Netflix to revamp video streaming tech

Jeff Morganteen on Netflix:

Netflix uses about a third of all internet data in North America at certain times, according to the trade publication.

This is pretty insane. At certain times 1/3 of all internet traffic is hitting a Netflix server. Evidently, if you want to influence North America just have a bunch of stuff on Netflix…

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Drowning in Information Overload

Bradley Chambers on dialing back our connectedness:

I’ve not completely disconnected, but I’m reducing the amount of time I am connected.

Oddly enough, I read this after my own decision to dial down the amount of input that I have. I’m not on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram much, but just gazing into the iPhone screen for hours each day was enough to make me dial back to a Blackberry for a week. I’ll be curious to hear his thoughts on how it turns out.

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A Little Experiment Results

The iPhone/Blackberry experiment is over. I went from Monday morning until about Friday afternoon with no iPhone. I turned it on maybe twice to get some information that wasn’t available anywhere else and promptly turned it back off. As promised here are some thoughts on the week.

It was definitely a challenge and a mindset change to not have so much information readily available in my pocket. Most of my day is spent either downloading or uploading code, documents, emails, etc. via the internet, but I’ve realized there is so much distraction in such a small form factor. It’s just so darn convenient that it was a bit difficult to adjust. The ease with which I can get almost any type or amount of information on a smart phone is unfathomable. The Blackberry effectively has no browser which means it has no ability to get that information. It couldn’t even load up Google… This was probably for the best. Forced information diet at least from that medium.

I did miss the music that I have on my iPhone. When I got in the car or sat down to work, I missed the ability to put my headphones in and get in the zone. I suppose I could have downloaded some of my iTunes library to a computer while at work, but that thought didn’t cross my mind until just now. It was somewhat nice to drive for an hour one day with nothing but road noise.

I missed the way I’ve been able to interact with the content on the screen. I made the mistake of poking the Blackberry screen in order to get it to do something more than a few times. I also missed being able to fire up a quick game while sitting in the waiting room for a doctor’s appointment. I did start up Brickbreaker a few times, though. The distraction factor of “get me away from ‘8216;boring’ right now” simply wasn’t as easily available and this made all the difference

The most interesting observation that I made during my down week was that, although I felt less connected, I didn’t really feel like I was missing out. The thought crossed my mind a couple of times, but most of the interaction that I participate in during a regular day could also be handled through another device. I did drift toward that at times during the week, but I was conscious of it which made all the difference. When I was forced to move to my iPad or computer to do the same thing that I used to do on my iPhone, it was more of a conscious choice instead of just a automatic response to move toward my iPhone. I’ll take this as a good thing. Being mindful of my device and information consumption was a good outcome for my little experiment. Now, it’s time to carry those lessons forward.

A Little Experiment

I’m trying an experiment this week. I have taken the SIM card out of my iPhone and put it into the Blackberry that I’ve had for years. I keep the Blackberry around for international travel as it is unlocked and can accept just about any GSM SIM. I’m not sure what prompted this decision, but yesterday as I was fiddling with extra cables in my desk and reducing the amount of clutter there, I decided to pull it out, charge it up, and make it my primary cellular device. Yesterday and for many years before I’ve tried to reduce the clutter in my life, and I’m wondering if the iPhone is a part of that clutter. Tim Ferriss advocates an information diet in his very popular The 4-Hour Workweek, and I’ve binged and purged since reading his thoughts on this topic. Because the iPhone is a portal to a ridiculously large amount of information, it might be nice to reduce the load for awhile.

The Blackberry on the other hand, has a total of 5-7 “apps” that will be able to replace the existing ones on my iPhone:

  • Phone
  • Text
  • Contacts
  • Clock/Alarm
  • Brickbreaker

It’s nice that the Blackberry is unlocked, and after 6 years of usage, it’s actually still a decent phone. So sad that they went out of business. The iPhone screamed onto the scene and completely decimated the smart phone market. I’m sure I will be considerably slower in typing text messages, but I don’t get that many anyway, so I think I’ll be alright. Phone calls may be coming back into my life, who knows?!

Part of me really doesn’t want this to work as I’ll have an excuse to discontinue the experiment. It is the Christmas season after all, so maybe this will be a great time to really turn off and enjoy the season for what it is. I’ve been telling all of our family that we should unplug from the consumerism (at least for the adults), and remember what this season is about. Keeping the Christ in Christmas is a silly phrase, but I don’t want to focused on all of the gift giving. Let’s be honest: there are very, very few people that are thinking about Jesus while they are spending gobs of money that they don’t have. One step further? How many of us actually remember what we got last year? I remember one large item as it was picked out by me. My parents gave me and my brothers cash last year as it was a difficult holiday season for them. I remember having so much fun picking out my Tom Bihn Smart Alec backpack and all of it’s matching accessories. I still have fun picking stuff out from that website.

Another part of me does want a reduction in iOS consumption mostly because it will be a severe reduction in my mobile plan cost. It will also hopefully reduce the amount of information that goes into my brain. I’m on my phone quite a bit. Being off of it for awhile will be a good thing.

I’ll report back in a week or so and let everyone know how this little experiment is going and whether I think it’s a good idea or not. I had the phone ready to rock right before bedtime last night, and I’ve already had two incidents this morning (yep, before 6am) that my brain will have to work around.

  1. I grabbed my standard white Apple earpods for my walk this morning. No music could be listened to on the Blackberry. :/
  2. As I opened up Editorial to write this morning, I wasn’t quite sure if I’d sent yesterday’s daily muse to Day One. I normally check my iPhone for this. :/

There are a number of things that I think that I will miss. We’ll see if that pans or not. It will be interesting to compare the “think I’ll miss” list to the “actually miss” list.