Author Topic: I need my phone!  (Read 4045 times)

tod

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I need my phone!
« on: March 17, 2013, 12:39:04 PM »
March 17, 2013

This happened to someone close to me... this person's iPhone stopped working so I was asked for help (notice how I used passive voice right there to avoid revealing the person's gender). The screen remained black while it made noise and seemed to otherwise work. After trying to reset it several times, I explained that there was nothing more I could do. Apple doesn't give you too many self-repair options.

"Well what am I going to do for a phone?"

I don't know. Put your SIM card in that old flip phone?

"But it won't have any of my calendars or apps or stuff."

I'm sure you can live without it for awhile.

"I need it all!"

What do you need a calendar for? You go to work 5 days a week. Is that hard to remember?

"It's all the other stuff I have to do. I need to be reminded."

Try doing what you did before 2007.

"Well, what about my apps?"

You mean your games. You definitely don't need those.

"Yes I do. I play them all the time."

You don't need any of it. Games? Waste of time. Weather app? Just look to the west and see what's coming. Etc, etc.

"I need it all."

Then drive half an hour to the Apple Store and see what they say.

"I don't have time until the weekend!"

Then wait a week.

"A week without a phone? I need a phone now! I have to run errands right now and I need a phone!"

What for?

"What if there's an emergency? What if I have a heart attack?"

How many times has a cell phone saved your life? Zero. People got along just fine before cell phones. You'll be fine.

"I am NOT happy! I NEED MY PHONE!"

And so on.

This isn't really a criticism of the person mentioned above, who is in fact a wonderful person. It's just an example of how different most of the world is from frugal / mustachian / minimalist types.

The funny thing is that I'm so unmoved by this person's plight when I actually should fit the profile of a tech addict. Not only am I in my late 20s and grew up with computers, but I'm a self-employed programmer and all of my income comes from iPhone and iPad apps. Yet I could not care less about iPhones, iPads, or carrying gadgets around. I don't own an iPhone myself and I only bought an iPad for testing purposes after three years of developing iPad apps without one.

While we might think that this is funny from the point of frugality, I see darker trends. The entire culture is becoming locked down. Airtight. Everybody is obsessed with having total safety, all the time, at any cost.

Daley

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Re: I need my phone!
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 01:34:51 PM »
While we might think that this is funny from the point of frugality, I see darker trends. The entire culture is becoming locked down. Airtight. Everybody is obsessed with having total safety, all the time, at any cost.

Excellent first post there, Tod!

I also wholeheartedly agree, these things are becoming such a desperate obsession with so much of the populous and over the past year that I've been here helping others save money on their telecom costs, I still see far too much of this very clingy approach to smartphones/tablets from some folks... and it's troubling. I think there might be a far more sinister addiction element to a lot of this stuff as these things are documented and known to tweak a lot of our brains through instant gratification, blue light exposure, positive reinforcement and "gamification" techniques. The problem is, as with most addicts, just telling them doesn't really do much.

Edit: Found a bad typo.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 02:11:35 PM by I.P. Daley »

Jamesqf

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Re: I need my phone!
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 03:38:20 PM »
The funny thing is that I'm so unmoved by this person's plight when I actually should fit the profile of a tech addict.

I know exactly where you're coming from.  Add a few decades, and develop code for supercomputers instead of iPhones, and we could be twins.  Only reason I finally got a cell phone (last year!) is because the land line went up to over $30/month, and the cell runs $7/month.

Paul der Krake

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Re: I need my phone!
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 03:50:06 PM »

TLV

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Re: I need my phone!
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2013, 01:12:04 PM »
A friend of ours recently upgraded her iPhone to the latest one.

She's a SAHM, about to have her second child. Her husband was laid off in December, and had a temp job. She emptied their bank account to buy it, despite knowing that he'd be out of work again the next week. They're hoping to get approved for Medicaid before the baby is born... (I've heard of people spending down savings specifically in order to qualify for government assistance, but this was not the case here.)

And what really kills me: "How do you like it?" "Eh, it's a phone."

Milkman666

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Re: I need my phone!
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2013, 01:29:53 PM »
I constantly have people reacting with disbelief and even horror that I routinely "forget" to carry around my (employer provided and paid for) iPhone after work.

I couldn't care less about it.

tod

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Re: I need my phone!
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2013, 01:35:59 PM »
One of the challenges is talking about this stuff without seeming self-righteous or critical. I feel so disconnected from the prevailing attitude in the world. So much of what excites people these days really is a mystery to me. While phones and restaurants and consumer spending is all small stuff, and people certainly have bigger ambitions, there are a whole lot of people who have a corner of their brains salivating after the next phone. I hear from these people every day. Endlessly frustrated that a 99 cent app that does everything it advertises, does not also do something it doesn't advertise. Upset that my free and fully functional app dares to ask them to upgrade for the price of less and 1 euro. This from people whose devices' median cost is north of $700. How can you be so wasteful and yet so cheap?

I took the Target survey after a small purchase (no, I won't turn down a chance at adding $1500 to VTSAX!). It actually asked me to rate my satisfaction or dissatisfaction with visiting the store and wanting to purchase something I didn't intend to purchase originally. (Next time I take the survey I'll have to get the question verbatim). Like someone should be dissatisfied at visiting a store and, gasp, not being induced to buy something they never knew existed but now desperately need!

tod

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Re: I need my phone!
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2013, 01:48:19 PM »
I also want to say that coming from the technology world, it's easy for me to see through all the fluff. And it's almost all fluff. When I was a kid in the 90s I really wanted a PDA. I had several, including some used Newtons. Finally, all my stuff in one place! What stuff would that be? Well, uh, notes and... the phone numbers of the 10 people I know and um... you get the point.

I've been where these people have been. The feeling of a new toy, something intensely personal, has all your information on it. I wish I could say to the world: all of your information is pretty useless. Not worth carrying around everyplace you go. You don't need stock quotes every minute unless you're a daytrader. Why would you care what the weather is in a city you're not in? Why do you need to take photos from your vacation to Disney World five years ago everywhere you go?

Actually, I enjoy not taking photos. There's no burden of trying to capture a certain moment. It's very sad when you see your life through a camera instead of living it. When I was skydiving (thank God I came to my senses and stopped spending $1000 a month on that) I noticed that almost everybody with over 200 jumps wore a GoPro. Just think of all the terabytes of footage that would produce. True, it's very cheap to store it all on a huge HD, but mentally you know it's there. Every second of every skydive or vacation or whatever. I just think it's a huge psychic burden to have it all. This is why I have absolutely no idea why people are so excited about Google Glass. The only negative comments I can find revolve around how it still looks dorky. That'll go away as they make the camera smaller. But what about the issue of wearing this thing and being plugged in all the time and recording everything and losing more of your autonomy? The old folks (30 and up) are more likely to be skeptical because they've never been plugged in all the time. Everyone else is so jazzed about it! It's crazy!

Okay, rant over. Maybe I'll start an unplugged movement for the kids. Turn off your phone, throw out the gadgets, and just be for awhile.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2013, 01:50:27 PM by tod »

Forcus

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Re: I need my phone!
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2013, 02:28:02 PM »
I've noticed a distinct quality of life (FOR US) with a smart phone. Yes, you can answer from everywhere, yes you can add all kinds of apps, etc. But what I've noticed is my wife is off in another world, feels the urge to check email ALL THE TIME, and is tied to the phone. Never takes a chance to appreciate anything around her. It's hard to even hold a conversation any more. I know that this is only partly the smart phone's "fault"  but I don't think people put a measure on quality of life. I find less stimuli to be much much more relaxing than being constantly entertained. I wonder how many people with a phone glued to their hand don't understand that might work for them.

the fixer

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Re: I need my phone!
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2013, 02:43:47 PM »
I loved my Palm IIIe back in high school, that thing saved my GPA and helped me get into college. I just couldn't stay organized with paper todo lists and planners.

I was hopeful that smartphones would bring back the PDA but also be able to make phone calls. Nope. They have PIM functions, but they have two serious limitations. I find it harder to enter text (or other complex data) on a touchscreen than with a stylus, which makes these devices consumption-driven (reading email, browsing the web, checking newsfeeds) instead of content creation-driven (todo lists, drawing, calendar management, inventory management). The second problem is they do too many things, so when I pull it out I get distracted by an email/app update/text/whatever so I forget what I originally pulled it out to do.

Despite all this, a smartphone is definitely something that's easy to get addicted to. I have to consciously remind myself that I don't need my phone on me all the time, and purposefully leave it at home when it's not needed.