Is That A Computer in Your Pocket?

It is said that once we reach adulthood that our opinions and basic personality has formed and rarely changes. I never paid much attention to that theory until I realized that I’d picked up some interesting opinions and habits myself from what I suspect was a rather young age.

Since that discovery about myself, I have began to question everything.

Those who have followed me over the years have doubtless noticed my disdain for cell phones. I refused to own one for years because I considered them a luxury, only acquiring one because my kids felt that they were a necessity.

I’ve noticed this disdain in others as well. Browse the Internet very much, and you stumble upon memes mocking the youth for the cellphones they carry.

The other day, some coworkers and myself could not remember a setting to use on a piece of equipment. Rather than guess, I pulled out my cellphone, did a quick search, and located the information.

That search made me realize a truth I had denied since smartphones were invented: This isn’t just a phone; it’s a computer.

We literally carry miniaturized computers complete with Internet access in our pockets, yet when we want to do any serious work we reach for a bulky laptop each time. While a small number of us have transitioned to using tablets with keyboards attached for some work, the majority of us still insist upon using a standard computer for our tasks.

That includes me. When I think of writing, I think of sitting down at a computer to do my work, or at least curling up with pen and paper to complete the task. The thought of anything else never occurred to me.

I haven’t had any desire to sit down in front of a computer for months. I haven’t had any desire to seriously fiddle with a computer for over a year, despite my efforts to rekindle that passion.

While my computer use has waned, I have found myself using this phone more and more. It is my alarm clock, my calendar, my camera. It is the notebook I pull out when I need to remember something. It is my stereo both at home and while on the move, and it is the GPS that guides me when I travel to an unfamiliar place.

I use this phone for almost everything that I used to rely upon a computer for, yet I refused to consider using it for my writing and certain other tasks.

I felt a bit sheepish after having that revelation. I’ve always been the one who embraced new technology, yet it seems that I have become a bit set in my ways.

As a result of that revelation I am attempting an experiment. I am going to look at this device as the computer that it is. When I have a task to accomplish involving computers, I’m going to attempt the task on this phone first.

More importantly, I am going to make it a point to do a bit of writing on this device. I not only want to explore the functionality of using this phone to write with, I want to see if the added mobility inspires me to write again.

If you are seeing this post, then this experiment is at least a partial success. I downloaded the app that allows me to maintain my website, and have been tinkering on this post for several days. I write during my breaks at work and while I’m waiting for my car to warm up in the mornings.

While it feels odd to sit here and type out a blog post with my thumbs, it feels good to know that at least I’m writing. I was beginning to wonder if I ever would write again, since I lacked the time and the desire to sit down and actually write.

Maybe this is the solution I needed.

Have you ever realized that you’d been looking at something with a closed mind? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

8 thoughts on “Is That A Computer in Your Pocket?”

  1. Annie, I think your view of phones, is understandable considering how most people use them more as entertainment devices or socially acceptable adult game boys as one person put it. The most important part of a computer, be it a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone is how you use it. It is no different from the late 1990s when I had a teacher refer to the PC as a solitary box for most people. Personally, I think I am blessed as I am old enough that my first “pocket computer” was a Palm Pilot which was designed to be a portable productivity device that I feel set me up with a healthy mindset for smartphones before they came out. Yes smartphones can be great “Swiss army” computer devices as before COVID I was the main photographer for my church and I took all the pictures on my phone as it had a better camera then my decade-old digital camera which at the time it was bought was considered a quality camera. When it comes to doing more useful work with a smartphone I find a folding Bluetooth keyboard a must and a “wallet case” helps as it makes it easy to stand up your phone at an angle for writing. While I would never want to go with only a phone, I could manage a weekend trip or vacation with only a phone and Bluetooth keyboard if I needed it, although ideally, I’d like at least a tablet for a larger screen if I want to get in any writing or more serious reading. As for tinkering with computers again, if your phone is Android you might want to look into Termux, which is a Linux environment that you can run inside your phone so you can use Emacs or VIM on your pocket computer.

    1. Hi John!

      I used to own a Palm Pilot. It was nice, but I absolutely fell in love with the Palm LifeDrive. That was my go-to mobile computing device until it died.

      My phone is an iPhone 6s. I’ve tried Android and for some reason I’m just not that impressed. Perhaps because I’m used to how Apple does things? I dunno. I thought I’d prefer Android because it’s open source history but I didn’t. That said, I can duplicate the screen on my phone on my television if I want a bigger screen. I did that the other evening to read a PDF. Made it a lot easier.

      So far I don’t have a keyboard for this phone but I wouldn’t be able use it much. I currently carry my phone in my pocket at work, pulling it out to add a word or make a quick note when I get a moment, so I don’t sit down enough to bother. Surprisingly, I’m becoming quite adept at typing with my thumbs.

      1. In that case, I would especially recommend looking into Standard Notes (has both iOS and Android app support) knowing your interest in privacy. It is a cross-platform note app with zero knowledge encrypted syncing which works great across numerous platforms. The free version gives you plain text so it is fully functional as is without needing to pay for a subscription. That is what I now use for most of my writing for the convenience of having it with me anywhere I happen to be.

  2. When I read the title of this blog my spouse and I immediately started listing other uses than phone calls. Our list wasn’t as complete as yours but we did include flashlight. We both missed library and game closet. I am now even more amazed at this thing I carry in my pocket.

    1. Oh yes! I keep a small library of books on mine. I’ve been using this phone to read from the start. I don’t play games on it, though you definitely can. I even highlight and make notes on documents that I photograph. I do that with my schedule every week so I can easily see what shift I work. I know one lady who actually uses her phone as a coloring book, and another as a sketch pad of sorts. Now that I’ve made the mental connection I’m rather impressed. I wonder if a hard core minimalist would even need a computer if they owned a smartphone these days? What do you think?

  3. Hi Annie,
    I use my phone for all that you mentioned. I do not have WiFi at home. I use my phone and an unlimited coverage package for everything. The one exception- I’m writing a novel. I do that on a laptop for ease of typing, but I lack internet connection on my laptop. All my research is via my phone.

    1. Nice! I’ve thought about eliminating my home internet but haven’t made the decision yet. They say to wait six months before making any major decisions after a life changing event and I suppose Katie moving qualifies. I find myself using it less and less, so I may end up just upgrading my data plan on my phone and using that exclusively. I just want to ensure that the decision isn’t an impulsive one. Have you tried to use your phone as a hotspot? I know I can share the Internet on my phone but I gather that is different for everyone.

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