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Diary of a techie:  “Oh, my phone’s broken… uh, what now?”

Read the story of what happens to a heavy smartphone user to a non-user


Smartphones are great. A delightful portal into a world of randomness, sharing and connectivity, and always an arms length away. Pretty amazing when you think back less than 10 years and think of all the Blockia’s we used to think of as cutting edge.

My first experience of smartphones was with a hand-me-down Sony Ericsson P910, featuring a stylus and a flip down keyboard. It was, ah, yeah… That was followed by one of the early Samsung Tocco phones, which met an untimely end thanks to a rather aggressive throw on my part at a wall one night. Not my greatest moment, and the backstory isn’t nearly interesting enough for here.

Oh, hey iPhone!

That took me up to around the time the iPhone 4 launched. I was blown away by the entire Apple launch, the ridiculously beautiful product design, and well, I’m a bit of an Apple fan anyway so… With a little bit of saving I had enough to buy an iPhone 4. I loved that phone. Growing up I had always had a certain curiosity about nature and the world around me, but I never felt like photography was a medium worthy of exploring. Then there was this little device that was always on me and always capable of shooting images. I began to shoot more and haven’t looked back since. My first camera…

About 8 months passed. As I walked down the street in my hometown of Ballybunion one evening a guy with his hood up bumped into me. I thought; “hey, that’s pretty rude.. oh well..” and walked on. A moment later I put my hand into my pocket to realize that my phone was no longer there. I turned around and saw the hooded guy slip my phone into his pocket. What followed is perhaps one of the most bizarre memories I have from my years growing up in Ballybunion. It was one of those semi-comical chases. He was on foot, I got in my car. It went on for about 1km or so, and ended up with him running out of breath as I finally ran after him, along the cliffs of Ballybunion. I shouted at him to stop and just give it back, that I wouldn’t take it any further. As I got closer to him he reached into his pocket and pulled out my phone. This parts the kicker — the bastard flung it straight off the cliff and into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean below. A conundrum, some might say! I stopped dead in my tracks and stood in disbelief at what had just happened. “Why? Why the fuck would you do that?”, I thought. He jogged away and I waddled back to my car, pretty overwhelmed by how fuckin’ bizarre the entire experience had been.

Around where my phone took flight that night. Oddly enough, this photo was taken on a smartphone. Go figure!

Okay, so enough of the ‘How I lost my iPhone’ story. I followed up the incident by buying a HTC Sensation. It was an alright phone, but the software experience was sketchy at best. A little while passed and the iPhone4S launched. I bought it pretty much straight away. The ‘4S was — until dying yesterday — my smartphone. Over 3 and a half years. By any measure — a very long time in tech.

What Now?

Oddly fitting that — ‘Now’. I have used iPhone for years and I really do enjoy the quality of apps available on it. But man, there are some seriously frustrating elements to the software. Why Apple hasn’t added the ability to toggle Location Services and Cellular Data in Control Center is beyond me.Come on Jony, get it together!

‘Now’ — Google Now. Google’s latest and greatest iteration in M looks brilliant. It makes Android a really interesting option. I’ll write more on what phones I’m looking at to replace the ‘4S in a future post here.

How Does It Feel To Be Phone-less?

My phone died yesterday. I spent a substantial amount of time yesterday afternoon and evening reaching for my phone to browse Twitter, Instagram, and more. Each time I realised my mistake and quietly muttered, ‘ah shit’.

As the evening wore on and I adjusted to not having it, I found myself feeling more relaxed. Odd. I was able to use iMessage on my Mac to contact friends, or through Facebook. I headed to the pub with some friends at around 9:30pm. It turned into one of the most enjoyable nights out I have had in quite a while. Good times and plenty of laughs. In recent times I have felt like I was suffering a little from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), where I could get a Snapchat or see an Instagram post, or a Facebook tagging that would make me feel a little like I had missed out on something great. Now, I don’t have the phone so I’m just enjoying the moment that I find myself in. I don’t worry about other moments — I realise I will have plenty of other opportunities to share in wonderful memories with friends and others. I got home at about 3am last night — I didn’t even realise the time and the night flew by. I got home, laid down on my bed and was asleep in about 5 minutes. That’s got to be a record for me! There was no looking at the phone to see any random buzz on Twitter, no looking at Snapchat stories… nothing… just shut eye and sleep. Pretty perfect.

This morning I woke easy, I turned over in my bed and for a split second found myself thinking about reaching for my phone, before turning back again and waking up like the good ole days. It felt fuckin’ fantastic. Seriously, you should try it! Think about it for a second… If you find your daily routine begins with reaching for a device to check on what you missed while you were sleeping, perhaps it’s time to think about just waking up device free.

Note: If you’re under 10, I’d be very surprised to see you reading this, but ah, hey, this is how people used to wake up! It’s a much more relaxed start to the day.

I’m finishing this up at almost midnight and so far I’d be hard pushed to find 5 things I really miss. I miss the ability to make phone calls/texts (but I’ll be sorting that out on Monday when I get a hold of my ‘work’ phone back — It’s an Alcatel feature phone, designed for making calls and texts). Secondly, I miss my camera. I take photos every day and I miss the ability to take out my phone and shoot — even though the phone camera has been extremely temperamental in recent months thanks to a little drop into the atlantic ocean. Yep, not my finest moment! After those two reasons, I’m finding the experience of not having a smartphone to be oddly wonderful, and liberating. Tomorrow? Who knows!

This article first appeared on Medium and was republished with permission by the author. Learn more below: 

Jerry Lane plans to blog daily about his experiences of going from being a heavy smartphone user to a non-user for the next week or two. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this — you can find me on Twitter at @jerrylane_. If you enjoyed this mesh of rambling thoughts, please feel free to scroll on down and smash that recommend button below or share to your circles. It would mean a lot to me!

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