Off the Grid. By @DKelly1504

By Daniel Kelly



Off the Grid.


For the first half of this term I didn’t have a computer and could only contact people via a temperamental Iphone 4. Here’s what I learned:

Firstly and most importantly, I didn’t have some hippie­dippy­eat­pray­love­bullshit revelation about society being too tethered to their technology and if we would just drag our eyes away from our screens for a second we would be shaken by the profound inherent beauty of the mundane.

It did make it a little easier to be mindful though. Not looking at a screen all day gave my retina’s a bit of a break. I slept a little better. My feng shui was on point I guess. My suspicion that technology often serves as a big distraction streamlining human weakness into a collective consciousness where people can trade their lowest impulses was confirmed.

It made me slightly more focused too, since its harder to procrastinate when when you do your work via poundland notepads offering little in the way of browsing options. It’s also harder to get sidetracked when you receive your information via printed text on a page. Essential work was finished on borrowed laptops setup for Spanish and German users which made me slightly more worldly.

I was starting to feel optimistic about how much I could get done without a computer. Unfortunately the benefits stopped there.

I had to set aside about 20 minutes if I was to tackle Slack on my Iphone 4 and it can’t really handle Google calendar which torpedoed my time­management (something I’m quite weak at anyway).

SCABs were rarely written, I’ve probably missed loads. Making videos was also difficult which is a shame since I enjoy editing. I was terrible to work with too since the workload fell to my partners all too often. I also used to enjoy putting effort into reflection slides which I failed to do without a laptop.

It has set back my learning significantly since I haven’t been practicing with Adobe software. If something occurred to me that might materialise as a creative insight I tended to forget about it before I reached a computer. I know you’re supposed to write down everything but I don’t have the ink nor the paper budget to pen every banal thought that floats across my mind.

Reaching me was a complete pain. My phone is so slow that often it rings out before I can answer even though I see its ringing and have pressed the ‘answer’ button several times. The amount of frustration was at times palpable.

Responding to emails would take about 40 minutes on my iphone, it lagged behind me typing and retyping emails.

It’s also made me feel quite responsible for the documentary not being anywhere near complete, when there’s only so much you can do if all your edits are scattered on various laptops and hard drives. The transcriptions of interviews were all done by pen and paper.

In conclusion, technology is pretty much here to stay. The internet isn’t a fad. Maybe one day I’ll have the freedom to cut the digital chains which bind me to the way society is organised. Until then I’ll be dropping nearly 2 grand every 8 years or so into the crypt of Steve Jobs. I’m sorry to anybody who had to pick up the slack for me. I’ve bought a new laptop and an expensive warranty so God willing it should be sound.

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