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About one month ago I discontinued my wireless phone and data plan with AT&T for use with an iPhone 4. To take AT&Ts place as my wireless provider I decided to choose… absolutely no one.

Although choosing absolutely no one is not entirely true, as I have a Verizon enabled iPad, I no longer have a fully functioning cellular telephone. My iPhone 4 now basically serves as very heavy, as well as heavily scratched and battered, iPod Touch that is capable of GPS.

What led me here?

On the family plan with my wife and I were using I think she accounted for 95% of the minutes used. My call log basically consisted of talking to only friends and family. As it stands, I only talk to friends and family when I’m actually at home during downtimes of the day for me. When I deal with coworkers and conduct business, I’m always at my desk and a cell phone really does little good there. To save some money I ditched my phone plan and my wife just latched on to the family plan of her relatives instead. It was mostly an experiment at first, but one I’m very glad I conducted.

What was the aftermath?

Starting with the obvious, money has been saved and I’ve had a couple of mild inconvenient instances where having a data enabled smartphone would have been mildly helpful. But the real aftermath is that I no longer have a do-it-all device in my pocket that can conveniently turn to when I want to get distracted in public, or in private. I’m now fully engaged at meals, at parties (either of the dinner or raucous variety), when taking walks, and darn near just about every activity that involves external stimulation. The end result of this is I’m fully engaged with surroundings instead of being mildly distracted 1/2 of the time and having my mind drift occasionally thinking about what is happening with work, on Twitter or on ${insert_your_favorite_distracting_thing}.

As phone usage, Skype now serves as a very fine replacement that I can use from my home office on my computer or in my iPad when I’m traveling.

I usually keep the iPad with me when I go out with my backpack or in my car when I drive somewhere in the event I need to pull over to make a call or look up quick directions.

The really great thing about tablets here though is that you can’t stuff them in your pocket. Their larger size is an advantage in many ways, but this one advantage goes unpublished. One can’t conveniently whip out a tablet from your pocket just to distract yourself from the moment. So, while I may miss taking that serendipitous picture of something great I may find while being out and about because that smartphone is no longer on my person, I’ll instead be forced to absorb that moment as it is and rely on my memory for the photograph. In doing so, what I’ll remember will be that moment in its full glory instead of the moment I spent pushing buttons to produce a .png just so I’ll have a pretty picture of a moment I missed


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