Thursday, October 25, 2018

Microstory 959: Smartphones

As a writer, I need to be able to research anything and everything at a moment’s notice. The other day, I needed to better understand how it is that atoms hold together. This morning, a coworker described random bits of a film she saw part of, and I was able to find its name. Tomorrow, I might need to know how much a machinist gets paid, and if that’s an impossible question to answer, I need to know that instead. Several years ago, this kind of thing wasn’t possible unless I was near a computer. There was a brief time when you could Google things by sending them text messages, but that was pretty clunky. I was born too late to have spent a significant amount of time before internet research, but I did learn the concept in school, because that was all the teachers at the time understood. Most people—and I can’t imagine this to not be true—use their phones for social media and games, and maybe email. The younger generation uses it for the former two, and the older for the latter. The older still generally only use theirs for making calls. But smartphones do so much more. I recently downloaded an app that will keep and organize all my receipts, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but never wanted to start at some random time of the year. I promise to actually start one day, unless I find something better. I’ll also remember to input all the necessary information for this app that tracks my car’s maintenance, and maybe try recording my heart rate. I have a bunch of casting apps, like Netflix, YouTube, YouTube TV, and Comedy Central (because YouTube TV can’t cut a deal with Viacom). I have Google Fit, Google Play, Google Translate, and all the other Googles. I have a few restaurant apps, a pool game, a couple news sources, my insurance, and my bank. About a quarter of my icons are just shortcuts to my writing resources; specialty dictionaries,, and calculations and conversions. I use Google Drive extensively for my work, and probably should have written this entry on it, just because it would be apropos. I never go anywhere without my phone. I keep it docked in my car, not so I can text and drive, but so I can get right back to work as soon as I pull into my garage. I take it with me to the bathroom, and I keep it under my pillow at night so it can track my sleep cycles, and wake me up at the healthiest moment. I’ve always considered my phone to be a portal to the world, which is why I’ve only ever concerned myself with speed and performance. I don’t need it to come with a pretty stylus, or be made of gold, or release a sweet-smelling pheromone to cover up my farts (they invent this in seven years). It’s not a status symbol, and I don’t want to risk literally dropping a thousand dollars into the toilet. Wearables are the future, leaving the smartphone form factor in the dust, but until then, it’s one of the few material possessions I have that I actually care about.

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