Tech Minimalism

Simon in his superhero cape

Most of my technology hails from the mid-2000s. My running IPod is from 2007. My laptop is from 2009. I still have the original IPhone only because of the pictures that are on it. In 2018, I purchased a Chromebook for $125 so that I would have something more modern to go on the internet and work on my blog.

None of this antiquated technology was a problem until I lost my job last year in the middle of a global pandemic. If you want to know how essential technology is to day-to-day life and to survival, that was my wakeup call.

When I completed grad school in 2015, I backed away from technology and things online. After 25 years as a professional college student and constantly being online, I needed a break. In 2015, I did not just downsize my digital footprint – I deleted it. 

I deleted my Facebook profile in 2015 and have not looked back. It was the best move for my mental health. I was not sure if the move would be temporary or permanent, but now in year 6, I am happy to announce that it is permanent. You can read a year without Facebook, two years without Facebook, 3 years without Facebook, 4 years without Facebook and 5 years without Facebook to follow that journey. 

Flash forward to 2022. We are living in a global pandemic. I have lost my family and many friends to COVID-19. I can literally count on one hand the people I knew before the pandemic who are still alive today. That is not an exaggeration. I am on year 3 of medical isolation as an immune compromised person who has a high risk of death if I get COVID. I am completely a 100% remote worker for as long as I have my current job, which I am hoping to hold until retirement. I found my dream job (part two).

Now that I am back online in a huge way, it is time to evaluate my digital footprint so that I do not reach the point I was at in 2015 when I had to completely unplug.

First of all – hello, internet. It’s me again.

Social Media

My social media consists of this blog, which I started in 2015 (the same year I deleted my Facebook). I have since added a Twitter account. Twitter is one of the best things I have done in a long time. I have made many new friends all over the world. It’s lonely living in a pandemic when everyone you know and love has died. I have made some amazing friendships on Twitter. I am so grateful for that platform.

Actually, I should clarify. My cats have made a lot of friends on Twitter. They are more popular than I am. Seriously, though, the cats are the highlight of my life and my reason for living, so who wouldn’t love them?

Social media – blog and Twitter. That is all of the social media I can handle. That is okay. I have people I can talk to and reach out to if I need so that I do not feel so alone.

Hardware

Now when it comes to the actual technology of it all – the hardware and software – I struggled last year when I lost my job. The technology I have did not always meet the technology requirements for jobs I was looking at applying. Luckily, I was able to find employment with the technology I have. One of my jobs actually provided me with all of the technology I need to perform that job. 

However, now that we are in a global pandemic and technology is literally a lifeline, I do not want to be in that position again. For example, last spring, I had to fire up the 2009 laptop to update my resume because it was the only thing with word. However, that laptop is way too old and outdated to go on the internet. I had to save my updated resume on a thumb drive, then access that thumb drive from my Chromebook, which was new enough to go on the internet.

Many jobs I was looking at applying specifically stated you could not use a Chromebook to do the work. My Macbook was too old to go on the internet anymore. I did apply for some jobs using just my phone, but that was low paying gig work. 

I did update my cell phone just before the pandemic. I typically change cell phones every 4-5 years. It all depends on when they start to break. In fall 2019, my cell phone was starting to break after 4 years. So, I do have a new cell phone. 

However, the whole decade old Macbook, thumb drives, Chromebook routine got old really quick. I need updated technology. I need to be able to have one cell phone and one laptop that can do it all. I also received a message that my Chromebook is basically going to be a paperweight after June of this year. Chromebooks are only made to last for so many years and apparently this spring is when mine will stop working.

I have been saving money this past year since finding my new job to update my tech equipment. I bought a new laptop.

I am now in the process of migrating everything from my old technology to my new laptop so that I can achieve my one cell phone / one laptop goal. Once I have things migrated, all of my old technology will be wiped and recycled. 

The hardware goal is one cell phone and one laptop. When I put all of my technology in one place this winter, I saw that I had 4 boxes of technology hardware. That’s right. Four boxes. What do I have? I have a broken DVD player, broken CD players, old cell phones, a 13 year-old Macbook, the Chromebook, and a -ahem – potentially 15 year old windows laptop.

When I’m done with all my migrating, wiping and recycling, the goal is one cell phone and one laptop. I do not need four boxes of technology hardware.

I made sure I have word on the new laptop so that I no longer have to rely on the 13 year-old Macbook for that. 

As far as my digital footprint, I have documents and photos. Almost all of my documents and photos are stored in the cloud. However, I like to have things stored in two or more places in case one storage place fails. All of the old technology hardware in my house is the second storage location.

Over the next several weeks, I need to migrate the photos off the 13 year-old Macbook onto my new one. I need to migrate the photos off my original IPhone onto my new Macbook. 

I have two old IPods and a brand new mp3 player that I cannot figure out to save my life. I need to figure out how to have one item to listen to music when I run. Both IPods still work great with the exception of battery life. My running pod (an original IPod shuffle from 2007) seems to have an extremely short battery life now.

Somehow in the past 10 years I ended up with all of this technology clutter. In the future, I will save things in 2 or more places and try to update my technology once it becomes obsolete. I think what happened was that in 2015, I completely dropped out of the digital life. All of this technology stuff just piled up. Then with the pandemic, I was suddenly and unexpectedly thrown back online again.

Conclusions

So, hello internet. It’s me again. I’m back.

The next few weeks and months I will be migrating, wiping and recycling all my old technology to reach my one cell phone and one laptop goal. My new laptop can do everything that I was previously using at least three other tech devices to do. My new laptop is new enough that I could apply for pretty much any remote job I wanted if I needed to now. Hopefully, that won’t be necessary. My goal is to stay at my current job until retirement. 

How much technology hardware is in your house? If you put all of your laptops, cell phones, cords, etc, in a pile, how much would you have? By the way, I found 5 house phones, almost 10 landline phone cords, and multiple internet cords in my search. I am keeping two of each. I am one person with one phone. I do not need 10 telephone cords. I will keep two in case one breaks so that I have a backup.My goal is to get all of this technology migrated and downsized so that I can focus my online activities on what I like to do – working on this blog and interacting with our Twitter friends.