How can I talk without technology
Comment: Why, as a technology editor, I don't use a smartphone
One would think that a computerbild.de editor would be well supplied with products from the world of technology of all kinds. When it comes to PCs, that's the case with me: The desktop computer was built in 2016, its Intel Core i7 processor and extensive RAM are still sufficient. I also have a tablet and several iPod touches. When it comes to smartphones, however, I seem like a Stone Age person - even some uncles and aunts over the age of 50 seem more modern here: These belong to the mass of people who (initially involuntarily) have such a computer cell phone. I do not have any. And don't want any. And I don't want to be taught or converted.
Smartphones are cell phones, but cell phones are not smartphones. I once had a (no-name) cell phone - but after a while it broke and I didn't buy a new one. And that's a good thing.
Anticipated: Perhaps the most surprising information in this article can be found in the paragraph "Cell phone noise makes you sick (and children quiet)" at the end - the last few sentences would be almost funny if they weren't so sad. I am not sad about my own smartphone abstinence, on the contrary: see the following anti-arguments.
Reasons against a smartphone
Smartphones are rejected by me because of their disadvantages and because they are superfluous in my case. Above all, superfluous: The biggest advantage - internet everywhere - is of no use to me. Because of my job, I have the comfortable situation of being online at work all the time, besides being at home. A smartphone could provide me with the Internet when traveling by train between home and office. But what for? If the head smokes at the end of the working day (or when it starts), I like to abstain from the Internet - and prefer to read printed (especially technology) magazines when using public transport. There is something about not always looking at a screen. The costs of a smartphone, which can only be used sensibly with a fixed-term contract (or prepaid?) For internet use, have nothing positive about them: They pay off over the year and I save more than 100 euros - depending on the tariff. In order to belong to the crowd (I don't have to please anyone with adapted consumer behavior), I don't spend any money. In general, my shared flat pays for DSL - my indirect criticism goes to most smartphone owners: Why do you pay for your DSL connection and (!) For the mobile phone internet connection, even though only one is currently available? In any case, a single person surfs in a single instead of in a shared household, either on the stationary or mobile internet, double payments throw money out of the window.
The evil word smartphone denier ...
... I don't like reading or listening - it annoys me. The term implies that it is necessary to own a cell phone, anyone who does not follow the trend refuses. I refuse technology, but it's not necessary: I'm happy without the newfangled stuff. And I am grateful not to become addicted because of the "refusal". Unfortunately, the majority of all smartphone owners I see seem addicting to me. More on this from the paragraph "Smartphone waiver: Sure, always". It is sad when you look at the mass of smartphone owners: It is difficult on buses and trains to look in any direction and not see a person without a flicker screen. It may be that, unlike me, people in other jobs do not have permanent internet access: In that case, the train journey with smartphone and internet is more comfortable for them - and in that context I certainly find the whole thing too critical. However, I see money destruction in maintaining a contract. Some providers even bill on a weekly instead of monthly basis, so that customers pay the fees for 13 instead of 12 months - more than the year has months. I save regular fees as well as the money that technology enthusiasts spend about annually on a new device model, even though the old one is still good. Fortunately, as a refuser, I don't have to worry about which cell phone I want. I found it difficult to make a choice: Android is too complicated, iOS iPhones are simpler but too expensive - and Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile have been discontinued. So if I had a need for a smartphone, I would probably be toying with a model from Apple or (since a likeable brand from the original IT / mobile phone era) Nokia (unfortunately with an unintuitive Android, but at least a non-tinkered stock Android) .
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Why not a smartphone? Give away a smartphone?
After telling people I didn't have a smartphone, most of them were shocked. Only one person found it positive. The tenor was mostly: "We have to change this cruel state (of not owning)" - although I do not want that and, if interested, I would be able to check out the best lists for my preferences on my own. A forgetful aunt asked me several times why I didn't have a cell phone. My answer is the short form of this article: high follow-up costs, no need - I am sure that she will ask the same question again in the next few years. In general, I find the way in which 50+ people come into contact with smartphones in the family circle is weak: A cousin works in the IT area, is young, modern and euphoric about the latest technology - and just gives away a smartphone to his Mother. Another cousin gave a smartphone to his father, who also didn't have one before. I am not aware that there was an agreement here. That is questionable, like giving away animals without agreement: Smartphones cause follow-up costs in normal use due to the necessary contract. A toad that I would not swallow as a recipient is such a smack in a present. Gifts are considered free, but the free character is lost due to a quasi-compulsion to sign a contract. At least, as a young person, I am sure not to be given a smartphone in the future: My displeasure is already partly known and I would want to decide for myself which device I would like to buy - if there was ever a need.
"Everyone has a smartphone" ...
... is wrong. This statement annoys me. I belong to the minority of those people who do not have or want such a device. I could afford it, I don't want to. I could have used a smartphone twice: each time I didn't know the way to get around town and needed a map. From a financial point of view, in retrospect it was better that I didn't have a smartphone (including an internet contract) in such situations - then I just stood like a disoriented ox in front of the mountain, so what. The resulting delay to the appointment is largely forgotten. It is more important that I do not flush the hard-earned euros down the toilet every month for the rare eventuality of having to obtain any information. The disadvantages of smartphones that can be observed in everyday life mean that I don't even want to integrate something like this into my life as a test - not even in the hypothetical case that I would receive the device as a gift or win.
Smartphone waiver: Sure, always
People speak of digital abstinence, I live smartphone abstinence permanently - by the way, I avoid the risk of addiction. I admit that if you would become addicted, smartphone use would become routine. Whether on the street, bus or subway: Smartphones are always present - and kill relationships and comfort. Now I'm single, but last vacation one person (the aunt mentioned in the article above) had to leave their smartphone on the table. During dinner. And when the doorbell rang and vibrated, she immediately had to read the instant messenger message. Another time at the Lord's Supper the device was in the room next door, the pensioner left our table and obeyed the smartphone by quickly dancing. Not only is that impolite to our table companions, it is also uncomfortable. Eating should be relaxed. In addition to the annoying acoustics of the smartphone, reaching out to it immediately is a sign of rudeness - and the news never said anything important. In general, smartphone users feel compelled to reply to messenger messages immediately or promptly. The expectations of the other person trigger pressure. Because of my oh-so-bad refusal, I don't have this pressure to act, instead I have to slow down.
I find apps that are supposed to help against smartphone addiction amusing: We operate smartphones with apps, without them hardly anything works. If apps are supposed to regulate apps, you fight fire with fire. It is incomprehensible why people fail to turn off their device before going to bed. Does the operation have to be in standby? I asked myself this question while on vacation. For the sake of the battery life of my devices (iPod touch in particular), I turn them off. After that, the somewhat longer boot time may be annoying (it's a cold start), but it is not unbearably long.
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Smartphone in traffic and on the stroller
People crossing the street look too often on their smartphones. In addition to pedestrians, cyclists use their expensive cell phones during their exercise. And people in the supermarket (instead of looking at the cashier) look at their device. This is disrespectful to the working people in the supermarket. Worse still, parents pay attention to the devices instead of their children. I keep observing that adults are busy with their cell phones pushing the stroller. Actually, however, the child deserves the look - and not the device. The device is not alive, the child is. I hope my train of thought does not work like "below the belt": If the child dies unexpectedly and early, such parents will certainly regret not having looked at the offspring more often. At least they have probably made a lot of picture and video material with which they could remember the child - but does it want to be photographed? The little ones can't answer the question.
It is unpleasant that people no longer perceive beautiful landscapes in person when on vacation, but through smartphone lenses and screens; I stand in line here and noticed that I have snapped sheep through the compact camera a tad too often in Denmark. In addition to the Internet and photography, smartphones also make phone calls possible, but that rarely happens. In smartphone tests, nothing can often be read about the telephony quality; Smartphones are telephones, but hardly anyone uses them as such. If it does, it bothered me from time to time: A conversation between two real people in the subway is okay. On the other hand, it is annoying when someone speaks into their smartphone: I cannot see the other person. I would like to read concentratedly, but from a purely visual point of view, smartphone users talk to themselves. How about if I do the same and read aloud from my exercise book so that I can concentrate better on my booklet literature? I wouldn't do that, but I ask myself this rhetorical question. Speaking of reading: I like browsing through smartphone tests in magazines and online - but I don't want all of the devices.
Debt through smartphone
As a rule, people are likely to spend sums of money on a smartphone that they can afford financially - at least one can hope. But it doesn't stop with a device purchase and a contract: There are also app purchases and in-app purchases. Every cost factor and, above all, regular costs are bad: All of this increases debt. In a family with two adults and several children, it can happen that everyone has their own smartphone - often quite early (unfortunately, when they are at school). Should I ever have children, I would not finance a smartphone for them (which my partner would probably not allow) and if I did, I would buy one as late as possible. I don't see why minors who don't work and therefore don't earn any money should just get a smartphone as a gift - a simple cell phone is enough to get help. In the good old days of my youth, 40 euros was the upper limit for gifts; may children no longer appreciate the value of money? The smartphone-related costs alone certainly do not result in the family's indebtedness, but they do contribute to this. But hey, getting into debt should be okay these days - which for me it is not: This is what TV commercials from banks suggest. This is morally reprehensible and should be reprimanded by high-ranking politicians, but they are silent. I also miss a moral political authority that takes a critical look at smartphone use. Is it how some cannabis users feel (there is lively internet debates on this)? Who is addicted himself, holds back with criticism? The state is likely to have an interest in smartphones: Because they generate tax revenue, those who are addicted pay their contract costs and maybe buy a new device more often - and are therefore a secure source of income for the state. Unfortunately, looking the other way encourages smartphone manufacturers to continue to exploit the earth to build their devices, planting gold in it, for example. I read about the fact that the gold on earth will be used up at some point if it continues to be incorporated into technical products. Some don't experience it anymore, which of course doesn't make it any better.
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