Friday, October 21, 2005


This might come as a surprise to those who know me well and know my interest in gadgets. Today I decided to simplify my life even more - I ditched my fancy-pants PDA mobile phone and switched to a run-of-the-mill flip phone. This was probably the most difficult thing for me so far in my goal towards a simplified life-style. (The TV was easy to ditch - I seldom watched it anyhow.) I'm still not really quite sure why I chose to get rid of the PDA phone - maybe just to see if I could. You see, I've been carrying around a Palm-based PDA for about the past 10 years or so - ever since Palm came out with the first Palm Pilot. Then, about two years ago when I saw the Handspring Treo 600 PDA+phone cominbation, I immediately bought one and have enjoyed the tight integration of wireless Internet access with my PDA. Now that it's gone, no longer will I be able to read the BBC news when dining alone in a restaurant, or snap a picture and type a blog message and immediately post it no matter where I am, or check the weather forecast, or read my email. No more settling disagreements among friends by immediately doing a Google search from my phone to find an answer.

Since it was something I used all the time, I have a definite feeling of loss. But, I think it might be good for me to be a bit more disconnected from the electronic world. I'm in front of a computer 8 hours a day as part of my job and I also have Internet access at home. How connected do I really need to be? Was it really necessary for me to be able to read the news whereever I was? Or check my email? Or post messages like this while paddling out in the bay in my kayak? Sure it was handy, but definitely not necessary. I could be doing other things with my time. Maybe I can spend a bit more time being aware of what's actually around me rather than what's on a little LCD screen in front of me.

And on the practical economics side, I did end up saving over $150 by returning the fancy Treo 650 phone in exchange for a more simple mobile phone. Plus I'll be saving another $40 a month by no longer having an Internet plan with my mobile phone. So, that money saved can go towards something else more worth while.

I suppose I'll have to wait and see if I still think this was a good idea once some more time passes.