There's an App for that…
Doug Wilson takes his smartphone everywhere.
When the 28-year-old wakes up, he snatches the phone from the nightstand to read Twitter feeds and Facebook messages before he gets out of bed.
[... At night] access to this on-all-the-time gizmo is arguably more important than ever. First, there's the dog. Wilson uses his phone's LED camera flash to guide his steps as he takes Lucy, a bichon frise, outside. "I live in Arkansas, so I don't want to step on a snake or anything," he said.
Then there's his wife, Ashlee, whom he accidentally impregnated one evening after forgetting to look at an iPod app that explains the details of the rhythm method.
"That's how we got pregnant," he said, "because I lost my [iPod Touch]."
While the couple from Russellville, Arkansas, are now thrilled about their expected baby girl, Doug Wilson said the slip-up was yet another reminder that his phone should be turned on, in his hand, ready to accept alerts — all the time.
To my mind, concentrating on the fact that the smartphone is connected to the internet – and thus constantly pulling in new, distracting snippets of information – is missing the real issue. The arrival of the smartphone as a mass market phenomenon is just making visible the very same phenomenon that users of PDAs have observed for a decade or two: many of us have been heavily – excessively? – reliant on our 'outboard brain' for some time now. I may not use my Palm T|X online, but it nonetheless holds an awful lot of information that I rely on every single day, be it notes or appointments or reminders or to do lists or spreadsheets or shopping lists or e-books or any number of other types of data. I suspect that 20 years ago you could have found similar articles about the rise of the Filofax.
The key factor here isn't the connectivity of the device, it's the portability and convenience of always having this information to hand. It's been a long time since I bothered to use calendar/to do list/address book software on my various desktop computers, because it's far more important to me that the data always be at hand wherever I am than it is that it be available online or on my desktop computer.
[Via The Awl]