Every now and then I feel the urge to reflect on the ones I resist as a reality check. I resisted cell phones for years, until I got one from my mother as a birthday present (it had a whopping 20 minutes-per-month service plan, which was more than I expected to use). I resisted using a RSS reader, expecting to suffer from information overload, addiction and distraction — pretty accurate so far.
Maybe I’m truly missing some technology out there that would actually benefit my life if I were more open-minded. Maybe I’m digging my heels in too strongly. If so, feel free to chime in and let me know. Here are some of the “solutions” that I resist, either partially or categorically.
1. Social networking. I’m on a few of the networks, but I can’t seem to motivate myself to use them more. They strike me as solutions looking for problems. Delicious and Twitter seem the most useful to me, since they involve the least overhead. You don’t have to create an elaborate profile; you can just use them. But the value of Facebook is lost on me. It just seems like yet another inbox to keep track of. What is the killer app here that I’m missing? Why not just email?
2. Television. I grew up with TV in the household and gradually found myself watching it less and less, preferring to spend my time reading (way, way too much time). After I moved out, neither of my first two roommates had a television, and I couldn’t believe how much more relaxed life was without one. Now I get agitated whenever I’m even around a television. I don’t even have one to watch DVDs, though I keep telling myself I “should” get one for that purpose sooner or later.
3. Game consoles. All electronics games, really, including those on PCs and portables. I played enough video games (not to mention non-electronic RPGs, like Dungeons and Dragons) in the Eighties for a lifetime. I have to maintain a “one day at a time” policy to avoid getting addicted again. I had a minor relapse with Tomb Raider 10 years ago, and have learned my lesson since: if you don’t want to slip, don’t go where it’s slippery.
4. Virtual outsourcing. It’s on my Someday/Maybe list to try the likes of Guru or AskSunday. At the moment I don’t have any tasks that seem onerous enough to dump on a developing country. Maybe I’ll brainstorm a list of tasks and outsource them just to be fashionable and say I’ve done it.
5. Office 2.0. I’ve tried. Lord knows I’ve tried. While I’ve managed to switch to writing directly in WordPress for blogging, I can’t bring myself to trust the cloud for my article writing and spreadsheets. I once lost four hours of writing in GDocs due to a router hiccup, and I have a long memory. More importantly, the state of the art on both Google and Zoho office suites is still severely lacking in features that are critical to me, like Outline View. Naturally, they’ll improve over time, and probably become more robust than their offline counterparts. But I don’t live in the future.
6. Online finance trackers. I’m way too paranoid to even consider putting my banking information on sites like Mint and Wesabe. Besides, this is another cloud service whose added value totally eludes me. I don’t even used specialized personal finance software. Excel does the job just fine for my purposes.
7. Vitamin enriched water. Bottled water is silly enough as it is. Now we’ve turned water into a supplement whose dubious health advantages (most American aren’t deficient in vitamins, except E) are negated by the crystalline fructose sweetening. It’s better to simply drink less sugar water than to drink “better” sugar water. The same applies to any “diet” junk food.
8. The iPhone. Granted, not a very radical or original rebellion, but until the iPhone has a native list manager with desktop synchronization, I’m happy to let this cultural phenomenon pass me by. The internet does look might nice on it, though.
9. Mobile email. I have a perfectly capable email-enabled phone, complete with a front-facing qwerty keyboard and IMAP support. I found that whenever I’d check email on the phone, at least some of them would involve replies that required resources I had at work, like physical files or other personnel; or they would require verbose answers that would be much more comfortable touch typing; or they had links to sites that were better viewed on a real monitor. I don’t like fragmenting my email processing, so I stopped doing email on the phone. I never had to deal with “Blackberry addiction,” because it was too unpleasant to be habit forming in the first place.
10. IM. Aside from chatting with a few international friends, where it makes logistical sense, I despise instant messaging. Every time I would see the notification go off, my blood pressure would go up. Yes, you can turn off notifications or make yourself appear offline, but if I used those features as often as I wanted to, it would be essentially the same as not using IM — which is pretty much the way things stand now. I recognize that this one’s a little irrational, and I’m going to force myself to start using IM again eventually.
What technologies to you resist?
(Photo credit: GeneC55)
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