Feeds

Without a smartphone your reptile brain gets a workout

Whaddya mean I can't look anything up, anytime?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Mobility Archaeology A couple of weeks back, I ditched my Galaxy S4 and adopted a Nokia 110 as an experiment to see if modern life is possible without a smartphone. The premise for the test is that I'm worried I'm spending a bit too much time with my phone and could probably disconnect from the online world without.

A couple of experiences illustrate how things are going.

The first came at a rather nice pub where I caught up with some industry friends . Conversation moved, as it will, to the topic of who'd seen which movie lately and a minor dispute arose over an actor's previous roles. “Look it up on IMDB,” one of my friends intoned. At which point the Nokia 110's tiny, rubbish, screen and anaemic internet connection became laughing stocks.

Story two: I arranged another lunch* catchup with a friend who has a very interesting new technology-related job. I wasn't entirely sure we'd confirmed the date but strode out anyway. Looking through email archives is impossible on my 2.5G phone. And because the phone's contact-syncing tools are so rubbish, I didn't have my friend's number in the handset.

No biggie, I told myself after 15 minutes of waiting. I hadn't put myself out. And it was my fault for not confirming the date, something that made sense before the smartphone age.

Self-delusion/justification achieved, it hit me: I could have called directory assistance, contacted my friend's employer and actually spoken to her. But it's been years since I called directory assistance and I've long since forgotten the number.

This failure marks me out as a dolt who has come to assume that information is always available wherever I go. I've outsourced my memory to Mountain View, an abrogation of responsibility that will doubtless end badly.

Using a feature phone has, thankfully, pointed out this state of affairs. Correctional actions are under way, so that my reptile brain gets some more exercise.

Beyond these revelations, a few other insights into feature phones have emerged:

  • They have wonderful battery life. The Nokia 110 goes about 3 days between charges, although its non-standard charger means I need to carry it around. I've become accustomed to my smartphone requiring an overnight charge and carry a booster battery and cable. The 110 has no such accoutrements, so the charger comes with me;
  • The phone's radios are not very resilient: when it loses signal, it struggles to pick it up again. A lot of rebooting has been required to stay on voice networks;
  • Forget photography. Yes, the 110 has a camera, but the compression it applies to the 640x480 images it captures is savage. Those shots of your kids doing something clever at junior sport are no longer available. Forget about getting them onto Twitter or Facebook too. The 110 has clients for both social networks, but is so slow that they're essentially unusable.
  • They make casual dull. The 110 came with a Golf game and a few freebies to download from EA. The former is a horror: 650-yard par threes on which the green can only be reached in four strokes are no fun. The freebies include Medal of Honour for the 110 is a travesty that must have been entrusted to the least promising interns. Long story short, the 110 means commuting is dull again;

Notwithstanding its radio resilience issues, the 110 is a decent phone for voice communications, especially through its included headset. That the phone also boasts a voice recorder app that can record calls is a bonus for journalists, perhaps less so for interviewees.

At the half-way mark of this experiment I've learned that life without a smartphone is eminently possible, but in my line of work requires remembering some good habits. I do, however, miss my S4 for several reasons and the calendar turning over the March 1 will be a welcome milestone. I'll report back once that day comes around. ®

* Hi, Boss. These people are contacts and these lunches do lead to stories. And I'm not expensing them.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.