RMS is famously unbending in his refusal to use non-Free software. There aren't many like him though.
Love "Seinfeldians" :)
I'm sure there are a privileged few that will say you just need to shut your phone off, but for most of us that's not an option. On a vacation? Sure. Outside of that, good luck.
I recently broke my phone and it took ~10 days to get a replacement. During this time, I had my wife text my family that I had no phone and wouldn't be responding to anything for a while. I felt no urgency, nobody got upset that they couldn't reach me, and thankfully there were no emergencies.
What level of privilege do you consider me having (or lack thereof that you apparently have) that doesn't let you do this? Genuine question btw, not trying to be facetious. I found the use of "privilege" here to be an interesting word choice and was hoping you could expand a bit.
So privileged might literally mean "not having the most common job held by the people reading this."
These arguments are frustrating to me, they are completely missing the point. It's a misunderstanding of the difference between incentives and choices. When someone says "I have to be online all the time," they are not saying "I have no free-will and am being legally and/or physically compelled to stay online." They are saying "If I don't want to make substantial changes to my lifestyle and drastically reduce my career opportunities, not to mention possibly get fired from my job and/or lose personal relationships, I have to stay online all the time."
The first commercial software application for point-to-point video calls is CUSeeme and it was released in 1992.
The first concert to be live-streamed over the Internet was in 1993. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbone
Not the 90s, but XP was released in 2001.
Microsoft NetMeeting was released in 1996 and actually included with Windows 95 through Vista
> USB thumb drives? Windows 98 didn't have drivers for them, so they came bundles with CD with drivers?
Zip drives and/or CD-RW were pretty widespread by then, filling a similar role
1997, under 1000,- Deutsche Mark. A pair for 1798,- DM
Oh, and ISDN of course ;-)
As a kid I used both of those. NT 4 was a bit hard to use since most programs (read games) were written for DOS or win95/98.
But Windows 2000 was awesome. It was like having winXp a couple years early
Sorry missed that.
Games: I wasn’t much of a gamer by then. But Age of empires worked well :D
This is an ability I actively longed for as a child growing up in the 2000s (I'm 26 for perspective). I bought that special web browser for my Nintendo DS, but it was useless away from a wifi hotspot. (And it was slow as heck.)
I like having Wi-fi and Bluetooth and these didn't become popular until sometime around 2004. In 99, most people would still use ethernet cables and floppy disks.
And corporate controlled, walled gardens have existed even before the commercial net. Online service providers (like Compuserve and AOL) were a huge market until the Dotcom bust.
The 1890s was a good time! Surprised an Amish posted on HN.
I was extolling the virtues of my ways to a friend on a business trip to Denver. I have everything I need, nothing I don't. I can call, text, browse some sites. I have balance, I have minimalism, I have peace.
Then we decided to take a bus trip to Boulder. When we arrived at the station, there was no teller, and you had to install an app to buy a ticket. I sheepishly asked him to buy my ticket, and I paid him back in cash (no Venmo for BB10), and felt like a thorough and proper asshole.
I still have my BB10 phone.
That sounds like incredibly poor design, exclusionary against people without smartphones. Why wouldn't they implement a Web interface for the ticket vending system?
And it isn't like the BB10 Browser was bad tech, when it came out I believe it was a more standards compliant browser than its counterparts on IOS or Android.
It's just old. Apparently old is bad.
The whole system was geared for 'easy' 'seamless' pickup, but it was much more difficult then renting a car a decade ago. They eliminated a cost of having more than one useless employee by making the customer do all the work. Totally infuriating and a horrible experience.
I do both of these regularly, sadly.
Try walking around 90% of the US.
I agree with you, by the way, that neither the status quo of car-dependency nor the inevitable smartphone dependency should be allowed... but here we are.
The biggest noticeable change for me is I suddenly forgot most of these random 'online' friends and don't think about them at all anymore! If I'm not willing to pick up the phone or text somebody, I don't interact with them - that's it.
I find I have more boredom, which is a good thing. I was quite bored as a kid and had to make do with my own devices. So I've been reading more, I even picked up some hobby programming outside of my job which I haven't done in years!
The only place I still comment is actually hacker news!
In my mid 30s I realized my monetary problems are fairly 'steady state' and not a big headache anymore. But what I do lack is time. Smartphones have an issue as most of the models of revenue for them are internet 'freemium'/'advert supported'. What I realized is that stuff had started to take up a significant amount of my time. Time I needed for other things. If you let these things in you will find yourself consumed by them. Every last one looking for engagement. I cut out all major news sources for the same reasons. They were attention machines that did not a thing to really improve my life.
So given those conditions. My smart phone is ancient by tech standards. Has a very small handful of applications. My laptop desktop is setup with whatever the designer thought was a decent idea for the version of the OS I am using. Things I stay away from are social media, fermium games, or news. All three of those are little more than disguised skinner boxes. That try to make me feel good about myself but do not actually do that.
Another annoying thing is no one really seems to want to sell you things anymore. They want to sell you a service. Then one day 'poof' that service is gone. I no longer have the cool utility anymore, and many times a pile of expensive paper weights. So I avoid any service where their pitch is 'it costs less than a cup of coffee per month'. If I have gone through the trouble to make your thing part of my life I do not want it suddenly 'going away' either by upgrade or bankruptcy. So I try to find better alternatives that will stick around.
> We moved to Connecticut, out of Manhattan where he was going to work on the next "Great American Novel", instead he spent the entire time reading the New York Times.
I use forums, email and IRC for those ends, so the internet still remains useful for me, for now.
A world existed before you came around.
1986-1992: BBS's, newsgroups
1992-today: IRC, NNTP, and IM clients
If I were to live today like I did in 1999:
My (online) social groups were a close knit family of people that shared similar interests. Half of whom lived on the other side of the planet. I typed with them daily, and had close relationships.
Everything I see on Facebook/IG is vapid, and meaningless. Nothing but fakeness and trying to impress strangers.
FFS 1999 is post 'Eternal September'.
Had the article been dated 1979 I might have tolerance for this intentional ignorance.
The problem to me is not that people are less willing to participate, but that the platforms have consumed all meaningful discussion. I'm a part of some fantastic niche groups on Facebook, follow insightful people on Twitter, and read many fantastic subreddits. I've led book clubs, played board games, and developed deep, meaningful relationships via these platforms. They problem is they have been consumed in the monolith of likes and cat pictures, and pulling the value out is growing more difficult. It's a matter of continually chopping back the vines (cutting /r/funny and /r/worldnews out of reddit, deleting friends you don't care about and unliking fan pages on Facebook).
My internet social groups are still the same as yours are. We just have different mediums through which we communicate.
To your point: the way you're using Facebook/Insta is effectively the same pattern people used BBSs and Usenet back in the day, just adapted to modern devices, UIs, etc.
To OP's point: it's truly impossible to describe how much less bullshit was on the internet back in the day to someone who wasn't around to experience it for themselves. You had the same ability to be social on a BBS, but it was 100% opt-in engagement, your online presence there was scoped to that BBS alone, and use of real names was taboo.
I don't know about Instagram, but Facebook will put vapid garbage into your feed if you've curated it down enough. 'You might be interested in ...' because they don't want to have a stale feed when your friends aren't doing anything.
Disclosure: I worked at Facebook, as part of an aquisition; however, I never worked on or with the feed team.
What does that lead to? Banning 2000 "altright" subreddits, even heavily moderated ones like /r/the_donald (now patriots.win). Facebook adding advertisements to messenger. Twitter letting half their users (i.e. bots) to continue to use the platform; while banning alternative opinions.
The reality is they want cash, anything with that motive is going to guide conversations.
It doesn’t have to be this way, we just need to break up these overgrown giants.
>Everything I see on Facebook/IG is vapid, and meaningless.
Maybe you should stop following vapid and meaningless people then? When I do go on instagram I see custom made guitars, people playing cool guitar riffs, drum stuff, and so on. Facebook is used for local neighborhood news and motorcycle groups.
Its as if.... you control what you see!
The oldest millennials are in their 40s now. Gen X’ers are all gray haired and half are retired. Most boomers are dead.
Edit: wrong letter.
The oldest GenZ'er would be ~24 years old.
I am a GenX'er and looking at the butt-crack of 50 (yes I have grey hair).
Most Boomers that I know are retired, but not dead yet. (74-57 years of age)
> "A lot of the most important things in my life have happened to me over the phone," he said, remember that before texting and voicemails, "It's a dramatic situation almost every time when you answer the phone — if you answer the phone."
 https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/mad-men-series-finale... (spoiler alert: interview is about the series finale)
Joke aside, it highlights that people used to wait a lot. “Meet me at 6 at the library” meant that you might be on the wrong side of the library, you’ll try the other entrance and the person does the opposite, using another path, so you don’t meet, and you don’t know whether they had to cancel. We did far fewer things because anything took a lot of time.
Movies were much slower too. Watch Gremlins again, an action movie: It’s so slow! (Counter example: Die Hard is correctly fast-paced for an action movie). To summarize, qualities you’d require would be reliability in appointments and being able to wait a lot without getting bored.
We could even make the case that it is now possible to fill loneliness with a mobile phone, whereas it drove more than one into dementia pre-iPhone.
Plus, we had *69 in the 90s.
Sure, solved the privacy issue by essentially cutting the network cord. But needing a special watch+GPS to navigate?
I was hoping he was all in and would revert to paper maps.
I remember, being new in town, plotting my destination on a paper map before setting out — but recording the instructions ("Turn left on El Camino..." into one of those small digital recorders (think 1995) so I could drive without having to consult the map.
That's about the level of tech I was expecting.
Myself, I would prefer to live like it's "79. The CB radio was sort of peak technology as far as I'm concerned.
don't... do that. don't install stuff on anyone's phone unless they've told you to.
It's kind of ironic how little respect for someone else's privacy this behavior exhibits, considering the intent.
It is definitely elitist, but I miss an internet that required some effort if you wished to participate. It has been a net gain for the world, but probably a loss for most of the people here.
A big part of my maturing was to stop comparing myself. Everyone starts at a different place, and everyone is at a different place. Someone who say dealt with homelessness as a teenager can be happy to rent half a room at 22. he or she doesn't have to compare themselves to a Facebook new grad with a 200k TC offer.
What social life do you have during a global pandemic? Where I'm located everything is shut down since December and won't reopen before some still-not-determined date next month. I'm glad I was already in a stable relationship covid, otherwise I wouldn't know how to have contacts with people in real life in the current situation.
Reached out to a girl I meet while traveling in Europe a few years back , she responded so we'll see what happens.
2019 was absurdly good for me. Had a few amazing partners , but this only happened because I deleted my social media. I'm fine with taking a year or two off.
My cell phone allows me to instantly communicate with my family members, know their exact whereabouts, monitor my home security and energy usage etc. Using it for super helpful driving directions (Waze or gmaps) and decidedly 21st century technologies like Instacart have been game changers. When I'm dropped (pre-covid) into another country, my service (tmobile) just "works" and often times my phone is preconfigured for the local transit system app (or just "works", due to NFC e.g. Suica in JP or Oystercard in London). Not to mention all the online and offline media (Netflix etc) that is almost endless these days.
I would never go back to the bad old days of T9 Nokias by comparison.
I'm not a fan of social media, annoying notifications or interruptions and have them mostly turned off. If someone 'really' wants to interrupt, they can call. That's fine.
I'm not on most of the platform he described, and are barely reachable on the ones that are, have almost no friend group that chats constantly. I still happily use a smartphone for a lot of things, no 'hey if you want to communicate to me you'll have to install this new app'. Sounds like exporting the problem to someone else whereas one can just wean off the addictive part of those apps without actually deleting them.
There's a local business (great croissants) that closes on random days (the owner is French) and the only place they publish that information is Instagram. You walk to the store and there's no note, nothing on their website, no-one answering the phone, but on Instagram they've been warning their customers for days.
I just got a haircut and after the cut was done he told me their credit card processor was down so I had to pay via venmo or whatever. I could have paid in cash I suppose, but I didn't have cash or a cheque. I assumed that he could take a credit card and he assumed I could pay via Venmo.
The old world was not built on the same assumptions. 7-11 clerks had maps and phone books to lend because people got lost. I had a 'tab' at the local video-rental store! Newspapers published movie times and TV schedules. You had scheduled recurring meet-ups with friends and met new people at cafes. You actually talked to strangers. Those things, the societal support infrastructure needed to live a life without a smart phone, are slowly disappearing. We are building a society based on the assumption that EVERYONE has a smartphone. And to some extent these online services.
I suspect that this is what people object to -- not having a choice. I get it, but the world waits for no one.
But the great thing is that each of us gets to decide. Netflix still has a DVD service! Vinyl record sales are up! Print newspapers and magazines are still a thing! There are still libraries! You can still get landline phones! You can have a smartphone that you leave off unless you want to make a call! Not all of the old world is gone yet, you can integrate the old world with the new.
The problem isn't that you need a smartphone now. The problem is that access to local businesses is now locked behind proprietary walled gardens.
And for the haircut place: If their credit card processor goes down, they should tell you before providing service that they are cash-only, or just take an imprint of the credit card to charge later, like we did back a few decades ago. That still works.
Almost every question about how the world could work without social media and apps can be answered with: "Well, how did it work before social media and apps?"
>Texting gives you more reflection on what you’re gonna say than a real and instant conversation
That's..not the conclusion I would have pulled from that. Seems far more likely people prefer to text over call because texting allows them to continue on with their day while calling requires them to give up a certain amount of time and interrupts what they're currently doing.
Millennials are supposedly very phone-shy (something I can anecdotally confirm) yet I've never seen anyone barring the pandemic I don't think they're any less likely to engage in in-person human interaction, which doesn't fit this conclusion about phones. Long phone calls, especially over cell phones due to comfort and latency issues, are uncomfortable.
Definitely experienced this. People didn't think I was dead, but they had this weird mental block where, at least at first, they couldn't think of how to contact me except on social media. They did eventually figure it out.
Most of the things that I really need a phone for, I should be able to do from a watch. Making calls and listening to music shouldn't be a problem, and voice dictation is sufficient for short messages. Anything longer and more in-depth can and should wait until I'm at a computer.
Uh... absolutely not.
Much of human communication is useless (on the surface).
> A trick I’ve developed, when giving my contact info to new people, is to enter my phone number on their smartphone myself, and install Signal for them
Pretty invasive. Also where I started thinking maybe the author just preferred for everyone to be on their medium of choice (rather than they be on somebody else's medium of choice).
Yep. It's called phatic expression (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phatic_expression). No information content but sends important social signals.
I don't have facebook, insta, etc on my phone. I use my phone for learning, studying, conversations, videos, and things like GPS.
Its just silly to give up a smartphone because you can't control yourself.
In general I find using the smartphone as a works anywhere web browser to be the tradeoff that is best for me, I try to avoid installing apps as much a possible for privacy and annoyance reasons. I also run as much privacy software as possible and only use a phone brand that allows a road warrior VPN setup so I can route my traffic through a network that has additional privacy protections. This does take effort but so does anything else that gives you any degree of privacy from surveillance capitalism.
> A trick I’ve developed, when giving my contact info to new people, is to enter my phone number on their smartphone myself, and install Signal for them.
Glad to know.
Edit: I meant - who allow this?
(Although, I'm also pretty sure iOS won't even let you do that without my fingerprint...)
I explained to my Facebook friends that I was leaving and why, and that they can get in touch via sms, email, or signal. I had left Facebook before in the early 2010s for a few years, but had been back for a few years.
I found most people did not want to interact outside Facebook messenger. It has been really hard to get people to migrate over to signal. Even my family chat is no longer used on signal, even though they all have signal and I created the group, they prefer Facebook.
Businesses and even government use Facebook day to day for services and information. It really annoys me because it excludes us people not on that service. It is so presumptuous to assume that everyone is on Facebook. And its really dangerous to think that it should be a prerequisite for participating in the real world.
I really enjoy not participating in the "fake life" rat race. Some people may not report this phenomenon in their feeds, but as a guy in early 30s, its a common thread. Even if people don't consciously do it, it seems that is the accepted way to interact and post about life events. The reflex of taking a photo firstly to share with others online, to change how they perceive you. I did not enjoy all the aspects of how social media was influencing how we interact with our peers, so I quit.
I would love a secure decentralised social media option. Where I can post and others can subscribe, not matter their client or service. I wish that businesses and governments can do the same, and I don't have to be on Facebook to receive information about Covid vaccine rollout.
From my personal anecdotal experience, that would be correct. I had a cell phone, but had gotten my first in 1998. All of my friends who were professionals did too. My friends who were artists, or more marginal economically, did not. Cell phones were a common sight, but it was also clear that many didn't have them. I remember feeling slightly special when I could pull mine out in 1999. Even Seinfeld had jokes about cell phone etiquette. Which was a clear sign they didn't expect their audience to be entirely comfortable with them.
A breakdown by city would be interesting. Wouldn't be surprised if usage was 50%+ in larger cities.
Email (hotmail) and AIM (AOL Messenger) was used extensively.