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June 30, 2009

Tech Torture with Topher: I want my smartphone back!!

Posted: 01:11 PM ET

Hey everyone!

So here we are in Day 2 of this week's Tech Torture with Topher. This week, I'm giving up my iPhone to see how hard it is to live without constant Web and e-mail connectivity. After one day, I have one thing to say:


OK, I feel better now.

Already this morning I had a real problem because I didn't have my smartphone.

When I got to work I went straight to my first scheduled meeting instead of going to my desk. I sat in the conference room, alone, for about 10 minutes until a very nice person walked in and told me the meeting location had been moved. They had sent an e-mail while I was on my way to work in my car. Without my iPhone, I had no way of getting it. Oops.

My first post on this topic Monday has already attracted a lot of great comments. I want to quickly touch on some audience questions.

Yes, believe it or not, part of my job involves the use of Facebook, Twitter and AIM. I know, tough work if you can get it.

I'm also getting a lot of people saying that they refuse to get a smartphone for their job and how freeing that is to them. My response: If you have a job where your boss doesn't make you have a smartphone so that you can be reachable at all times, I say, ROCK ON!! But I do not. I work in a 24/7 news industry, and my bosses need to communicate with me via e-mail all the time. Lucky me.

Keep the comments going and hop on over to Twitter if you want to join the conversation there.

Other post in this series:

Tech Torture with Topher: Bye-bye smartphone
Tech Torture with Topher: I want my smartphone back!!
Tech Torture with Topher: I want my Phone Back
Tech Torture with Topher: My Phone's Back and all's Right With the World

Filed under: Tech Torture with Topher

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DC in TX   June 30th, 2009 1:58 pm ET

Just curious. If you knew that you wouldn't have access to your phone, why didn't you show up earlier so that you had time to go to your desk to check your calendar for the day? However, living down here in Houston, I already know that you can leave a half hour early and one wreck on the opposite side of the highway 8 lanes away can have you barely getting to work on time.

Well, good luck on the rest of the week!

Bob   June 30th, 2009 2:00 pm ET

Yeah, it would have been way too hard to check your email at your desk before the meeting like a normal person...

Jason   June 30th, 2009 5:21 pm ET

I think the people commenting are missing the point.

Yes, he could show upt to work 15 minutes early and check his email the "old-fashioned" way before a meeting... but that's exactly what this experiment is about. What adjustments would have to be made for someone who is currently connected via smartphone.

Also, what if the meeting was in another building. I don't know how big CNN HQ is, but my company spans 6 buildings in 2 locations, and 3 miles apart. Luckily my desk is in the buildings closer to me (relative to my commute) however that could be easily reversed. Driving an extra 5 minutes to the other buildings, and checking my email just to drive back is downright silly.

What you need, Topher, is an inside man. Someone who still has their smartphone, to call you for things like that. You still have a dumb-phone, right? ring ring, meeting's moved.

But again, that's another adjustement that has to be made, and a rather inconvenient one at that, just to compensate for the lack of a smart phone.

Charles   June 30th, 2009 7:18 pm ET

I feel for you Topher. I just changed jobs and had to turn in my BB. I'm re-learning how to live without it. Luckily my job doesn't require constant communication. It must totally suck for you right now. Hang in there!!

Matej   June 30th, 2009 8:19 pm ET

A couple of months ago, the International Space Station took on its first six person crew – a monumental achievement in space that's been in the works for the last decade. The CNN tech section had some fluff piece about Twitter and Ashton Kutcher, and not once mentioned the ISS. Yesterday, NASA announced the new astronaut class (the first new class in half a decade), and CNN posts a fawning piece about the iPhone and Steve Jobs. It's not you, Topher, but the science coverage on CNN has certainly been knocked down many, many notches since the company sacked all of its science reporters...

bqwebb   July 1st, 2009 1:46 am ET

I don't have an iPhone, but I do have an iPod Touch...with Taiwan having 90% wifi coverage, it's a practical "mobile internet" device. My phone is a Windows Mobile-based thing, but I really only use it for making calls.

Since I started using it, emails have become my primary means of mobile comminications. Seriously.

Rob   July 1st, 2009 6:09 am ET

Your experiencing what it's like to be free. You have been what inmates call institutionalized. I know it's hard at first but you'll soon learn how to live in a world without an intern and three coworkers crammed into your back pocket. The "smart phone" is the chain that binds you to your work. Now that I think about it, hehe this reminds me of allegory of the cave. Give it a chance and you might find yourself embracing the curse that is freedom.

Josh   July 1st, 2009 9:04 am ET

Hmmm, not sure how valuable this experiment is. You have a job that has evolved along with the institution of smartphones, so it is an integral part of the way you do your work. Naturally that will be difficult. Years ago, before smartphones, there were other mechanisms in place that you were accustomed to that you would have used but have now been superseded.
What might be more interesting is to see how someone like me, a physician/geek who doesn't rely on but really likes and is used to his iphone does without.
You are like a truck driver trying to get through the day without a truck, I would be like the truck driver trying to get through the day without a cup of coffee.

Stephen   July 1st, 2009 11:48 am ET

Who has a meeting first thing in the morning? We always schedule them at least an hour after starting time to prevent just this.

SR   July 1st, 2009 1:30 pm ET

This guy gets paid for this? Where do I sign up?

ImpostorMag   July 1st, 2009 1:54 pm ET

This is a lame experiment. I would give anything to not be tied to a smartphone.

Its made life easier yes, managing the magazine work and photoshoots. In the same token more stressful, I AM ALWAYS CONNECTED and if you don't response quick enough they get mad. Already human patience are getting thinner and thinner.

I threw my phone good 100ft. Of course broken, did I panic? No I relaxed and a great month of no phone.

Kenny Ade   July 5th, 2009 1:37 pm ET

An extremely valuable experiment. I can bearly do without my BB in a day. You always need to grab your emails on the move and check ouy some stuffs on the web. I really feel for you.

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