Issue 52 Oct 22, 2023

I barely use my phone anymore

Whenever I see someone using a large phone, I get that twinge.

Maybe I should get one of those? It’s a nice compromise, part phone and part tablet, almost.

Phablets, remember those? The large flagship smartphones today are basically phablets. Foldable phones arguably are, even though the term is dead.

I went with a big phone last year, the iPhone 14 Pro Max. It was a great device that I ended up selling, swapping it for an iPhone 13 mini.

Turns out, I don’t like big phones. The idea is good in theory, but in reality it doesn’t do anything well.

It’s too big to be truly portable. It’s too small to compete with a tablet.

Observing people using these phones, reading and playing games on them, still makes me want one. Just for a little bit. I’ve figured out why that is: It’s because they’re using their phones.

I barely use mine.

That’s not entirely true obviously. I just don’t use my iPhone 13 mini as that ever-present multitool device that some people do with their phones.

That’s a lot. I do a lot with my phone, as it were. It’s just that none of these things tie me to the phone. It’s all utilitarian – open, do, close. That’s the difference. I don’t read or game or do social media on my phone. I won’t even answer emails most of the time, or read newsletters. I can do all those things, and I keep some apps available should the need arise, but I generally don’t. I don’t even take photos with my phone, not really – I have a camera for that.

My phone is a communicator. It can do many things, but it turns out, it’s not a good source of entertainment.

I think it’s the size. A small phone like mine will never be as good as a big phone for consuming content and keep me interested. Problem is, the big phones won’t be as good as a tablet for the same thing.

And thus, I barely use my phone anymore, compared to people around me. I use it often, but not for longer periods of time, and only as a tool for specific purposes. Like a you would use a key to open a door, or a credit card to pay for a drink.

The smartphone has finally become to simple multitool it was destined to be. I’m fine with that. There are better alternatives available.


👾 Analogue, makers of fancy retro consoles, are taking on the Nintendo 64. I love the Analogue Pocket not only because it’s a great machine but for the Game Boy era, but the N64 had something special.

🤕 Blue checkmarks on X are "superspreaders of misinformation" about Israel-Hamas war. No one is surprised.

🧑‍💼 Anyone who doesn’t think that Linkedin is going to be purely AI generated feeds – and content, I’d wager – clearly hasn’t understood how much money can be saved for service providers and publishers. Will that be a better experience? Unlikely, but it might be good enough.

🤖 Ah, where to start? Fugees rapper Pras got convicted for federal crimes, and now wants a retrial because his lawyer used AI and might or might not have an investment in the service used, which is now touting the case as groundbreaking. What’s entirely predictable is that the AI got core facts wrong, something you’d think a lawyer would spot. I swear, we’re getting dumber by the minute.

✍🏻 Not the best of interviews, but it’s refreshing to hear Fran Lebowitz’s take on things like AI, influencers, and the like. Spoiler: She doesn’t care, and famously doesn’t do things like social media and the whole online presence spiel. Good for her.

📺 The Problem with Jon Stewart has been canceled, probably due to Apple being afraid to piss off China and mess with the US election. While I think Apple TV+ has some great shows, I don’t think a company like Apple should be in this business at all. Leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

🐴 Two posts by yours truly this week: Back using Dropbox, and I deleted X (Twitter).

Got something I should read? Send it to me, either by replying to this letter, hitting up on Bluesky, or any of the other means that appeal to you. Thanks!


📚 I'm closing in on the end of Small Favor by Jim Butcher. It's a nice entry in the Dresden Files series, although I do think it's slightly wordy.

🎵 Bruce Springsteen released a new song with Patti Scialfa, called "Addicted to Romance". It's from a movie soundtrack, and quite good. Made me revisit the Magic album, which I like a lot.

📺 Watched Caché by director Michael Haneke the other day, and liked it a lot. We followed it up with Funny Games, which I didn't care for as much for some reason.

🎮 I've been playing Yoshi's Story with the kid lately. It's on Nintendo Online for the Switch, if you'd like to revisit this N64 classic.

Friendly reminder: The first season of Considering today is wrapping up fairly soon. You can still join, it's free, and you'll get the whole season if you sign up before I close it.

That's it for this week. Have a good one.

— Thord D. Hedengren ⚡

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