Why I Dumped My iPhone—And I'm Not Going Back - Technology - GOOD

Why I Dumped My iPhone—And I'm Not Going Back - Technology - GOOD

Sam Graham-Felsen

iPhone 4

On Black Friday in 2009, I said goodbye to my iPhone. And when Steve Jobs’ successor announces the newest version today, I’m going to ignore the whole spectacle. Or try to, anyway.

In 2007 I was one of those people who obsessively monitored MacRumors.com for iPhone scuttlebutt, then waited in line for hours and bought one the first day it came out. At the time, I was working on Barack Obama’s digital campaign team in Chicago, and I was wide-eyed about the iPhone’s potential to empower the grassroots. A volunteer, I imagined, could pull up a map and find five doors of likely voters to knock on; or share streaming videos of Obama speeches at local diners and farmers markets—or even collect credit card donations at rallies. It would be easier than ever to change the world.

Indeed, the iPhone changed my life. Before I got my iPhone, rushing to the airport was a harrowing experience; after, it was actually kind of fun. I could check in en route to my flight and instantly get my boarding pass, use the extra half hour to find a cheap but critically-lauded Mexican place in my destination city. I was never bored. Whenever I came to a red light or a long line, I reflexively reached for my iPhone. The Terminal 3 waiting area became the most interesting place in the world.

I could easily spend three straight hours on my phone without even noticing. If I’d spent three straight hours watching TV, I would be disgusted with myself. But I was convinced that the Internet was more edifying than television—even though most of my online diet consisted of gossipy garbage—because it was “interactive.” I couldn’t possibly be a zombie, because everyone knows zombies don’t comment and share.

Yet it was nearly impossible for me to sit through dinner without reaching for my iPhone. Even when my wife was in the middle of telling me something important, I couldn’t resist peeking at that tiny screen under the table to find out whether a high school acquaintance liked my latest status update. “What is so important?” she demanded, and I knew I had no good answer.

Soon after another iPhone-related argument, I traveled to Turkey to give a presentation about my experiences on the Obama campaign and about how tools like the iPhone could be used to build a movement. But for all my talk about the liberating power of technology, I was beginning to see how imprisoned I was by it . On the long flight home, my iPhone on airplane mode, I began reading Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. It was one of several dozen classics that I’d downloaded for free in a fit of literary quixotism, then ignored.

I was almost embarrassed by the degree to which Walden felt directed toward me. I was particularly stung by his withering take on news junkies: “Hardly a man takes a half-hour's nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, ‘What's the news?’ as if the rest of mankind had stood his sentinels ... Pray tell me anything new that has happened to a man anywhere on this globe,” he wrote in 1854.

And when I came across his famous verdict—“Men have become tools of their tools”—I felt like an enormous tool.

The next morning, I was in Boston with my family for Thanksgiving. Jetlagged and jarred by Thoreau, I woke up at 5 a.m. I got a bike out of my parent’s basement, took out my iPhone, and looked up directions to Walden Pond.

When I arrived, I read Walden’s most celebrated lines: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.” I thought about how it’s become fashionable to pooh-pooh Thoreau as a weak-willed hypocrite who lived a short walk away from civilization and had his mother deliver food to his doorstep. Many of these Thoreau skeptics dismiss critics of technology as curmudgeonly alarmists. Of course, I was one of those people.

I read on: “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life...”

No matter how impure Thoreau’s experiment in simple living may have been, there was something undeniable in his suggestion that we often have to strip convenience from our lives to feel alive. The iPhone had certainly made my life easier, but had it made my life better?

First thing the next morning, I went to the AT&T store. I had to explain several times that I didn’t want to trade my iPhone in for a newer model, or a Droid, or anything with the Internet. I just wanted something that would allow me to make calls. The sales clerk looked at me with an expression that read: “Who gets something worse on Black Friday?” I walked out with a ridiculously unsleek '90s-era Nokia that my friends still tease me about.

Since then, I haven’t become a Renaissance man or a soulful motorcycle mechanic, but my daily life has improved. Commutes are no longer opportunities to catch up on email or Twitter, so I’m reading books again. It feels a little like getting a new contact lens prescription: Things that were blurred together feel sharper and more distinctly colored. And of course, I’m no longer engaged in half-conversations with the people in front of me and half-conversations with the Internet.

There are, of course, inconveniences. I had to buy a printer for my boarding passes. I hand-write driving directions or text them to myself. If I’m in an unfamiliar neighborhood or a new city, I actually have to do some planning before I bolt out the door. And when I get lost and am too embarrassed to ask a stranger, I have to call my wife, who has an iPhone, for directions.

One of the hardest things to get used to was being unable to instantly share my awesome and horrible experiences with my friends online. Now, I write down my impressions in a notebook, and by the time I get back to a computer, they rarely feel like must-tweets. I’m forced to slog through the tedium of waiting, to wrestle with dull passages and slow scenes, to grapple with confusing and sometimes scary situations on my own. I’m able to savor an idea and allow it to gestate.

When I had an iPhone, the Internet was no longer a destination; it was on me every day, like a piece of clothing I put on first thing in the morning. When I get tempted to return to that life, I ask myself: Do I really want the Internet to be something I feel naked without?

I still covet the thinner, faster, lighter iPhone 5. But I’m sticking with my boring little Nokia.


Official Google Blog: Dynamic Views: seven new ways to share your blog with the world

Official Google Blog: Dynamic Views: seven new ways to share your blog with the world

Dynamic Views: seven new ways to share your blog with the world

9/27/2011 03:04:00 PM

As we said a few weeks ago when we launched a completely rebuilt, streamlined authoring and editing experience, we’re in the process of bringing you a much improved and modernized Blogger. The next phase of these updates starts today with seven new ways to display your blog, called Dynamic Views.

Built with the latest in web technology (AJAX, HTML5 and CSS3), Dynamic Views is a unique browsing experience that will inspire your readers to explore your blog in new ways. The interactive layouts make it easier for readers to enjoy and discover your posts, loading 40 percent faster than traditional templates and bringing older entries to the surface so they seem fresh again.

Dynamic Views is much more than just new templates. With just a couple clicks, you’ll get infinite scrolling (say goodbye to the “Older posts” link), images that load as you browse, integrated search, sorting by date, label and author, lightbox-style posts for easy viewing, keyboard shortcuts for quickly flipping through posts, and one-click sharing to Google+ and other social sites on every post.

No two blogs are the same, so you can choose from seven different views that display text and photos differently. For example, if you have lots of photos on your blog, you may prefer Flipcard or Snapshot. If your blog is more text-heavy, then Classic, Sidebar (what you’re seeing now on Blogger Buzz) or Timeslide may be preferable. Here’s a quick description of each of the new views, along with links to some of our favorite blogs where you can check each of them out in action.
  • Classic (Gmail): A modern twist on a traditional template, with infinite scrolling and images that load as you go
  • Flipcard (M loves M) - Your photos are tiled across the page and flip to reveal the post title
  • Magazine (Advanced Style) - A clean, elegant editorial style layout
  • Mosaic (Crosby’s Kitchen) - A mosaic mix of different sized images and text
  • Sidebar (Blogger Buzz Blog) - An email inbox-like view with a reading page for quick scrolling and browsing
  • Snapshot (Canelle et Vanille) - An interactive pinboard of your posts
  • Timeslide (The Bleary-Eyed Father) - A horizontal view of your posts by time period
Enter the name of your favorite Blogger blog below and click Preview to check it out with Dynamic Views.

Adding a Dynamic View to your blog is as easy as changing your template. Log in to Blogger, click on the Template tab on your dashboard, and select whichever view you want to set as your default. Note that readers can still choose to navigate your blog in a different view by selecting from the pulldown in the upper left of the screen.

If you want to add your own touch to any of these new views, you can upload a header image and customize the background colors. We’ll be adding more ways to customize Dynamic Views in the coming weeks.

We hope you enjoy the latest update to Blogger, and that, as always, you tell us what you think by completing this short survey.

Note: In addition to Blogger Buzz, several other official Google blogs will be featuring Dynamic Views through the weeks and months ahead, including the Gmail Blog, LatLong Blog and Docs Blog. We’re excited to bring Dynamic Views into the fold and we'll be looking at how to incorporate this new technology across Google’s blog network in the long term.

(Cross-posted from Blogger Buzz)

Update 7:31pm: We've added back a working link to submit your feedback.
Update 6:00pm: Earlier today, this post included a link to a feedback form. We do value your feedback and want to know what you think of this update; we'll have a feedback link up again soon.

Links to this post

[ Google lancia Dynamic Views in Blogger] Attualità [ Google lancia ...


Apple Denied Trademark For 'Multi-Touch' - Slashdot

Apple Denied Trademark For 'Multi-Touch' - Slashdot

Apple Denied Trademark For 'Multi-Touch'

Posted by Soulskill - suraj.sun sends this excerpt from MacRumors:

"In a decision handed down by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple has been denied an application for a trademark on Multi-Touch. ... For trademarks, 'the greater the degree of descriptiveness the term has, the heavier the burden to prove it has attained secondary meaning.' The trademark attorney pointed out that the term 'multitouch' has taken on generic meaning, being used by a wide variety of publications to describe the touchscreen technology on Android phones, tablets, and notebooks."