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The Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity (2017) (uchicago.edu)
874 points by wtracy on Sept 18, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 369 comments



New hot take: I'm addicted to my laptop. The phone barely registers in terms of interest because I work on my laptop anyway, which is less cumbersome to navigate.

Notwithstanding the need to separate work from leisure life, much of leisure is just attached to this device. Even the less consumptive activities, like writing or playing music, benefit from it. And anything to do with innovation or research is absolutely tied to it. This has been amplified somewhat owing to the pandemic, keeping me from activities out-in-the-world, but even before it all happened I merely had the gym and the odd outing to the coffee shop on the regular, and weekly/bi-weekly outings with friends.

It's a mechanical issue. By which I mean, I enjoy research at leisure and relatively solitary activities, but at the same time I want to pull away from being in front of a screen; it hasn't to do with consumption versus creativity or challenge. I try to remedy this with scheduled walks, and enough social time. Historically I imagine a person like myself would just be stuck in front of books instead, which I do also, but so much info can be gleaned from the web particularly research papers.

EDIT: this concerns me more-so now as we'll be trying for a kid, and I'd like to lead by example.

What I'd like to see in the future is AR tech that rewards mobility and in-person interaction, creating collaborative spaces anywhere. That may seem like more of the same problem, but the marriage with technology will only deepen, so it's up to us to set the terms.


I am right there with you. I kicked the phone addiction in various ways, but I really like to work on personal projects and they're all on the computer, much like my work, so I'm always on my computer.

I have a few tricks. I have a work laptop and a gaming computer, and I do all my personal work on the gaming computer. That helps separate the two. I have a workspace which gets me out of the house and keeps me focused while at work, so I can get it done quicker and ultimately spend less time on the computer. I also have a few outdoors hobbies, and a few indoors hobbies that are away from the computer. But of course I can't make progress on my computer projects off the computer, so that's still a conundrum I can't solve.

I am at the point where I wonder if maybe I should work outdoors or offline, in order to regain my online time. But I'm not sure where to take that.


One thing that kills me with this setup is having such different dev environments - I spend all day using particular tools, shortcuts, etc. on my work laptop (OSX) then when I try to use my personal computer (can virtualize whatever OS I want, most realistic is Ubuntu for dev) to do projects the flow is totally different and it really slows me down or I worry it will take too much mental bandwidth to switch.


I had the same problem for a bit. I used windows at work and OSX at home. The context switching was hell. I gave in eventually and use windows at home now as well. And you know what? It turned out cheaper, better and faster even though 99% of what I do is on Linux, in a VM.


I wrote an autohotkey script for windows to assign alt-* to most shortcuts which would require ctrl-*. Alt is physically where Macs Cmd is, so I had Alt-A for Cmd-A, Alt-F for Cmd-F, Cmd-W and so forth. This made a big difference.

Also I installed EasyWindowSwitcher and assigned it to a shortcut, which gave me window-cycling like in mac.


The flipped ctrl/alt keys is the worst part for me. I really wish there was a setting in MacOS to flip them around without causing weird issues. Unfortunately, while you can flip ctrl/alt system-wide some apps already use the Linux/windows shortcuts (like terminal ctrl+c/ctrl+d for stop and exit) and then these are flipped, which drives me even more insane. The best shot is overwriting menu commands one by one, which is tiresome and still doesn't apply everywhere.

I just settled to learn both, but I still see myself ctrl+c copying on mac and when alt+c when back on my windows machine.

I have high hopes for WSL2 replacing MacOS or Ubuntu VM's for me, especially because Darwin is simply not a linux system and you really feel the difference once you work on natively compiled code.


> I have high hopes for WSL2 replacing MacOS or Ubuntu VM's for me, especially because Darwin is simply not a linux system and you really feel the difference once you work on natively compiled code.

That's exactly what I did two weeks ago, after years of working on macos I ditched it in favor of windows. I haven't looked back since. The native WSL-integration in windows' vscode is a blessing; you open vscode, it's already connected to wsl, you write your flask-app or whatever, and can access it from windows' chrome without intermediate steps. This setup feels leaps ahead of anything I've done on macos.

Bonus screenshot: https://i.imgur.com/7p5g5os.png


WSL integration love wears off pretty quickly I find. There are so many rough edges and broken things.

While debugging a UDP server recently I discovered that any attempt to capture anything via UDP was scuppered entirely by the networking abstraction. Also the bastardised lack of services is problematic.

Thus I’ve gone back to virtual box and Debian. You still can use VSCode but have to jump through some more hoops


Personally the more I use WSL the less inclined I am to ever use either direct Linux or MacOS again. Of course, that's WSL 2, there are definitely rough edges on WSL 1.


My point was regarding WSL2. I will never use macOS again though. That is completely dead for me but that’s a whole another story.


Are you on wsl1 or 2?


2

There are too many weird compromises and bugs with it. Better to stick with a tidier abstraction.


It sounds like that instead of WSL2, you'd be a candidate for a power Linux distro (not Ubuntu) alone where you have rolling updates.


While I don't mind a specialized setup for work, you often don't really have a choice there or it comes with a lot of corporate pain. Just using whatever your team is using is the way of least friction.

At home I'm using my computer also for gaming and Windows is again simply the way of least friction.

I've run a hardware switch for my hard drives for a few years to switch between Linux and Windows (effectively cutting off power from some of my drives). However, this means I have to fully shutdown the system to switch environments and I saw myself mostly rather spin up a Ubuntu VM in Windows for personal projects.

I hope WSL2 brings the best of both worlds with the least friction.


Running desktop Linux on VM is horrible in my experience. Eg. Eclipse lags out.

I had problem with Windows randomly wrecking the Ubuntu boot sector on separate HDs, but using physical switches seems like a good idea! I'll try that.


What is not available in Ubuntu that precludes it from "power" usage in your opinion?


Given the mention of rolling updates, I am assuming it is a reference to how up-to-date the packages are or the availability of packages for some software. While distros like Ubuntu will keep some packages on the bleeding edge (e.g. Firefox), most will be months behind. That presents periodic problems with software that uses its own addons mechanism or that is simply too recent to be incorporated into the package collections. I have run into problems with outdate extensions for Emacs and even expired signatures under Debian, but searching for fixes revealed similar problems under Ubuntu. Ever since switching to Arch, I have been a much happier cookie.


I've used a Mac, but would never consider it without swapping those keys (to make proper Ctrl/Alt for most apps, ... manually configuring the others). Also, a proper Alt+Tab app that works on window level is essential.


Windows is a bit more well behaved than OS X in this regard so swap them on Windows instead since the point is to not have to fight muscle memory. It'll take a bit of training to swap over, but then at least you're not having to swap between the two orderings unless you're frequently on other people's Windows computers.


The secrete is to set the caps lock key as the modifier key on all devices.


I wouldn't worry about this too much. I agree with a sibling comment about standardizing on one being an option, and on the other hand if you do push yourself through I think your mental plasticity will improve as a result, so: win-win what ever you decide to do. Unless you measure your performance by output, I guess ;-)


I created a personal user account on my work laptop. It keeps all of my personal and work accounts separate but reduces the effort needed to keep the environments in sync. I use different gtk, browser, and terminal themes to provide context between the accounts which helps keep things isolated


I just do whatever I need to for work, then hop down to the garage and build guns or work on my project car.

Other days I work on the lawn and property.

It seems to work unless I pick up side gigs programming, then I end up spending the whole day behind a laptop anyway, but at least it's all constructive work and not pissing away time on the internet.


I try, but I realised that as soon as I sit on the computer, there's a 70%+ chance that I get sucked in. Then it feeds me just enough dopamine to discourage starting a more rewarding activity. It can take hours to break out of it.

On the other hand, if I don't touch the computer before noon, there's a solid chance I'll end up in the garage building things.

Unfortunately, I'll still need my laptop at some point, either to do research for a project or check things off my todo list. Just like that, I get sucked in.


Good ideas - for a while, before I had to switch it for work, I seperated work/fun by which OS I was on. Queue me picking up working on a new project and it changed that.


>What I'd like to see in the future is AR tech that rewards mobility and in-person interaction

I think everything you said was great up until here. Technology is part of the problem, so instead of just patching the symptom with even more technology, let's remove the cause: stop consuming, or rather, stop being consumed by, technology. You want to get away from the screen? Then get away. You want to go socialize with people in-person? Then just do it.

>marriage with technology will only deepen

It doesn't have to deepen. Nor should it deepen, because such a dependency to something too complex for me to reproduce or maintain myself is tyrannical; it is unhealthy to the individual. Nor can it deepen, because the resource requirements for producing and powering higher technology come at an ever-increasing cost, subsidized by the environment and future generations.


> Technology is part of the problem

I was more explicit: screens time is the problem. We interface with all manner of technology in our daily lives that I don't find myself attached to, including electronics. Everything we use, all our tools, is technology. Colloquially we use the term to refer to computers.

I can reframe the problem in other ways, e.g. what would allow me to achieve certain things without screens?

> You want to get away from the screen? Then get away. You want to go socialize with people in-person? Then just do it.

I already do this, as described. I spend more time on screens because more of what I actually want to do requires it.

There are types of interactions besides socializing for its own sake. Technology already bridges gaps with the likes of meetup websites. I think something conducive to collaborating on projects in person would be welcome.

> It doesn't have to deepen.

Well Luddites are not suddenly going to gain traction.

> Nor can it deepen, because the resource requirements for producing and powering higher technology come at an ever-increasing cost, subsidized by the environment and future generations.

Innovation by nature will ultimately reduce costs, though an increasing rate of adoption by the population could outpace it.

Every person has an environmental footprint, and it's greater in the West. Between transportation both public and private, a residence, food, gadgets, etc it adds up and were this something to be curbed, taking devices away would be woefully insufficient at making the difference. The population rate just needs to drop, which can be alleviated by eliminating global poverty. The popularized push for minimalism while watching the population explode is a race to the bottom.


>Well Luddites are not suddenly going to gain traction.

Hey, I resemble that remark.

What if I want to gain sudden traction with my offering to productively reverse the connection of the internet to mission-critical devices?


>Nor can it deepen, because the resource requirements for producing and powering higher technology come at an ever-increasing cost...

I'm pretty sure that the "bang for the buck" slope is pointed in the other direction. Thus, I'd re-consider your "nor can it deepen" conclusion.


The main difference I see is that smartphones are built as playthings, stuffed with features that encourage addiction, but a real desktop operating system is built as a tool to help you work, and gives you all the access and power you need.

I see clear lines between things like smartphones and tablets, desktop operating systems, game consoles, and kindles. There's many different types of screens. I'm comfortable handing a non-networked laptop to my kid for her to play with, but wouldn't hand her a tablet or game console.


I wouldn't have an issue with a kindle, it is locked down enough that it is only useful as an ereader (you _can_ browse the net in it, but it is dog slow).


I've met a lot of people over the years who have computing of some kind as their job and had hobbies which are a complete contrast - blacksmithing, gardening, cabinet making. Anecdotally I do see fewer and fewer of these kinds of mixes. In general it feels healthier to have a hobby that drags your attention back into the physical world, but having said that there's something so wonderful about exploring all the knowledge on Wikipedia with a bottle of good red wine. As Jace Clayton once tweeted, "... and again I find myself at the end of a click trance looking at the Wikipedia entry for the guitarist on Bat Out Of Hell".


I’m stuck in a big city where those real world hobbies you mentioned are prohibitively expensive. I remember it was about 5 years ago when I realized activities I did offline started to feel like like self indulgent frivolity and anything that mattered long term mostly happened or started in front of a computer (or phone/computer combo). This is an insane shift to me from even 10-15 years ago where the physical world still felt real and the internet was more a fun diversion.


Hobbies behind the keyboard are just as real world. The problem is that there are far more distractions to contend with, such as reading or commenting on Hacker News! Of course, there are also distractions internal to the hobby itself. I have found that anything related to software development has all sorts of rabbit holes because of conflicting opinions and tools with marginal benefits. The trick is to avoid those, and focus on the concrete.

I wish that I had a solution to that. There are various things that I have tried with varying degrees of success though. A variation on separate computers, as mentioned by others, is having separate accounts on the same computer: one for "entertainment" (what I'm doing now), one for personal use (hobbies, day-to-day tasks), and one for work. Another is to focus upon particular tools and avoid trying or debating the latest stuff. It works to a degree. Alas, the distractions are still a hands reach away.


I recognize this all too much. I'm hereby resolved to do something non-trivial in meatspace at least every weekend!


I moved a little further out to have access to a garage. Even before that, I had my motorcycle, my bicycle, my ice skates, a well-equipped kitchen, board games etc.

You are right though. The good stuff happens behind a keyboard.


Buy books and print research papers?

Personally, I don't view a black/white Kindle as the same as other screens, so a bike ride to a park where I might read a research paper or book I've put on my Kindle.


I've come back around to single-purpose devices.

Kindle: read books

Nintendo Switch: play games

TV: watch films and shows

Getting into the "mental mode" to do one of those things requires using the device built for it, and putting away my general-purpose phone/laptop. The great thing about focused single-purpose devices is it's impossible to get "lost" clicking around and wasting time.

If I'm on my Kindle, I'm not scrolling through the news. If I'm on my TV, I'm not getting lost down some YouTube recommendation rabbit hole.

The more I started turning my laptop into single-use (cutting out social media, focusing on productivity), the more "bored" I was at first, but then I realized that's actually a good thing. In addition to all the above I have my piano I can practice on, too.

Being bored is good. The modern web and especially social media vehemently disagree, and so our incentives have diverged.


> print research papers?

I took this approach when I was in grad school because I find it much more enjoyable to read and take notes directly on a physical copy.

The problem with this is that you end up with giant stacks of papers that take up a good amount of physical space. Every physical copy becomes a subsequent judgement of whether you need to keep it or recycle it. It's easy to accumulate a large stack of papers: (1) that you _intend_ to read, or (2) mediocre papers that create a sunk cost situation because you've invested time in printing out and taking notes on it.

On the face of it, a tablet reader seems like it would solve this problem, but I've never had the desire to invest $300-500 in one.


> a tablet reader

A black/white mobi tablet reader is closer to $100 than $300-$500, just in case you ever decide to change your mind.


Same here. I've been addicted to my laptop for years, and can go days without looking at my phone. For the same reason: everything is on my laptop. Work, movies, books, chats with friends, my podcast, research, etc. And I have the same remedies, too: schedule things to just get myself out of the house.


For me, just the attention children need is enough to ensure I will pretty much not touch the computer outside of work hours. This does mean there are many things I won't be doing, but instead I spend invaluable time with my family.


I will look forward to that then.


Me too, it is my laptop. I have started implementing laptop free time. Ie after 5pm, no laptop, Saturday no laptop. I find I am a lot happier and less anxious now.


I can echo that restricting time appears to improve my well-being, particularly for news aggregators / social media. What do you tend to do with leisure time away from the screen?


Running/walking/biking and reading make up a huge part of it. Cooking a meal instead of grabbing what is in the fridge. Learning to play piano/guitar.


This is why I never got a tablet/iPad. For someone who is constantly on their computer/laptop there's no need for a intemediary device.


I find that at arm's length, my body posture is more open and the iPad feels more social than a phone that you're hunched over or a laptop with two hands at attention.


just as an fyi, smart watches have a bunch of gamifications around mobility and activity.


Over the past years I have started increasingly using paper for thinking - reading and writing. I have come to appreciate (fetishize?) the quality of wellmade paper products, the tactility and focus of them, even constraints like the higher demand on my memory or slowness of a paper dictionary in the long run have benefits. The computer is more practical and efficient but maybe often in the way fast food is. What am I doing on hackernews?


I've had success whitelisting sites using the Chrome Block Site extension[1], and I'm considering just switching to whitelisted sites-only full-time. (Right now, I have it scheduled for the morning hours so I can get things done.)

At that point the laptop becomes more of a single-purpose "get things done" machine rather than a general purpose device I can waste hours clicking around on. :) Consumption-wise, it's led to me watching more films and TV shows rather than a string of 5-15 minute YouTube videos. I'm still spending 2-3 hours a day watching "video," but now it's (IMO) meaningful content instead of glorified clickbait.

I've also been selectively disabling JavaScript more and more, and might switch to disabling by default (and then re-enabling on useful sites that need it.)

All of this, plus leaving Facebook and Twitter, has done wonders to make me far more productive over this summer. Can't speak for everyone but I highly recommend taking the steps above.

1. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/block-site-website...


Careful with that extension. Last time I looked at it, it hoovered all your browsing habits. Seems like it still does considering their privacy policy

>Non-Personal Information collected through your use of the browser extension and desktop app includes:

>Browsing history information (URLs/domains visited) Internet Protocol address – but note that we permanently delete and hash the last portion of your Internet Protocol address before storing it, thus preventing us from having the ability to use it to transmit any information to your device or to otherwise identify you.

I think it'd be easier to just build the extension yourself considering the needed functionality is pretty straightforward (webrequest blocking + a minimal interface to add/remove URLs).


I checked this out extensively; it (claims) not to collect data unless you enable one of the settings which blocks adult sites.

From the extension options:

> Enable/disable the option to block sites in bulk by category. This allows BlockSite to access information about the sites you visit, for use as explained in our Privacy Policy.

And from the privacy policy itself:

> You may opt out of the automatic collection and sharing of Non-Personal Information described above as follows:

> For the BlockSite browser add-on extension:

> By deselecting the checkbox next to the words “Block Adult Sites” which can be found under the Settings tab of the Options page for the BlockSite extension.


> What I'd like to see in the future is AR tech that rewards mobility and in-person interaction, creating collaborative spaces anywhere.

heya, I am working on exactly this with https://app.mirrorspace.net (alpha)


I am very interesting in what laptop you have that you don't feel it is more convenient to quickly look something up on your phone? I mean, unless I put it somewhere very inconvenient my phone is easier to access than my laptop.


The problem with the smartphone is that the UX is designed in such a way that helpful rituals are hard to develop. If you want access to something at all it has to be right in your face.


I plan to purchase or build a time-delay safe, big enough for all the laptops and tablets and phones to fit in.

I think this would be great: 3hrs away from the devices, bam! easy.


What does one do with the other? To take your laptop to the train, cafe, the movie, the dinner party, the bathroom?


It seems like internet as a whole might make a good next point of focus.


>we'll be trying for a kid

Please consider this carefully. The coming decades will not be pleasant to live in.


On the contrary, they will be awesome, possibly the best thing you ever do!


Seriously, the lack of awareness that pretty much every year is the best year in human history* is rather depressing. Pair that with the coming end of extreme poverty, extraterrestrial habitation, and a non-infinitesimal chance of experiencing radical life-extension (whether through neurotechnological methods such as WBE, or cell-targeting microbiology), it's clear that Gen A/B (is generation naming modular?) will be excellent generations to be born into.

* Except maybe this year, which is an anomaly.


Narrowing your perspective leads to a narrow perspective.

Open your eyes to everything, and see everything.

When your body feels a hint that something is wrong, following that hint will teach you something.

How does your body react when you see a child cry?


Getting rid of my smartphone was without a doubt the most positive thing I ever did for myself.

I'm sure some people have the self-control to use it sparingly. But for me, not having to constantly fight the urge to check my always-connected magic pocket internet portal has freed up a huge amount of my mental willpower, which I can now redirect to other more important things.

Now that everything is closed, I don't even miss having the convenience of Uber/Google Maps. Additionally, without social media, I remain blissfully unaware of whatever corona hysteria or political drama is consuming the minds of my peers.

These devices have a veritable legion of engineers working to make the smartphone experience as addictive as possible. For some people, the only winning move it not to play.


Can you talk more to the practicalities of getting rid of a smartphone? Have you seriously found that the loss of the conveniences they bring haven't been that burdensome? I am really intrigued by the idea but find it almost inconceivable to work for me (which might speak to an addiction, so I feel compelled to understand this further)


I have not found it to be overly burdensome. I have an indestructible kyocera flip phone, so I'm able to call people (and SMS in a pinch).

I have an LTE-enabled tablet, so if I'm going somewhere totally unfamiliar, I'll throw it in my bag just in case I need to look up some information. Otherwise you just have to plan your outings in advance - like we always did prior to 2008 or so.

I have a Garmin GPS mounted in car for road trips, which I honestly prefer since it doesn't tempt me to fiddle with it while driving like a smartphone does. I also carry a semi-nice digital camera sometimes. It's obviously not as convenient as a smartphone camera, but I find I am more thoughtful and appreciative of the photos I take as a result.

I use more paper items (small paper notebook for grocery lists, transit tickets instead of using the app, etc). This can be somewhat freeing, as I've missed my ferry a handful of times because their app glitched out.

My personality tends towards obsession and analysis paralysis, which can be good for programming but sometimes bad for real life. I no longer obsess over which restaurant has the best looking pictures or online reviews, I just walk inside and try it out. Sometimes this is for the better, sometimes for the worse, but it's definitely a more human experience.

Without the smartphone, I also find I am much more inclined to talk to random strangers, since I can't just whip out the phone during awkward silent moments.

With lack of FOMO, I am also much more present with family and friends, which is probably the biggest benefit.


> I have an LTE-enabled tablet

What made you compulsively use your phone, but not your tablet?


Imho, it's way more cumbersome, can't just have it in your pocket.


So where do you keep your tablet ? Why not put a phone in the same place ? Just put it “away”?


Brains are good at outsmarting themselves. Why don't junkies just stop taking drugs?


Thanks for the detailed reply. I will have to seriously give this some more thought. I saw somewhere else you mentioned you did it as an experiment at first - I think if I do it I will pursue a similar approach.

I appreciate that you mentioned you still have the LTE tablet - one of my biggest concerns was traveling and the HUGE convenience apps have on my life then.


You don't necessarily have to go cold turkey.

I haven't gone all the way and actually gotten rid of my phone, but I personally operate in three "modes:"

- Mode 1 where I'm going to need it for a task like navigation, or I'm OK with killing time and letting my mind wander. I keep it near me, always silent/no vibrate, and check it fairly often.

- Mode 2 where there's a remote chance I may need it because I might need to take a phone call or deal with an OTP. It sits out of sight, preferably in another room entirely.

- Mode 3, the phone is physically powered off. This is pretty much always the case after 8pm, it's frequently the case when I'm working, sometimes the case when I'm out with friends.

In practice I'm almost always in Mode 1 or Mode 3. I accept that it's OK/necessary to submit to distractions (though I do keep it on silent), or I just say screw it and turn it off.

In my experience if you develop a habit like always just powering it off after 8pm, after a few weeks the phone starts to lose its hold on you. You start having moments during the day where you're fiddling with it and your brain just goes "screw this, I would rather be relaxed, happy, and living life." That's the moment where Google, Apple etc. have lost the war they're waging against you, your brain is no longer hijacked, and it all gets better from there.


I traveled in Europe with a combo of an iPad Mini and, in some countries, a burner. It was a good choice at the end of the day.


Thank you for this - I am considering making the switch also.

The biggest switch for me would be losing music streaming. What do you use for music on-the-go (at the gym, commuting, walking around, etc.)?


Gym? Just the gym, no music. Walking? The same, enjoying my surrounding. I quit music streaming (tried Amazon, Google) after some trials and concentrate on a selection of music, which I can listen to again and again. I do use a tablet with a 256GB SD card, so have space to store a variety of things.

While my musical taste is eclectic (i.e. from classic over techno to glitch) I mostly prefer to either listen to music or do other things, instead of mixing those activities. I do listen to music on commutes, and sometimes while doing certain chores in the kitchen though. But otherwise either or, not both.


I've started leaving my phone out of my gym time as well. It feels like the right thing to do, but it definitely feels odd or like I'm different somehow. At the gym I go to everyone listens to music while lifting and it's almost surreal to look around while resting between sets to see everyone is dialed into their own little world.

I wonder what gyms looked like in earlier generations (I'm only 27). Did people talk more?


Did people talk more?

Yes. Especially before the televisions arrived.

Gyms were well-known social hubs. You'd meet people, sometimes even work out business deals, at the gym.

The isolation that technology has brought us has reduced the number of serendipitous human connections we used to make as a species. It has also turned us into an us-verus-them society because we no longer have large circles of friends with varying opinions.


Latter seasons of Highlander tell me they were mostly for people to test their rivals out before a final confrontation in another part of the city in the final act.


According to pokemon, gyms exist only as a place for making your pet fight someone else's pet


shrug before I used my phone for music, I used my iPod. Before that, my Walkman.

Personal music at the gym is not new or anything specific to phones


This. Music while working out is cheating anyway. Bite down on your mouthpiece and listen to your own inner anguish instead. Or hum.


>The biggest switch for me would be losing music streaming. What do you use for music on-the-go (at the gym, commuting, walking around, etc.)?

I gave that up too, replaced with live music venues where I could interact with the musicians.

Although depending on the venue musicians and even patrons will occasionally be wearing hearing protection earbuds for isolation.

Without earbuds it can only be better for personal interaction at the gym, etc. too.

When the Sony Walkman came out, those who took it to the gym were more keenly aware they were signaling that they didn't want any interaction there.

Solo commuting I'm just fine with news & talk now. Driving passengers or being one I can better appreciate anybody's channel selction. Nonmusic is too boring for most people anyway.

I get plenty of live music and that's all I really need.

If you already have to be on a computer a bit to begin with, might as well make the most of it.

When you do close the laptop and revert to normal in-person interaction, you can always walk away from the PC with mere cellular voice, if you really need that, for the duration.

Twenty years ago smartphones didn't have touchscreens. But they would take messages.

When that was the only thing you were carrying around, all you could really do was talk & text like anyone else.

But when you had your laptop, the built-in IR or USB interface to a top smart phone was what made it smart to begin with.

As a virtual COM port device, the analog modem in your phone was then accessible to Windows no differently than the analog hardware modem the laptop used when hardwired to a phone jack having a dial tone.

Even laptops without built in modems back then still had hardware COM port connectors just like desktops, which could be used with external hardwired phone modems (or used for local hardwired RS-232/TTY within the generous cable length limitation without need for modulation/demodulation).

But the cellphone was about twice the speeds the office was getting with 56K hardware modems.

From anywhere you could get a cellular signal.

This was years before each cellular company began to slowly roll out data plans as the phones got _smarter_.

Which were geographically limited ridiculously by comparison for many more years before data coverage got to where it is today.

Anyway you could get to your office network directly by dialing in to (one of) your target server's phone number(s) (and tying up that landline as long as you are connected).

Without having to go on the internet, so security could be through the roof by comparison.

Alternatively you could dial in to any ISP's phone bank when you needed to get on the web.

This could even be simply done routinely from a different Windows partition, physically separating personal from business for instance.

Would that make it a sandcastle compared to a sandbox?

Even with only a common single bootvolume you could connect to two networks at the same time using two modems, using the built-in Dial-Up Networking in Windows 98. You could become a bridge this way and security could be not so good.

You just pointed & clicked your selection(s) and they negotiated or autodialed if necessary.

So many offices had internet that you would almost always be fine to just dial in to that one place, and with more than one modem using more than one phone line W98 could be configured to communicate much faster than 56K using modem sharing.

And with a laptop you had all the power and software for business & internet connection you needed without having to wait for phones to get more powerful on their own.

With progress phones are much more popular & stylish now.

Posing with a touchphone, one-handed at a characteristic near-45 degree angle as an interested observer, recognizable in silhouette, whether standing (walking) or sitting, is not something that was ever seen in the 20th century.

Likewise the accompanying silhouette with the other hand on the touchscreen as an active operator.

Under laboratory conditions over a period of years, redirecting time otherwise spent in either pose toward actual scientific progress can have much more ideal outcomes when it comes to milestone accomplishments.

Anectdotal data, YMMV.

I do get the idea that more traditional poses such as yoga-style might be more preferable to a great many.

Rumour has it your cognitive capacity can be increased.


Believe it or not, there are still MP3 players (or, more commonly known these days as Digital Audio Players) out there that kick ass.

This Sony device [0] even offers Tidal integration. Not sure if Spotify is among the list of supported services.

[0] https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1538890-REG/sony_nwzx...


The price on this absolutely blows me away. It would be far more cost effective to buy a cheap android, download spotify/tidal/etc. via wifi, and sync all playlists offline.


Yes, but audiophiles who don’t know what an ABX is wouldn’t be able to pretend they can hear the difference in the sound of the DAC.


I remember seeing someone link a $40 player recently-ish in a HN thread (I don't feel like searching but I think the context was hiking if you want to try and find it). Agreed that price is outrageous but they're not all like that.


So, basically, you replaced a multipurpose device for specific devices you take with you if needed. Not really pre 2008 tech.


Thanks for your great response. I’ve often considered doing something like this.

I wonder if there is a way to accomplish many of these things while still carrying your phone? For example, what if your phone took 5 minutes to unlock? And didn’t give notifications until you unlocked it?

Just a thought.


I put my phone in "do not disturb" mode for the entire day. Removing notifications altogether was a great improvement, without getting rid of the phone altogether. You go from responding to picking it up when you decide to.


As someone who has been doing the DND mode for over 8 years now to avoid expecting notifications, it instead has taught me to reach over to my phone every 30 seconds to check the screen for any new ones :(

i've started to just chuck it somewhere if I'm trying to focus


I go through and explicitly disable notifications for almost every app. I don't really need to be interrupted to find out someone liked a photo, or that there's something in the news, or that it's raining, or that some new shit shipped from eBay. So even if I do check my phone, I pretty much only have (and then only silent) notifications for messengers. My wife and close friends know that if they need to get me immediately that they can send me a real SMS.

When I got a new phone about 6 months ago, I spent about a week horrified by the number of notifications that I was getting by default.


Same. I wanted to minimize use. The only apps that "speak" are: phone, messaging, Skype. The group chats are muted, and I also disabled the auto-refresh of emails. Now unless someone is sending a message just to me, or calls me, the phone stays silent. All other apps (gym, etc) have notifications off completely.

That, and keeping the charger in a remote corner, helps to park it and forget it.


Don't DND, use airplane mode (if you want antitheft or incoming calls, disable cellular data and wifi--prey and other antitheft can toggle data by text message if necessary). This way you've still got it available for manual use when necessary, without the wait to turn it on.

Also, disable face/fingerprint/pin unlock, and use a longish password, so unlocking it isn't convenient.


My OnePlus (not sure how widespread the feature is on android) has a Zen Mode, once started you can't use the phone for most things until the timer elapses.

A bit different, but good if you want a break.


It's interesting, but I wonder if

1) The majority of people disable the feature after a short time (if they needed it in the first place, it's hard to maintain the self-control to keep it enabled, when it's presumably trivial to disable), and

2) Whether the cognitive effects remain, even when it's locked, because the mere presence of the phone makes you think about it, and it being locked makes you think about what you're missing.


If you don't have a oneplus, I suggest the "forest" app. Helps me tremendously. http://forestapp.cc/

(No affiliation, just a happy user)


I’m going to try this. Thanks!


My personal experience on this is like the article above states, merely having my phone on hand caused me to think about pulling it out or looking at it even if it was turned off. It was not till I hid my phone away in my glove box or somewhere I rarely accessed did I feel truly free from it. I will say having done this for months now I really don't miss it and only go grab it when I absolutely need it (usually for work stuff). The result is that I feel much less distracted and more focused on my life as it happens, also my view of the world seem more grounded in reality now.


I have a way to do this: I have a smartphone without an unlimited data plan. I can use it out of the home for calls, texts, notes, photos, music, and cached maps, without being tempted to surf the web or whatever. If I need a map or a web browser urgently, I can still use data, but I pay a relatively high rate for it. I call this a "self-imposed vice tax".

Of course, on wifi, it can do everything that phone with a normal data plan can do. I just don't bother, because most of the time I'm on wifi, I have a laptop available. Especially these days.


Besides the DND features of the OS, I use the Macrodroid app on Android to silence my mobile based on location and time. For example my devices will turn off WiFi, dial down audio levels and brightness at a certain time in the evening, even while I might use it. This is a cue for me to put it aside if I still might access it.

Also, based on location, I automatically disable all notifications while at the gym or in a restaurant. If a had an urge to access it anyways, I might set the brightness to zero too.


This can be done with Tasker. It's the most advanced phone app for automation. I believe it would be simple to make a task showing a screen that cannot be dismissed whenever the phone is unlocked.


This is the sort of answer I was looking for. Unfortunately I’m on iPhone. :(


It looks like IFTTT is available for iOS, and I've heard it compared to Tasker.


Thank you for sharing these experiences


I have my smartphone and am not the OP, but I spent several years on Windows Mobile which supported almost no apps, so it was kinda like a dumbphone.

I think people often overestimate their need. People act like they can't live without Google Maps, but 90% of them take the same route to work every day. I would argue if you aren't traveling outside your local area, you have zero need for a mapping app. It's true you may not be notified of a slightly faster route because of some unforeseen event, but the difference is probably a couple minutes at most, and you should know your local streets well enough to get along anyways.

There was the rare event where I couldn't participate in some restaurant's rewards program because they only did it via iOS/Android app, and that was annoying, but it also led me to just use that business less.


This was also my experience with the Lumia 920 (greatest phone + OS combo ever IMHO).

The maps ("Here") on Windows Mobile were actually not bad at all.

Using this phone taught me not to be obsessed with instant mail notifications among other things.


I still use my 950. People get annoyed with me because I don't use messenger or WhatsApp. It does email and phone calls just fine. Anything other than that or surfing the intertoobs can wait until I get to a PC.


When I was in Europe in 2018/2019 (where they still had decent 3G network coverage unlike my provider here in the USA) I used my Nokia N900 as my daily driver, not as a smartphone but primarily a feature phone with a full keyboard and a Linux terminal for bash scripting on the go. In fact, I used a bash script to track my cash expenses rather than a dedicated app.


I just left my Elite x3 behind this year. Best phone I've ever owned. But I consider security updates a must-have, so I dropped it when Microsoft finally stopped pushing updates.


You're right, I don't often need mobile maps. It's just that when I do, it's unexpected.


Specifically what functionality do you feel is so critical? The only thing I really struggled with at first was:

- 2FA codes, but a self-hosted Bitwarden and a Yubikey solved that well enough

- Maps. This is a legitimate sacrifice, especially for someone with as poor a sense of direction as I have. But between the mapping application in my car and looking things up before I leave somewhere on my laptop, it's not been a huge problem.


For me: Maps and WhatsApp.

I could probably ditch Maps (by using my spouse's when needed, not sure if that counts...), but I have family abroad and other family here), and kid photos to send etc etc. It's true I could do most of that via email, but the rest of the family is on WhatsApp and I would genuinely feel more disconnected from them then I already do.


You can install whatsapp on a virtual android machine on your desktop/laptop. I did that for a while and used a dumb phone (new nokia 8110) as my main phone and hotspot for a while. I kind of enjoyed it, but a couple of things made me give up for now.: First, abysmally bad battery life when using it as a hotspot (and no auto wifi disable when no devices connected). Second, laughably slow charging. Like, not even net charging when using lots of data via wifi hotspot and even in best case something like 4 hours to charge from empty to full. I am still keen to buy a dumb phone that fixes these.


I thought WhatsApp needed to verify the device using a phone number? Does that work with the virtual Android?


I got a simple CAT-model that runs KaiOS.

It sort of supports Maps, but is inconvenient enough to kill the temptation to use it for everything.

As an added bonus, it's water proof, doesn't crack when dropped and the battery lasts a week.


I think music/podcasts would be a big sacrifice for me. I suppose I could do a dedicated MP3 player for music, but especially with podcasts the live-updating feed is something I really enjoy.


You could host this and couple it with whatever would be a good client/player for you: https://github.com/airsonic-advanced/airsonic-advanced


If you have a Samsung phone a more gradual step in this direction is their maximum battery saver mode (my S7 had it, at least, not sure about more recent models). It turns the phone into close to a dumb phone (iirc no social media apps, maybe a web browser). Only a subset of preapproved apps are available in this mode.


> not sure about more recent models

My Galaxy S10e has it.


I would think it's better to develop the will power to not hop on your phone whenever available, take a breath, smell the flowers, but also still have the option of something as amazing as GPS. Not really interested in going back to pulling over and looking at a map these days.


Will power don’t really work that way. Studies show it is an exhaustible resource and if you’re using it all day to fight of pulling your phone out of your pocket, you won’t have it for anything else you do in your day (and you’ll STILL probably pull your phone out!)

The people with the best will power have organized their lives so that they don’t need will power.


I was under the impression that those studies not only failed to replicate but in fact more recent studies found the opposite...


Furthermore it was also shown that whichever "theory" you believe about willpower (consumable resource vs habituation like a trainable muscle) will impact your performance. If you believe it's not a finite resource but something that gets more plentiful and strong the more you use it, you will appear to confirm this theory.

Source: this is the specialty of Veronika Job, see her work here: https://tu-dresden.de/mn/psychologie/iaosp/sozial/die-profes...


"muh GPS" is definitely the most common argument people give me. Garmin still makes car GPS units. I have one and it works well.

To be fair, I was able to refrain from mindless scrolling all the time. But with the phone nearby, I always wanted to mindlessly scroll during every random quiet moment.

I liken it to an alcoholic keeping an ice cold beer on his desk all day, but doing his best not to take a sip. Why subject yourself?

I experimented without a smartphone and I am happier as a result. This will probably not be the case for everyone. But, if you ever feel like a slave to your own technology, I highly recommend trying it out.


Developing will power is one of those "easier said than done" things. At the end of a long day of work, without my phone, I find my ability to focus is shot. Especially since I can't work out like I used to, a few more weeks and I should be able to again. Workouts physically exhaust me but restore my mental focus. There are lots of things that drain people (emotionally, mentally) that leaves them in a similar state, where having the device present is just too strong a temptation and then an hour or more is gone.


For as long as you have to exert it, will power takes up energy that can be used elsewhere more profitably.


Not OP, but I also made the choice not to carry a phone (not even a dumb phone) because I don't want the inconvenience of carrying an interrupting device everywhere I go.

There's a phone at home and one in my office for emergencies, but other business gets done by email, on my terms.

I live in a (non-US) large city, walk or bike to work every day and don't own a car. We have a pretty good public transit system which I used to use a lot, pre-covid.

The biggest inconvenience of not carrying a cell phone was that I didn't have access to live bus and subway schedules, so I would sometimes take a suboptimal route to my destination.

My schedule is done on paper in a pocket schedule book that I always carry. I also carry a pen, a simple watch, a Swiss army knife, and a small flashlight, all of which I use at least once every day. I also always have a book in my bag, for reading while waiting for the bus, the doctor, or other things and people.

I look things up on the Internet at home.

I'm not saying I will never carry a phone, but it seems that not having a phone is the right choice for me at the moment.


I've done the same thing, and started out with an extremely dumb feature phone. Maps and IM were the biggest losses, and meant I needed to plan activities to a much larger degree before going out.

I'd have details settled with friends before leaving my connection to the group chat. I'd plan out my route in google maps and try to memorize where destinations were and how to get to them.

Of these two, only the lack of maps is a real step back. I've come to appreciate the need for clear planning that comes out of not having my group chats with me constantly.

The feature phone was doomed from the start, since it only had a 2G connection which is going away. But then that phone broke after a rainstorm, and I got a Nokia 2720 Flip running KaiOS. It has 4G, can work as a wifi hotspot, and has a version of Google Maps that is surprisingly not-terrible. With that, I lost my only real pain points. AND I have a cool retro looking satisfyingly flippy flip-phone.

I highly reccommend it to anyone who wants to listen.


I have found many smart phones have a low power mode. This basically makes the phone into a phone that can run voice, text, and maybe one other application. The upside is the battery lasts like a week. If it was not for hangouts I probably would put my phone in that mode for that reason alone.


I moved back to a Nokia feature-phone for a few years. I missed out on social events by not having WhatsApp. The real problem app for me was the browser. Now I have a smartphone now with some modifications: rooted, removed Play Store and Chrome. If I want to have a browser for a few days I download and sideload the Firefox APK. If I get into bad habits I just remove it again.

I also have a Kindle, and instead of reading on the computer I use the "Send to Kindle" extension so I can read them in depth later. It's just too hard to focus on the screen, especially because I'm usually browsing articles as a means of procrastination anyways.

People find it bizarre and hilarious when I explain my smartphone setup, but compared to a few years ago the reactions are much more understanding, because even non-tech people these days recognize that they have a problem. It has also done wonders for my attention span. I wonder if the reason public discourse has gone to shit is because people struggle to consume info longer than a tweet.


There are different levels of “getting rid of.”

I have several smartphones but don’t use them as phones, and don’t carry them on my person. For cell service I have a dumb phone (Alcatel MyFlip) I keep on me.

I’ve operated like this for years and find no loss of convenience at all. Whatever I need a smartphone for (2FA codes, podcasts, Discord, etc.) I can do at home with Wi-Fi. Everything else I can do on a computer. The only thing mildly inconvenient is having to ask people for directions sometimes (which is really only inconvenient for them, because of their embarrassment at not being able to explain how to get to their own house).

Overall, it definitely helps with social etiquette and living in the moment. It makes you more in tune with other people.

Having to keep a smartphone on you at all times to function is a burden, instead of the other way around. It’s a burden placed on you by corporations and governments.


It's not practical. Many malls and chains have moved to digital order/payment systems. What I recommend is installing a very learn custom ROM and use vpn + pihole. You can find and install one of those social media blocklist.


I'm using iOS Content & Privacy Restrictions to dumb down my Iphone SE as much as possible while retaining the needed functionality (Calculator, Camera, Notes, Calendar, Clock, Phone and SMS). I uninstall other apps that can be removed. Safari can be disabled using Content restrictions. I install Here Maps, download offline maps for the nearby regions for when I need navigation. Data & WIFI are always off. The phone is not signed in the app store. Content & Privacy Restrictions are protected by a pin code that I write down and store in a relatively hard to reach place. This way I have a relatively modern phone that is not a distracting toy.

I could get a dumb phone (I used one up to somewhere in 2018), but currently there is no dumb phone that would take some half decent photos and provide a possibility to navigate offline.


I get the same thing by A) not watching the news B) turning off notifications for almost all apps C) the real magic key to keeping control of your smart phone, instead of letting it control you is

<buzz> <buzz>

hang on

Hello?

Look I'm right in the middle of something I'll... yeah. I know I ... I KNOW. Look, I gotta go.

Anyway, as I was saying... uh... well anyway. Phones suck.


I have had my office phone on Do Not Disturb for 5 years and my cell phone has all notifications turned off and the ringer is set to off. The only time i turn it on is if I am expecting a call - which is hardly ever. Same with my PC - no notifications...it helps a great deal to keep the tool a tool instead of letting it become your master.


Culling down notifications was a life-changing action for me. Like you, I turned off almost all notifications.

My only notifications were texts/calls from people that depended upon me (my wife, my parents, my best friends). Interacting with apps and my phone in general after that became something either I chose or chose not to do. My phone was no longer an algorithm or other person controlling me, but instead a useful tool.

This is obviously a luxury that I am able to work and live like this, but I would encourage everyone to turn off any notifications they can and see how they feel after a week or month like that, then revisit and turn off more if possible.

I would also say that some form of control is still required. Whether that is self-control, technological control, or control via absence. I struggled a lot with whether I should delete Reddit from my phone to make sure I don't end up in an abyss of lost time. Eventually I settled on moving it a ridiculous number of empty screens over by itself in an unusual spot. If I want to open Reddit now, it is a very deliberate action that gives me time to ask myself "you sure?" but also doesn't take away that option of my life.


> This is obviously a luxury that I am able to work and live like this, but I would encourage everyone to turn off any notifications they can and see how they feel after a week or month like that, then revisit and turn off more if possible.

Why is it a luxury?


I mean, my boss - who is the central hub for a lot of communication - can not live his life this way unless he finds a new job. Obviously that is a choice he has made but either way, I count myself lucky.


But his job is ... to communicate? Even then he could tone it down outside business hours.

Most HNers' job is to write code :)


The only notifications I use on my computer are meeting reminders, otherwise I would forget 90% of them!


I am very brutal in ignoring calls and sending SMS text replies to known IDs that might have something urgent.

I know the prefix is for all of my key numbers like kids schools, hospitals and simply don’t pick up if the prefix is not right.


...What? In what situation does this happen?

If I'm busy then I'll let it go to voicemail and call back.


Why would you answer if you can't talk? That seems a lot more rude to me than not picking up and calling back when you have time.


It gives the other person a chance to tell you if there is an emergency / tell you the urgency of their request, and also lets them know that you know they want to talk to you.


I have a rule with everyone who could have an emergency, 3 calls in a row.

I know it can be burdensome, but I don't answer in an emergency but if I ever see I missed 3 calls then I know it was an emergency.


That works too. Both Apple and Android have built-in support for do-not-disturb policies that will let someone through if they call twice in a row (defined as "within 3 minutes" on Apple and "within 15 minutes" on Android, it seems).


I paid way too much for it, but I have the oneplus 7pro, and it has a slider on the side so I can set it on silent with a single flick of my thumb. In addition to that I have it on DND during the workday and at night.


Gah, I need to do this so bad. Lately I've admitted to myself that I'm truly addicted to my phone. I go through phases of blocking safari, deleting all my non-essential apps, etc, but they always find a way to slowly creep back into my life ("5 minutes of reddit won't hurt while my kids are playing on their own...."). I'm realizing that I am just one of those people who can't handle even having it as an option. Thanks for inspiring me to take the next step.


Something I realized recently is that I'm not addicted to social media or any apps in particular, but I am addicted to my phone. I managed to give up pretty much all social media, save for an occasional peek at reddit and this site, but still take out my phone about as often as I did before. Mostly I just check the news for the umpteenth time in a day. My current plan is to keep using my phone, but switch to using it for more productive things. For example, I started using Anki for memorization and I use a bunch of music theory/sight-reading apps.


I have an entrenched Anki habit – I picked it up while studying for an exam, and now it says I’ve been using it for an average of 17 minutes a day for 2 years. It’s a great tool and I recommend it. But I don’t think it helps to fix the phone addiction problem. Getting to an average of 17 minutes was hard work that required a lot of willpower. I’m sure most people with a phone addiction problem are spending much more than 17 minutes a day on unproductive scrolling.


What's your recommended Anki app?


After using the free desktop and web apps for a couple of weeks I shelled out for the official (expensive) iOS app.


What sight-reading apps are you using? I am looking into improving my music sheet reading as well.


Similar realization here. Just can't get myself off the damn thing - doesn't seem to matter what I'm using it for. Hopefully the more productive route works for you!


Looking at these comments I'm realizing I might be an outlier.

If I'm traveling to an area I've never/rarely been before, I'll use turn by turn navigation the first few times.

But once I'm familiar with the area I just look up the specific place for the nearest cross streets before I leave.

I kind of assumed that's how everyone navigated, minus taxi/delivery/other professional drivers who probably use GPS more.


I'm the same. I look at a map beforehand and try getting there on my own. If I can't then I can always use some navigation assist later.


I'm not ashamed to say I've gotten lost doing this occasionally and either turned on directions or just double checked the GPS.

But it's fairly infrequent and it doesn't happen twice in the same place.


Heck, sometimes it can be fun to get a little lost. "Oh, _that's_ where $FOO is!", as you accidentally go by it. Or "That looks like a cool $BAR, I'll have to come back and check it out"


This is definitely part of the fun. I sometimes take new routes to places I’ve visited before without particularly checking beforehand if road XYZ actually connects to the intended destination (it’s enough if it leads to it’s general direction) - once in a while you end up in a cul-de-sac, but mostly you end up with your described situation


I "third" this sentiment (along with my fellow replyer).


This is what I do if I'm walking, but I mechanically follow the GPS if it's on and I'm driving. Means I have no clue where things are unless they're in walking distance.


The benefit of Google maps (for me at least) is that although I know the areas I drive in, I am using it (Google Maps) traffic information, so if there is an accident, or there is he at traffic, I will take an better alternative road.


Yeah that's definitely a benefit. Is there a way to enter a destination and get traffic updates and detour directions, but otherwise no turn-by-turn directions?


I have two things which stop me, and it's not "muh gps"! I'd be interested in how people dealt with a situation like mine:

1. I have a Mac, and carefully organised contacts. How do I sync them to a Nokia that has 4G tethering (so I can work on my train-based commute) without going through Google?

2. How do you deal with music? I have AirPods and Spotify, which I absolutely love to have with me while walking around. (I'm from the Walkman generation, and the idea of walking around with music in my ears is still magical, particuarly with wireless earbuds).

There's a part of me which thinks about a Nokia banana phone for calls / 4G tethering combined with an iPod Touch, but I don't really want two devices.


Check out the mighty music player. It can download a certain amount of Spotify song/podcasts offline. It’s like 70-80 bucks. Battery life is alright, around 5 hours now I think. It does Bluetooth connection to headphones too, though that hurts battery life I think


1. NextCloud supports Calendar and Contacts sync if you are comfortable going down that route.

2. They're just bluetooth ear buds, they work with every phone that supports bluetooth.


How does next cloud sync to a dumb phone?

The question is where do you store the music since it's a dumb phone


10-15 years ago for music I had a cheap MP3 player that also sported a radio tuner. It could take 10mins to transfer a few MB of music, but I was using that for music. It was very slim, imagine a knock-off of an iPod (the ones with the tiny no-touch screen).

Perhaps get one of these? They shouldn't cost more than £€$50 for a couple of GB


for a couple GB? You should probably get 60-100 GB for that I'd bet.


You can load and play audio files on a feature phone. Many people did this before iPhones and streaming services existed.


Cron job to copy both to a microSD card?


Reminds me of my old casio watch that synced calendar reminders via a sweet dock. Physical actions to do syncing and remembering every time I left my desk wasn't that long ago.


Maybe something like an iPad Mini? Small enough to be portable but big enough that holding it for long periods of time as one would a phone is impractical.


I also did this, although only for a while. I first removed all notifications and apps from my phone (although I do not use social media anyway), and eventually went to some cheap flip phone. However, once I had to go rescue my wife when she locked her keys in the car.. And it took me 2.5 hours when it should have taken 1 hour because I got lost...

I've taken to using my smart phone but leaving it at home as much as I can, I only take it out if I'm going out for a long period of time now and I'll take my dumb phone so my wife can contact me if possible.


The smartphone is an incredible tool to have, but it completely pisses me off any time I have to pay attention to it. I hate any message that comes in through it, any notification from any app (I have all notifications turned off except the Samasung notifications which I'm locked-out of disabling - fuck you Samsung Account).

The smartphone is only a tool for me, for maps when I'm out, for search data, and accessing my files at home on rare occasions while I'm away from home (via VPN). It's my mobile command center.

But when I'm at home - fuck off phone.

I'm also in the tiny minority of people who aren't on zuckface, or other popular social media apps. So maybe I just naturally care less about my phone. I've never had a problem ignoring it. I get very few phone calls, almost none, and since COVID happened, I've reduced my data plan to the bare minimum because I just don't really need it anymore working at home.

But used as a tool and not entertainment, the smartphone is absolutely invaluable.


Best thing I've done this year is to simply get a feature phone. They're cheap, they're hardy, and they're mostly free from distractions to give you. This one I have does have an Internet browser and some kind of Facebook functionality but the experience is so incredibly miserable, it acts as a very effective deterrent.


If you're using an iOS device, and now on iOS 14. I highly recommend putting the screen time widget front and center so you can see just how much time you're spending on your phone. Terrifying to watch.


The urge to use it right before bed (and at the same time wrecking your sleep quality, and then messing with your next day) is huge too.


I don't have a problem with this, at all. With that being said, my phone (OnePlus 7T) has a "Zen Mode" which locks you out of the phone for a set period of time. You can make and receive phone calls, and take photos, but that is it.

I don't use it, as I am not a heavy phone user, but I can see where it may be helpful for some people.


I recently bought a Jelly 2 on kickstarter, here's to hoping it will have the same effect as what you describe.


I wonder how much benefit people would get by just putting their phone in airplane mode for long chunks of time.


My favorite part of going camping is unplugging for a couple of days at a time.


I used to take week long trips to Maine with my dad to learn to make furniture. Those were some of the most relaxing and restorative weeks I've ever experienced. 8+ hours of physical work, go home and shower. Then walk around the downtown or go hiking (skip the shower in that case). Eat out or cook dinner, read a book. Never touched a computer, and minimally used my phone (more on the last trip because I'd just started the relationship which is now a marriage). And I only used the phone for communicating with specific individuals (close friends, family) not mindless web browsing and games.


Then you return and there's an underwhelming number of notifications. You're caught up in about the same amount of time as if you left for an hour.


I started doing it. Or at least turning off data so I am still reachable.



I recently realized that I slowly lost my ability to do simple calculations that was used to be easy, eg total bill of grocery shopping before going to the cashier. I put the blame to the calculator app on my phone


I could never do math in my head like this (with reasonable speed and accuracy), so I didn't lose anything.

I put an estimated cost by each item on the grocery list, total it at the bottom, and note whether the real prices are higher or lower than the estimate as I get things. It's never happened, but I can at least know if the register total is at odds with expectations.


My strategy is to have a crappy smartphone.


Just turn off all notifications :)

In time you'll stop checking constantly.


"Journal of the Association for Consumer Research" and vague implied effects on mental state both pretty good indicators that this will not replicate. About half of psychology papers don't replicate anyway, the field has been doing some house cleaning, which is awesome, but needs to do a lot more.

Oh you can add that all the researchers are marketing professors at business schools (one now at Snap). Good job on the marketing though, perfectly designed to get headlines.

https://www.colorado.edu/business/adrian-f-ward

https://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/FacultyAndResearch/Faculty/Fa...

https://rady.ucsd.edu/people/faculty/ayelet-gneezy/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/maartenbos/


I find this response overly dismissive. Did you read the paper or just the abstract?

Dismissing the work of marketing professors out of hand isn't the right approach. What if this is one of the half of psychology papers that do replicate?


https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/08/scientis...

While I definitely agree that one shouldn't be overly dismissive without reading the underlying paper, the abstract can actually be surprisingly predictive.

"Beyond statistical issues, it strikes me that several of the studies that didn’t replicate have another quality in common: newsworthiness. They reported cute, attention-grabbing, whoa-if-true results that conform to the biases of at least some parts of society. One purportedly showed that reading literary fiction improves our ability to understand other people’s beliefs and desires. Another said that thinking analytically weakens belief in religion. Yet another said that people who think about computers are worse at recalling old information—a phenomenon that the authors billed as “the Google effect.” All of these were widely covered in the media."


Scanned the paper too with sci hub. Nothing remarkable.

But we should be dismissive of any new results from psychology, it just doesn't have systems in place to validate claims. There is some cool stuff in psychology that has been replicated 20 times, across different cultures, and over time. But the chances of a headline psychology paper being true are, generously, 5%.

To be far to the authors, they are in a bit of a bind. In order to get their Phd, and progress in their academic career they have to do "original" research.

For psychology for the last 40 years, this means do stuff like this. Get cohorts together and test claims. When one is statistically significant, publish. They really didn't have much of a choice other than drop their career. They are probably nice people who just want to teach college classes. Misinforming people is an unintended side effect and more an indictment of academia than of them.


I think skepticism is warranted, but dismissiveness is not. Honestly it's a little offensive.

Also, in this case their findings aren't even counter intuitive or that surprising. They are just measuring something that most of use believe already (judging by the rest of these comment threads).


The fact that most of us already believe it is reason for increased skepticism. We have a bias towards accepting things that mesh with our existing beliefs.

That doesn't mean their results are untrue. We just have to be careful not to overestimate the strength of this evidence.


Being a little offensive is fine. The question and argument should be whether it's a corre t assessment about the field, not whether it will hurt their feelings to read this. If it's false, argue that. It can be offensive to priests to say there's no god. It doesn't by itself make it false.


That’s fair. But you are just proving my point. This research was dismissed out of hand, it wasn’t actually engaged with to see if it’s a correct assessment or not. That seems to happen whenever any sort of soft science research is posted here. There is a contingent of folks that seems to believe soft science is an oxymoron and therefore shouldn’t even be tried.


It's not necessarily bad habit to kind of purge HN of these random "paper announcements". Wait until there's a meta-analysis and let's submit that and talk about that.

Regarding the folks who are militantly ignorant about the science of soft science, alas I have to agree, they are a bit of a problem.


We all already believe that grass is green. Nothing is gained by pointing out that a Magic 8 Ball confirmed this.


I read part of the paper. Note the graphs where the y axis is as short as possible to make the effect size look larger. The title is explicitly non-serious. They also represent that they can measure cognitive capacity and fluid intelligence reliably and meaningfully, instead of presenting the data more clearly in the form of... data, eg, raw text scores. It also lacks the sort of control group that has a non-smartphone distraction present, so there isn't conclusive evidence that its the smartphone itself. What if it was a chessboard or a sandwich?

They need to hold themselves to more serious standards, this makes science itself look bad


In the physics lab the T.A. will yell at you if choose a scale that starts at zero instead of a scale that shows only the relevant section. When the T.A. is tired, he/she will ask another T.A. to continue the yelling. (Or sometimes just make you redo the report until you choose the correct scale.)

The research journal have a similar policy.

For some reason people in the Internet don't like it, so a solution for a blog post is to show both graphs. One that starts at zero and other with the relevant section.


Rubbish. Sometimes it is appropriate to start from zero and sometimes it isn't.


At least we can agree that using a bar graph with an axis that is not at zero is a bad idea.


It's worse than half. In some areas it's 2/3rds of the best!

No one is actually replicating the mass of research, they are trying to replicate highly cited results. Of those its half.

The vast majority of social science research is unreplicable, primarily because it uses dramatically under-powered association modelling to make causal claims. It's dressed-up astrology.


What if it's not


I share your sentiment, but to make it more concrete, here are a few quickly glanced things that give good/bad indications:

+ >500 participants

+ Report not only aggregated values, but also bar charts with confidence interval (you can compare for yourself)

- Charts don't start at zero (gives reader wrong impression about effect size)

Need to read it more carefully though, because I would like to agree with the paper, since I notice this effect myself a lot. Also very related to ego depletion, which doesn't seem to be even mentioned in the paper, weirdly enough. Maybe they wanted to coin their own term.


I'm confused. What does Snap have to gain by talking about how distracting smartphones are?


The researcher apparently joined Snap after the paper was published.

A paper like this would look pretty good on your resume if you're applying to a social media company.


Not to brag, but I'm often able to maintain low levels of cognitive ability even while my phone is stowed away.


This is the content I need on a Friday afternoon.


Pro tip: if you feeling smart, dig in your nose, works wonders.


Is it weird that I was doing that as I read your comment?


and you replied, so eew, your keyboard ...


Who said anything about a keyboard? We're using phones here, remember?


Naaah, I keep tissues nearby. Gotta maintain a clean nose at all times.


You’re a better man than me.


I get it - the act of staying away from your phone is taking up cognitive capacity. And if you're addicted, the constant reminder to check also takes cognitive capacity. Sex is no different - if you're single, or married and you want more sex than your significant other - believe me, sex will reduce your available cognitive capacity. The constant thought of how do I get more of it (single or married) I'm sure does more than your smartphone and probably the smartphone is just a tool to the idea of getting more sex.


Managing the appetites requires self-denial. In the case of married couples, the spouse has a moral obligation to satisfy the other sexually within moral and reasonable limits (i.e., sexual abuse or objectification of the other is never admissible).

Phone addiction is in this sense easier. It can also be managed through abstinence or even eliminated cold turkey if you wish because we have no intrinsic desire for phone use, but we do have an intrinsic desire for sex.

And yeah, the passions, when we are ruled by them instead of ruling over them, can darken our minds and enslave us. (In your example, the "daughters of lust" are apropos.) A man has as many masters as he has vices.


>In the case of married couples, the spouse has a moral obligation to satisfy the other sexually within moral and reasonable limits (i.e., sexual abuse or objectification of the other is never admissible).

I can't agree with those statements. No one, not your spouse, not your significant other and not anyone else is obliged to provide sexual satisfaction to you or anyone else.

What's more, while consent is never optional, pleasing one's partner should be a joy, and if your partner desires objectification or even what you (note that what you think and believe doesn't apply to everyone else) term "sexual abuse," that's between consenting adults.

Your judgement as to what is "moral" is an individual judgement that applies to you. There are more things (as well as kinks and fetishes) in earth and heaven than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

And just so it's crystal clear, consent is never optional and no one, regardless of relationship status is obligated to provide sexual satisfaction to anyone.


You have interpreted the parent exceedingly uncharitably. If one partner in a monogamous relationship suddenly announces that from that day forth there shall be no more sex, the other partner is certainly within their rights to be upset. Most people aren't signed up to the idea of never having sex again.

Consent is never optional, but neither should it be unreasonably withheld in a monogamous relationship in which sex is a key component. Rights and responsibilities always pair.


Their interpretation was fair.

>the other partner is certainly within their rights to be upset.

Obviously. No one here is trying to police people's emotions.

If someone doesn't want sex, then they have every right to "withhold" it from anyone, without being deemed "unreasonable".


>You have interpreted the parent exceedingly uncharitably.

Perhaps I have. However, I don't see how much more "charitably" I can interpret what they wrote. Or do you think that I'm wrong in my assertion?

>If one partner in a monogamous relationship suddenly announces that from that day forth there shall be no more sex, the other partner is certainly within their rights to be upset.

I don't disagree with that statement at all. But I stand by my assertion that no one is obligated to sexually satisfy anyone else.

If my spouse/SO decided that she wanted no more sex with me, sure I'd be upset. And as my feelings are my own, I'm entitled to be upset.

However she, as a sentient being, has agency. As such, she (not me) gets to decide what happens with her body.

Should a situation similar to your example occur, that should be a big red flag that something is wrong in your relationship. And if that's the case, going on about how your spouse is obliged to pleasure you certainly isn't going to improve things.

>Consent is never optional, but neither should it be unreasonably withheld in a monogamous relationship in which sex is a key component.

How do you handle the logic problem set up by your statement?

If consent to sexual activity is not optional, how is someone obliged to provide such sexual activity if they don't wish to consent?

>Rights and responsibilities always pair.

Neither you nor I have the right to demand sexual contact with someone who does not consent. Full stop. It doesn't matter what your relationship with that person might be.

And providing you (or anyone else) with sexual contact isn't anyone's responsibility, again regardless of what sort of relationship you might have with them.

And that's the issue that I have with both your and the parent poster's statements.

You said it yourself: Consent is not optional. If you truly believe that, how can you even entertain the idea that someone should be obligated, or have the responsibility to provide sexual satisfaction to anyone if they choose not to do so?

I don't disagree that it's customary for those in a romantic/sexual relationship to engage in sexual activity. But no one is obligated or required to do so.

And if you don't think that's true, consider this[0]. Because coercing someone into non-consensual sexual activity is called rape.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marital_rape


> However she, as a sentient being, has agency. As such, she (not me) gets to decide what happens with her body.

You're confusing the idea of removing the other person's free will and the obligations that being in a sexual monogamous relationship carry.

In a monogamous sexual relationship, if one person refuses to have sex much more frequently than the other, then that can very quickly destroy the relationship. Humans are sexual beings, and being in a monogamous relationship means you have only one outlet for that sexuality available to you.

Instead of sex, consider conversation. How long would a relationship last of one person started refusing to talk to the other person, at moments seemingly for no reason to the other person? How long would that last? If I said that being in a relationship obligates you to communicate with the other person, would you object on the basis of removing the other person's agency by placing such an obligatiom on them?

Sex should never be forced. But entering into any relationship carries with it rights and responsibilities. If you are refusing sex for no good reason, then it is a sign that you no longer wish to meet the obligations of a monogamous relationship. The two people can either break up, or try to work through things. But such an arrangement can't be endured forever.


There is a fine difference between agreeing to do something as a personal sacrifice and being obliged to do so.

Yes, it is reasonable to expect some level of sacrifice. That it is given voluntarily is part of making a relationship work well. But just that being unwilling to make certain sacrifices would put a strain on the relationship does not in turn imply an absolute obligation to them.

> How long would a relationship last of one person started refusing to talk to the other person, at moments seemingly for no reason to the other person? How long would that last?

Having been privy to a (non-amorous) relationship in which exactly this happened, I can tell you that trying to obligate the non-communicative side to communication is exactly the wrong thing to do. That doesn't mean that the relationship is over, but it does mean that there is a grave problem. Solving that problem is the way forward, not insisting on some "moral obligation".

> If you are refusing sex for no good reason

I'm a bit confused what you consider "good reasons". Do I need a "good reason" for not wanting to dance? Or for not wanting to go to the pool? Is it necessary that I communicate my entire mental state in a way that makes the decision retraceable for you, or do you trust me when I say that I really don't feel like it? Or is it only physical incapability that counts?


>You're confusing the idea of removing the other person's free will and the obligations that being in a sexual monogamous relationship carry.

I don't believe that I am. I agree with just about everything you wrote. Where we diverge is that I do not agree that anyone, regardless of relationship status is obliged or required to engage in sexual activity to which they do not consent.

>In a monogamous sexual relationship, if one person refuses to have sex much more frequently than the other, then that can very quickly destroy the relationship. Humans are sexual beings, and being in a monogamous relationship means you have only one outlet for that sexuality available to you.

That is absolutely correct. That said, just because two people are in a monogamous sexual relationship, that does not mean consent for sexual activity isn't required.

If one partner is unwilling or unable to consent, whether at the frequency the other partner desires or at all, that's going cause stress in the relationship.

And if that continues, it's likely that the relationship will fail.

The question then is why doesn't this person wish to consent, given that they are in a romantic/sexual relationship?

In order to avoid that eventuality, the people involved need to communicate and work out how to maintain the relationship together.

If that's not possible, then the relationship should probably end, as you correctly point out.

My points are simple and two-fold:

1. Consent for sexual activity, regardless of the nature of a relationship is never optional;

2. No one is, or should be, obligated or required to engage in sexual activity if they don't wish to do so.

Sure, there are times when folks may not be feeling particularly frisky, but in a healthy relationship that shouldn't be a big deal.

What's more, in a healthy relationship, the partners desire each other. In fact, there are few things in this world that are hotter than being desired.

And if there is a genuine disconnect in the level of desire, that needs to be worked out through strong, open communication, honesty and the hard work that's required to maintain any relationship.

However, in an unhealthy relationship (there can be many reasons for those, as Tolstoy opined[0]), it may not be possible to work these things out. This may cause discomfort, hurt and pain for those involved. It may be possible to make such a relationship healthy, but expecting that someone who, for whatever reason, is unwilling to consent to sexual activity should engage in such activity because they are obliged to do so due to the nature of the relationship is being abusive.

To be clear: Yes, people in romantic/sexual relationships, including monogamous/exclusive relationships generally do engage in sexual activity. In fact, that's one of the wonderful things about such relationships and I'm all for it!

And when there is an issue surrounding sexual activity (or anything else for that matter), it's important to communicate clearly and honestly with each other and make the effort to work through such issue(s). I'm all for that too! IMHO, clear, honest communication is the most important thing to maintaining a healthy, happy relationship.

All that said, please review these points one more time:

1. Consent for sexual activity, regardless of the nature of a relationship is never optional;

2. No one is, or should be, obligated or required to engage in sexual activity if they don't wish to do so.

And explain to me how they are inappropriate in the context of any relationship, including exclusive, monogamous ones.

I'd be very interested to read your thoughts.

[0] https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/7142-all-happy-families-are...


You seem caught up in this notion of abuse and consent, without any regard for the other side of the story.

If I was in a monogamous relationship where I had agreed to not have sex with anybody else, and the other person for the duration of that relationship refused to have sex with me - is that not abusive? There are two sides of the coin here.

How do you draw the line between consent and obligation in everyday life? If you are compelled to do something by your boss that you'd rather not do (a boring task), have you consented to doing it if you do the task but you would rather not? If you're obliged to give way on the road, have you given consent even if you would rather not, but you do anyway?

You need to distinguish between things that we do even though we wouldn't of there were not external factors, and things we do because we know we ought to do them. If my wife asks me to take the trash out, even if I don't feel like it, I know I ought to do it and I will. If I ask her to help me with something, I know sometimes she might groan but then do it anyway. In a world without obligations, would she choose to do the task I've asked of her? Or would I do the task asked of me? Probably not. But life has many obligations. There is so much more nuance beyond what you've tried to summarise through a framework of consent.


>If I was in a monogamous relationship where I had agreed to not have sex with anybody else, and the other person for the duration of that relationship refused to have sex with me - is that not abusive? There are two sides of the coin here.

Absolutely. But the response to such a situation shouldn't be to push your partner (who, presumably, you care about) to do something he or she doesn't want to do.

If someone is in that situation, there are clearly issues with the relationship that are bigger than just whether or not you get to stick it anytime you feel like it.

As such, if you value that relationship, it would probably be of value to communicate about what may be behind the issue.

And if your partner is unable or unwilling to at least attempt to do so, that's absolutely abusive and detrimental to the relationship.

At that point, you need to ask yourself if it's possible to rescue the relationship.

You seem to be under the misapprehension that I view relationships only through the lens of consent. I do not.

In order to make a relationship work, everyone must be willing to communicate, be patient and compromise. And that extends to sex too.

And there's a difference between "Oh honey! The kids just wore me out today. Let's get some sleep and we can get my sister to take the kids for the weekend and we'll smear every piece of furniture with our bodily fluids!" and "Don't touch me, asshole!"

In the former scenario, you might reasonably take some steps to encourage your partner to push past their fatigue and enjoy each other.

However, even in that instance, if your partner for whatever reason, is still unwilling, you do not have the right to demand sex.

In the latter scenario, one would expect that rather than pressing the issue, you'd try to understand why your partner is not only unwilling to to have sex, but why they're so hostile.

In either case, you do not have the right to insist that your partner do stuff they don't want to do.

Why is that so hard to understand?


It doesn't sound as if you recognize the concept of an obligation at all. Yes, we all have agency. Locking someone in a room without their consent is illegal. Taking someone's money without their consent is illegal as well. But I am nevertheless obliged to remain at work until 5:30, and my boss is obliged to pay me. When we enter into relationships of any type with other people, we willingly sacrifice our agency in myriad ways. Sometimes you have to meet people halfway on things. And sex isn't some super special thing that sits untouchably above all the rest of social interaction - it's just one more thing that, invariably and in many ways, you will have to compromise on.

>going on about how your spouse is obliged to pleasure you certainly isn't going to improve things.

Going on about consent isn't either.


Yeah, the parent seems to think that expecting sex after entering a monogamous relationship is almost rape. People are so concerned with infringing on other people's "rights" and obtaining conscent for everything under the sun, that they just can't understand the idea of obligations or responsibilities anymore.

Marriage is a huge responsibility. Entering into it means you agree to the responsibilities it carries. Each person should be well aware of these responsibilities before entering into one.

If your partner is in the mood for sex but you aren't on a regular basis, maybe a little bit of self sacrifice is needed. I'm sure the other person has helped them out doing their chores when they weren't feeling like it, or going out of their way for them in some way. Marriage is all about each person trying to give more to it than the other. I don't know why sex I suddenly a taboo topic when it comes to rights and responsibilities.


I've seen plenty of cleaning-averse husbands hire a maid to solve chore-related relationship problems. Hell, the maid does a better job, so everyone is happier. This is not really an option for a mismatched libido, so the situation is trickier. Especially as libidos can change differently with age, a couple can't entirely know what they are getting into.

Put another way, both withholding sex and insisting on monogamy simultaneously is a shitty thing to do IMO, so I sort of agree with you. But it is also tough for me to judge someone too much for doing so in a culture where anything but strict monogamy is taboo.

For a concrete example, let's say a woman feels nauseous from the smell of cooking while she is pregnant. I do not think it is the duty of that woman to soldier through it and continue to cook. But in this situation the partner can obtain food from anywhere else that is willing to serve. If the partner instead was only able to eat food that one of them had cooked, it would be tougher on the relationship for the woman to not cook at all for 9 months straight.

So yeah compromise and sacrifice are part of a relationship, and I don't think sex should be excluded from that. But at the same time it is unrealistic to reach a good solution with mismatched libidos, because even a perfect compromise can leave both parties dissatisfied/uncomfortable. Is the solution to just end the relationship? If it is otherwise a good one I don't think so, but strict monogamy makes this a harder call.

More generally I think people are looking for too much in a single package. To find someone that would be compatible with you over nearly your entire lifetime as a housemate, a co-parent, a friend, a financial partner, etc. all rolled into one is hard enough. When you start prioritizing sexual compatibility in this choice, good luck not having to compromise on other features. But if sex wasn't seen as exclusive it wouldn't need to be considered to the same extent in choosing a life partner.


You're basically arguing against monogamy though. My comment assumes a monogamous relationship, and that both people went into it knowing it was monogamous and being okay with that. Seeking sex elsewhere in a monogamous relationship... Isn't monogamous.


You misunderstand my point. I've explained myself several times and yet you still don't seem to get it.

I suppose that may be poor communication on my part. If so, you have my apologies.

However, I'm not going to continue repeating myself.

Good day, sir.


> I don't disagree with that statement at all. But I stand by my assertion that no one is obligated to sexually satisfy anyone else.

i would argue that no one is obligated to do anything at all thanks to free will. culturally, societally, or otherwise, well--that's a different story


>i would argue that no one is obligated to do anything at all thanks to free will.

Ah, sure they are.

By the nature of events which preceded you and produced both your DNA and all entirely external circumstances, you are obligated to carry out your free agency in exactly the way you do.


Yes, but free will gives you the right to enter into agreements/contracts, which if you later refuse to honor, you are then forsaking an obligation.


A relationship is like a moral contract. Traditionally, the contract is that you should sexually satisfy your partner in exchange for their fidelity.

Of course, in civilized countries, you are now free to choose another agreement, including "fuck whoever you want" to slave contracts if that's your kink. None of them are legally binding since you are free to do what you want with your body, including "cheating".

There are a few remnant with regards to marriage. For example in France, both cheating and not satisfying your partner are cause for divorce. It is mostly symbolic though, "winning" the case doesn't give you much rights.


Society will praise your virtuous stance for its anti-rape sentiments, but your views are equally or perhaps more arbitrary than his Judeo-Christian view. Note that saying a spouse has a "moral obligation" is different than saying the other spouse has the right to demand and force the fulfillment of the obligation.

I mean, it makes sense too. When my girl wants good D, I'm (morally) obliged to give it to her. That's part of the premise of a sexual relationship. I'm not going to deprive her of something that she relies on me for- after all, by virtue of our establishment of monogamous mutual exclusivity, she has to come to me for the fulfillment of that primal desire. She could go get the D from any guy she wants. I have good D, and she knows she can rely on me not to deprive her (and I mean truly deprive, not just playing hard-to-get-i-know-you-want-this deprive). The same goes for her. There is a metaphorical refusal to take no for an answer that comes with a healthy sexual monogamous relationship.


Well said. We need more analogies like this.


> Participants in the “desk” condition left mostof their belongings in the lobby but took their phones into the testing room “for use in a later study;” once in the testing room, they were instructed to place their phones facedown in a designated location on their desks.

Yeah, color me skeptical. You're in a study currently, and you're asked to place your phone on your desk for a later study. This is quite different from just having your phone around, because you're basically thinking about 'phones' and 'studies' together while you're in the study.

That's very different from 'mere presence' in my mind.


Isn't that what we constantly do with our phones: keep them around just in case, for when we inevitably get a text or call or think of something to text or get the urge?


I think this needs a (2017), here is a link to a PDF - https://rady.ucsd.edu/docs/faculty/aGneezy/Published%20Paper...


To save a click:

>Five hundred forty-eight undergraduates participated for course credit. [...] Our final sample consisted of 520 smartphone users.

520 isn't as bad as I was expecting, but it's still an order of magnitude away from being meaningful. And, obviously, a study population consisting only of students attending the same class is maybe going to be slightly biased.


Much appreciated!


Isn't this true for any source of distraction? What about a baseball or a book or a dvd or anything?

The presence of a distraction reduces cognitive capacity? Other than superficially padding their "researchers'" resume, what is gained by this "study"?

We've know this for years. It's why teachers insist kids put away their smartphones, etc.


> Isn't this true for any source of distraction?

Thought the same thing. Sure I can put my smartphone out of sight while working but I am on a computer with the same exact level of access that my smartphone provides. Sometimes I can get in a zone and sometimes I flip between work and distracting myself with sites like HN. I can answer SMS and DMs for all my services and social sites in the browser. Pre-pandemic you can throw an open office plan into the mix as a big distractor as well. I listen to non-vocal chill electronic music while I work and I bet there's some study out there showing that listening to any type of music while trying to work reduces cognitive capacity (I'm speculating here). I feel like managing distraction just a big part of life these days.


I doubt a baseball is on the same level. It's not magical, it doesn't connect to everyone and everything you know, and everything you don't. A baseball is a mere sphere, out of context on a desk. A phone is something we check 60 times per day, which can vastly affect our emotions. A play sphere from a dying game surely doesn't elicit such a range of possibility as a modern marvel of addictive programming, something that needs to be buried in the bag to prevent distraction?


Many here might know this, but worth mentioning again: A simple but underrated remedy to reduce the colourful appeal of a "smartphone" is to put it in black-and-white mode (i.e. gray scale). On Android you can do it this way:

'Developer options' --> 'Simulate color space' --> 'Monochromacy'

I couple that with:

+ Turning off all notifications.

+ I don't use any of the run-of-the-mill social media for about 7 years.

+ Most of my serious reading is largely via old-fashioned books.

All of the above makes it for a damn calm device.


Tried the grayscale thing for a couple months. I primarily consume text on the internet, so it didn't do anything for me.


This helps except that it needs to be turned off frequently for viewing and taking photos. It would be great if there were something like the smart invert setting for grayscale but I doubt that will ever happen.


On iOS you can bind the accessibility shortcut to toggle this mode (triple click the lock button).


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