Limited data or How I am dealing with my smartphone addiction

Placeholder ImageWell for the second time since I owned a smart phone, I have reached the running out of date warning. The first time I ran out, I opted for data add-on (For an added fee of course; nothing is free any more. And if it is, then what’s the catch? There is always a catch. For example, free apps on your device come with either giving up one’s privacy rights or ads, or both).

This time I turned off my data. I will have to rely on free Wi-Fi. I will have to upload this post later because I have no data.

The issue withdrew Wi-Fi is that most hotspots are not secure (One can’t use anything which requires a logon, or shouldn’t – take this from an ex IT guy; the same goes for email. Never send anything truly confidential via email. I cannot tell you how many people provide their credit card information through email for applications at work. Email is an unsecured protocol. Never send stuff like this through email). But, I digress.

This relying on Hotspots sucks. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, or any app utilizing location eat up a lot of data. I have been using Facebook and Instagram a lot lately. I’ve deleted these apps and I will try to connect through my browser instead. Although, not as frequently obviously.

Its funny how addicted to our smartphones most of us have become. I just saw a new blip on this topic on this morning’s news.

It is a shame really; another disconnect from interacting with others in real life (IRL). Let’s be honest here. How many of you are tied to their phones? Do you answer every text, notification, or call to the detriment of your family meal, outings with friends? Do you walk and text, drive and text or look at your phone while driving or walking? Do you take a message or answer the phone while doing your business in the loo? See, we’re tied to our phones, at least for some of us, if not most of us.

This having to deal with limited data will be trying for me. I still have a week before my plans data cycle renews. I have decided to keep “Data saver” turned on after this week. I may not re-install some of the apps I have. In-fact, I may uninstall a few more.

Between our laptops, smartphones, and tablets (for those still using these), we are constantly connected. What does it say when we choose answering our device over interacting with family and friends? If you don’t already know, I will spell it out. It implies that they are not as important as those with whom you interact with online. Is this what we’ve come to? Is this what we wish to convey with our family and friends? I for one try not to interrupt my social outings, but I have done.so a few times.

I am glad I have hit this snag of limited data. It has given me an opportunity to re-evaluate my habits and my addiction to my smartphone and its usage.
—Robert Confiant 20 August 2018

The hardest task

The hardest task for me to do is fine motor skills, for example, working with tiny tools.

I love computers and computing. I found this out when I got my first computer (I was late to the game). It was a 286 IBM clone withe 512Kb of RAM and a 40Mb hard drive (a low end computer at the time, but it was good for me). I wasn’t getting the computer thing until it dawned on me that it was an idiot machine without its software (An obvious observation, but I was slow at first). I got it for university.

After I scraped by a degree (I picked the wrong major and I was too stubborn to change). In hindsight, I should have chosen social sciences or English literature (Either of these would have served me better). I digress, once I obtained my degree, I moved back home and worked, but I still wanted more, so I went to college and got a programming certificate, which lead to work in IT (A job for life, or so I thought). I loved working in IT.

repairing computer

My first computing job was “Presales.” I tested software while it was still in development stage and tested scenarios our clients were experiencing with previous editions of the software (reproduce the bugs they were experiencing). I loved it I would reconfigure computers to match their own machines by taking apart and rebuilding computer to closely match the test machine to reproduce the bug). It was fun, but for someone with Cerebral Palsy, it was tricky too. I got the shakes doing the finer aspects of the job and the more I would concentrate on doing the job, the worst my shaking got. I couldn’t help it was an aspect of my CP. I did it, but if the shaking got too bad I would need to step away until the shaking decreased, or ceased all together (This didn’t take much time. Sometimes all it took was the idea of getting away and a deep inhale and exhale). Overall, I was good at my job. I went on to just quality assurance (software testing with no taking apart and rebuilding machines), and eventually, I went on to work in a non-computing field; however, from time to time l still get IT request from friends, and the fine skills of working with small tools still cause me issues, but I manage. I love to dabble in computer stuff. It helps me keep my feet in it.

I can even teach others about computing. This wasn’t always the case, but I got better at it, although this is another article for another blog post.
—Robert Confiant 14 August 2018

Balancing act

juggling

I have so many items I want to do have to do, or whatever. How is one to balance all the activities one needs, or wants to do when there are only so many hours in a day?

I work full-time (I have decided to retire early, so I only have less than four years to work), I am learning French, and I need to return to writing my second book but how to balance these activities bin the allotted time of a given day? It’s tricky because I get “Dory,” or “squirrelled” (forgetful or distracted).

I read on the bus (sometimes I write on the bus). If I read, then I get into the book, and I must I find that I must finish it, so then I end up wasting more of my precious time on reading that everything else gets pushed aside.

I have many items I wish to complete, but I spend my time writing for my blog. I haven’t really figured out a way to accomplish all I wish to complete. Instead, I procrastinate. I spend hours surfing the net: Facebook, YouTube, and news sites. God, I am pathetic. I should just concentrate on that which I would have something to show for all the time and energy I put into it, but I don’t.

When I finally do concentrate on what I wish to do, I still have difficulty balancing all the stuff I wish to accomplish.

Sometimes, I feel like a struggling juggler.
—Robert Confiant 8 May 2018

Unplugged (for a day)

I left my cell phone at home this morning. I didn’t realize it until I got to the bus stop and just before the bus came. I thought of going back home, but I didn’t want to be late for a cell phone.

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It was a boring trip into work. I didn’t realize how dependent I am to my cell phone. My cell has become, so important that I rarely use my notebook tablet. I do everything on it. Read through my Kindle app, listen to music, or listen to French, or to do some writing in Evernote app, or surf the net, or read the news. I could do none of these.

It was the same going home. I dozed on the bus. I wasn’t quite asleep: I could hear those around me; not the specifics per se, but the noise of those around me.

It sucks to be unplugged. I am glad it was only for one day.
—Robert Confiant 1 May 2018

Cerebral Palsy meeting like others online

As many of you know (if you have been reading this blog) or may not know (if you are new to this blog), I have diplegia spastic Cerebral Palsy: A neurological disorder caused by a non-progressive brain injury or malformation that occurs while the child’s brain is under development. Cerebral Palsy primarily affects body movement and muscle coordination. ¹
Currently, I have no real-life friends with CP, so I find that I have no resources to compare my experiences with others. Thankfully, there is the internet.

It started a few years ago, although CP is technically a non-progressive condition (i.e. it does not worsen as one ages), it does; however, contribute to a few conditions, such as, difficulty walking, premature aging, increase weakness, increase pain, increase in repetitive strain, and increase fatigue. ² I found that I wanted to know if others with CP felt the same way, so I turned to the internet and I found others discussing this topic on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
It helped me see that I was not alone, and that others were going through similar situations.

There is a lot of information on Cerebral Palsy in children on the internet, but there is little to no information about Aging with Cerebral Palsy. It is only now, that the medical field is beginning to examine the issue.
Thus, having people whose stories tell of the pain, the weakness and the fatigue they were experiencing was a blessing. I discovered that I was not alone in my experiences.

The issue is that once you turn 18 years of age. You are left on your own. When I was a child growing up, I saw a specialist that worked out of Children’s Hospital. Once I became an adult, that door was closed to me (it didn’t help that my orthopedic surgeon moved south to Texas to set up practice there). I had only my family doctor to go to.

About six months ago, my family doctor here in Vancouver recommended a specialist to me. He prescribed a muscle relaxant that lessened the stiffness in my muscles (and thus the impact on my joints) when I walk. It has helped tremendously. I also have a professional resource that I can refer to as needed.

I still enjoy connecting with those whom I have gotten to know off the internet. They help me to know that I am not alone. I am glad for these connections. The internet can be a great source when one has no where else to turn to.
—Robert Confiant 19 November 2017

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Footnotes:
1. Definition of Cerebral Palsy, My Child at CerebralPalsy.Org, http://www.cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/definition
2. Cerebral palsy: Symptoms, causes, and treatments, Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/152712.ph