technology | mindwi.seedit
, 2 minutes
, No surf
, Not connected
, Technology will save us, right?
, Tech poisoning
, The Social Dilemma
, Empty view
, No app required
, Bad habits, refocus now
, A phone as a brick
As Internet is now full of merchants, marketers, scammers, influencers, bad programers, hell even artificial intelligence, all trying to sell you stuff or selling you directly, my relationship with technology is declining at a fast pace. I am now trying to avoid it whenever possible.
I use a MacBook Air M1 to read eBooks, write, emails, blogging, browsing, budgeting, music.
I also use an iPhone SE (2020) 64 GB combined to a $6 plan from Public Mobile (unlimited calls/texts and 250 Mb). The phone is mainly used for: calls, texts, music, photo.
No custom apps, home screen is empty, all notifications silenced (except calls). Remove all dependencies, create more friction so the phone itself is somewhat of a pain to use and there is very little to do on it. When unlocked, fewer options are suggested. I might just lock it back within seconds.
Data is flowing from everywhere. Overwhelmed, I needed a purge from all the things and habits accumulated through time. Being light starts with letting go of things.
- To keep to a minimum: accounts, saved passwords, apps, personal files, ebooks, emails, contacts.
- To avoid: reading list in Safari, RSS feeds.
- To amend: toolbars in apps to remove extra buttons
- To do: use DuckDuckGo for more privacy, use 2FA for more security on accounts, replaced overweight applications by smaller ones, declutter music and photo libraries.
My habits also changed, I no longer...
Now, I minimize my data, value my privacy and focus on the essential.
- visit social media websites, including reddit.
- focus on news.
- want the shiniest, most recent hardware and software.
- subscribed to any newsletter or promo emails.
- hoard pics, music, apps.
- neglect my privacy.
- read way too much junk on Internet.
I still have a 5 Gb iCloud plan that I use for important documents and emails, nothing else.
Pictures are backed up on the Mac and on an external drive.
Why people still use social media? It a huge time waster, a major (and bad) influencer in your habits and actions, a re-programmer for your brain, a mental equivalent of eating fast food 3 times a day, a lost of focus for your life, a negative social stimulant to endlessly compare yourself to others, a place where jealousy is king, where advertisement is omnipotent. And still, people are scrolling, and scrolling, daily, endlessly.
If cigarettes are addictive and can destroy your lungs or your health in general, social media is addictive too and it can destroy your mind.
I'm not pretending to be better than you, but just give it a try; let go of your accounts and go read a book or something meaningful, create interactions in real life, volunteering in a cause, exit the madness race of our society.
Don’t fill that minute, or two, you have in your over-busy schedule with more screen time, unless it is truly meaningful, like writing down some thoughts, as I am doing right now.
Commit to no more "take the phone and see what will entertain me in my boredom".
Commit to only use your phone to engage a communication with one person only, not to show your next status to the world.
Commit to use all those extra 2 minutes, where you used to pick up your phone, to stretch, think freely or, why not, kiss the one you love.
Commit to a better self-esteem in real life, not by showing a fake you to others that barely care anyway.
Commit to simply live like a human being.
Technology as a tool, not as a pacifier.
Any way you look at, you are surrounded by news, facts, opinions, videos, streams, feeds, influences, pollution, useless noise. World is a mess.
Open a news website and don't read anything, just overview the website as a whole. It's a mess of pictures to grab your attention, big-letter titles to have you click on them, small text descriptions to force you to dig wider and abuse your time. On the very low level of necessity, this is all bullshit. If news were really down to the point of the essential only, it would be somewhat close to Legible News. You don't need to know trivial news, hell most of the news, because it doesn't change a dime in your life, except the fact that you won't waste your time anymore. Internet is just fast food for your brain, look for alternatives.
To see clearly in life, I decided to let go of messy stuff on Internet, the one that tries hard to get your attention and doesn't learn your to think better and replace it with meaningful experiences.
Here is a list of down to earth creations:
A person of good intention looks to change the world. A person of good character looks within. -Alain Watts
I’m not a social media user. I’m also trying to avoid news as a whole and reducing my screen time. This morning, in front of a coffee cup, sitting at the table, I unlock my smartphone and I got stuck by a realisation: I no longer commit to any websites. No surf is ahead. I lock it back and start to write and be creative.
Will it last? No idea.
But I can feel detached emotionally from the need of being entertained by others through this glowing screen. All I want right now, at 4:30am is to align my misaligned thoughts and share them more than ever before.
It is difficult to achieve, but I am close enough and I know it. It reminds me this reading from David Cain: It’s time to put the internet back into a box in the basement.
Christmas of 2020 was unusual for almost everybody, just blame the pandemic. We were not connected together physically, but innovation allows us to be connected all the time. Video calls and other means are here to stay. Unless, like me this year, your router died on Christmas day.
This means no connection, except on our mobile phones. But since we have a monthly plan including only 250 MB of data, not a chance to stream movies, to video call people, to get entertained/bored online or get instant answers on everything.
As I’m typing this on my computer, I started to feel something different. The constant connection to the outside world we have on tap is not a thing right now. Like it used to be in 1999 with 56k modem on a wired computer, in the basement, where the phone line was used exclusively to reach the WWW. Every moment was counted, every requests send through the web browser had a purpose. Sending a video, scrolling infinitely a web page with 100+ pictures or streaming a full movie were not common things.
It’s easy to verse in nostalgia and only remember the positive sides of things without telling the full story. In this case, yes, it was painfully slow and some of you will consider the Web 1.0 as the wild west. I technically consider the current Web as a wild west, full of algorithms, advertisements, scams and other useless elements, bloated in unoptimized web pages to display useless information about people we don’t care on pointless platforms.
Trying not to be too critical towards the web, but having time off from it is a good thing.
In a world of abundance, I wonder what we can find to all these gadgets we buy. Those who are supposed to simplify our life, save us time and make us happy.
Who really needs:
- surveillance cameras?
- a fitness tracker?
- a incurved 3D 8K 65-inch television?
- a smart home?
- an automatic litter for his cat?
- a vacuum robot?
- a pool skimmer robot?
So many possible break points, where technology promises you the best, but only complicates your existence otherwise so simple.
Why should not we change direction and apply low-tech guidelines?
Am I the only one to find stupid technological innovations that companies are trying to push down our throat? I am terribly tired of hearing about the false benefits of technological progress. I do not want to leave my refrigerator, my car or other device operating at the electrons to the good care of a tech company.
Technology dependence is undoubtedly a social drug. Adding a dose in each corner of our life doesn't help to get rid of problems, doesn't help focusing on our human experience. Quite the opposite.
To learn more about low-tech, the best reference is undoubtedly Low-Tech Magazine.
Technology will save us, right?
I am not against technology as such, although I think we give too much importance in its presumed role in safeguarding the environment. With some examples, it can easily demonstrate that technology is at the service of consumption not at the service of preserving our ecosystems.
An electric car is still a car
Despite all the good wishes of Elon Musk and the bubbling industry of transport electrification, a transport, whether electric or combustion, remains a transportation that must be reconsidered in its entirety. A current combustion car that is removed from traffic to place its occupants in other sustainable transportation solutions still and always better than replacing it with a new electric car.
I have always said: we are not dependent on oil, we are dependent on the car.
Changing your car is not complicated. Going without it is a lot more difficult. That's why the electric car is growing and draws attention. Instead of changing his habits, we continue in the same good old dependency: build life around the possession of a car.
A smartphone that consumes like two refrigerators
IT has been revolutionised often since the 1980s. The most recent is undoubtedly the advent of the smart phone that allows to be hyper-connected without stopping. This allows almost everything to go faster and optimised. However, optimisation often refers to an increase in global activity rather than a compression of the same activities on a smaller period of time.
To handle all this bubbling, the cloud is a powerful allied to a smart phone that requires a lot of energy to work. "If the famous cloud was a country, it would have arrived 4th after Japan, for electricity consumption."
References: Lacroix and La Presse
Energy efficiency does not mean reducing the use of
David Owen in his book Green Metropolis speaks of the Jevons paradox who refers exactly to this. It mentions that when technology reduces the use of energy per unit consumed (for example the number of liters 100 kilometers travelled for an automobile), the total energy use of the planet increases. As the cost reduction makes it possible to develop new market (developing countries), but also helps to strengthen already established markets (keep home at work for developed countries).
This applies for just about every domain. Technology democrats the increased use of energy on the planet. Negawatt, a power unit that quantifies a power "less" (that is, the power saved by a change of technology or behavior) has been precisely imagined to attempt to counter this "phenomenon" and Inform people about the dangers of increased energy consumption.
The next time you see a label for the eco-energy virtue of a product, ask yourself the question if it will make it more useful instead of considering more sober alternatives. Some examples of replacement of technological goods to low-tech:
- A coffee machine can be replaced by a Aeropress;
- A personal car can be replaced by a cargo, a bike or the transit;
- The use of a television can be replaced by an external activity;
- The construction of a high-end property as a carbon bike can be replaced by a less recent technology (use of aluminum) and less energivorous;
They have been present for more than 10 years, fluocompact bulbs are still not synonymous with sensible consumption because of the toxic content thereof. Lots of governments have banned incandescent bulbs for their too high consumption, but the reality replacing these classic bulbs are rather on the side of the LEDs (light-emitting diode), the market took the opportunity to inflate the prices of the latter. A simple bulb cost less than a dollar while this new technology is often sold beyond $5 the unit, sometimes $10.
Although prices tend to decline with competition, the mere fact that the market to transition from the incandescent bulb to fluocompact before switching to LED (a technology of the 1970s used widely in electronics) shows that the economic interest passed before the interest of the environment. Most high-cost fluorescent bulbs sold to consumers have been discarded and replaced by LEDs after only a few years, while fluocompact bulbs were still fully functional.
Whatever technology, you have to go back to the base and remember that too often, we mix technology and marketing. In order to better change a change, the marketing of a product is altered by publicists in order to consume more than the normal level.
I sometimes wonder if people do have a smartphone not only as an object of social acceptance, but also to fill their dead time. Infinite Scroll allows you to navigate without stopping in search of the life of others or on the mercantile spaces of e-commerce websites.
I am personally born with a keyboard in the hands and I had the chance to discover the internet relatively early. The computer was synonymous with infinite possibilities, by all the knowledge that could be found there. It was 20 years ago, when the computer was confined to a fixed place, where the Internet was only a restrictive means of communication and where the real world was free from high tech. Now internet is omnipresent.
The technology is invasive. Invasive, not only because the corporations decided to, but also because each of us have left the door open for abuse. However, it is never too late to return to its own decisions.
From now on, I will trust the 6 commandments of the modern, but realistic man:
Concretely, I will:
- Possess a technological object if and only if the disadvantages have been evaluated before use;
- Time spent using a technological object must remain under a defined standard;
- The lives of others does not interest me to the point of not living my own life;
- Communicate is done with real conversations, not with "posts" or "likes";
- The use of a technological object must not interfere with a real interaction;
- Dead times will not be filled with infinite scrolling.
- Reduce the number of applications (and therefore the number of possibilities) on my smartphone;
- Call more often people to exchange and have their news;
- Remove myself from social media;
- Use only my computer for real research on topics that fascinates me and to read book;
- Not buy technology repeatedly, spontaneously or on a regular basis;
- Focus on creating content instead of instant consumption of disposable content;
- Prevent the omnipresence in my daily life by correctly distinguishing my expectations with friends, colleagues and families.
Even if my equipment consists only of a smartphone and a computer, it is in the use we make of these objects that our daily life has been transformed for several years, without really making us happier.
I dream of coming back in time for some spheres of my daily life where people live the moment instead of being anxious of the past and stressed in the future, fearing of their public image and exasperated from their time schedule.
The Social Dilemma
World is a messed up place to live. I don't believe in our ability to regroup and collaborate to save us from us. I'm sorry to say that out loud, but I lost hope in humanity.
The Social Dilemma is a reflection on the duality between two truths, both false, where people complain, harass, kill and threaten the other side. All because of a non-regulated giant tech industry that is trying too much to make money on digital slaves. It is not only about Facebook, twitter, reddit, instagram and other bullshit websites. It is about communicating the wrong way, in gigantic group of users, within echo chambers.
“There are only two industries that refer to their customers as 'users': illegal drugs and software." — Edward Tufte
Even though Netflix also has an AI behind its recommendations, at least you pay monthly for the service, thus you can choose to opt out. Or delete your user in your account and create a new one and start fresh from any persuasion from a computer, somewhere in a datacenter owned by a corporation.
In the end, even after watching the docudrama, do whatever you want in your life. But suffer with the consequences of your actions and decisions somebody else is making for you. If you are ok to be brainless, go ahead. But please don't arm anybody else in the process.
Lefsetz Letter published an article about it.
I just dumbified my phone to a point where there is very little to do on it. Like everybody else, I used to check the screen every 2 minutes or so, to see if any new notifications arrived to glorify my life. Now that I turned off all notifications (including text messages), there is nothing to seek. The screen sits empty all the time.
There is no custom app to use. I vowed to use it only for: calls, text messages, notes, music and camera. That's it.
It feels good not to rely on my phone to be rewarded anymore.
The end goal is to give up on the always-connected, never-satisfied feeling provided by technology.
No app required
Hey nerdy app developers,
No, I don't want your apps. I recently decided that a digital downsizing was the right thing to do in this crazy world.
I specifically don't want my attention to be hijacked by flashy, cute little apps that are connected to the cloud that can enhance my life. Guess what? No app is essential, even if you strictly think the opposite. You can go without a map app in real life, you can go without your constant connection with emails, you can even go without knowing about everybody else's life on Facebook. Just breathe and remember that all generations before us did survive without technology, just at a slower pace.
A slower pace.
It resonate to me like a big "Slow the fuck down".
In recent years, we have been forged to be addicted to tech gadgets on the premise that it will save us time. That is probably the biggest fraud on the modern society. Every single invention set to make our life easier by saving time is just not true. We constantly fill the void left by so-called improvements with newer things because human nature is afraid of emptiness.
“All of man’s misfortune comes from one thing, which is not knowing how to sit quietly in a room”
So, for your own sanity, remove all apps and rename your smartphone as a dumb phone. It should be nothing more than a tool, like a good multi-screwdriver. Don't waste your life looking down. Look up the sky and live a meaningful one.
Bad habits, refocus now
Once again, I need to refocus on the essential because technology is ruining my life.
- stop browsing reddit;
- stop looking at news websites;
- stop trying to find new content or subscription;
- check my emails twice a day only;
- cut my text messages to bare minimum;
- stop looking for new projects or hobbies online.
- stop ordering too much shit online that gets me to look frenziedly at deals, emails, tracking numbers, mailbox and cardboard boxes.
Being sick and tired of endless text message that could have been a 2-min call, I'm fed up with looking at my dumbified phone to make sure I'm not late at reading a new message. What the hell is wrong with my mind? Technology hasn't improved my daily life, it ruined it. I constantly need to be entertained and it is wrong. I get bored at anything, up to bored to live in a specific area, needed to move. This has to stop. I need to be grateful to be alive, enjoy sunflowers, enjoy a fresh cup of coffee, sitting in my living room with my kids playing around.
I'm reducing my way to communicate to two methods: emails for low priority and calls to high priority. Also, I do not need to respond to all requests.
I choose to instead focusing my energy on my children, reading physical books and home improvements as we will move in our new place in 3 weeks.
To achieve some quiet time, distraction needs to be reduced to a minimum in my life. Computers can be one, but it is also a tool to help me exhaust my ideas on a screen as I'm tying those words.
All I want is to reduce the madness in my mind to be constantly fed by garbage.
My smartphone should be a tool for myself, not the other way around. Sometimes, I feel like it pacifies me in my most vulnerable moments.
A phone as a brick
If you want to turn your iPhone into a dumb brick:
- Apply a screen protector to reduce the glossy look of the screen.
- In accessibility settings, change whitepoint reduction to 50 or 100%.
- Also, change color scheme to grayscale.
- Set lock screen and home screen wallpapers to black.
- Also, keep only date and clock, no widgets.
- Delete all apps except the minimum viable for you. Use your real computer for everything else.
- Only have phone and messages on the home screen and hide everything else.
- Use App library for other minor apps.
- In Control Center, keep only 4 shortcuts: flashlight, alarm, calculator and low power mode.
- Turn off iMessages, Wifi and data.
- Keep phone in low power mode using a Shortcut (if date is after today, set low power mode to on).
- In Focus, set Personal Focus to allow notifications from few, special persons only and from phone calls, then set a schedule between 0:00am to 11:59pm. Or during waking hours at least (then use Do Not Disturb for bedtime).
- In Notifications, use Display as Count instead of stack or list and turn off most of the apps.
- In extreme case, deactivate Safari.
- Think about ditching Notes and use plain paper instead.