What Would Life Be Like Without The Internet (Part 1)

The initial sobering thought is that you would not be reading this post if there were no internet. The thought of  LWTI (Life Without The Internet) came to me in sort of a wave of experiences. The front edge of the wave led me to admit sometimes I use my smartphone and its connection to the Internet to avoid human contact. Yes, if I am restless at dinner or a Poker game, I take out my phone and check email or scan world headlines. Every time my phone vibrates I take it out, often interrupting an ongoing conversation. In short, I am addicted to the stimulation of the Internet.

What was life like before the Internet?

  1. Communication – There were F2F meetings, often requiring time- consuming travel to meetings. There were long distance phone calls. There was snail mail. In the 1960’s, I can remember patiently waiting in my college dormitory post office to find out if my family’s care package shipped 10 days ago had arrived today.
  2. Banking -Ah, the days of standing in line to make a deposit or to pay a vendor. It was licking a stamp on an envelope and mailing the bill to the provider of your services.
  3. Libraries – Walking to the library and hoping that the reference book you needed for your report was available and paying the library fines often.
  4. Movies – As a child, Saturday afternoons were special for my bother and me. I fondly remember going to a matinee where admission and popcorn for the both of us cost less than a dollar.
  5. Employment. There was no such thing as working online. You dressed for work. You commuted to work. More often than not you worked from 8-5 and commuted home.
  6. Television. For the first 18 years of my life there was one T.V. in the house. We watched together as a family and of course there was no streaming, Youtube or viewing on a tablet or smartphone.

Was life slower, better, more enjoyable before the Internet? For my grandchildren there are no comparisons. All of their lives they have experienced Email, Google, Facebook, iPhones and ordering from Amazon and receiving their products in the same day.  They don’t know the meaning of film and typewriters.

Could we exist today without the Internet? Does the child growing up in the Internet age lack personal communication skills? Do we as adults keep our personal communication skills sharp?

In Part 2, I will discuss a need to return to some of the skills we had before the Internet.

 

A Sociology Of The Smartphone

This morning I was streaming “CBS Sunday Morning” and viewed the piece on “It Had Us At Hello” ( 10th Anniversary of the iPhone)  There are very few devices that have changed the world as much as the iPhone and all the smartphones that have followed in its path.It is hard to believe the iPhone sparked such change only 10 years ago.

At the same time I’m also reading a fantastic web post on the smartphone – A Sociology Of The Smartphone“. This is a long read but well worth it.

A smartphone is often “the last thing we look at before sleep each night, and the first thing we reach for upon waking.”

“The smartphone is the signature artifact of our age. Less than a decade old, this protean object has become the universal, all-but-indispensable mediator of everyday life.”

In this blog I have written 53 posts where Smartphone is the major topic. That is 14% of my total posts over a 5 year period.  Anecdotally, I personally use my smartphone 2 hours a day. My wife says “Maybe 3!”  On any given day I use my Nexus 6 smartphone for the following

  • email
  • phone calls
  • what’s app texting
  • calendar
  • calculations
  • measuring my walking distance
  • Photography/Videography
  • News
  • Maps
  • Facebook
  • Taxi rides
  • Ordering Takeout Food
  • Listening To International Radio Stations/Podcasts

Having a smartphone means I no longer have the following

  • photographs in my wallet
  • wrist watch
  • digital camera
  • calendar
  • radio/ipod
  • maps
  • rolodex
  • pad and pencil (in a pocket)

Very shortly smartphones may lead to the elimination of:

  • corporate security passes
  • boarding passes
  • keys
  • credit cards
  • cash

I often use my smartphone when I am bored. At dinner with friends, if the  conversation does not interest me, I hop on my phone. Yes, it is rude but that little device holds so many interesting possibilities.  It pulls like a magnet. Sometimes it is easier than joining in conversation.The Smartphone is almost always in my hand when watching television or a movie on TV. If I am completely, honest it has become an appendage of my body.

Last week I left the house and realized too late that I had left my smartphone on my desk. My day was planned so that I could not easily return to my house for the next six hours. I wondered how I would get through the day not checking my email, checking Facebook , snapping photos and a plethora of time saving tasks.

The end result was that I made it through the day without any severe side effects. The lack of a smartphone did make me aware of how many times I escape into the ether of the Digital World to ameliorate human contact.

But that is another post for another day.

 

 

 

 

Do You Have An Email Signature?

First, let’s define “email signature”. Several lines of information appended automatically to the end of each email message. Sometime there is a witty or inspirational message included but the most important part is your contact info.

Here is my email signature

Believe you can and you’re halfway there. T.Roosevelt
Cell in Ecuador: 099 122 1238
MagicJack Number – 503-895-6417
Some of my friends include their address but since I don’t live in a secured condo I have left out the address. The signature provides your contact info which is invaluable if you need to be conteacted via phone . If people call me from my signature and I don’t recognize the name I can always send them to voicemail.
You can usually add a signature in your email settings.
_email_signature__-_Google_Search

G-Mail Tip

I am a big fan of the Digital Inspiration Site 

Did you know that you get two google email addresses. The one everyone knows is …@gmail.com. But, you automatically get another one which is …@googlemail.com So the logical question is why would you need two google email addesses? Answer: to cut down on Spam and filter important emails.

The author of Digital Inspiration suggests giving the googlemail.com address to your important contacts and setting up a google email filter to store those emails into s special folder. Makes sense.

All_Gmail_Users_Have_Two_Email_Addresses

 

What Software Should You Have In Ecuador (Part One)

In a previous post I advocated what Electronics one should have when moving to Ecuador. Solid Software always makes great Hardware. I make no secret that I’m an Apple Fan. Life would be difficult in Cuenca without my computer, iPad and iPhone. I’m going to restrict my recommendations to web resources and apps that run on the Mac/PC/IOS/Android platforms. Please feel free to comment and add your own “must have resources”.

1.Skype – I don’ think this is surprise. Skype allows me to communicate via video and audio to anyone in the world with a Skype account. It’s free and easy to use. You can also purchase Skype minutes to communicate with people who don’t have Skype accounts but have land lines or cell phones. Facetime is similar to Skype but is only for Mac/IOS users.

skype_-_Google_Search

2. Multiple Email accounts. Email is the most used resource of the Internet and I’m surprised that people I talk to don’t have at least two accounts. I have three (Gmail, Yahoo, Icloud). I use Gmail as my main and Yahoo as my challenge account. I use icloud as my account for email lists and subscription that I don’t need to access on a daily basis. The added advantage to Google is that it comes with 15 gb of storage.

gmail_-_Google_Search

3. Multiple Web Browsers. My primary browser is Google Chrome. I use Chrome because it provides instant translation for the many Spanish sites that I visit. I also use Firfox and Safari. All three of these are solid browsers but I think Chrome is faster and uses less memory.

firefox_-_Google_Search

4. Zite. You can skip this recommendation if you don’t have a smartphone or a tablet. Zite is available in the Itunes, Google Play and Amazon appstore. Simple stated you can create your own magazine and daily stories will be appear on your device. I get stories from the L.A. Times, Canon, Ecuador, Colombia and a heads up on apps that have gone free.  Run, don’t walk to this free app.

zite_-_Google_Search

5. Search Engines– Surprise, I am not going to recommend Google. Not that there is anything wrong with Google other than everyone of your searches are tracked. My recommendation DuckDuckGo.com.  Funny name but a great search engine. I reviewed Duckduckgo here

duckduckgo_logo_-_Google_Search

I’ll add 5 more resources in few days. I look forward to your recommendations and comments.