Dallin Crump

intentionism

For several months I made do with only a desktop. Now I also have a laptop (again). But do I really need both?

Having a laptop again has reminded me of how nice they are in terms of flexibility and portability. Yet I also like the desktop's power and ease of repairs and upgrades. But analyzing my tech use after obtaining a laptop, the only things I use my desktop for on a regular basis are light gaming (dedicated graphics) and data storage (2 TB HDD). Everything else – writing, communication, web browsing, etc. I prefer to do on my laptop.

I'm really feeling the need to consolidate and scale back on the technology I own, so I'm considering getting a laptop with dedicated graphics to replace both my desktop and current laptop. I already have several easy external storage options to take care of any data storage needs.

I would probably get a refurbished laptop with NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics, as I don't need anything more than that for my gaming needs. Every so often I get back into more intense gaming, but eventually I step away from it again as I am reminded how addictive and time-consuming it is. Not having the latest and greatest dedicated graphics will be another way to help curb the addiction while still providing for some gaming once in a while (right now I only play Minecraft).

I'd sell my current desktop and laptop to offset the cost of the nicer laptop.

And I should probably go through all the stuff in my office, purge the stuff I don't need, and reevaluate the stuff I do use to determine if I can minimize it.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 87) #tech #intentionism #DigitalMinimalism

I read a fascinating article about a group of teenagers at a high school in Manhattan who have formed a “Luddite Club”. They focus on freeing oneself from social media, smartphones, and other addictive technology.

The term luddite has its roots in 18th century English weaver Ned Ludd, who supposedly lost his temper and broke two stocking frames. In the early 19th century, textile workers protesting industrialization appropriated his identity and called themselves “Luddites”.

The modern meaning of luddite is one who is opposed or resistant to new technologies. It's usually meant as a derogatory term.

But these young people have embraced it, rallied around it to support each other as they try to be intentional about the technology they use.

They've faced some challenges, though. In a hyper-connected world where everyone is assumed – even expected – to have a smartphone, it's hard being among the few who don't use one.

I feel for these youth. I had the privilege of living my high school years in the late 1990s, where the only access I had to a computer was the school computer lab until my senior year (1999) when my family finally got our first home computer. Basic cell phones hadn't been widely adopted yet and smartphones didn't exist. The best ways to socialize online were through email, computer-based messaging apps, IRC, and online forums. But you had to be physically sitting in front of a computer to use any of these services.

Things have changed a lot since then. And I don't think they've all changed for the better. I'm very encouraged that there are young people out there who also realize this and are trying to do something about it.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 82) #tech #intentionism

Another phone I've been looking at to help reduce my smartphone use is the Unihertz Jelly 2e.

It's small. Very small. Extremely small. Its dimensions are 95 × 49.4 × 16.5 mm. It has a 3-inch screen! And it would make messaging, social media, video viewing a pain, which is what I want. But it would still give me access to the apps and basic functionality I need, especially when I'm traveling.

I work from home and most of the time I think I could get by with a “dumphone”. But I traveled for work earlier this year and having a smartphone was practically essential. With some serious planning and preparation I might still be able to get by with a dumbphone while traveling, but with the world increasingly revolving around smartphones, some things can be difficult to do without one. Like using rideshare services, finding specific locations and getting directions to them, etc.

In fact, I have a specific example from this work trip of how my smartphone came in handy and perhaps even prevented me from missing a flight. The A and B terminals are long at the Salt Lake City airport. They sit on either side of the tarmac and there is a long underground tunnel that connects them.

I always arrive early to give myself time to get through security and find the gate and initially my departure gate was at the far end of the A. But the gate changed. I got a notification through the airline app notifying me of the change – the gate was now at the opposite end of the A terminal. There was no audible announcement about the change. Without the app notification, how long would I have been sitting there before I noticed the flight and city had changed on the display at the gate?

I walked all the way to the other end of the terminal to my new gate. But soon, I received another notification that the departure gate had been changed again. This time, it was at the opposite end of the B terminal, which required walking back to the midway point of the A terminal, taking the underground tunnel to the other side of the tarmac, and then walking to the end of the B terminal to the new gate. Again, there was no audible announcement of the change. How long would I have been waiting before I noticed the gate had been changed again?

Like it or not, the default assumption today is that everyone has a smartphone. The world is catering less and less to people who don't use them.

So maybe instead of going for a “dumbphone”, I could go for a smartphone that is different from your average phablet. A phone that makes me want to use it as little as possible, but still has all the functionality I need.

The Jelly 2E just might be that phone. And at the current price of $160 USD, it's not a huge risk to try it out.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 80) #tech #intentionism

I've been following the Light Phone project for a few years. I've come close to buying one on a couple of occasions, but always talked myself out of it at the last minute.

I've been wary of smartphones for a long time. I love all the things they can do. But I also hate all the things they can do. Despite all the convenient and productive things that can be done with them, I think most people would admit they are addicting.

Over the years I have made slow but steady progress towards more intentional smartphone use. I don't have games or video apps installed. I use social media in a mobile browser rather than use dedicated apps. I try to keep the number of apps installed to a minimum. A few months ago I started keeping my phone in my home office at night while I seep instead of right next to my bed so I can't just mindlessly grab my phone when I have the impulse.

But during the average day I still reach for my phone when I want to distract myself. Because I know I can. There's always something to do. Check the weather. Read the news. Look at photos. Whatever. It's a habit in which I have been entrenched for more than a decade. I want to break it. And I think the Light Phone or something like it could help me do that.

I was fascinated by the latest post on the Light Phone blog about Buxton School, a private boarding school in Massachusetts that recently implemented a campus-wide smartphone ban. They partnered with the folks at Light Phone to provide students and faculty with Light Phones instead. The results were promising. Read the blog and watch this video for more details:

Buxton School Goes Light from The Light Phone on Vimeo.

Reading about and listening to them talk about their experience, it seems like the people at Buxton School are starting to recapture something I think we've lost in a smartphone-centric society. Social networking without social media. Being present. Living in the moment. Embracing boredom and using it to spark deep thought and creativity.

I'd love give the Light Phone a try and see if it helps me do that, too. Money is tight with the holidays upon us. But maybe I can find a way.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 79) #tech #intentionism

Today my wife and I attended the celebration of life (memorial service) of her aunt.

She didn't have a perfect life (nobody does), but she was the kind of person who lived vigorously and never took a single day for granted.

A fellow at church once told me: any day you get out of bed is a good day. How true that is.

If I can live each day with a tenth of the vitality this lady had, it will have been a life well-lived. Just like hers was.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 68) #life #intentionism

It's been many years since I've had games on my smartphone. It's not that I don't enjoy video games, it's that I enjoy them too much.

Phones are addicting enough for me without games. With them, I may as well not even try to do anything productive in my free time.

Most games nowadays, especially mobile games, are designed to addict you. They know just how to trigger that dopamine rush that keeps you coming back for more.

Annoyingly, they are also very good at extracting money from you. Fortunately I never went down that rabbit hole, but I won't say I was never tempted. It's worse than gambling because you have absolutely zero chance of recouping any of that money, and all you have to show for it are intangible things in a game that you probably won't even remember 20 years from now, let alone still be playing.

I've done a lot of things to make my smartphone use more intentional and less distracting, but removing all the games has been one of the best.

Nowadays I play a couple PC games (Minecraft and Valheim). And occasionally I'll play some retro console games on an emulator. But I will never install games on my smartphone ever again.

Discuss... #100DaysToOffload (No. 66) #tech #intentionism

The past couple years I have been mailing Christmas cards to family and loved ones and I plan to keep doing so in the future.

I've probably only done so a handful of years out of the 17 years I've been married. It's easy to justify not continuing this tradition. Modern technology provides so many ways to wish someone a Merry Christmas. Why send a dumb old card when you can send someone an email, text, or instant message? Or even audio or video call them personally?

All of those methods are great, but I don't think they are an adequate substitute for a Christmas card. When most of the mail we get these days is bills, junk mail, etc. it's so nice to get something different.

When you get a letter, note, postcard, greeting card, etc. from a friend or loved one, it brings some joy to your day. That message, whatever it may be, is meant just for you. It represents the time and effort someone took to write, sign, put in an envelope, stamp, and mail that item to you. And these days, people do it not expecting anything in the mail in reply.

Christmas cards are extra special because they are full of “good tidings of great joy” that add to the magic of the season. We have a tradition of hanging these cards in a certain place on the living room wall as we receive them. They are a reminder that we are remembered and loved, to remember and love others, and to remember and love the reason we celebrate the season: Jesus Christ.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 64) #Christmas #intentionism

Listening to one of my music playlists on random, I was reminded of the existence of a beautiful piece of music performed by the supremely talented Norwegian soprano Sissel.

In the summer of 2019 she performed with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. The entire concert is remarkable and worth watching. But one song in particular stood out above the rest for me and many who heard it.

You can't tell from the video, but all 18,000+ people in the audience were on their feet during the lengthy applause after the song. They knew they had just experienced something heavenly.

Sissel's performance of Slow Down by Chuck Girard, arranged by Sam Cardon, is one that I keep coming back to. It soothes and heals, reminds me to stop and take a deep breath. It refocuses me on what is most important. It reminds me that God is near.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 49) #music #faith #Christianity #intentionism

Like many of us in the year 2022, I spend most of my weekdays on a computer. It's how I work to support my family.

But then what do I do in my spare time? Most of the time, I get on my computer. I watch TV shows or Movies, play video games (Minecraft these days), listen to music, catch up on social media, write blogs, etc. I do read books, spend time with my family, and other non-digital things, but my current ratio of connected to disconnected free time is extremely skewed towards connected.

So I've been trying to remember what I did in my spare time before I had unfettered access to a computer. That was a long time ago. I watched TV and played video games, but I didn't have a smartphone and I had to share a computer, so I wasn't “connected” nearly as much as I am now.

So what did I do? Mostly, I played musical instruments. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a band teacher at a high school or community college. Music was life. I took piano lessons as a young child, picked up the clarinet in 4th grade, saxophone in 7th grade, and continued through 2+ years of community college. Concert band, jazz band, marching band, pep band, solo & ensemble, jazz combo – if there was any kind of instrumental music thing going on, I was a part of it.

Then, I reached a crossroads and decided to go a different direction. Music suddenly wasn't the focus of my life. I sold my saxophone (a lovely Selmer Mark VI tenor) because it was sitting neglected in a closet and I felt an instrument of that caliber must be enjoyed and shared. Plus, I needed the money. I haven't played my clarinet in years. In more recent years I've picked up the Penny Whistle (aka Irish Whistle or Tin Whistle), Recorder (not the cheap plastic ones from elementary school, a nice professional wooden one), and Native American Flute. I've played here and there at church or community concerts, but I haven't diligently practiced or tried to increase my proficiency on any instruments in a good 15 years or so.

I've missed playing. I've missed performing regularly. Music is the language of the soul and I've always enjoyed expressing myself and uplifting others through it. So if there's any “disconnected” hobby I need to pick up – or return to – I think it's got to be playing music again.

I feel like I want to get really good on my whistles, recorder, and flute. And I've been thinking for a while about finding a good piano keyboard that I can have in my office – maybe even on or next to my desk – so I can just play and tinker and work stuff out by ear like I always used to do. I'd just go to the piano and play. Sometimes for a long while. It was a great outlet. Maybe I'll even buckle down and force myself to practice playing written music on the piano.

I'll be thinking of other disconnected hobbies I can pick up, too, but picking music back up seems like the obvious place to start.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 37) #music #hobbies #intentionism

I enjoy writing letters. I also enjoy receiving them. Emails and texts have their place, but they can never take the place of letters, postcards, and greeting cards.

There is something special about receiving tangible correspondence from another person. If it is hand-written, it's even more special. Handwriting is imbued with one's personality and style. Getting a letter from someone means they took the time to sit down and type or write something especially for you. It means that of all the things they could have been thinking and doing, their thoughts and actions in that moment were focused on you. That is no small thing, for the most precious and valuable commodity we have in this mortal phase of our existence is time.

Five years ago, I conducted an experiment wherein I resolved to write a letter by hand to someone every single day for one month. I enjoyed it so much I think I ended up doing it for two or three months. In addition to writing letters to friends, family, and neighbors, a great help in accomplishing my goal was my discovery of The World Needs More Love Letters (moreloveletters.com).

The World Needs More Love Letters (TWNMLL) organizes letter-writing campaigns for people in need of love, hope, and encouragement. Usually, these people have experienced or are in the midst of tremendous adversity and trials in their lives. I've sent several letters to people through TWNMLL. It's so great to see their blog posts about the reactions and experiences of those receiving the letters. It makes a difference for good in their lives.

There are other ways to write letters to people you don't know. Assisted living and retirement homes often accept letters for their residents. Many people who live in such facilities are terribly lonely and a letter from someone – anyone – can do so much good. I've also heard stories about people leaving hopeful, uplifting letters in public places – usually outdoor common areas or public transportation – to be found by others. Though I have not done this, myself, I think it's a fun idea and might try it in the future.

Whether a friend or a stranger, never underestimate the power of a thoughtful letter to bring peace and hope to someone's life at just the right moment.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 22) #life #intentionism #charity