a widescreen ipod, a phone, an internet communicator

Cal Newport, writing for the New York Times:

Practically speaking, to be a minimalist smartphone user means that you deploy this device for a small number of features that do things you value (and that the phone does particularly well), and then outside of these activities, put it away. This approach dethrones this gadget from a position of constant companion down to a luxury object, like a fancy bike or a high-end blender, that gives you great pleasure when you use it but doesn’t dominate your entire day.

Nick Statt, writing for the Verge:

I want the phone to function mostly as a phone, instead of as the always half-open window into a digital life I’d rather leave behind when I shut my laptop down every evening.

Thinking about buying an Apple Watch yielded something surprising, but obvious. I was trying to do too many things with my phone. I already have what Statt calls the best minimalist phone, so why not make the best of it? I’ve whittled the apps on the SE down to the essentials, and wouldn’t you know it, the thing resembles the original iPhone’s purpose: an iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator.

I got there by looking at the table I made in the Apple Watch post, going app by app, and deciding if the app was better off on my phone, or on my Surface. If the app worked better or was more fun to use on the Surface, I uninstalled it from the phone. Instagram was the biggest surprise.

This might change if I ever get one of those fancy iPhones with a laptop-amount of screen and tons of battery and a great camera. But for now, the simplicity of not allowing every app to run on the thing has made my commute, work, and nightlife much less distracting.


January 29, 2019