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  1. #1
    Network Hub Splynter's Avatar
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    Smartphones kind of suck

    After reading this post on Slashdot http://science.slashdot.org/story/12...nished-boredom I got to thinking about the relationship people have with their smartphones. I've noticed that ever since I've had a smartphone, there are certain things that I just don't do as much anymore. In periods of low activity, I'm now much less likely to just pick up an instrument and play, read a book, or pursue one of my other hobbies. Instead, I'll just take my phone out of my pocket and browse the internet, or maybe play one of the unrewarding games that are particularly prevalent on those platforms. I don't find myself being any less bored, either, it's almost like I'm on autopilot.

    Sure, smartphones allow people to be 'connected' at all times, but that hasn't introduced anything meaningful to my life. They aren't good tools for doing anything productive. They seem to me like vapid toys that are useful only for filling time, or solving arguments with a quick Wikipedia search. Not to mention how they turn people into assholes. Case in point, I was hanging out with a friend of mine when mid conversation- mid sentence in fact- they stopped talking and pulled out their phone to check a message, read for about 15 seconds, and then returned to the in-person conversation they were having as if nothing happened. I don't buy that they've made our lives any better like the marketers try to sell.
    I take photos of space and talk about it sometimes: http://ofspaceandthings.tumblr.com Also, I am making a game for which there is a development log: http://elegythegame.tumblr.com/

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    The concept that we are increasingly socially disconnected despite social networking has been a popular one of late, with a fair number of scholarly articles written on it.

    But because I don't wanna link a bunch of dry texts, I'll just link this.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
    Director of the Friends of Nalano PAC
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    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  3. #3
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    It's more of a problem among younger people. I work at a University, and whenever I am out and about and see a student who isn't looking down at their phone, or doesn't have headphones on, I'm genuinely surprised. I've seen lines of over a dozen students walking down the sidewalk, not one of them looking where they are going, their faces buried in their phones. If there were an open manhole in front of them, they would all fall down it like lemmings.

    Personally, I don't understand how people can be so enthralled by their phones. I have a new Galaxy SIII paid for by my job. It's a good phone. When I get home from work, I set it on the table and usually don't touch it again until I leave for work the next morning. Despite being a lifelong lover of video games, I don't have any "games" installed on it. If I want to play a game, I will play an actual game, and not a phone app. About the only thing I use it for when I'm not working is checking my Fantasy Football scores. I don't even take it with me when I go to the can. I would literally rather stare at the wall or read the back of a shampoo bottle than "play" Angry Birds.

    Anyhow, I think smartphones are actually great. It's people who can't practice restraint or understand how to act like a decent person in public that suck. Hell, anything used the way most people use their phones could be made to look bad. If you walked everywhere with your nose in a book, and couldn't be bothered to look up at the person you are talking to, you would look like an ass. That doesn't mean books suck. You suck.
    "What were we talking about? Pegasuses, pegasii, that's horses with wings. This motherf*cker got a sword that talks to him. Motherf*cker live in places that don't exist, it comes with a map. My God."

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I'm on my phone now.
    Mwahahahah
    *coughs*
    Take responsibility for your own behaviour, blaming your phone or whatever is just neutrally lazy.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by db1331 View Post
    It's more of a problem among younger people
    Y'know, the first thing I thought when I read this was, "because older people don't understand how to work their phones." Believe me, the biggest fans I know for the iPhone are retired and easily distracted.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
    Director of the Friends of Nalano PAC
    Attorney at Lawl
    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  6. #6
    Network Hub Splynter's Avatar
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    I don't propose that the phones themselves are to blame for my or others' behaviour, but they certainly are first class enablers. There's nothing like being the only one at a dinner table with his head still up. Though I'm hardly the worst offender in my group of friends, I have found myself falling into the trap of using my phone in situations where it's really not called for. I've made a conscious effort to limit my usage to times when I'm alone, or say, sitting on a bus, when they are indeed quite handy for reading and passing time.
    I take photos of space and talk about it sometimes: http://ofspaceandthings.tumblr.com Also, I am making a game for which there is a development log: http://elegythegame.tumblr.com/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splynter View Post
    I don't propose that the phones themselves are to blame for my or others' behaviour, but they certainly are first class enablers. There's nothing like being the only one at a dinner table with his head still up. Though I'm hardly the worst offender in my group of friends, I have found myself falling into the trap of using my phone in situations where it's really not called for. I've made a conscious effort to limit my usage to times when I'm alone, or say, sitting on a bus, when they are indeed quite handy for reading and passing time.
    My God I can't stand that. I had a buddy last year who invited himself up to my house to watch a game that I really had no interest in watching. I told him to come on over anyway. I bought some beers, threw some wings on the grill, did everything to be a good host. Then he came over and texted on his phone with his girlfriend the entire time. I'm talking constant back and forth, around 3 texts a minute. He wasn't watching the game or even talking to me. He seriously came to my house to text. I tossed him out in less than an hour, told him I had other things I could be doing. He seemed totally stunned, like something was wrong with me. I didn't talk to him again for almost 6 months. Then he sent an email apologizing for being so rude and texting the whole time. Maybe he finally grew up?
    "What were we talking about? Pegasuses, pegasii, that's horses with wings. This motherf*cker got a sword that talks to him. Motherf*cker live in places that don't exist, it comes with a map. My God."

  8. #8
    Network Hub Splynter's Avatar
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    That is pretty rude, though his making the effort to apologize to you surely shows some maturity. When I was in university, a friend of my roommates and I would come over to hang out fairly often, and there was a period of time where he would be predominantly on his phone while 'hanging out' with us. I called him out on it and he was genuinely surprised, as if he had no idea that a) what he was doing was rude or b) he was doing it at all. I think it may be easier to convince yourself that you're not being anti-social when on the phone in a physical group of people when you are interacting with a person through your phone, not that that excuses things.

    I think a more apt thesis/thread title would have been that people can be lazy, anti-social dicks, and smartphones make this very easy. I don't hate the technology behind my phone, and it has allowed me to do some things I would not have been easily able to do before getting it. For instance, Geocaching is very easy to get into now that GPS is no longer the sole playground of people with dedicated units. When I'm out in the middle of a field with my telescope, I can easily look up charts online or through Google Sky Map to either identify an object or choose my next target. So, my declaration that they "aren't good tools for doing anything productive" in the OP is wrong even in my own experience. Serves me right for writing up a post based more on my current emotions than considered thought.
    I take photos of space and talk about it sometimes: http://ofspaceandthings.tumblr.com Also, I am making a game for which there is a development log: http://elegythegame.tumblr.com/

  9. #9
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    I know what you mean though. I don't understand the need to "check-in" on your phone at the coffee shop. Who do you need to prove to that you got a cup of coffee? Would they not believe you if a satellite hadn't verified it? And why do you need to take a picture of your food before you eat it, and post it online? Nobody cares. Just fucking eat it.

    Sometimes I feel like I was born a few hundred years too late. I just turned 29 this month, but I sometimes hate the times we live in so much, it feels like I was just thawed out of a block of ice after being frozen for 500 years. I think I need to go camping for like a week. No electronics.
    "What were we talking about? Pegasuses, pegasii, that's horses with wings. This motherf*cker got a sword that talks to him. Motherf*cker live in places that don't exist, it comes with a map. My God."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by db1331 View Post
    I know what you mean though. I don't understand the need to "check-in" on your phone at the coffee shop. Who do you need to prove to that you got a cup of coffee? Would they not believe you if a satellite hadn't verified it? And why do you need to take a picture of your food before you eat it, and post it online? Nobody cares. Just fucking eat it.
    Narcissism. I care about what I'm doing; why shouldn't everybody else?
    Eh, I don't really know. It's just something to do for most people, I think. Idle activity to assuage their stereotypically stunted modern attention spans. Or just to avoid interacting with stuff. I'm a touch guilty of that myself - someone down the road I'm not sure I recognize? Dick about with my phone until they're close enough to tell. Lull in conversation? Dick about on your phone! I don't really do that but I sure as hell see it a lot.

    ... I just turned 29 this month, ...
    Old man!

    Back in the distant past (ie, before smartphones) I was way more wired than any of my friends and acquaintances. Since then, I think I'm the only one who doesn't have one now. And yes, I have been laughed at for still carrying about my three (four?) year old LG flip phone. I'll get something new when that one stops working, damnit! Not before!

    I wouldn't say it increases or decreases social interaction (because I wouldn't know how to quantify that) but I think it's an easy argument that such tech (social networks, smartphones, et al) can totally change the nature of interaction. People pay way, way less attention to what's physically around them. Even if it's their friends, who they they ignore in favour of e-interaction with the ones who aren't present... The singularity-ists might say that's a good thing, but if it hits a point where you walk into things (I'VE SEEN THIS HAPPEN) or it becomes compulsive (ditto), then, maybe it's not so hot. I guess that makes me an old man too.

    But then, if there's one thing that I learned from RPS, it's that Old Men are the future.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    I always wandered around with headphones and still do! Not when I'm with people obviously but my iPod (which is essentially my smartphone equivalent) is just doing the same job my walkman/discman equivalents did years ago. As such I tend to forget it can do other stuff as well and only really remember when I want an update on some sport score or other.

    On a side note I bloody hate it when people ruin conversations by looking stuff up on their phone straight away. Don't they understand that it's fun trying to remember some obscure fact? Or just deciding to make something up and the conversation taking a surreal jaunt elsewhere? But nope, you had to look up the correct answer on Google, which isn't big or clever as anyone can fucking do that. It can be okay sometimes if it's actually facilitating the conversation on some way (starting it off or showing a picture of something cool that happened on holiday or whatever) but mostly it's just a conversation killer.

    Also I miss my Nokia 3310. Those things were relatively indestructible.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    I do have to say i am definitely guilty maybe of this and something my girlfriend hates where i can be engrossed on a tv article just there on my phone easy to read or reading my book, I must take self control because it can be easy when you have lolls in conversation just to have everyone whip there phone and not speak for the next 30 minutes.

    I don't get checking in though thats way weird and every time i see those kind of things I think easily going to get stalked.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    In my case I work with smartphones, but my last internet-capable device was like 3 years ago. I have the chance of getting a new one now, but I'm not a 100% sure about it. I got a small Nokia 101 Dual Sim meanwhile, and I'm impressed with the battery and fast response of the system.

    The reason is the same you mention, I kind of phased out one year from my social groups, and when came back everyone was WhatsApping all the fucking time. At the beginning I was under the impression that I bore them or something, but I see now I am not the problem.

    Also, twitter. With a non-internet phone I do around a thousand entries a month, and that's just when I'm in front of a computer.
    Last edited by pakoito; 28-09-2012 at 01:03 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchops View Post
    On a side note I bloody hate it when people ruin conversations by looking stuff up on their phone straight away. Don't they understand that it's fun trying to remember some obscure fact? Or just deciding to make something up and the conversation taking a surreal jaunt elsewhere? But nope, you had to look up the correct answer on Google, which isn't big or clever as anyone can fucking do that. It can be okay sometimes if it's actually facilitating the conversation on some way (starting it off or showing a picture of something cool that happened on holiday or whatever) but mostly it's just a conversation killer.
    That's really annoying. After I complained enough, we now have a rule at the pub that the iPhone cannot be used to look up the answer to some trivia question until the group agrees that we've talked about it enough and now want to know the answer.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    The only thing my phone has really replaced, for the most part, is my handheld gaming devices.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splynter View Post
    There's nothing like being the only one at a dinner table with his head still up.
    I was with a group of friends at a bar a few years back. We were (are) all inveterate, boisterous alcoholics aside from the fiance of a friend who simply sat in the corner and played with his blackberry (back when they weren't considered shit).

    The smokers started filing out to smoke (since you can't smoke in bars in NYC), then the non-smokers started finding excuses to go hang out with the smokers, then it was just me with this dude and his blackberry. So I left him to join the party that had moved outside.

    "How could you leave him alone like that?"

    "How could I leave him alone like that? How could you leave me alone with him?"

    We still argue about the social protocol in that situation. I'm still not certain he ever noticed there was​ a situation.
    Last edited by Nalano; 28-09-2012 at 04:25 PM.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  17. #17
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    I don't keep one as I don't see the need (no, really) but there are times when I wish I had one just so I could get back at people who keep ruining conversations with theirs.

  18. #18
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  19. #19
    Lesser Hivemind Node icupnimpn2's Avatar
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    My wife sometimes gets annoyed that I am reading comics on my phone or something while sitting on the couch with her, while she is watching what she wants on TV. "Enough with the phone."

    Well, enough with TV.

    ...

    The phone is at least interactive.

  20. #20
    Network Hub tomeoftom's Avatar
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    Ironic given the thread, but I actually hate smartphones more for the inevitable oh-god-kill-me-with-a-brick conversations that arise whenever someone notices something about them:

    "oh which Android version is that?" "how much did that cost?" "is it worth getting an iphone?" "oh I hate touchscreens" "there's so many apps nowadays" "can you get 3g here?" "can you show us that Youtube video we were talking about?". Yes, because nothing makes you feel better about a conversation than having to mutter 'sorry, it's taking a while to load' just to break the unbearable silence. Brrrr. I don't understand why people actually want to get out your phone then and there and watch some worthless video on your tiny little screen. The banality just makes my skin crawl.

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