Monday, October 15, 2018

FOMO

Last week reading in Der Spiegel an article about digital addiction I came across the acronym FOMO. The authors claim that people become addicted to their smartphones out of Fear Of Missing Out. Indeed I often observe kids and adults in the street stooped over their screens texting and bumping into fellow pedestrians an accident that will never happen to me. Still, the question is allowed: Am I an addict too?

Before my retirement, I kept a yearly appointment agenda with hand-written entries on meetings, travel, birthdays etc. When the year changed a new agenda was inaugurated by transferring the already scheduled events from the old agenda into the new booklet. The annoying part always was the copying of addresses and telephone numbers until address lists were delivered separately and could be reused.

During my last professional years, I kept an electronic agenda in parallel that however I never trusted because keeping data between different devices synchronized was cumbersome, did sometimes not work, or appointments and birthdays were simply lost in synchronization.

The situation has changed dramatically since I carry a second memory in my pants pocket. On my iPhone, I keep my agenda, tasks, and addresses. I use Informant 5 an app synchronizing all my personal data that are readily accessible and always adjustable on my i-devices and my desktop Windows PC.

In addition, I keep my whole library of classical music on all my devices although I rarely find time to listen to it. Lack of time also is the reason that I do not arrive finishing an ebook. I am compensating for the shortcoming by reading three books in parallel. Nevertheless, having electronic books always on me is convenient when sitting in the waiting room of a doctor who did not keep his appointment.

Although for short waiting periods, I rather like to consult the news. While I keep the paper edition of the local Badische Zeitung - Elisabeth and I both read at breakfast time - I subscribed to the digital edition too. This allows me to scan the local news at home already the night before (after 10 p.m.) or to read the paper when I am not in Freiburg.

I have an electronic subscription of the NYT receiving NYTimes.com News Alerts by email. Lately, I even abandoned the paper copy of the weekly Der Spiegel for its electronic version. There are three advantages: With the electronic subscription, I deblock the most recent news on Spiegel Online, can follow them around the clock and as an ecological benefit do no longer have to dispose of the paper copy of the magazine.

I must not forget that the weather information, dictionaries, Wikipedia, exchange rates, timetables - you name it - are only a fingertip away. By keeping all essential information on my iPhone I admit being lost without my second memory, but don't forget the information on the iPhone comes in handy compensating for my shrinking brain.

Please, don't call me an addict but a dependent.

Caught in the act on my sister-in-law's iPad.
While meeting with the family in Cologne for lunch at Em Krützche (restaurant at the little cross) on the one but last Saturday Red Baron is desperately looking for departure times of streetcar number 18 running along the Rhine river between Cologne and Bonn on Sunday mornings.

My sister-in-law and my brother had invited Elisabeth and me to their apartment and to a lunch at Da Pino (at the pine), an Italian restaurant at Mondorf on the Rhine. Eventually, I found out that streetcar number 18 was not running on this particular Sunday due to the Cologne Marathon. Subsequently, Elisabeth and I had to take a dull train ride.

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