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Most everyone has a routine for their favourite technology these days (unless you’re Amish, or Luddite, I suppose). In fact, you’ve probably had a routine for tech most of your life: Saturday morning cartoons as a kid, pulling out the calculator a few times a week for math homework, that ever-necessary first cup of coffee in the morning from your favourite coffee-maker, weekly calls to your mother, and so forth. As times have changed and tech has become more prevalent in our lives, we tend to rely on it, or at least engage in it, more and more. For us geeky-types, our routines are often somewhat fluid as we discover, try out and adopt or discard various technological wonders. So ask yourself: What’s your routine, currently? What do you do every day or every week that involves some form of technology or other? And, most importantly: Could you live without it? To get the ball rolling, here’s what I tend to tech with daily:
I work from home, don’t drink coffee (though I probably should), have a nearly-two year old, and just bought an iPhone (yes, I caved — don’t judge me!). So, needless to say, my technological routine is filled with kiddie shows, laptops and staring at my phone’s screen as if my eyes were built only for that purpose.
I get up in the morning and can barely move. I probably went to bed late the night before, and got maybe five to seven hours of sleep. I’m not a morning person. The room is dark and my iPhone is beside my bed, on the nightstand. I reach over and pick it up — it also functions as my alarm clock — and once I have turned off any offending noise, I proceed to groggily navigate to my email. It must be an iPhone thing… I never did that with my HTC Touch (Windows Mobile 6.5). Sure, I would sometimes fire up the laptop, if I was planning on staying in bed for a while, but that was a conscious decision. This iPhone thing has become a -habit- — in a week and a half! After an email scan, I determine if anyone or anything is so desperate for a reply that I have to do it right then, and depending on what my schedule is like that morning and how late or early I woke up, I either get up or I read a bit of a book or a comic book — on my iPhone… Thing’s evil.
I finally haul myself out of bed after being pounced upon by my daughter, and head out to the world at large — meaning the living room. If my wife is home, I usually head out and take the dogs for a walk, where I will quite often do more emailing and/or business calling and/or book/comic reading or general surfing, task management — on my iPhone. If my wife is gone to work, then I am usually getting the kid set up with a TV show on the flat panel television (was there really ever any other kind?), while I get breakfast ready for her. All hail Treehouse and Nick Jr.! Thanks for keeping my kid busy for certain parts of the day so I can get things moving. After breakfast on these days, me and the kid will take the pups out for a walk, where I will usually sneak in a few of the above mentioned iPhone-type things, if possible (i.e. kid-permitting). When we get back, I usually play with her, read to her, or watch some TV with her, etc., until nap time.
When naptime hits, I jump right into what I would have been doing for hours already if my wife wasn’t at work — Laptop Land. Laptop Land is where I work, play, and converse with thousands of strangers in various virtual environments such as Twitter, Facebook, email and now Google Buzz. I spend that time researching, writing, putting out business fires, and otherwise trying to get things done in my day. Since I build and market websites for small to medium-sized businesses, I have a very strong relationship with the internet. That is to say, if I have no internet, pretty much 70% of my work can not get done (though I can use my iPhone for emergencies provided I have decent phone signal). I interact with website technologies, on the front and back end, graphics and writing programs, memory tools like Evernote, the aforementioned social tools and the various sharing tools that interconnect them, and with verbal communications tools like Skype and, of course, my phone. Now, you may think that my iPhone is the most important part of this part of my day, too — it’s not. Neither is my laptop. The most important piece of tech that I use in the afternoon, if I’m home, is the microwave (and sometimes my car and credit/debit card).
The microwave is where my sustenance comes from, unless I am at a coffee shop working (like now), in which case it is coming from someone else’s microwave and has been acquired through use of both my car and some form of debit or credit. I am busy. I don’t feel that I have the time to cook something or make a sandwich, so, if I am to eat (which I have discovered is necessary for continued functional though — and life), I utilize the quickness and re-heating wonder that is the microwave. I sometimes use the stove, too, but that is mostly if I am home with my kid. During those times I try my best to dedicate my efforts to her as exclusively as possible. There are other tech items here though, that take us into the evening as well — things like talking stuffed animals, computer games and other interactive tools for kids (on the laptop, iPhone and from Fisher Price and the like)… but also the Playstation 3. This is where we play the DVDs and digital shows when we are not watching Treehouse, but are still using the TV. Speaking of TV, I can’t forget mention of the Digital Box. This is where TV comes from these days. While there are many times when I would like to get rid of TV altogether (because it has become a continuous stream of crap, for the most part), it is not likely to go anywhere until there is a very competitive pricing plan from a reliable internet-based provider.
I should also mention that, while driving, I am often on my cell phone via a bluetooth headset — a stereo headset that will also function to privately stream my music and other media to me while I’m out.
Generally, this involves some combination of PS3, Laptop Land (in Windows and a couple flavours of Linux that I am playing with), DVD/Blu-Ray, Video Gaming (rarely, unfortunately), and television (grown up TV where we can get it). This can be any combination of work, play or family time, including an "all of the above" scenario where I attempt to balance all aspects together – sometimes I even succeed. Often, this route will take me down some tangent or focus or other and I will end up awake until the wee hours. This is a habit I am trying to break, but it appears to be part of the cycle that perpetuates the need for my iPhone (generally also the last bit of tech I use in the day), so I’m not sure if Apple will let me…
What I couldn’t live without
So that’s my day, in a nutshell. I am pretty sure I couldn’t live without the microwave or the internet and a means of easily accessing it (at high speeds) at this point. Not without a major life change, including career-wise. Other things, I could get by without — even *gasp* my iPhone, and kid-TV. I could do it. Really!
How about you? What tech could you not live without?