We’re not perfect. Sometimes we take our gadgets for granted. We curse them when they don’t do what they’re supposed to. We bemoan their absence when they’re lost. We accuse them of eating our homework. But we’ve decided to use the Lenten period of fasting to renew our appreciation of all things tech, so each of us is giving up one essential part of our daily gadget life.
From Ash Wednesday 2013 (the 13th), we’ll be living without the following tech for a week, and keeping a daily record of the trials of technological abstinence…
Paddy – music
As if it wasn’t bad enough that I live to a constant soundtrack – at work, at home and at play – I have to spend 12 hours on flights over the next seven days. I can’t believe I’ve agreed to this. I’m allowed to hear recorded music, but I’m not allowed to voluntarily put it on. If it’s on a TV or film soundtrack, or playing in a shop or restaurant, that’s fine. If I turn on my hi-fi and hit play, or wire my ears into an MP3 player, that’s cheating.
Stephen – smartphone
I can barely walk down the street without slipping my iPhone out of my pocket and checking my news feeds, Facebook wall or Twitter. I get antsy when I lose my connection on the Tube. So for the next week, I’m going cold turkey – I’m dialling back the years and swapping out my slimline, 3G connected, Retina Display equipped smartie for the humble Nokia 5110. That means calls and text only, and Snake to amuse myself during downtime. I predict I will go mad by day three.
Lucy – iPad
My iPad goes with me everywhere – whether I need it or not. But being effortless to carry is part of its beauty – I'm not looking forward to lugging my laptop around on my looo-ooong commute or firing it up at home for a quick big screen web search when my phone won't suffice.
Even a week without my tablet is going to be a serious inconvenience – I’m used to having it at hand for everything from working, firing up a quick game of Front Line Commando, watching 30 Rock or plugging it into my TV for a bit of iPlayer action. I have a feeling I may fall off the wagon. Just want to put that out there. I don't need it, granted, but when you've lived with something every day for almost two years, it's going to feel like losing a limb. Slight exaggeration? No! Maybe. What can I say, I've been spoiled by tech!
Luke – instant messaging
I can barely remember a time before SMS was in our lives, let alone when you had to pay for it. I send them all day without a thought. But seeing it as a wall in the way of natural human contact I’ve opted to give it a break. That includes all IM services like WhatsApp and GChat too. So if I get a text I will have to call the person back, like the nineties – and my Dad. I’d worry about being annoyed/poor by the end of the week – but I’m sure everyone will be sick of me calling and abandon me to the disconnected past anyway.
Esat – Reddit
To me, the internet is split into two parts: Reddit, and everything else. Wait, scratch that – life is split into two parts: Reddit. And everything else. I’ve been in its thrall for just over a year now, and its claws are embedded so deep within me that I’m not sure how I’ll be able to cope. I’ll have to chase down cats in the middle of the road and rely on the Metro for my quirky news and pointless facts fix. To be honest, I’d rather give up oxygen, but that would also prevent me from going on Reddit. This is not going to be easy.
Sophie – Facebook
This one probably isn't going to happen either but I will attempt some self-discipline. From uploading videos that only two people will find funny and replying to event invites to updating the Stuff page and reading private threads that haven't migrated to WhatsApp yet, it might make me a square but I can't go very long without checking Facebook. The last time I tried to give it up I got a text within the hour asking why I wasn't replying. Oh god – birthdays.
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