten to be any less of a chore over time and browsing the web through a telescope hasn't gotten any less tiresome, but people have gotten more clever about exploiting the mobile web, and I just... well, I say, "fuck off, ad industry, I'll find something else to do rather than put up with you".
But I'm lazy, so I'm still using my Moto X, and it's not easy to figure out what kind of featurephone would be able to do what I wanted without irritating me, so my next phone will also more than likely be yet another smartphone whose features I mostly ignore.
I miss voice dialing, though.
It's not great, but it's OK.
On the other hand if I let skype run on the data connection, it uses hundreds of megabytes of mystery data and burns out the battery in two days.
Battery life was the best part by far. My phone wouldn't need to touch a charger more than every other day. One feature that I was glad to not be without was tethering-- it has a 3g radio, and after some setup I got tethering working on my laptop.
The part that I didn't like was not having a GPS and Camera. I used a sansa clip for my music, but I don't have a standalone camera or GPS. I wonder if I would have enjoyed sticking with a dumb-phone if I had bought a Garmin eTrex and a DSLR instead of a Nexus.
That's something that I think we take for granted with our smartphones: They're really not that good at what we use them for. My sansa clip has 128gb of storage and plays my FLAC library flawlessly, gets days of battery life, and is convenient for exercising. A DSLR will knock the socks off my Nexus 6's camera. An eTrex has enough battery life and precision to make sure I never get lost, and can be loaded with OSM data-- no internet required.
I think generally speaking, you know when you're going to want to take a photo, or be navigated via gps, or listen to music. So why not take the route that allows you to experience those tasks at their best?
I can't speak much for the social effects of it. I didn't feel any more in-the-moment.
I think generally speaking, you know when you're going to want to take a
photo, or be navigated via gps, or listen to music. So why not take the
route that allows you to experience those tasks at their best?
That's not to say there isn't a time and a place for specialized kit. If I'm camping, for example, I'm definitely going to use a dedicated GPS device, rather than an easily breakable, low-endurance smartphone. If I'm out on vacation, I'm going to take a proper camera in addition to my smartphone. Most of the time, though, I don't need the advanced capabilities that a dedicated device would give me. A phone gives me easily 60 to 75% of the same capabilities, at a much smaller fraction of the space needed.
The phone's a subpar camera, but it's a better camera than what I used to habitually carry around with me (i.e. nothing). It's like a Swiss army knife: it's got "meh" versions of a lot of tools, but the benefits are versatility and convenience.
I will say this, though. my MP3 player cost $30 (+$50 for sd card) and my nokia 208 cost $30 on ebay. I'll use my mp3 player for years to come, and if I didn't go back to a smartphone I'd be using that phone for years, too. I imagine a good camera, ebook reader, GPS, etc. would outperform smartphones for years to come, too.
It might be more expensive in the short term, but I think it can ultimately save money.
Around here, we pay for our smartphones out of pocket (the vast majority of people have prepaid SIMs, not contracts), so you can bet we're not replacing our phones every year :)
Imo phones are the best at everything.
Not trying to be condescending but maybe you just need to utilize your phone better?
The real tool is in the access to the human knowledge with Wikipedia but people don't do that too much. They play games and send textos.
I've seen people with it because it can run Debian.
A few months ago I was day-dreaming on HN about an alternative to html designed from the ground up to minimize webpage bloat and avoid tracking. Now I have a further refinement in mind: build a device that has exemplary reliability and power-utilization with a big touch screen and a cellphone number. Build a bare-bones browser for it supporting a tiny subset of html (no images, so no pixel tracking). Have the new device proxy through an ISP server that also as a bonus filters out ads and third-party cookies. Gradually encourage people to build hobbyist or paywalled reading experiences out of the subset of html and fork off a new world wide web. Then win :) Or something. Who's with me?
It's just a tree of directories and files. Files can be text like markdown, images or videos. I think it's enough for a lot of use cases.
If you don't need to be constantly reachable, a phone isn't a necessity.
The biggest single pain point is for information while moving. A device with wireless capability, a map, and transit information would be handy. It also removes virtually all distraction modalities.
There are a few factors underlying this trend not adequately mentioned in the article:
1. Phones suck. They suck as phones: poor voice/call quality, spotty coverage, poor coverage indoors, poor battery life, poor messaging capabilities.
2. Phoning sucks. Yes, there are times when direct voice comms is useful. I spent a couple of hours in a productive international video call courtesy of Google Hangouts last week -- one of my few significant voice comms in months. But the lack of text-transcribing, syncronous nature (we'd set up the call days in advance), likelihood of interruptions, and failure of virtually all devices to offer blacklist / whitelist or meaningful quiet-hours capability are all horrible.
3. Devices suck. Even smartphones lack many capabilities I'd consider essential (several listed above). The near-commodity nature of feature phones means that capabilities and interfaces are horrible. I'd be willing to pay a slight premium for durability, a decent set of basic ringtones (melodies suck), and some sort of voice messaging system of my own choice.
4. Privacy. Celebrity (and non-celebrity) nudes, voicemail hacking, messaging / email hacking, and absolutely ubiquitous advertising-based and, increasingly, governmental tracking are all massive turn-offs. If I don't need a pocket spy, I won't carry one.
Caveat to much of this: I've got a tablet. It's WiFi only, and 10'. This means it doesn't fit in a pocket, and isn't online when I'm travelling, but is often usable at stops (public WiFi is surprisingly prevalent, though yes, that too presents problems). With onboard storage, I've got vast amounts of stored information which I can (and do) access. With a bluetooth keyboard it's close to a laptop replacement (though I'd prefer a more capable OS and set of apps).
For road trips, it's quite useful: parked when not needed (or feeding to my car's sound system), pulled out at rest stops to check routes and hotels (I still rely on, and know how to use, paper maps). But it avoids many of the negatives of a cellphone.
Device identity is of course random strings and principle account is rarely if ever used.