Technology And Its Grip On Me (Can I Loosen It?)

320 and 500 7200rpm

I got rid of my TV about four months ago.  It was a radical decision.  I could give you a list of reasons that I did it, but it really boils down to my curiosity of what life would be like without a TV.  It’s been four months, so what has it been like?  Well, I haven’t been torn with nostalgia and remorse for getting rid of my TV, PS3, surround sound, and bluray and game collection.  But have I really loosened technology’s grip on me?

My first generation iPod Touch has a broken home button that I have to forcefully mash for it to react.  It’s pretty annoying.  The processor is also showing its age, as apps take more than an instant to start up.  Since I bought the iPod, I knew it didn’t have enough space.  My video iPod had 30GB, and that was hardly enough space for my music, so it was a hassle to shift over to a 16GB iPod Touch.  Have I made my point?  I want a new one.

Apple announced the new generation of iPod Touches yesterday.  I was drooling a bit as Steve read off the features of the new product, even though I already knew almost all of them.  I was totally ready to get one.  But then I thought about my current digital life.  Will the iPod Touch replace my HTC G1 (Android cell phone) in any capacity?  Will its speed and grace lead me to despise my two year old Android phone’s lagginess?  Will the new hotness pit me against the old busted?

Undoubtedly, it will.  So what’s the solution?  I love the Google Voice integration in my G1.  Love it.  I love having ridiculously fast HSPA+ data access anywhere.  I love being able to search for a location in Google Maps and being navigated by GPS – from anywhere.  I love being able to Google anything – from anywhere.  I love being able to watch Antoine Dodson on YouTube – from anywhere.  I love being able to download any file and altering it in the phone’s file system.  What’s the common theme?  I’m addicted to cellular data.

However, I don’t like how laggy my G1 has become.  I don’t like how sometimes it shuts down overnight and doesn’t turn back on.  I don’t like how scrolling in applications is incredibly choppy.  I’m totally ready for new hardware.  This is why I want to get a new iPod Touch and compliment it with a dumbphone (and cheaper monthly rate plan).  If I do that, I’d be losing my favorite communication tool.  Google Voice.

Google Voice

I love Google Voice.  I love how on my G1, I can just click on a contact to call them, and Google Voice works in the background to route the call through their service.  If I get rid of my data connection, that won’t work anymore.  I’ll have to call my Google Voice number, then make a selection to dial out, THEN enter the number I want to dial.  Cumbersome.  Will it annoy me to the point of not being able to take it any more?

All of my SMS is handled through Gmail (via Google Voice).  If I rid myself of data and SMS, I will only be able to send/receive SMS where I have WiFi (or a laptop – connected to the internet).  I like sending text messages.  I like being able to do it anywhere.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to go without this luxury, unless

Can I Do It?

So the question is, can I rid myself of this addiction?  I brought up my TV story to see if it’s comparable.  Is getting rid of cellular data the same as getting rid of my home media setup?  Not completely.  The ability to search for anything anytime is a powerful one.  Is it possible for me to lose the smartphone and its data?  Why would I even want to?

I don’t want to pay $70 per month for cellular communication.  If I got rid of my Android phone and its data plan, how much money would I save?  Would it be worth it?  I could get a 500-minute plan with T-Mobile for $29 per month.  I’d still have to pay for insurance and taxes, but it would be a lot less than what I’m paying now.  After my 15% discount, I’d be just about at $40 a month.  Thirty dollars saved each month.  $360 per year.  I see that as substantial enough to get rid of cellular data.

I don’t know.  My T-Mobile contract is up in October, so I’m free to test the waters then.  I rely pretty heavily on always having a data connection, so I don’t know what would happen if it were to be cut from me.  My workplace does not allow non-approved devices on the WiFi network, so I would be without connectivity for at least an extra 8 hours per day.  That would be tough.  Also, I’m a techie geek.  This could seriously be a bad idea, but don’t all great ideas start like that?

I can always try it for a month, and if it’s too extremely awful, I can just add the service back to my account.  The real determining factor will be whether or not the lack of constant data is worth $30 per month.  I don’t know if it will be or not.  But I’m going to try.


I’m going to do this for the same reason I got rid of my multimedia setup (TV, PS3, surround sound, etc).  I want to travel the world.  I want to enjoy experiences in life, not things.  I want to see the world through my eyes, not a three-inch screen.  I don’t know how it will work out, but come October 22, 2010, I will be cancelling my cellular data services, and effectively loosening technology’s grip on my life.

If you’ve gone from a smartphone lifestyle to something less, please tell me about it.  I want to know about your success/failure in living with less.

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