Screen Time Stats

My iPhone updates me every week about my “Screen Time”. I didn’t pay much attention to it until this morning. Curiosity had me examining it more closely.

These are my stats for this week. 29+ hours staring at my phone. More than one entire day this week. “Social Networking” took half of this. Granted, I’d like to think that it’s because of Christmas and New Year’s and my desire to see how friends are doing. But I fear that number may be closer to reality than I want to admit. I spend more time watching videos and reading memes than seeing how my friends are really doing. On average I spent two hours per day on various social media.

Four and a half hours were spent on “Productivity”. WordPress took up a little over two hours. While calculator, email, and banking took up the rest. What surprised me was “Creativity” was so low. Meaning I wasn’t taking or editing photos very much this week.

Since I have now seen some of these stats and paid more attention to them, I think it’s time to adjust my focus. The iPhone allows me to set daily limits on everything. For now, I am slashing my social media time in half. Perhaps this will make me focus more on “Creativity”.

Putting down the phone is something my wife would like us to do as a family more often. We tend to eat meals without the phone, but once that’s done- out come the devices. Same when we are watching tv or movies. Not a lot of interaction with one another. I’d like to see what my wife’s and daughter’s stats are this week. Maybe as a family we can work together to knock down our screen time usage.

Have you ever looked at your device stats? Does it make you want to change?

Data Hogs

A few days ago, my cellular provider informed me that we were about to reach our data limit. Actually, I was notified on July 20th and our data cycle resets August 3rd… I could not figure out how this was possible, since for months we barely hit our allotment. Between four iPhones, we share 12GB.

I checked our usage and found the culprits. Our youngest daughter had gone through over 5GB on her own in under three weeks. While our oldest had only used about 800MB. My wife had used 1GB. I had used over 4.5GB.

A story of two sisters who are very different data users:

Our oldest keeps her phone on airplane mode most of the time. She also has it set up to connect to WiFi all the time. She has conditioned herself to only go on social media when on WiFi as well which keeps her data usage low. She’s been doing this for a few years now- since her first phone.

Our youngest daughter has no concept of how much she uses her phone. She also doesn’t pay attention to whether she is on WiFi or not. This summer, she hasn’t been anywhere that requires her to be online. Turns out, while she was in our backyard sharing Instagram pictures and watching YouTube, she was never connected to our WiFi. She had been using data the entire time. And watching videos in full HD. I had to have a little talk with her about this and hopefully she will correct her behavior.

My wife works from home and hardly uses data. She likes to do comparison shopping in real-time when we are out. She does still play Pokémon Go and only checks social media when bored. I tend to use data far more frequently. I’ve always hovered around the 4GB range. But I use my phone for work quite often. Checking email, looking at maps, connecting with coworkers, that sort of thing. I also use social media a lot. That’s my crutch.

So for the past few days, I have shut off all data access to everyone. The biggest results I have found is that iMessage only works on WiFi now and Siri can’t figure out how to make a handsfree call when I drive. These are things I can live without for a couple more days. As we discuss as a family how to move forward with our shared data plan.

This could be interesting…

Please feel free to share any tips or advice on limiting our data consumption. I’m sure there are ways to still enjoy the cyber world…

My Technology Is Listening to Me… And Getting It Wrong.

Last night I tried to tell my son Theory that I loved him. Because that’s what you do when it’s time to say goodnight. I just tried to say it all cool like. You know, just kind of throw it out there.

“Hey Theory.”

“I love you.”

Aww. Easy Dad speak to a 12 year old son, right? Not according to the phone in my pocket. She answered me suddenly after a beep:

Aw man. What should’ve been a simple response from my son, “love you too” turned into a mean statement from my iPhone. I then began to ask Siri if she could pronounce “Theory”. Then I asked her to pronounce “Siri”. Then I asked her to find my son. So she did:

You see, my technology listens to me. Even when I don’t want it to.

Sometimes it gets it right, sometimes it doesn’t.

3D Printer- Part 1: The Obsession

I’ve been wanting to buy a 3D Printer for a few years now. I even became convinced that I could justify its existence in my life. Hey honey- Looks like I’ll need to reprint more flower pots! I’ll have that ready in about a week. But why don’t I just hit the Home Depot and spend $2 on some?

Once I almost spent some money on a pancake printer! What the heck is wrong with me? I know- it’s the excitement of making something out of almost nothing is kinda cool. Just an image in a program, some heated plastic and a few hours later- there it is: a plastic replica of something.

3D Printers have gotten better lately. After years of obsessing, studying and watching every video review- I think it may be time to get one. The model I want is the CR-10. It looks like a good printer with good reviews and a decent price point. My only worries- I’ll get bored and have an expensive paperweight or it will end up as annoying as a regular printer.

You know what I’m talking about. The paper printer at work that randomly stops working. Or the printer at home that refuses to print in black and white because one of the ink toners is low. I imagine that it could get frustrating partway through a 3D print only to have it flake out towards the end. Troubleshooting things like that are the part that makes me leery about going too cheap.

But hey, maybe I could print off my own 3D money in the end!

The Dystopian Now

I have always loved Dystopian Future stories, shows, and movies. Books such as “1984and “A Handmaid’s Tale” were great reads and I wrote a bit about it here: Dystopian Life.

Movies like “The Matrix” , “Brazil” , “Blade Runner” and even “The Fifth Element” show a technological gritty society. Always gloomy and wet with momentary rays of sunshine that bring forth a quick smile on one of the characters. I’m currently in the process of watching “Altered Carbon” on Netflix. Darker than most dystopian shows, but still very riveting.

Here we are, on the cusp of the new millennium, and I feel we are already in a Dystopian world. I drive into Vancouver for work and home again- a dreary wet world stuck in traffic. My vehicle’s dashboard has a screen showing me the radio station I am listening to or I can switch to navigation or many other options. My cellphone connects through my car as well. I can use voice commands to send and read messages or actually talk to people. My car warns me if I’m too close to another car or if one is in my blind spot.

That’s just my drive home. At home, my phone controls the music and media I play in three different areas around the house. Music from anywhere in the world can pump through my home. Nearly every electronic device can be connected. My wife has a Fitbit and it watches her heart rate and counts her steps. It connects to her cellphone and connects with other people as well.

So yes, I think we live in a Dystopian world. The future is now. Rain and technology- that’s my daily life.

Adapt or be left behind

I mentioned a few months ago that I love Technology.  Sometimes I absolutely loathe it.  Today is a prime example.  I was ready to kill my printer much like in the scene from Office Space.  But, it wasn’t the printer’s fault.  It was my lack of understanding of what was miscommunicating inside my home computer.


Simply put: I had used an older program to create labels for my wife a couple of years back.  I tried to run it on the original program.  I couldn’t open said program because my Windows operating system had updated and I was on my wife’s user not knowing where she kept anything.  Finally finding the “Label File”  I loaded it into the old program.  Seemed ok so far minus a hiccup or two opening the file.  Time to click print.  And…

Our printer was now showing an error on its tiny little screen telling me that it needed an alignment.  What?  Since when did it suddenly need an alignment?  I asked my wife if this was why she needed me to print the labels.  She said she printed something earlier with no issues.  Great.  Now it’s my inability to print.  

Off goes the printer.  On goes the printer.  

Still needs an alignment, but a computer prompt showed up allowing me to bypass it.  Ok.  Time to print.  Buzz, whir, click, printing has commenced.

For f***s sake!

The image isn’t anywhere near being aligned to the sticker labels.  ARGH!  Ok.  Wait a sec… I see the problem.  No it wasn’t that the printer needed an alignment.  I just needed to open the image in yet another program.  A few moments of the computer calculating and bringing up the right program.  Ah.  This looks better.  Print attempt number 3.

Holy crap.  The image is now too dark.

Better walk away Josef.  Walk away.

*************

Ok.  Took a poop, now back to the computer.  Ah, here we go.  Edit background image to 75% transparency.  Print attempt number 4.

SUCCESS


People in IT: thank you for doing a wonderful job.  However, when I am at home and ready to kill anyone within ten feet of me, computers can truly irk me.

The good old days of computing.


Don’t even get me started on iOS 10 for my iPhone.  It’s one of those things that always seems to happen.  You get used to an operating system, set it all up nicely the way you like it, and…. UPDATE.  I’m all for moving forward.  I used to live for the newest versions of Windows ever since ’95.  


What happened you ask?  Well, I have grown up and don’t have as much downtime to relearn each and every new software upgrade.  I am now picking and choosing when and what I need to learn.  I am afraid that one day, I’ll be left behind in the technological department.  

But hey, that’s probably when I’ll be taking regular naps and recounting the old days and talk about how wonderful they were in my blog.  

Crap.  That day is now upon me.

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

As much as I love technology it also pisses my off.  My hatred comes from the fact that bugs and failures happen far too often as technology gets older.  This means that you need to upgrade more often.  

Even in the future, nothing works.

If/when humanity gets integrated with technology, I would hope that this would be sorted out.  I’d love to get an ocular implant to allow me to view the Internet without a screen.  Or have nanobots injected into my blood stream to combat cancer or strengthen my muscles.  These are all very strong possibilities in our lifetime.  I fear that if nanobots glitch out, they could make a mess of people, taking over their bodies uncontrollably like the end scene from Akira.
 

Look at me! I’m huge!

 

In this day and age all we do is turn a computer or videogame system off and on to reboot the software.  This usually resolves the issues.  I’m not ready to get rebooted on a regular basis if something screws up.  Already my body is deteriorating as I get older.  Damage has been incurred to my body/mind (both accidentally and purposefully, mind you) and the idea of getting a reboot scares me.

Chances are, the next time I get shut down, there won’t be a chance of getting fired up again.  So for now, I need to make sure everything is running at peak performance in order to prevent malfunction.

Technology 

I live for technology.  The iPhone in my hand, using the free wifi offered inside of a building, as I write this while watching my kids skate just blows me away.  There are numerous other people here (including small children) with laptops, iPads, smart phones, wearable tech, all accepting of it as a way of life.  I don’t see it as a dumbing down of our society.  Sure, I could put down my phone, have a conversation with a stranger, maybe even pay attention to my children, but why?  We don’t live in the dark ages any more.

I had my first computer and learned how to use BASIC by around age six.

You’re so BASIC.

A few years later at age thirteen, my computer could connect with other computers through a dial up 2400 Baud Modem.  It was already a step above the film WarGames.

By age seventeen, I owned a pager.  No reason for it, I just wanted one.  It’s now in a landfill somewhere is my guess.

 

Beep me sometime.

Then I got a cellphone.  It had snake on it.  That was about it.  But it was reliable.  I’ve gone through about five or six different models now, replacing it every four to five years.  Technology has come a long way and I love every bit of it.

I’ll be the first to admit, technology has been sneaky.  We willingly allow GPS to track our moves through our devices.  There are cameras just about everywhere watching our every move.  Drones, GoPros, smartphones, dashcams, who needs Big Brother when we do it to ourselves?  Sure you can argue about privacy, but if you’re doing something wrong, the law won’t care about your privacy.

I’m not afraid of what the future brings. I’m sure more good is on the way.  Perhaps one day there will be ocular implants instead of screens.  Perhaps one day there will medical advances through nanotechnology.  Perhaps one day there will be a way to keep our consciousness alive in a virtual reality setting.  Perhaps there will come a time where we plug in like the Matrix.

As long as the bugs are worked out, sign me up for Josef V2.0 and allow me to see where the world goes.  Technology doesn’t scare me.  I fully embrace it.