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Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/17/2014 11:20:39 MDT Print View

After a little under 25 years of public service in a variety of capacities, I've seen my share of death but not more so than my peers. Some have been horrible while others were beautiful. While I still miss her terribly, I'm grateful I had an opportunity to be by my grandmother's side as she was surrounded by her loved ones when she peacefully faded away. At any rate, experiencing death and life certainly doesn't make me unique and is something we all share in common.

This morning I had an opportunity to read the obituary for one of my "frequent fliers" who I've had some ongoing dealings with due to him being guilty of being young. As a recovering knucklehead who was also guilty of being young, I sometimes have "but for the grace of God" moments at work and guess I'm just a big softie. Anyways, I've had opportunities to meet his wife and kids and am deeply saddened to hear of his passing even though it wasn't a surprise.

These moments give me pause to consider my life choices and how I invest or waste my time. At risk of sounding like a lame country song, I find myself once again asking "what would I do differently today if it was my last?"

As far as participating in Facebook or BPL goes for that matter, I don't think that I'd necessarily remove them from my life although I wouldn't spend my last day debating the nuances of 10d fabric. Overall, both have helped me keep in contact with friends from all over the world and meet new ones; I lump them in the "life enriching" category.

Oddly enough, the first thing that occurred to me today to remove from my life would be my iPhone. While the convenience of it has great appeal, I took this opportunity to consider the personal cost. It's become the low budget spackle of my life as it fills the cracks as a distraction from the day to day mundane. Standing in line to pay for groceries... check to see if so-and-so responded to an email. Waiting in the stands for Thing 2's hockey game to start... check to see when XYZ movie will play at ABC Theater. Etc. Etc. Somewhere along the way, I've artificially created a need for constant stimuli than just living in the moment and whatever it offers. Some would argue that I should just show more restraint but I’m not sure I’m wired (pun somewhat intended) that way. It’s almost become a nervous twitch that I don’t notice any more.

So I won't be disconnecting the phone line altogether as I still have to deal with "Thing 1 left her violin at school again and the symphony starts in 45 minutes on the other side of town" 911 calls but I'm filing for a divorce from smart phones.

If you made it this far and were wondering if there was a point, well... no I guess not. Just a glimpse into an ADD mind and some cathartic babbling about first world problems fueled by sadness I suppose.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/17/2014 11:30:06 MDT Print View

Random babbling is the best kind, my friend. And I've had many of the same thoughts lately - which is leading me to take up some mindfulness meditation. Can't hurt. And I'm sure there's an app for it.... :-)

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Time's up Re: Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/17/2014 11:55:37 MDT Print View

My iPhone contract expires and giving serious thought about not renewing. Great little device that can conveniently lump a semi-decent digital camera, alarm/watch, 2 compasses (one I have from a geology strike app), notebook, GPS (sometimes), etc ... but the battery needs override everything on a true UL trip. I am so ready to declare my independence from the iPhone ... unless the iPhone 6 comes up with a bigger screen (I want mine in a gold hue, plz).

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
A not so random thought on 04/17/2014 21:00:06 MDT Print View

I have never owned a cell phone, smart, dumb, or of normal intelligence, for all the reasons you guys have so eloquently posted. But there's a more sinister reason, having to do with the results of all those tests they've done on brain cells exposed to cell phone frequency radiation: To paraphrase the punch line from an old Richard Pryor joke that was making the rounds after he torched himself while free basing: "A mind is a terrible thing to baste." ;0)

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: A not so random thought on 04/17/2014 21:56:35 MDT Print View

I understand your thoughts on this.
I have a cell phone but it's not internet connected. No Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter….
BPL and my blog are the closest things I have to social media.

I'm not so bothered by the computer and the time I waste on it because it is marginal. I can, and do, walk away from it.
But I'm afraid of having a smart phone for the reasons you describe. I can see what it leads to and I'd rather not go there. I think I'd be begging for a perpetual state of "connectedness", AKA distraction.

I have to be able to walk away; I don't want it in my pocket.

I will say, however, my lack of social media, namely Facebook and Instagram, increasingly leaves me out of the loop. Many people I know communicate solely through these avenues and in many cases I seem to be getting left behind. There is often an assumption that I'll somehow know what they're planning simply because it was posted.

I'm not sure when it was decided that we had to keep up with everyone, on everything, constantly. I have a hard enough time keeping my head straight in my own little world; a constant bombardment of what people are up to seems like it would be a bit of information overload for me.

I'm also a little concerned with the faux-communication these technologies seem to foster, at least with me. On the one hand, they enable us to keep in contact with people over great distances. On the other hand, this form of communication seems to warp my sense of what actual communication is. The other day my wife asked me when the last time I talked to my sister was; I responded that I emailed her two days ago….and then it occurred to me that email is not talking. There's a difference in depth and quality and I think we're beginning to forget that.

To each their own. I'm still not ready or willing to embrace this stuff beyond a certain level.

As a longtime teacher of teenagers that has seen the coming of this technology and its impact on them, I'll say one thing: We are in full swing of raising the a perpetually distracted multitasking generation.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/17/2014 22:16:40 MDT Print View

"I'm also a little concerned with the faux-communication these technologies seem to foster, at least with me. On the one hand, they enable us to keep in contact with people over great distances. On the other hand, this form of communication seems to warp my sense of what actual communication is."

Where Facebook shines for me is its ability to compensate for poor choices made through my 20s and early 30s as I didn't stay in touch with my friends when I moved. I moved a lot and was in five different duty stations in three different countries in less than five years. Even by military standards that's almost unheard of. This was long before the internet or email was used by my friends or me so I'd make some great friends and have some great times but like the shite that I was, I'd move to my next station without taking care to take down addresses and too narcissistic at that time to drop the occasional letter in the mail even if I did. As time moved on, this was something I came to deeply regret.

Years later My Space became a thing my wife and some of my friends joined. I laughed at it and thought the very idea was absurd. Along comes Facebook and my opinion didn't change. Fortunately I met my wife in the military while we were stationed in Panama and had some friends in common from those days. One night she started calling out some names she found on Facebook and I finally took interest.

It's not perfect communication but it works for me and has brought people back into my life who I previously thought were gone forever. BPL related, some of them have become hiking buddies in addition to whatever our friendship was before. I chalk Facebook up as 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/17/2014 22:58:16 MDT Print View

Makes sense.

My greatest concern is being connected 24/7. I'm not interested in a pocket device...it'll just suck me in.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/17/2014 23:14:35 MDT Print View

Smartphones are evil. Everyone my age is totally glued to them. It makes trying to socialize in person pointless because everyone is on their phone.
I have an iphone but I'm not on it all the time. Some days I don't even use it for anything, but it's nice to have a muti-use device when I need it for things like navigation or images. It's more of a backpacking/traveling item for me.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/18/2014 09:39:27 MDT Print View

I have had a smartphone for years. Just like a computer, you get from it what you want. You can put it down and not use it ;-)

As for expense? I have been on T-Mobile for years and pay around $30 a month, I own my phones though. The advantage of T-Mobile is it rarely works outside of towns. Hahhah. So no Mt. coverage.

But...it is my Kindle, my camera, my maps, my GPS and more. Yet, I have the self control to not fiddle with it 24/7. That is the key thing. No phones at the table for dinner, and sheesh, not when driving.

Maybe it is me though, I am very comfortable with technology though. I don't see it as a hindrance.

PS: Why so many choose an iphone is beyond me. There are better choices out there....

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/18/2014 10:14:07 MDT Print View

"You can put it down and not use it ;-)"

Oh you make it sound sooooooooo easy :) My OP probably made it sound like dumping the smart phone just occurred to me yesterday but this is something I've been pondering for a few weeks; I just finally decided it was time yesterday.

I remember taking my kids to swim lessons several years ago and seeing a dozen other parents vulture necking over their Crackberries instead of watching their kids and thinking how pathetic it looked. Several years later I find myself in the same position trying to figure out how I got so far off track. I think "just show some restraint" is clearly the rational answer but the more I thought about it, I didn't really have a rational answer as to why I should keep it.

Ran down to ATT yesterday, shut off the data, and bought a cheapie $20 phone which doesn't require a contract. It has a camera, takes an SD card so theoretically can hold 120g of music and podcasts (compared to my 16g phone), has flashlight mode, and one nice but unexpected feature is it's an FM radio as well which uses headphones as the antenna. And again, $20 with no contract. Drop it down off of a cliff or go swimming with it… oh well.

I'll miss the GPS capabilities of the iPhone but not enough to justify keeping it. The features I like about it and don't object to, including the GPS, I can continue to use without cellular data service.

At any rate, I'm glad it's gone and I deserve to have someone from a developing nation where they have to struggle with real problems like contaminated water, dengue fever, civil war, etc to slap the crap out of me.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/18/2014 10:39:58 MDT Print View

I have a "flip phone". It also does analog which isn't useful anymore.

I've recently noticed jokes about people with "flip phones" - dinosaur relics

My phone was capable of text. Someone sent me a text message saying that if I didn't respond, they'de start charging me $5 a month. I didn't even know it could do text. When it started showing up on my bill I told them to turn off text capability to prevent this from re-occuring.

spelt !
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/18/2014 11:06:41 MDT Print View

"Dumb phones" are becoming the new hipster fad. A lot of them are flip phones.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Random thoughts on Mortality and iPhones on 04/18/2014 11:17:13 MDT Print View

You do know 3rd world countries are some of the biggest consumers of mobile phones, right? They don't have land lines. Mobile is everything. My husband worked for a certain phone manufacture for a number of years and still does consulting for them (he works in tech). America is nothing compared to say India. And smartphones are everywhere.....

dave e
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
anti social on 04/18/2014 11:22:45 MDT Print View

phones are anti social and i wonder what long term effect may be.
People are tethered permanently to their phones...like an umbilical cord but not temporarily...it is sad to see a group of people or friends not talking to each other but glued to their tiny screens instead.You see this in cafes and even in bars.Im taking a college course and all the kids in the hallway are glued to phones.
The most disturbing thing though is watching a parent not talking to and ignoring their kids because theyre occupied by inane crap on their phone(this is really sad when they are ignoring the baby in a stroller-talk about retarding social development).

No,i dont have a smartphone or data contract and save lots of money that way.Imagine,an iphone contract costs you $1200 a year!You could go to europe every year instead!

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
An actual cell phone mass outage on 04/18/2014 12:50:03 MDT Print View

Dave said ... People are tethered permanently to their phones...like an umbilical cord but not temporarily...it is sad to see a group of people or friends not talking to each other but glued to their tiny screens instead.

Happened to me last month in soMa (San Francisco) when a tower had an outage. Woke up one morning and my phone wouldn't work ... that's what I use now for time/alarms/internet/email, ... went to ask someone the time and her phone wouldn't work. No one else's phone either so maybe the companies share a tower? That morning, the whole neighborhood was kind of at a weird calm for some time with regular city noises (like tires and engines) .. not much else. People sitting in a cafe looking at their inert cell phones ... dazed.

Think I agree with Sarah tho, adding it's the users fault if they let the technology control them (alibi: unless your job requires it. I had an issued government Blackberry for the longest time, and I had to keep it on me 24/7 to answer in case of emergency - that got old).

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: An actual cell phone mass outage on 04/18/2014 13:32:09 MDT Print View

"adding it's the users fault if they let the technology control them"

Well lah tee dah!

My DTs have been pretty minimal today although I feel like I just woke up in the Matrix.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Re: An actual cell phone mass outage on 04/18/2014 14:41:33 MDT Print View

.."adding it's the users fault if they let the technology control them"

Well lah tee dah!


You may jest but cell coverage is increasing in the backwoods (one thing I track during my equipment testing hikes in known areas). You or I may decide to drop coverage, but that doesn't mean one night a nearby camper's phone may ring waking you up (or be included in a someone's wilderness selfie with a time/date stamp when called in sick).

Add: edited my response after thinking a little bit of it ....

Edited by hknewman on 04/18/2014 15:16:49 MDT.

Jeremy B.
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: An actual cell phone mass outage on 04/18/2014 14:50:58 MDT Print View

If it helps, you can consider smartphones to be a sort of reverse gom jabbar.

PS: Why so many choose an iphone is beyond me. There are better choices out there....

From a security perspective I feel the choices are essentially limited to iPhone (barely) and Blackberry. I go with the iPhone as a decent compromise for app support, though if doing a secure setup for a business I'd go Blackberry. (I suspect for most users it's more about the status symbols.)

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: An actual cell phone mass outage on 04/18/2014 15:10:17 MDT Print View

"Why not start by not trying to be such a douche? What are you? 11?"

Sorry you took it that way but I was trying to be funny and wasn't trying to direct anything mean spirited at you. Yes I'm a feminine hygiene product and functioning at the maturity level of a 11 y/o but lets work through this one by the numbers...

1. I wrote a fairly sincere OP expressing that I had become dismayed with my over use of my iPhone. Pretty sure I didn't blame the iPhone itself or the fact that I didn't have a pony when I was a kid. Underlying statement was that I allowed for it to become a toxic distraction in my life.

2. Although I thought I made it fairly clear that this was area that I needed to change in my life, you felt the need to add "adding it's the users fault if they let the technology control them"

3. So I read this and think, "Hmm... I think I already threw myself on the sword but HK feels it's necessary to underline a personal flaw I've already acknowledged within myself."

4. I then commit the unforgivable act of typing La Tee Dah not realizing that in a secret language unknown to me I must have just insulted your entire ancestry and cyber kicked your dog resulting in spontaneous genital explosion. I truly didn't realize that this was going to invoke such a strong emotional response from you or I would have written "Oh no you didn't (snap in a z formation)" or maybe "thanks for kicking me when I'm down Cpt. Obvious" or something along those lines. At any rate... it was delivered with a smile and I guess I need to up my emoticon usage.

5. which you then state the obvious which is I'm a douche. And while we're at it, water is wet. Sand is sandy. Air is... well airy.

So please accept my humble apologies for my aggressive use of La Tee Dah as I never meant for it to hurt your feelings. Have a super duper day and a lovely weekend. :)

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: An actual cell phone mass outage on 04/18/2014 15:19:53 MDT Print View

"If it helps, you can consider smartphones to be a sort of reverse gom jabbar."

I'm going to be held prisoner in a Holiday Inn for a couple weeks and have been debating which books I'm going to download to my Nook in addition to "Rights" recently offered by BPL member JT Hatley or whatever pseudonym he's using here... or there... come to think if it... authors would make great CIA. Edit Kindle for this one actually.

Anyways, between Dune references made by you and Craig, I'm going to take this as a sign from the BPL universe that I need to bring some Frank Herbert novels with me.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 04/18/2014 15:42:06 MDT.