Sunday, January 9, 2011

Travels with iPhone

I recently fell victim to the siren call of the smart phone. More specifically, a friend
recently upgraded to an iPhone 4 and gave me her old phone.

I recognized pretty quickly that having an iPhone was changing my behavior in small but
noticeable ways. My laptop (which is so old it's practically a desktop) gets turned on a
lot less frequently. My e-mail responses--those that are sent from my phone, anyway-
-are a lot more terse (though not always, as it will take more than a radical shift in
technology to curtail my verbosity).

And while having this phone means I'm checking Twitter and Facebook and my e-mail a
lot more frequently than I used to, in some ways I feel less immersed in (some kinds of)
information. I'm still not crazy about reading anything of significant length on the small
screen, so I find myself either not reading (or marking as to read later) links that I would
likely have clicked on if I was checking from a regular computer.

But traveling this week is when I really noticed the change the phone had made in how
I approach things. I am a very type A personality traveler. Before I go somewhere new
I have all my flight and hotel information printed out, a plan for getting between airport,
hotel, and other spots I'm going to (including, but not limited to, maps, addresses, public
transit info, and turn-by-turn walking directions), and a print out of my schedule if I'm
going to a conference.

This time, I have none of that.

What I have, instead, are apps. A conference schedule app, along with my personal
calendar for other events and details. A San Diego map app, as well as a conference
map saved to my home screen. A few other pages of info I'll need are saved there as
well. Everything else I'm planning (hoping) to access through my email.

This is very, very unlike me. And while I kind of like not having to carry and organize a
sheaf of papers, the fact that I don't have all those papers is kind of making me nervous.

I'm not ready to make any generalizations about my future behavior ('cause it's likely
one of the reasons I feel so unprepared for this trip is the non-packing, non-trip prep
work I had to do before I left), let alone anyone else's, based on this one experience.
And while I do have a lot of info for this trip on my phone, it is nowhere near well-
organized. But it is interesting to see yourself making such a significant change about
how you do something in such a short period of time.

1 comment:

  1. DC was my first conference, and I did it the old-fashioned way--figured out what after-hours events I was going to before I left and printed out directions (and then ended up not going to one because I accidentally typed in the wrong address).

    I got an iPad in September, so I used that for San Diego. Talk about a life-changer. I didn't have to decide where I was going a week ahead of time! Much less paper to carry around! I used airport apps to help me find the nearest bathroom, yummiest-sounding food, and tell me which gate I'd fly out of (even though the airport itself didn't have this information posted yet). I can't imagine ever going back.