I’ve got gadget fatigue

July 31, 2012

I left my phone home the other day, by accident and I was like an addict jonesin’ for a fix. Any time I had an unoccupied moment, I felt that a physical urge to reach for it and fill my time with…what? Looking at junk email? Checking to see who might have sent a note since I last checked email three minutes ago? It was ridiculous.

People here in Silicon Valley breathe technology and in fact, you can’t turn around without smacking into a technology company. There’s one on every corner.  And an app for everything.

The looks on some colleagues’ faces when I pull out my paper calendar are priceless. I’m supposed to be embarrassed to admit that I still prefer some things old school style. But I’m not. I know I’m not exactly a Luddite, even though around here, I can look like one.

I’ve got gadget fatigue.

I’m a firm believer that technology shouldn’t drive us. It should work FOR us. We should harness IT, not the other way around.  But I am in the distinct minority here, in a place where sometimes people  use technology just for its own sake and not its utility.

For example:

Not everything is best read on a tiny phone.  That’s right.  Like, a calendar, for example.  Sometimes I actually want to see a week or a month at a glance, and actually be able to read entire entries. I like the Gestalt of a big calendar that allows me to see more than one line at a time. That’s me. And the older you get, that’ll be you, too, because eyesight’s the first thing to go.

Just because I have a huge computer monitor, doesn’t mean I want to read several pages of spreadsheet on it. Nor do I want to print out, match up and tape together all the pages into some unwieldy whole. Not everything belongs in Excel.

How people talk out here

Skype is not always the best solution. Audio-only might be. Sometimes, I want to stay in my jammies for a conference call. Or maybe I want to surf the net while people drone on and on.

People who have lives are not attached at the hip to their phones 24 hours a day. If I haven’t responded to a text in a few minutes, it means I’m doing something. If you need me, CALL me. Yes, old school, where we actually converse.

Fervent thank-yous to our beloveds for the thoughtful piece of birthday jewelry do not belong on Facebook. They belong in a thank-you note or even better, in a thank-you hug given directly and solely to the beloved. By all means post a photo of it, we love to live vicariously, but personal thank yous are just that, personal. Unless, of course, you are simply posturing. And God knows, Facebook is the very best place for that.

I just saw a piece of software in action that automatically sets up a billing entry for every single email that comes into a person’s work email. I know someone thought that software was a GREAT productivity idea. Guess that’s one way to discourage personal emails at work.

How people used to talk

I do NOT want to bank on my phone. I just don’t. With tiny keys and tinier print, it’s easy to make an error. When money’s concerned, I want to see exactly what I’m doing and do NOT want to do it on open wi-fi, either.

Dropbox and shared documents is the latest craze in two organizations I belong to. But my free Dropbox is full of my personal work. Even if I buy more space, which I plan to, I haven’t yet figured out how I can share some folders with one group, others with the second group, and still keep my own stuff private.  Until I do, I’m just as happy to have documents emailed to me so I can save them where I wish. Why complicate things?

I don’t want to keep company with someone who’s always looking at his or her phone. Quality time with others has been in short supply since smartphones came out. Put the damn thing away when we’re together.

And all that duplication! Cameras do not belong on every single gadget. I think people look absolutely ridiculous when they take photos with an Ipad. I’m waiting for one to be installed on a microwave.

Speaking of that, I am looking to replace my old Kindle. Several options exist, but none of them are exceptional in both price and capability. That’s because tablets and readers are being rushed out faster than they can be good. If you know what I mean.  In trying to do too much, the designers have forced substandard solutions on us. So far, the drawbacks have held me back.

And as much as I love Apple, it makes me laugh when I see people turning their Ipads into notebook computers, adding keyboards, cases and document software. Silly rabbits! The Ipad’s a toy that my new Macbook Air far surpasses.

I’m always amazed at the lengths some Silicon Valley-ites will go to in forcing a technology solution when pencil and paper are quicker, better, less complicated — and more human.

How about you and your gadgets? Love them or hate them?

3 comments on “I’ve got gadget fatigue
  1. I love this post. I’m actually old school and don’t go in for gimmicks or gadgets. All I have is a laptop and a dumbphone. Neither my husband nor I have any electronic gadgets. People call us dinosaurs, but I really don’t care.

  2. Tracy S says:

    Well, you know I’m a gadget junkie. I have the Kindle Fire and I love it b/c it’s large enough to read on and I can connect to the internet and my favorite apps too (like Words With Friends or email). And for $199 – it’s a bargain. But I totally agree with you in that some things are not meant to be displayed on a phone. @tracysestili

  3. Whoa, Trace, that is BIG news! LOL Hey, you are missing a GREAT BLogHer12. Wish you were here

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