Posted by: mattcolvin | January 11, 2009

Limiting and Managing My Digital Life

My old Powerbook G4 17″ died last spring, a month after my wife’s iBook G4. We decided that we did not want two computers anymore, and had doubts about the durability of Apple notebooks, so we went with a 20″ iMac. It is meeting our needs very nicely, and now that we have banished it upstairs to a desk in our bedroom, we spend far less time on it, and far more time with our kids and each other. One contributing factor is that time spent “veging” (phonetically, “vedging”) is done upstairs, so that one is physically absent, and the fact that one has absconded from the task of parenting or housework or loving one’s spouse is obvious to everyone else: “Where’s Daddy/Mommy?” Before, by contrast, it was all to east to get sucked into email or a blog or tennis news online, and rationalize it by saying, “I’m still downstairs and available to my kids and spouse.” Now, honesty is compelled.

A downside is that I no longer have a computer at school, so slideshows have to be done on a borrowed Macbook requested in advance from a student.

But email is necessary at my work, and I have 4 years of quizzes, handouts, and lecture notes — all fortunately saved as through fire from the demise of the old Powerbook.

The solution? A 2GB thumb drive on my keychain and an iPod touch.

I have limited the number of apps on my iPod touch — unlike one friend who pages through 4 screens’ worth. I only use the basic apps, plus a few others:

–’s iPhone app is nicer for browsing than the mobile website.

– I just downloaded the WordPress app, and may never write another text-only post on the computer.

– I just found a marvelous Bible application that includes Nestle-Aland’s Greek New Testament and Ralfs Septuagint, usable even offline!

– (update on 1/14/09) I just got Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon on my iPod. Ridiculous!

These things help me to contrive to spend less time online, and make the iPod more useful. The only danger is that it may become too seductive itself, like a smaller Powerbook. But the screen is small enough, and typing painful enough, that I think that won’t be a problem.



  1. Speaking of managing one’s digital life, is there a way to get something like an RSS feed from your site?

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