High-tech to low-tech: How I changed the way I use technology

It all started with my camera. Or should I say “re-started”. Because in the past few years, I had progressively removed from my life every thing that came in consumables to replace them by de-materialised content. But I realised that by making it more convenient and easy, it caused all these activities to take way too much of my life (some more than others). When I was taking my DSLR around, I was taking so many photos it was cutting the pleasure out of visiting the places I was travelling to.

It all started with my camera. Or should I say “re-started”. Because in the past few years, I had progressively removed from my life every thing that came in consumables to replace them by de-materialised content: digital photography (from compact to DSLR), portable music (MP3 players, then directly on phones), e-readers. But I realised that by making it more convenient and easy, it caused all these activities to take way too much of my life (some more than others). When I was taking my DSLR around, I was taking so many photos it was cutting the pleasure out of visiting the places I was travelling to.

That’s why, in 2013, I decided to go to Korea for a few weeks and not take my camera. And obviously, what should have happened, happened: I was missing taking photos. A friend suggested to buy a disposable camera (I didn’t even know it still existed), and shoot. And although it was an expensive alternative to DSLR, it gave me a sense of challenge, since I had to adapt to the − huge − limitations of the camera. But it didn’t prevent me from taking night time photos:

Concert

And I loved it!

So it didn’t take much for me to switch and buy a used SLR and going chemical. I’m still doing film photography, and not ready to stop.

But it wasn’t the end of it. It recently leaked over other “hobbies”. Despite my e-reader, I always kept a foot in the paperback world, because there is always some time I go to a book store, browse around and decide to take something, although I could just write down the title (in my phone) and buy the e-book online. But I don’t. Because somehow, I still want to be able to just buy a book on a whim, because I liked a cover, and not after I spent an hour browsing the web for reviews, reading the author’s bio on Wikipedia, and doing a pros and cons list that takes another hour. The other day I bought a book just because someone (I didn’t even know) told me it was a good book. And I loved it. I want to be surprised like this. It doesn’t happen online.

And more recently, I started a vinyl disc collection. It’s still small, and since I moved to Montréal, I don’t have a turntable anymore, but I want to have more of these. When I listen to music on my phone, it’s mostly to make the commute less boring; when I listen to music from the computer, it’s while doing something else. But if I need to get up every 18 min to turn a LP around, I better listen and enjoy the music!

ironmaiden.jpg_large

And that’s the whole point: to enjoy.

Whether it’s reading a book, doing photography, or listening to music, even watching a movie, I don’t enjoy it as much as when I have to go out of my ways to do it.

I don’t enjoy the low-tech because it’s more convenient. I enjoy it because it’s not.

And I find it funny that it took a week without my smartphone to realise why I was doing what I was doing.

I am not going to lie. The smartphone is freaking useful. Possibilities are endless. Writing down an appointment (and getting a reminder), having your whole address book handy, even if you change your phone, plus all the small apps dedicated to your town or the services you use, are the many things that make the smartphone a very handy and almost indispensable tool in the pocket. Unless there is an apocalypse, I won’t be getting rid of mine anytime soon. I don’t either want to buy a new one when mine will be really busted, unless there is a really fair and environmentally viable alternative to what is done today

But right now, my choice to go back to low tech isn’t even ecological (it still nice to have ecology on your side though). It’s a behaviour-related choice. It’s about separating what I like the most from the noisy digital world, and doing the effort that will make it worth. My enjoyment is proportional to the effort I take to achieve it.

 

Good things about a busted smartphone (after a in-depth experience of living with a flip-phone for 24 hours)

My super smartphone hasn’t dealt well with a full day of walking in the minus 11 weather of Montréal, QC, decided that it had enough of it and didn’t even wait until its battery was totally down to give me the finger. So unless the phone Magician downtown operates his magic to resuscitate it and bring me back in my “relatively” comfortable situation, here are some reasons why it may be a good thing to have a busted smartphone

My super smartphone (to not mistake with a supersmart phone) hasn’t dealt well with a full day of walking in the minus 11 weather of Montréal, QC, decided that it had enough of it and didn’t even wait until its battery was totally down to give me the finger (figuratively, but it quite literally shut off seeing my face not 2 seconds before I plugged it in). So unless the phone Magician downtown operates his magic to resuscitate it and bring me back in my “relatively” comfortable situation, here are some reasons why it may be a good thing to have a busted smartphone (after a full day of leaving in the world with peasants my awesome peers). Let’s get to it.

  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #1: I am gonna read more books to make up for lost online time and boring commute (I don’t commute to work, but some times I have to take the metro to go downtown, if only to go to the smartphone Magician).
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #2: I don’t get lonely and depressed just because I get less than 10 social notifications a day.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #3: I get to feel like I am a student from 2002 again with a nice and shiny flip-phone (which is finally sync’ed with my childish behaviour and my boob size. The universe is in phase once again).
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #4: I don’t get to text my crush all the time and annoy them too much, when I have to hit “7” four times to make a “S”. It’s probably too late to think about that though but it can help in damage control.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #5: There is a slot for an SD Card on the flip-phone, but it will only read the music from the internal memory, which means I get to listen to the beautiful voice of people making transphobic comments at me in the street. Jk, that one sucks.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #6: I can get up right away after my bell rings without spending an hour or so looking at what you people have posted on Twitter.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #7: I will have the pleasure to actually discover what my ringtone is tomorrow when it wakes me up.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #8: I had to disgrace my laptop with Facebook (I don’t have Facebook, this is a myth, don’t ask, shhh!) to receive my messages on my apartment hunt and I’m enlightened by it’s delicious notification sound that I’m too tired to remove (help! I’m getting crazy)
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #9: It’s the perfect occasion to make a clickbait article.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #10: And it ends on a 10.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #11: Jk. You’ll never see the end.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #12: Writing this article is the most fun time I had since the music improv match last week (I didn’t compete, it wouldn’t have been fun for anyone).
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #13: I don’t have to worry about making a relevant feature picture for this article (or any later article as long as my smartphone is busted).
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #14: I’m going crazy, which may explain #12.
  • Good thing about writing an article about a busted smartphone #15: I get to change the rules by #15.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #16: Do you know there is a link to my Twitter feed in the lower right? Everybody who retweet won’t probably have read it after #5.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #17: By now, everyone must think I’m drunk or both or high, but I’m knot.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #18: After my camera, my books and my music player, it’s yet another of my devices that’s going back low-tech.
  • Good thing about a busted smartphone #19: I can mess with people’s love of round number by stopping right before #20.

We’re at it again, hey?

So, I’m creating a new blog, to share ideas, fictions, stuffs I usually want to talk about but I don’t know how to put it, so I don’t write it. But there is a reason why my twitter account is called “machine à idées” (idea-making machine). And it’s hard to have so many ideas and to feel completely hopeless when staring at the blank page. My twitter tagline used to say: “I have so many ideas, they cancel each other”, and that’s pretty much what’s happening.

[…]

So, I’m creating a new blog, to share ideas, fictions, stuffs I usually want to talk about but I don’t know how to put it, so I don’t write it. But there is a reason why my twitter account is called “machine à idées” (idea-making machine). And it’s hard to have so many ideas and to feel completely hopeless when staring at the blank page. My twitter tagline used to say: “I have so many ideas, they cancel each other”, and that’s pretty much what’s happening.

So here is my new new attempt to start something and not bail after a while. Because I’ve done that many times before. Therefore I had an idea, something that people under 25 don’t know it was even possible: I’m paying to use a web service (I know, who does that?). So I get a domain name for 12 months and therefore I feel obligated to write stuffs. Because we all know that it will work, right?

Now, what kind of content is going to grace my blog from its presence? Well, to be honest, it’s to be decided in the future. I may even never choose to specify a theme, but I’ll use categories, so at least there will be something that looks like order. What I probably won’t talk about is my transition. Not because I have nothing to say, but mostly because what I usually have to say about my-attempt-to-impersonate-a-boy-for-35-years-before-I-realized-it-was-doomed-to-fail can fit in 140 characters. But if there is too long for twitter, I sure will make a blog post.

Finally, a small word about the title, “Coffee sans sucre”. Well, yes, I do drink my coffee black, but also, I’m a French person living in an English-speaking country, and I was, like, let’s use a title in French and English, because it has never been done before, right? Also, it’s almost the title of a short film I wrote and directed, but that I can’t show it here because one of the actor doesn’t want it to be public, although she plays really well and people tend to like the film despite its technical flaws. But I have to respect her wish, because, well, it’s the law.

So, stay tuned, I’ll be back in a few…