I’m never off-grid. I like it that way, and won’t change for a long time. The internet is full of laments of how constant connection is wearing thin. Strange, really, considering that without the internet one would never have that forum for their lamentations. Look around you for a minute. The internet’s not the problem (it is the answer, but I’ll get to that in a minute). The problem is those stacks of paper on your desk; the drawers full of software; boxes in the basement stuffed with old books, pictures and music CD’s; magazines piled on a shelf; and DVD’s and Blu-rays cluttering your family room. Every Christmas and every birthday, it just gets worse.
No, the problem isn’t about being connected. The problem lies in the piles of shit we surround ourselves with, so it’s not really any wonder we feel shitty a lot of the time. I wanted to write a post to get you thinking about your environment (both at a micro and macro level), and how employing technology can actually help it… And your mood.
- Go Digital – For everything… Period. Buy (or steal) all your music and movies online. Pretty obvious, I know, but here’s a few others you need to consider. First is digitized magazines. There’s the popular Apple Newsstand, but you can always subscribe via coverleaf as well. You get access to the pdf the moment it’s off the press, and can download a copy and store them right on your computer. Secondly, don’t develop any more pictures. Ever. Keep them digital. Digital albums are easier to search; take a fraction of the storage space and cost, and with digital frames, portable to anywhere in the house.
- Mobility & Tablets - When I first got my iPad, I actually had trouble incorporating it into my daily routine, but now I find it’s with me all the time (that I’m not in front of my PC). If you don’t have a tablet, just go get one. Blogging about iPad’s and Android’s has been done to death. There’s a reason we’re moving into the post-PC era… If you’re going to really go digital, you need a tablet.
- Cloud Storage – You can get to your content anytime and anywhere you’re connected. You either need to subscribe to a cloud service, like iCloud; or buy a NAS device that allows you to setup your own cloud service. I’ve done both, so I’m pretty much set, although I use my own NAS much more heavily than iCloud. Bottom-line: digitally storing your media is cheaper; easier to index and search; and doesn’t even take up any physical space.
Digitizing media is far greener than manfacturing, shipping/distributing and storing physical copies. I used to think that to own something, it needed to be physical. Over time, I’ve opened my eyes, and actually enjoy the freedom that comes with digitial content much more than stacks of CD’s, etc. It’s the new year. Think about a simple change or two to help your environment. Maybe switch all your bills to e-post, or buy an e-reader, or rip all your CD’s and move them to the cloud (then sell them). For me, all those stacks of paper are gone from my desk now, and the boxes and shelves slowly getting emptier. It feels amazing.