Our Toxic Smartphone Addiction

My name is Lenny Charnoff and I’m an addict. Yes, I realize I am a smartphone addict. The smartphone has become an extension of my body and after reading the following article from the Chicago Tribune I’m going to keep a diary of my smartphone use and report back on how I’m using other activities in lieu of smartphone use.

But in the meantime read this article to see why I started my project of less smartphone usage.

 

Chicago Tribune article on “Our Toxic Smartphone Addiction”

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What’s On Your Smartphone First Screen

The apps you use the most should be on your first screen. Here are 7 apps I use everyday.

  • Gmail – a business and personal account
  • WhatsApp – my goto messaging app
  • Camera & Photos- Duh
  • Translate- An absolute necessity living in a foreign country
  • Google Keep – My notebook of important informaton
  • Phone- Duh
  • Amazon Music – unlimited songs with my Prime Account

My first screen (see graphic below ) consists of 25 apps that I use everyday. What are some of your apps.

BTW, if you want to order salmon or want to know the next selling location you can click on Cuenca Salmon

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.

 

 

 

 

What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador ?(Part 8)

My wife and I have been living here almost 6 years and two things all expats can agree on.

  1. Electronics are  25% – 30 % more expensive in Ecuador. Even more if you lived in a state with no sales tax.
  2. This is a subjective matter. Some of us are geeks and need the latest and greatest. Others, especially on a retirement budget need the basics.

I have added some new items and subtracted some others. As always I encourage your feedback.

Computer: When we first moved here I rented space in another person’s container and brought down a desktop computer with a 24″ monitor and and oversized keyboard. I sold that computer in less than a year and that is why I am recommending a laptop or notebook computer.

  • I have a Macbook Air – Moderately priced and extremely simple to use
  • Chrome book -Inexpensive and uses mostly cloud storage
  • Microsoft Surface Pro – combines a tablet and computer and an affordable price

Tablet: When we first moved I owned an iPad . I have since sold the iPad and  my tablet of choice is an 8 inch Fire Tablet from Amazon priced at $59

Smartphone: Personally, this is my most used piece of electronics. I now own the Google Nexus 6. I have a $32 a month data plan that gives me the convenience of being connected all day but also the ability to connect via magic jack to my business contacts and family back in The States. I also use my Smartphone for:

  • Maps and Navigation
  • Free Worldwide texting via What’s Ap
  • Photos- I sold my DSLR and now use my Smartphone as my only camera
  • 4K Video
  • Podcasts – PBS, NPR and tech shows
  • HBO, Netflix
  • Social Media
  • Audio Recording
  • Skyping and Magic Jack
  • Remote Controls For TV

I highly recommend the Google Nexus but would also highly recommend the iPhone

Streaming Boxes: These hockey puck  devices will be your night time companions if you enjoy watching movies and TV series. You can’t go wrong with the ones below:

  • Apple TV Version 3 – $150 *** I have sold the Apple TV since I find the Roku and Amazon TV take care of all my needs ***
  • Roku 4 – $130
  • Amazon Fire TV $100;

Basically you can watch TV series and movies with these devices connected to your TV. They also have the added advantage of wirelessly connecting some of your devices ( computer, iphone tablet ) wirelessly  to your TV. Important note ***. To fully utilize these services you need to purchase a  IP address Blocker so you can connect to these services from Ecuador.  .

All three device have voice search and the Roku and Amazon devices have lower priced stick versions that have less power but basically give you the same services.

Printer: This is second  year I am not recommending a printer. Unless you are using the printer for business then it’s easier and cheaper to put your document on a thumb drive and bring it to and easily available copy shop.

Camera: This is the second year  I am recommending using a Smartphone instead of a point and shoot camera.

Miscellaneous recommendations:

  • Netflix subscription- $9 per month – Invaluable
  • Amazon Prime subscription $8.35 per month – (Music, Movies, Books, Unlimited Photo Storage)
  • Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet or smarthone
  • Thumb drives (32 gb) for transferring information or bringing data to be printed
  • IP Blocker   – I use Block US for about $60 per year
  • Skype subscription – Free Video Calls to other Skype users.
  • MagicJack – Practically free phone calls to any cell or landline in the U.S.
  • Wifi Extender – Invaluable for folks living in a house made of Adobe Walls or condo dwellers 30 or more feet from wifi router.

Amazon Echo, Dot or the Google Home Smart Speaker

These gadgets are cloud based devices that will be the next paradigm shift. The Amazon platform has a two year head start. But,essentially both devices accomplish the same goals.

I installed the Echo in the living room next to the T.V. The Echo will pick up our voices from the living room, hall, kitchen, dining room and sun room. So far we have used the Echo to:

  • listen to our (separate) Amazon Prime Music collections
  • Kitchen timers
  • News Updates from local and International sources
  • Calendar and todo lists
  • Manage our Capital One Account including making payments
  • Listen to Podcasts
  • Movia Trivia
  • Control the lights in our house.

The Dot which is the smaller and less expensive version of the Echo is paired with a bluetooth Speaker and is upstairs in Sharon’s Office. She mainly uses the Dot to listen to her music but she likes the “Good Morning Command” which is has an interesting fact of a synopsis of some famous person’s life usually when it is their birthday.

Ok, do you need all these devices. Of course not. But, I think these devices make life much more enjoyable in Ecuador.

My three favorite devices are:

  • Google Nexus Smartphone
  • Amazon Dot
  • Roku Streaming Device

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Favorite Smartphone Apps – December 2016

Last year, I posted my favorite apps Of course smartphone technology changes everyday. Here are some more favorites.

  • Instagram – I enjoy seeing great photos from friends and great photographers. One of my favs. is “jaw dropping_dropping_shots
  • Prisma – superb artsy photo editing
  • Feedly – all my RSS feeds in one place
  • Capital One – best user interface to control your CO account- and now it works with the Amazon Echo
  • Merlin – Interesting facts and trivia from around the world
  • Google Translate – Invaluable
  • Yahoo News Digest – Delivered twice daily. Great graphics and easily digestible news info
  • Alexa – Controls my Amazon devices (Echo, Dot, Fire TV)
  • Kayak – Easily make airline and hotel reservations
  • Pocket – Last year’s favorite but easily my most used app for saving and reading web site information

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What’s Your Favorite App (2016)

I have 209 apps on my Nexus 6 smartphone but according to my memory stats I only use on average about 35 of these apps daily. So here is a quick list of my 7 favorite apps. I have intentionally skipped apps like email, facebook, maps, photos, calendar etc. because they are in everyone’s daily usage. All these apps run on the iPhone too.

  • Pocket – a fantastic “read later” way of saving important data
  • Feedly – a superb “News Feed” App.
  • Merlin – Daily Esoteric news
  • Moves – a great pedometer
  • Prisma – My absolute favorite photo editing app
  • IMDB – great info on movies and tv shows
  • Flickr – Connecting with my photo buddies around the world

What are your favorite apps?

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Must Have Smartphone Accessory

Very early this morning a truck or a bus cut our low lying electrical cable from the street to the house. pulling out the pole and disconnecting our alarm box for the electrical fence. I had to make numerous phone calls to the alarm company, police, electric  company and as it turns out to the landlord because the electric company would not connect the electricity until we had a new pole. Add to the confusion my wife was pet sitting and I was supposed to meet her at noon

Cut to the chase my phone  after 25 phone calls my phone battery was at 15 % at noon. Needless to say without electricity I could not charge my smartphone battery. To the rescue came my Aukey quick charger and within 30 minutes I was at full power. A $20 gadget is priceless during an emergency.

 

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