Two weeks after getting my first smartphone
I got my first smartphone in my life just two weeks ago, a Samsung Galaxy S II. I’ve been too busy to actually sit down and read the 279-page manual, but here are some observations on how I’ve used the smartphone so far.
I am already plugged in through other devices
First of all, in my everyday life I tend to be near a computer and don’t use my smartphone:
- At work, I use my work computer.
- When I go to scheduled talks or meetings, I bring my laptop or iPad, so that I can take notes and look stuff up.
- At home, I have my laptop and iPad.
My preference is for the larger display and keyboard when possible.
WiFi in public places
I have found myself looking for WiFi in public places in order to check email and the like when otherwise idle (I try to avoid needlessly using my data plan). I suppose that in the past, I would have just sat around waiting, or just left instead of spending more time somewhere unnecessarily. Some examples:
- At the public library, my usual pattern is to just return stuff, check stuff out, and leave. I have caught myself hanging around just to check my email before leaving. Arguably there is no point in this behavior.
- While Abby and I were looking for stuff in a store, I quickly got bored of waiting for her and found it actually productive to connect to free WiFi and read email and blog and Twitter feeds; in the past, I would have just sat down somewhere and closed my eyes or something.
- During the long intermission at a concert I went to alone, not knowing anyone there, I spent time online rather than just sitting around. (Arguably I could have spent some time socializing with strangers, but I have tended not to do that.)
Other uses in public in the past two weeks
It’s handy having a decent camera on me at all times. I have used it in a couple of situations in which in the past I would have had to consciously bring a bulky camera along (which I don’t like to do):
- Taking a photo after a concert.
- Taking a photo of some notes written on a board.
- Taking a photo of a flyer posted up.
- Taking a photo of two dogs at play at the office.
- Capturing some video during a dance party.
A failed experiment at the gym
I am not one who has ever plugged into an iPod while exercising. However, I did an experiment today, hoping to watch a lecture video while at the gym. This failed miserably. Any vigorous movement (on a rowing machine, on a treadmill) resulted in my fear that the phone would fall, and definitely the headset with wires was very clumsy: the wires flapping around, and the short length of the wires.
I suppose using a Bluetooth headset would fix a couple of these problems.
But the real problem is that I supposedly watched the whole lecture, but I don’t actually remember much of it!! Multitasking in certain contexts doesn’t work for me. The thing is that yesterday I was watching lecture videos while at home, and that worked, but the situation was very different: I was doing strength training, I was using a large display on my computer, and I was alone, with no distracting noises or other people around.
On the road
I haven’t used the phone out on the road for navigation or the like yet. The next time we do some travel, we’ll see how useful the phone becomes.
I was that annoying person (briefly)
Finally, I caught myself being the annoying person distracted in public walking down the street while fumbling with my phone and almost walking into someone. I did that twice, last week. I will not do that again. There was no reason whatsoever for me to be even plugged in during those moments. And if there are reasons, I could easily stop walking and stand somewhere out of the way to do my business.
The good news is that at the two parties I’ve been to in the past two weeks, I was not the annoying person who pulled out a phone to do stuff. I will admit that during a bathroom break or two I did pull out the phone, but at least that was very brief and in private. In principle, I should avoid feeling bored at parties: the whole point of them, after all, is to bring people together, and so I should be engaging with people who are at the party, rather than looking at my Twitter feed or something.
Not a whole lot has changed since I got my first smartphone, in part because I haven’t learned all the features yet or gotten serious about apps for the phone. I’ll continue being aware of how I use it and report on anything interesting that happens.comments powered by Disqus