The Android Community Team: a bit of offline time

April 20, 2014
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In recent weeks we've taken a collective look at apps, but this time around we are are going a different route. Our topic for the week is what we do when away from the computer. But as you'll soon see through the post -- we may be able to step away from the computer a bit, but it is not easy to get away from technology these days, even if you want to disconnect.

Juan Carlos Torres

The weekend is a great time to catch up with other parts of our lives, some of which aren't exactly related to our day jobs. In my case, it's time for some much needed downtime with manga and anime. I'm not exactly what most would consider a manga/anime buff, but I do have my fair share of favorites, most of which are mainstream popular ones and very few that stray into the "artsy" realms. And sure, I do from time to time get into the "Western" side as well, particularly in the Marvel universe. Aside from consuming content, however, I do sometimes get into a bit of creation myself, though nowhere even near decent yet.

I must admit, however, that my devices aren't really that far away. After all, some of my books and comics are easier to access on tablets and watching videos are more convenient when you can do it anywhere. And even when it comes to drawing or art, a Wacom tablet and a computer, or in my case an amalgamation of the two, is just within arm's reach. Still, brief pauses such as these help remind me that there is joy and life beyond the computers, gadgets, and technologies that are intricately woven into our lives every day.

Nate Swanner

When the question was posed to me by Editor in Chief Rob Nelson as to what I do when not taking advantage of technology, I cocked my head like a confused Pug. Away from technology, you say? Tell me more!

I work with technology all week long: discussing it, testing apps, trying to break cameras. The natural assumption is that I would like to remove myself from it during the weekend, but I don’t. I may not actually tap my fingers on the desk combing through my RSS feed or reading your tips via email, but I don’t really stray from it. If anything, the weekends are when I make technology work for me instead of vice versa.

If I take a long walk, I likely have My Tracks running in the background. Play Music All Access is typically streaming during a drive, and I’ve also been testing out Dash (review coming soon!). If I’m out and about, I find my way around using Maps, and get reviews via Yelp. I also have a camera available when I have a smartphone on my hip, and that comes in really handy sometimes (Portland, Oregon is a unique place).

Technology is never far from us, and I’m never far from it. I just find ways to make it work for me when I’m not working, and that actually deepens my affinity for it during the week. Besides, if Android Wear is going to be as great as we think — there will be no escaping our digital, connected selves.

Robert Nelson

I'm old enough to remember the time when it was much easier to get away. A time when you could walk out your door and enjoy the day, it was also a time when you were basically unreachable once you left your home. After all, we didn't carry phones everywhere we went, much less smartphones that offered the internet in your pocket.

I'll admit I am hyper connected. I generally have a smartphone (or two), my Pebble, Fitbit and more with me at any given time. And as much as I love the convenience that comes with technology -- I also have to admit I sometimes wish I could truly disconnect. I sometimes watch those Alaska shows on TV and think how neat it would be to live off the grid, and in a way where technology and time of day didn't control your every movement.

But then a commercial comes on and I get board and realize I'm already browsing on a tablet. Yeah, I can't ditch technology. But while I would have a seriously hard time giving it up and living in the woods -- there are times when I put things away for a bit. I actually think it is healthy to disconnect for short periods of time, sort of a way to clear the mind.

For example, my family tries to go on weekend camping trips every so often and given they are power free locations -- any device usage is kept to a real minimum. More regularly though, I am an avid runner and triathlete. My smartphone always goes with me (for emergency, entertainment and tracking), however I make sure to turn the ringer off so I am not disturbed by any incoming messages or calls.

So how about it -- are you able to disconnect? Do you even try? Or are you falling closer to us and find technology is just stuck in your lives. Having said that, I think Nate summed it up well when he said he finds ways to make it work for him when he isn't working.


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  • Hank Bank

    “… I cocked my head like a confused Pug…”
    Damn, Nate, what a picture you paint! I like your style… keep up the good writing!