How my relationship to technology has changed in the past decade

  1. I used to want every new device and cool gadget. I watched keynotes, preordered things, scouted Kickstarter for the latest and greatest. Now my iPhone is 3 generations behind and I have no intention of upgrading until it dies. I’ve lost count of how many generation behind the iPad I’m writing this on is.
  2. I used to beta test tons of software, including major macOS releases. Now I wait until the official public release been out for at least a few months before I’ll even consider upgrading. Reliability is important to my workflow.
  3. I used to pirate software, music, and movies. Now I’m not even sure where to look for such things.
  4. I used to spend lots of my spare time on social media and online in general. Now I spend as much time offline as I can.
  5. I used to be dogmatic about DRM free content and open source software. I still prefer it, but I’m much more pragmatic now. I want things quickly and I want them to work reliably. For example, DRM free audiobooks require lots of extra effort to source and then load into a compatible audio player on mobile. Audible has a 25x better selection and works every time.

Why have I shifted in this direction?

  • I think technology has reached a level of sophistication where it can do everything I expect quickly. Speed improvements don’t matter as much to me anymore when everything is fast.
  • Cloud storage is ubiquitous, so I don’t run into space constraints on devices anymore.
  • I value reliability over cutting edge features. My work requires fast turnaround and disruptions due to unreliable tools are very frustrating. I want things to work whenever I need them. I no longer have patience for doing work in order to make the tools work so that I can do the original work I came to the tool for.
  • I’ve reached a level of income and workload where I’m willing to trade money for time. When I was younger, the opposite was true: I had more time than money.
  • I feel like I’m in a different stage of life now than I was a decade ago. I value spending time interacting meaningfully with the world immediately around me rather than the online world. It isn’t that I didn’t want to interact with the world around me when I was younger, but it is definitely more of a priority now than it was then.
  • Re: pirating – It used to be difficult or very expensive to get the software I use, movies I want to see, or music I want to listen to online. Pirating it was easier. Now it is so simple and relatively inexpensive to get what I want that it is easier than pirating.

One response to “How my relationship to technology has changed in the past decade”

  1. Robert Felty Avatar

    I am in much the same boat. For me personally, I think that a lot of my shift from dogmatism to pragmatism has to do with becoming a parent. That has definitely reduced my free time a lot, and also I don’t have as much desire to be picky – it is taken up by my children, demanding that the gigantic puddle of ketchup go exactly *there* on their plate.

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