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July 24, 2011

Always On, Always Ready

One year ago I stopped buying hardcover books and switched exclusively to Kindle. Now this may seem odd considering I don’t own a Kindle and most of my reading has to be done on the small and sometimes cramped screen of my iPhone but it’s worth the trade off. Yes, if I were sitting on my couch at home I will admit a hardcover copy might be nice but this is rarely an occurrence. The Kindle app allows me to read, anytime, anywhere, whenever I have 5 minutes or more to kill.

I similarly started taking pages upon pages of notes about my life, ranging from to-do lists to creative ideas. This isn’t because I suddenly become more astute or just now realized my tendency to forget things. It’s because of a single simple app appropriately named Simplenote. Never one to carry a pen and pad around and hopeless when keeping track of paper, this application allows me to jot down quick notes that  automatically sync to the web so whether I’m on my laptop or on the go, my stream of thoughts stay up to date and relevant.

I now record amazing visuals I encounter by using Instagram as a photo blog (or as my roommate loves to pun, phlog). Instapaper lets me keep track of articles that sound interesting, but may be too long and in-depth to dive into when I originally spot them. The list of these interactions I have with my mobile device could go on forever.

This is self-reflection on how my life has changed since I got my first smartphone a year ago… and if you own one I urge you to do the same. Think about how this always on, always ready device has made your life easier, more exciting, and made you more open with your friends. Now think about where it hasn’t helped; most likely there’s an app for that. If you’re going to spend $100 or more on a device and then give your mobile carrier $30 a month to keep it connected, why not utilize this tool to its full potential. Too often I see people use their phones for text, email, and not much else. If you take a moment and think about it, there’s a lot more that little computer in your pocket could be doing to make your life better.