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I solved that problem with a far simpler solution. I don't own a smartphone. I spend eight to ten hours watching a screen at work. Don't want to spend another five doing the same thing in my leisure. I also don't own any tablets, for the same reason, except a Kindle which I use every now and then in commuting. Most people I meet feel surprised when I tell them I don't have a smartphone especially considering that I'm a "computer guy". But the thing is I don't really need it. I can't do any productive work on it and even if I could I wouldn't want to. As for the PC, I'm also off any social network, excluding Hacker News which is addictive but at least I'm learning stuff so I don't consider it procrastination.

I also did this for a very long time. Being the local computer geek everyone expect me to know everything about computers and phones and of course have the latest phone in my pocket.

But being the local computer geek gives me insights that others do not have. I already saw the problem coming a mile away with the first mobile phones long before they were called smartphones. I already had the whole village asking me for advice with their computers (the few that had computers). I helped everyone build theirs for gaming and had to help them when they had problems with viruses and so on.

Why would I want to be reachable at any time? Would a smartphone make it even worse? You bet. Would I be getting a phone any time soon? No way.

I did eventually get a Nokia 3210 though, which stayed with me until a couple of years ago when I gave up and bought a smartphone to be able to screen incoming robot sales calls...

I do have a smart phone, because I got one handed by my employer and I kinda need it for work. However I find it almost unusable, the screen is too small, the onscreen keyboard and general touch interface seems cumbersome. The result is that I spend almost no time with my phone, only when forced.

iMessage has to one of the greatest inventions in recent time. It allows me to communicate with my family, without forcing to use an actual phone.

Perhaps you are just using your smartphone wrong?

I use it to do:

- Read News article and books on my communte

- Use the flashlight in the morning or evening when it is to dark (when winter i use it every evening when going home from the train to my flat 10 minutes)

- Use it as a phone

- use maps for navigation

- Check out gps stuff when sitting in a plain

- use the sync feature to have an up to date contact list

- get calendar notifications

- use it as an alarm clock

- use it for listing to music (but not that often)

Otherwise it is in my pocket but thats it. Like my keys. I don't use it at home at all.

I think it is actually your first point regarding reading news articles and books that people are trying to avoid. People become addicted to constantly looking up things to distract themselves instead of paying attention to what is going on around them.

If you take public transportation, look around, everyone is looking at their phones and no one is interacting with the real people around them.

We have become a society lost in their digital devices.

I look around, i'm not a very focused reader but i don't think a train is in any way a useful way of meeting people or communicating much.

I don't value shallow talk with strangers very much. Or have you been on a subway and was discussion with someone strange daily politics?

People report being happier after talking to strangers on public transit. They also underestimate how open other passengers are to it.


Sea turtles live long. That doesn't mean lying on a beach all my life is right for me.

The people and things going on around me are not interesting.

Selecting for proximity means wasting my life on random noise.

An $800 phone is a bargain if It lets me spend my limited time on good stuff.

I had taken the public bus for years and I don't recall people interacting before smart phones were popular. Maybe it's different on a subway or in different cities.

I found the worst people around me with phones are the older ones. The teenagers put it down but the older people seem to think that a text will expire if they don't respond immediately, regardless of what they are doing at the time.

Well I don't need a flashlight, it's never too dark where I live (Greece) regardless of season. As for your other points. Reading: As I said I have a Kindle which is far better than any smartphone for books, and thanks to Instapaper I can read pretty much everything on it. GPS: I don't need it, my car has an embedded one and it works just fine. When I'm not in my car wandering around without knowing where exactly I am is a joy, actually it's one of my hobbies. I get to accidentally find new places all the time. As for a phone per se, I have a dumbphone (Samsung E2600). Alarm: I don't need one, I have a steady sleeping pattern and I wake up automatically.

I'm not saying they're plain useless. I just don't risk getting hooked on them in exchange for a handful of useful services. I can live happily without owning one. If I ever feel that owning a smartphone will make my life better I'd gladly buy one. It's not ideology that stops me from getting one. I just don't want to end up like those guys who meet up for a coffee and spend two thirds of their time watching their smartphones. I don't feel sorry for them, I think they're hooked to the damn thing as I could easily get hooked if I had one. So to relieve me from the temptation of checking it every other minute I simply don't have one. Problem solved. As always, YMMV.

Dumbphones can have flashlight, alarms and mp3/radio too, mine does.

I had a 'dumbphone' before. But my phone now is much easier to use. The ui is big and clear.

My contacts are synced automatically and i can read news on it.

I'm not forcing people into using a smartphone and i don't have any issues with how i use it.

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