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Tempering your smart phone addiction


When the iPhone launched in 2007, geeks were suddenly granted instant access to various forms of trivial facts and Google searches, powered by an always-on unlimited data plan.

This neither made them more fascinating conversationalists nor better company.

Being able to instantly whip out a Web search when someone cannot remember who directed Lawrence of Arabia isn't a social grace worth cultivating. Trust me on this; I speak as a repeat offender.

When Siri landed on my phone in 2010, things only got worse. Instead of laboriously tip-tip-tapping away I could dictate my fact-proving questions in just moments. "Siri, what is the boiling point of iron?" or "Siri, how many dimples are on a golf ball?" or "How many Earths fit inside the Sun?" And Siri would know the answer for me.

It's ridiculous how easy Siri makes it to look up information. And yet, at the same time, I know exactly how much most standard-issue people care about this kind of knowledge.

Exactly zip.

While friends and acquaintances may fake interest in my various offspring and their accomplishments, one must draw a line with regards to generic trivia or the Factual Hounds of War will not be stopped.

For me, that generally means placing my iPhone in my backpack and not removing it until dinner has concluded. During that time, I engage with the people around me and avoid flooding them with insanely cool and interesting facts. This is called "normal life."

Of course, all bets are off when my dinner mates are geeks themselves. In which case, all our phones will be out, and we will share the boundless joy that is the absurd trivium.

We each of us find our own special moments. Siri has its time and its place. The secret is learning when and where that is.

Are you a recovering smart phone addict? Share your tales of success in the comments.

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