Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Nicholas Carr tells us why it’s crucial to turn off our phones and find time to be alone, as these moments allow our brains to be more “reflective” and “contemplative.”
There’s a serious problem in this country, and it’s called texting while driving. Although drivers are banned from using cellphones, many people still do it. Drive down the road in your car and it’s likely you’ll see every other driver texting. It may be while their car is moving, or it could be at a set of traffic lights. Either way, it technically shouldn’t be allowed, and they should get into trouble for it.
So, why do people continue to text and drive? Has our culture become so dependent on smartphones that we can’t go a car journey without using ours? To be honest, I think this is a big reason behind the rise in people texting and driving. Plus, smartphones are more affordable, so everyone has one. This means there’s always someone to message, someone to talk to. In the past, cell phones were a luxury that few people could afford. So, there was no need to use them all the time because you wouldn’t be texting anyone. But, now everyone can buy one and all of your friends will have one, so there’re plenty of people to text while you drive.
However, I also think that the law isn’t enforced harshly enough on those that text and drive. If the laws were stronger, fewer people would do it. As it stands, yes, cell phone use is banned while driving. But, there aren’t many consequences, should you get spotted doing it. Most of the time, the police officer will give you a slap on the wrist and tell you not to do it again. This is where I get annoyed because texting while driving is far more serious than people think. Car accidents are often caused by people that are texting, so don’t pay attention to the road. People have died because of a careless driver that didn’t look up from their phone. Obviously, if you cause an accident by texting, you’re going to face the consequences. But even if you don’t cause any harm, it should still be punished for recklessness. Think about it, driving under the influence goes punished even if you don’t hurt anyone. If you visit www.brianzeiger.com, you’ll see DUIs often result in licence suspension. This means you can’t drive for a period. The same consequences should be there for people that text and drive. If you’re caught texting and driving, you run the risk of being suspended or having points on your license. People will be more likely to obey the rules if the consequences are this harsh.
You may not think that this is a big issue, but it is. Have a look on https://www.edgarsnyder.com and you’ll find some shocking statistics. Over one million car crashes are caused by cellphone use every year. One in four car accidents is caused by this! In my eyes, these numbers are so high because people aren’t punished for using their phones. Get stronger laws in place and fewer people will text and drive. As a result, you’ll see fewer car crashes and fewer people getting hurt. It’s simple; you just need to have police officers that will enforce the law properly.
Mobile phone culture has evolved dramatically over the last ten years or so. What was once simply a medium for making phone calls has become an essential aspect of our lives. We’re never without our phones. We’re always fiddling around with our apps, sending group messages, or uploading new Instagram photos. Always.
As smartphone technology has evolved (and it has evolved dramatically), so too have their range of accessories. Once upon a time, we could only dream of novelty mobile phone holders. Now, there are accessories as big as your imagination (or budget) will allow.
With so many options, it can be pretty tough to decipher the must haves from the have nots. There are a lot of luxury items that don’t seem to serve any particular purpose at all, other than looking pretty. Some accessories, though, have become invaluable. They are designed to make our lives easier, and we thought it was about time to give some credit where it’s due. Here are our must-have phone accessories.
Phone stands, as we mentioned earlier, aren’t anything new. For as long as mobile phones have been popular, there have been some downright weird and wonderful stands for them to reside in. That concept seems somewhat outdated now. I mean, when is your phone ever not in your hand, pocket, or easily within reach?
It was going to take something pretty big to make smartphone docks worthwhile, and that’s exactly what happened. Now, they serve functions, and there are a lot of choose from. The most popular of which is, without a doubt, the charging station. These futuristic looking docks are far removed from the eyesores of the 90s. Now, they’re sleek and shiny. They came to prominence with the must-have iPod charging dock. From there, they took on a greater responsibility as the iPhone increased in popularity.
Docks aren’t only available as charging stations, though. You can get ones with built-in Bluetooth speakers, so you can play your phone’s music library at a decent level and quality. You can even buy a specialist dock for your car so that your phone can take pride of place on the dashboard. That’s ideal for making the most out of your GPS app.
Smartphone trends seem to change up every year. One element that remains the same, though, is that all phones seem to be on the delicate side today. Remember back when your phone could take a hell of a beating and get straight back up for more? Those days are long behind us. Now, one slip of the finger and you’ve gone and shattered your screen. That’s not an inexpensive repair job, either.
That’s why protecting your phone is imperative. For all its intricate design, they’re still incredibly susceptible to breakages. The fact is that phone cases are no longer negotiable. They’re necessary to protect your phone on the off chance that you do – accidentally – throw it against the wall in a fit of rage. They’re a fashion statement, too, though. The best iPhone 6 cases come in all kinds of shapes, colours, and designs.
Different cases even have their own benefits. You can, for example, pick up a waterproof cover if you have a habit of dropping your phone while taking bath selfies.
It wasn’t even that long ago that your worst nightmare was getting caught short with a low battery when you were on the move. That thought still sends a shiver down your spine, doesn’t it? We’d go to some extreme cringe-inducing lengths to avoid such a disaster, too. Like asking the guy behind the bar if he minds giving your phone a quick charge.
Those days – thankfully – are long behind us. When power banks first emerged on the market, we couldn’t order one quickly enough. These clever and convenient little devices contain their energy. You simply charge the power bank up, it reserves its power, and you keep it on your person in case of emergency. Then, if you’re faced with the dreaded low battery notification while out and about, it’s nothing to worry about. Just hook your phone up and you’re set. Portable charging.
You didn’t really think this list would gloss over the biggest cultural phenomenon of the last few years, did you? Selfie sticks. Love them or hate them, they’re undoubtedly one of the most must-have smartphone gadgets. You don’t need telling what they’re supposed to achieve. If you’re struggling to work that perfect selfie angle, the extendable arm helps you find it.
Say goodbye to poorly lit and badly composed Facebook profile pictures and hello to wider angles, no matter how short your arms are. Bluetooth selfie sticks are the ones you want, to reduce any awkward reaching.
An honourable mention must go to the vast array of camera accessories you can buy to enhance further your photographic experience. You can pick up dozens of different camera lens sets for your phone to ensure the perfect Instagram snap. From fisheye to wide-angle lenses, they’re all made to create the best photos you can from your otherwise limited phone camera.
Somewhere along the way, the art of the pen and pencil got tossed aside in favour of their electronic equivalent. It’s weird to think about, actually. It’s a technology that’s not so far removed from the Etch A Sketch of the 1960s. And yet, now, people can’t seem to live without them. Stylus pens are great for jotting down notes, handwritten drafts, or anything else you might need to write down.
Let’s not forget about the eco-friendly benefits, either. Why waste paper when you can achieve the same effect with your smartphone? Shopping lists and reminders suddenly don’t result in mass waste. The stylus pen technology has taken even broader strokes (literally) in recent times too. Now, you can pick up a stylus paintbrush and embrace your creative side. It’s all the fun of painting with none of the mess. You can’t say fairer than that, can you?
Reminiscent of some of Apples original device designs, early Kindles were among my favourite devices of all time. Sure it wasn’t the easiest device to use, but it’s dogged adherence to fulfilling it’s one niche works well for me. Despite my love for the device, and we have a few in our household, recent Kindles are not known for their build quality, the Kindle Paperwhite included. Protecting your Paperwhite with the right case will save the screen from scratches and might just save the device from some catastrophic fall. Especially so when young slippery hands are involved. My criteria for selecting a case is quite simple, it should be priced accordingly for a mass market product, it should protect while not adding unnecessary bulk, and it should be somewhat attractive. The following are five of the most readily available cases for the Paperwhite that fit the above criteria.
Made by (or for) Amazon this case features an attractive leather exterior alluding to the Kindles analogue lineage. The most expensive of the five, the form fitted interior secures your device without straps covering the front, will wake or put your device to sleep by opening or closing the cover. Reviews of the case are generally positive.
The OMOTON presents the best value out of my selection by offering exceptional protection in a case that is attractive and very aggressively priced. The exterior of the case consists of a non-slip leather-like material, textured plastic shell, and an interior with a soft microfibre interior. Importantly, the OMOTON automatically wakes or puts your device to sleep when the cover is opened or closed. Reviews of the case are pretty much universally positive.
Very similar to the OMOTON case in terms of price and protection, the Fintie Folio Case has all of the features you find in OMOTON but with a far more noticeable faux leather exterior. For me this is a major drawback but for many (hi mom) the faux leather is very attractive. Very reasonably priced and general positive reviews.
If reading handsfree is important to you than the Poetic Vertical Flip Cover Case is worth a look. Weighing just 3.8oz, this plastic case like the others will automatically turn on when opened and turn off when closed. The exterior is Faux leather, straps hold your Kindle tight, and you have easy access to all ports. The two reading positions seem perfect for when you don’t want to hold your Kindle while reading.
This case is made from cushioned, soft, durable high-grade silicone and importantly is available in a variety of very very bright colors. It doesn’t have the features of the others but it’s worthy of consideration if you love the feel of the material and want a case with more fun color. Despite all the silicon, the case still allows for complete access to all ports, buttons, and speakers.
The plastic bag to the left unfortunately symbolises how I travelled this summer. I looked extensively locally for a more elegant solution but the local market for carry appears to have changed. No longer can you easily find iconic cases for your iPhone, nor can you find beautiful products like this leather wallet from Bellroy (truth be told products of this quality are hard to find anywhere). In Taiwan, or at least the city in which I have live, perhaps interest has waned or simply changed to online retailers.
I have had one of Bellroys’ slim wallets for a number of years and can attest to the quality. It’s developed a lovely patina in places and still retains it’s original good looks and that great leather smell. It feels great in your hands too, a surprisingly often overlooked characteristic considering the amount of time wallets and cases are in our hands.
Bellroy’s Elements zip wallet features a water-resistant zip closure and vegetable tanned leather for all-weather protection, internal pockets for passport and currency, a micro travel pen with refill and Bellroy’s 3 year warranty. Perfect for your travel essentials or simply a fantastic way to protect your iPhone and a few items you need through-out your day. It’s on my wish list.
Is there a better way of showing a text message in a film? How about the internet? Even though we’re well into the digital age, film is still ineffective at depicting the (digital) world we live in. Maybe the solution lies not in content, but in form.
According to The Telegraph, Smartphone owners’ appetite for new apps is waning, with the average number of apps downloaded per user per month declining considerably over the past year. While I am always looking for something new or interesting, once you find an app. that works it takes a truly unique approach to unseat what’s already on my home screen.
Almost one in three (31 per cent) of smartphone users in the UK do not download any apps on their device in a typical month, according to a report by Deloitte – a steep increase from less than one in five in 2013.
Of those that do, the average number of apps downloaded per month has fallen from 2.32 to 1.82.
The report also found that almost nine in ten people never spend money on apps or other smartphone content, suggesting that demand for paid apps is even lower.
However, this does not mean the size of the app market itself is shrinking. Deloitte claims that the decline in the rate of downloads per user is due to an increase in the number of smartphone owners over 50, who have less interest in using their phone as a data device.
Since returning to the UK after living abroad for several years, I’m struck by how smartphones have transformed the expat experience for many. Plenty of the difficulties I faced when living in a foreign country have become obsolete now: things like translating a sign or getting lost are no longer an issue with the right apps installed on your phone. Having this information at our fingertips is both a blessing and a curse. It undoubtedly makes life easier, but at the same time it takes away some of the magic, which is perhaps what we left home for in the first place. That being said, here are three expat apps I wouldn’t be without:
Useful when: You’re trying to by an obscure item of stationary from a shop where everything is behind the counter.
Surely the most useful expat tool in the 21st century is a translation app. It’ll help you out of a jam when you’re looking for an object so uncommon that even your native speaking friends don’t know what you’re referring to. And if your pronunciation is still a little shady, you can just show the shopkeeper the word displayed on your phone instead of making a fool of yourself. iTranslate is a good choice, offering translations of more than 80 languages and the option to speak or type your word into the app. (iPhone or Android)
Useful when: You’ve forgotten your mum’s birthday for the third year in a row.
It’s a sad fact of life that special occasions like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day fall on different days in different countries. This makes it a nightmare for expats trying to remember who to buy flowers for and when. Say hello to Forget-Me-Not from FloraQueen, an app that reminds you when your friends’ birthdays are, along with the dates of special occasions in your home country. Impressively, it knows the important events in EVERY country and can be synced with Facebook to pull your friends’ details with ease. (iPhone only)
Useful when: You’re trying to find your way to a punk gig in a squat on the other side of town.
It’s hard to imagine a time before Google Maps, when you could still get hopelessly lost. Thanks to Google Maps, we take for granted that we will always find our way around town. And the latest version of the app is no exception. Among its standout features is the option to easily save an offline map of your area – perfect for when you get caught short without an internet connection. And you can now easily filter bars and restaurants according to opening hours – helpful for finding the perfect post-gig watering hole. You’ll never miss the support band again! (iPhone or Android)
But is an app-savvy expat a happier expat? Whether to download or keep it old school is one of the questions of our generation. There can be no turning back time, and to pretend technology doesn’t exist and not use it would be a bit perverse. But, at the same time, please don’t let it ruin the mystique of the experience.
Written by Matt Lindley, follow him on Twitter.
Peek is a quick and simple to use calendar for iPhone that could bring new values to peoples everyday lives. Beautiful interface.
Silence has become a scarce and almost luxurious experience; it’s one of the experiences I look forward to when returning home to Eastern Canada. I’ve tried all kinds of noise cancelling techniques to help quell the noise pollution in the building where we live but poor building standards, a culture that loves noise, and loose enforcement of when you can use that concrete drill makes it impossible. This pebble like device you can see here lets you reclaim that silence for your home. It turns your window into an advanced noise cancelling system that allows you to eliminate and/оr control the sounds that pass through. I hope we see these mobile-like devices in the real world soon so that we can take our own personal decibel level with us where ever we go.
Helpful tips for the legions of small companies looking for short-cuts to their black Benz dream.
Silent Circle and Geeksphone have partnered to combine best-of-breed hardware with all the skills and experience necessary to offer, Blackphone the world’s first smartphone to put privacy and control ahead of everything else. Ahead of carriers. Ahead of advertising. Blackphone is re-shaping the landscape of personal communications.
It would be great to have this option in the marketplace.
The continuing decline of telephone culture: A recent Pew report showed that in 2012, 80 percent of cellphone users used their phones for texting; in 2007, just 58 percent did. In late 2007, according to Nielsen, monthly texts outpaced phone calls for the first time. Personally I seldom use the phone app. on my iPhone, any conversations, which are few, are done over Skype or Facetime.
As a freelance writer, I also have days, even busy ones, when I don’t speak a word aloud. Frequently, I conduct all professional and personal interactions by email or text from my apartment. A simulacrum of a bustling office is achieved by a quick survey of Facebook posts or Twitter messages.
Ten years ago, still in the social-media stone age of Friendster and not yet texting, I often talked to friends on the phone during the day, sometimes while walking or running errands.
Now, of course, hardly anyone calls, at least not without a pre-emptive “Are you free to talk?” text. Last month, I accidentally removed one of the bottom four primary buttons on my iPhone screen, and it took me a good five minutes to realize it was the “phone” function.
Didn’t think it was real but it is. Get instant alerts from your smartphone right on your finger with Smarty Ring.
To help you make real connections with those closest to you during the Christmas period, and other times of course, Higby blocks your headphones so you can tune into real life. His heart covers your camera’s eye, so you can see through your own two eyes. And Higby’s arms hug your phone and your friend’s phone together so there aren’t any screen distractions when you’re spending time together.
Higby is an experiment in using design and technology to make delightful, useful, and valuable new things possible for people.