Ending my experiment with tablet computing

If I was still in Baltimore, I’d probably never write a post like this, but in the Bay Area, much of the talk is about the gadgets you use: your phone, your computer, the latest app you tried, the latest game, the newest social network. In these talks, I’m always a bit behind, since I still don’t have a smart-phone.

It’s not a rebellious thing. Not having a smart phone isn’t at all cool. It’s just sort of eccentric. I’ve come to realize that turning your back on a technology is only seen as cool when people are conflicted about their use of that technology. Thus, not being on Facebook is cool, because peoples’ use of Facebook causes them pretty deep anxiety.

I don’t think people are anxious about their smartphones in the same way.

The reason I don’t have one is 50% laziness and 50% a lingering desire to not have constant access to my email.

I do have every other electronic device, though: laptop, iPod Touch, iPad, and Kindle.

However, today I decided to put both the iPod and the iPad up for sale on eBay, because I realized that they weren’t really meeting my needs.

I enjoy the internet a lot. But what I enjoy about it is being able to interact with people…not the aimless browsing. Tablet computing makes it really easy to browse–there’s nothing in the world that is as good for delivering internet to your eyeballs–but it’s hard to write anything of length on a tablet. Even Facebook and Twitter messages don’t seem to come out quite right when I compose them on a touchscreen.

Furthermore, my writing process relies on cutting myself off from the internet, and I’ve found that having three internet-capable devices within arms’ reach can lead to serious distractions. So I will go back to the stone-age: I’m only going to own one internet-capable device.


11 thoughts on “Ending my experiment with tablet computing

  1. Daniel Steinbock (@dsteinbock)

    It can be a simple equation. Less consumption = more creative production. The less time I spend consuming culture on the web (albeit interesting, educational, inspirational, etc.), the more time I have for creating culture myself. The time and space to create is a precious opportunity, and I feel far more alive after two hours of writing, coding, or composing, than two hours of websurfing.

    1. R. H. Kanakia

      I don’t mind consuming; but I do want to consume in the right way. Playing games and websurfing aren’t as interesting or transformative (for me) as watching TV, reading, listening to music, etc. So I’d like to organize my life to make it easier for me to do the latter and harder to do the former.

  2. nmwhitley

    You nailed it. The reason I will (probably) never ‘get’ smartphones and tablets in general is the interface. I have big hands and big fingertips, which makes any kind of ‘typing’–even if it’s the mere 140 characters of a tweet–a total pain in the ass. But, you know, never say never.

    1. R. H. Kanakia

      Yeah, I make so many typos when I type on tablets. I guess I make a lot when I type on keyboards too, but correction is a lot easier on the keyboard.

  3. John Arkwright

    For me, writing involves lots of thinking. The folks I see with smart phones don’t do much thinking and if I had one, I probably would stop thinking.

    1. R. H. Kanakia

      I can’t be this categorical. In the Bay Area errrrrrrybody has a smart phone: old, young, genius, intellectually disabled, rich, poor, it doesn’t matter. I think that since most people here work _on_ internet stuff, they’re used to working despite the constant connectivity.

  4. Widdershins

    I too have an ‘old fashioned’ cell phone, (is the opposite of a smart phone, a dumb one?) and my only point of connectivity to the interwebz is my trusty non-mobile desktop computer. I love my life!

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