Bringing home iPhone: lessons learned

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Am I the only one who missed the memo that surprises were about to end?

There are no more "Hey, haven't heard from you in a while – let's catch up sometime." No "Sorry, you have been outbid on eBay item 48937721." Not even any more "Your mailbox is over its size limit," or "Great deal on solution to embarrassing male troubles."

No one told me that trading in my old cell phone for one that can surf the web and check email on the fly would leave me with nothing to look forward to when I got home to my computer.

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My poor laptop! I used to learn things at my laptop. Heck, I used to open my laptop. A typical evening would find me coming home, kicking off my shoes, and taking a peek at my email inbox. These days the laptop sits at home, closed next to the couch. The emails or Facebook notifications that it used to hold have already been seen the second they arrived on my iPhone. Now it seems as if I only open my laptop to update my phone.

And just as fellow blogger Chris Gaylord discovered when he brought home his shiny bundle of joy last July: Now that the iPhone is in my life, I no longer have unanswered questions. (Well, I'm still working on the whole meaning of life thing, but pretty much everything else is settled with a simple Google search on my new phone. And I'm pretty sure Google has a solution for that other problem in the works.)

These first couple of weeks with the iPhone have been all about what I can do. And while I've got to say that it's pretty cool to be constantly plugged into this technology – staying up-to-the-minute on what's going on in the world and my inbox – I see some drawbacks.

Where does community go if everyone's plugged into something that's going on somewhere else? How do you appreciate the fall foliage when you're immersed in the action of a 3.5-inch screen?

Am I really missing something if I receive that Facebook friend request at 5:45 and not 2:30? And who's going to miss me if I respond to that email within six hours instead of two minutes?

It is with these points in mind that, though it pains me to do so, I'm going to tone down my iPhone use. I'll still use the GPS-aided mapping feature on trips to places I've never been, but I'm turning off the urgent buzz it emits each time a new email comes in. I'm going to relish frenzied debate instead of instant answers on subjects that are easily Googleable. And I'm going to leave the thing in my pocket when I'm around the neighborhood, ready to spot the little surprises we only notice when we're alert enough to see the details.

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