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Sturgeon's House

Scott Locklin on Smartphones

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Everything Scott says about the modern misuse of smartphones, I agree with. His conclusion that therefore one shouldn't own one, I don't.

Yes, smartphone plans are pretty usurious. So is rent, fast food prices, car payments, and a host of other things that we nonetheless put up with. If you are intelligent, you will find people you trust and work well with (such as a family, if yours hasn't been blasted out of existence by Progress), control yourself when considering the options, and end up with something that will much less negatively affect your monthly bottom line.

If you don't feel you need what a smartphone offers, great! Buy the $10 pre-paid phone. I disagree, though, that one can't get important work done on a smartphone. It's tiny, doesn't work well, is distracting, has the worst interface imaginable, but it does physically connect you to the internet, just like your old pocket computer, Scott, and you can even read the Iliad on it (though my eyes shrivel and dry at the thought of doing so; I'd rather use my $40 Nook e-reader, which I still insist should be called an "e-book"). In my case, I need to be able to connect to the Internet wherever, and I also need a decent camera, but not a great one.

What I agree with, if perhaps he means this instead, is that smartphones aren't essential for modern living. That's obvious.

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My nickname for smartphones and devices of that sort is "Electronic Monkey Feces" because of the visual image of what we look like when we're playing with one.


Sadly, I finally succumbed to the forces of peer pressure and technology and finally got one a year or so ago. They are handy.


However, that doesn't excuse all of you yahoos who insist on sticking your phone up in the air in order to record live performances.

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Regarding the whole people constantly on their smartphones thing, it's the same dopamine loop that our Illustrious Predecessors who Clearly had Everything Figured Out™ were riding when everyone was buried in a newspaper on the train back in the day. It's the same one I was riding back when it was a paperback I was cheekbones deep in. Boredom sucks. I'd really rather not be left alone with my own thoughts for company for too long (that changed but more because I'm not as good company as I used to be now that I have stress and responsibilities to deal with than any technonanism though).


I've got to say I find it uncanny and hilarious how it's almost impossible to find an article about not doing something popular without a seriously, severely smug tone to it. I'm glad his mental echo chamber is so superior to spending half my time on the phone reading about history. We live in an age of unprecedented access to information and to people who hold different views. May as well use it. Just for once I'd love to see someone not going along with the crowd for reasons that don't have to do with their clear mental or moral superiority.


I find it helpful because no matter what I'm going to be distracted. I'm a programmer, I work on a computer. It's much better if I have to go to the effort of picking up my phone, unlocking it and getting in reading position than just twitch and hit alt-tab. Plus, my screens are still showing the test output I'm running so I don't miss my cue to get back to work.

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