Break From Technology?


#1

Has anyone else considered doing this?

I’ve become less and less fond of technology recently. I bought a MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) which was supposed to be fun, something I could run some games on. Instead, I’ve spent almost three months attempting to make macOS and Windows run correctly on it, reinstalling system software, drivers and updates, only for the software to break and the machine to stop booting, requiring a reinstall each time. Instead of enjoying the computer, it’s taking every ounce of self control to avoid throwing a fist through the display!

I’m surrounded by computers every single day, and this is the main reason I’ve come to resent them. I don’t see computers as incredible magical machines capable of making our lives easier anymore. Instead I see them as unreliable, poorly made and buggy machines that serve only to frustrate and make otherwise simple tasks harder. Hell, I can’t even have a reliable conversation with another person anymore, because half the time iMessage drops messages or fails to send them entirely. Whatever happened to talking to someone on the phone, or better yet, in person?

It’s important to remember that computers are a useful tool at times, but they aren’t infallible, and too much time and dependence on a computer can be a seriously bad thing.

Yet, I continue to come home each evening, power on my MacBook Air, and run the gauntlet all over again because it’s an addiction. It seems so easy to come home, sit down, fire up YouTube and watch new videos, but only one network interruption is needed to turn the entire experience into frustration again.

I feel like a sucker for punishment. It’s having an adverse effect on my life, and it needs to end.

How does one kick their technology addiction?


#2

Seems like the first thing you need to do is get rid of the MBP, clearly its not meeting your needs. Do you have a desktop? Use that instead. If you dont have one, get one. Why Windows? Do you need to have it on board or is it something you can and should live without? Or, should you switch to Windows entirely?

Before you start considering kicking the habit, you need to establish what it is you expect of your tech (apart from reliability… thats a given)(


#3

kyte’s right about the OS question - I de-Windows-ed myself a couple of years ago from work and home, and I am so much happier. Personally, I love technology and being connected, so it’s not a chore or negative for me, at least at this stage. As you say, having a “fast” from technology is a good idea, and if it’s an issue, abstinence for a period may be necessary.


#4

After working in IT for 26 (or is it 27?) years and “mucking about with” computers for over 36 years I can say that my addiction is not able to be cured.

I get mad, I get anxious, I get happy, I get sad (mostly due to companies that used to have the ‘X’ factor along with reliablity, quality and usability not having them any more) - but it is such an ingrained part of my life I doubt I could leave it behind.


#5

I thought I wanted a break from tech a while back but what I really needed was a slightly different way to focus my skills and interests. That’s what got me into 3D printing!


#6

My sympathies iMic. I know where you are coming from.

Every piece of technology involves an ongoing cost of ownership. This cost involves one or more of a plan, subscription and time. Time is the worst. It includes firmware upgrades, operating system upgrades, application upgrades, and items such as malware scans, clean-up apps, maintaing secure password vaults etc. It also involves building and maintaining familiarity with, and an understanding of all of the above. (Education and training)

My solution is to reduce the number of devices. Try and standardise on one manufacturer’s products. Reduce the number of operating systems that you use. Rationalise the apps you use to maximise familiarity and to minimise updating amd storage space.

I have standardised on Apple. I am trialling an iPad Pro with a view to eventually relying only on IOS. I am close to abandoning Windows & virtual machines (Fusion). I would like to do away with Microsoft software, including MS Office, and just rely on Numbers, Pages and Keynote.

I do have an iPhone, iPad and iMac. The iMac is due for replacement in a year or two. I am not sure whether I will replace it. Much depends on the capabilities of IOS 11 & 12.

That said, I also have a Google Nexus tablet running Android. It lets me do things you can’t do in IOS, such as monitoring the local WiFi network environment.

I do have a Kindle, due to weight, the quality of the display, and battery life when travelling.

So I have not achieved my ideal as yet, but at least I am working towards it.


#7

What kind of monitoring? There’s bound to be an app for that.


#8

Kyte, the Android app I use (WiFi Analyzer) lists all the other WiFi networks that can be detected, together with info such as network name, channel, signal strength, security and more.


#9

Have a poke around on the app store then, there are a few which will give you all that.


#10

Hi Kyte,
Re WiFi apps, the only ones I can find only seem to show info on your current network, and not on all the different WiFi networks in that location. Which apps were you looking at?


#11

I was actually trying to find the one I used to have on board, and it seems to have disappeared. Perhaps it was 32bit and the dev decided not to update. It was a freebie too. Pity. I’ll have another look and see if I can find it buried somewhere.

[edit] You’re right. Not the tool for you. I found it and its local network stuff only.


#12

The MacBook Pro is a nice machine - a 15-inch Mid 2012 Non-Retina - and the hardware is rather nice. I built the machine as a budget games system, something I could run emulated console games and some Windows exclusive titles on, and unfortunately it’s the process of installing Windows that has proven extremely difficult. The computer itself is otherwise fine, but without Windows installed it otherwise serves no purpose, at least until I find an alternative use for it.

That would certainly be part of it, and I enjoyed technology a lot more around a decade or so ago, mainly because what was on offer then aligned with my own interests a lot more. I loved hacking around hardware and software to make computers do cool stuff, where watching the machine do something interesting was the end goal.


Computers have matured since then, security has become a major concern, features are thinned out in favour of ease of use, but the complexity has increased. While computers were often considered frustrating beasts in the 1980s and 1990s, someone knowledgeable enough could still navigate the maze and make it work. With modern technology it’s now almost a random draw as to whether something will work. Something that worked before doesn’t work a second time, or a common task fails for no apparent reason. One such example being my when notes disappeared from my iPhone without warning, removed from iCloud, and Apple support were unable to assist outside of the common “restart and pray” remedies. They reappeared a week later, as though nothing had ever happened. I disabled iCloud entirely after that.

Technology overall is incredible and I can appreciate the kind of conveniences and capabilities we now have that didn’t exist before, but it also seems that the more technology becomes ingrained in our lives and culture, the more headaches and expenses we should come to expect when it doesn’t work as expected. There’s a point of diminishing returns where the modern conveniences of the “Internet of Things” don’t counter the security concerns, vulnerabilities, bugs, connection issues and never ending software updates.

This is essentially where I’m now at. Time to take a step back, shelve the computer for a while, put away the internet-connected salt shaker (Yay, double entendre!) and see if it could actually be beneficial to disconnect ones self - at least for a while.

A little experiment. Last Sunday I backed up my data, erased my MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, and shelved them. The only computers left in my workspace were my '86 IBM XT running DOS and my 27" iMac as a backup. Whenever I needed to access the internet, I had an iPad 2 running iOS 9.3.5.

The entire week, the iMac 27" wasn’t powered on once, so count that one out. The IBM XT was a bit of fun, technology in its simplest form, and always a pleasure to play around with, but even it saw almost no use. Everything else was done on the iPad. Not the fastest little device, but enough to check the mail, read the news and watch some videos. No iCloud syncing, handoff or continuity, everything done on the local device.

Without a doubt the most relaxing week of technology use I’ve had in years. So effortless! But still connected enough to get things done. Sometimes the iPad would run out of memory or slow down, but a little patience and creative application management goes a long way.

I’ve since restored my MacBook Air, to manage the data and tasks that need a little more horsepower, but I’ll continue to simplify, even on the MacBook where I could do away with at least half the applications and data I currently have.

Chances are I’ll re-run the experiment from time to time whenever I need a break.


#13

Too much stuff.


#14

The iMac could be the next to go, leaving the iPad and the MacBook Air. The old machines don’t exactly count - those rarely get powered on and are little more than collectors pieces.

Unfortunately (in this context) I can’t break away completely anymore, because on Friday I was reshuffled at work into computer software and networking, with some expectation I’ll study outside of hours for a while. The best I can do now is thin the pack, hold onto whatever I may need and store it away, then retrieve it whenever the course material or work requires it.


#15

Break from technology is essential to neutralize your brain with all these electronic stuff and helps you to focus on your health and personal skills. We are losing are a memory, and it’s impacting on our analytical skills negatively.
So I have decided that I will take some holidays and spent it with my family on some peaceful and a place full of natural beauty.