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Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

My ideas are shitty so I'm going on an internet diet

Visualization of the various routes through a ...

Lately we have seen a plague of Next Better Widget (tm) startups and bright minds all over the world solving frivolous problems that ultimately contribute nothing to the betterment of humanity as a whole. There are a bunch of people out there right now solving #firstworldproblems.

A waste of talent!

By being in the same boat I feel like I am betraying my ten year old self who had much bigger plans for me. His ideas on what sort of problems I should be solving was much worthier than what I have actually turned out to be working on.

The main difference between my ten year old self and me is the internet.

Back then I didn't have it, or rather what I did have was at a friend's house on a dial-up line if I asked really nicely. Sometimes even at the library!

The ideas I had back then might not have been world changing, or they might have been, it's hard to say, but the ideas I have right now certainly don't seem as grand.

This leads me to believe that the ideas we have reflect the kind of world we live in.

Spending a lot of time on the internet makes us see the problems that exist there. And they look like big important problems. But really, when you take a step or two back, they're pretty lame ideas that are almost a waste of time to have anyone working on.

Thus I have decided to go offline for a month, starting tomorrow.

But because going completely dark would devastate my life, probably make it stop dead (how unlike an addict eh?), I am going to set some ground rules that won't ban the internet completely; just make it a bit ... less.

  • as a coding reference, the internet is ok
  • wikipedia is alright, but keep it down
  • I will continue writing my blog
  • using 750words.com every morning is good
  • there will be at most an hour every evening of HN/fb/twitter/email
  • if something absolutely spectacular happens you are allowed to tweet, no reading outside the hour!
  • checking in to foursquare is questionable ... perhaps ban it?
  • skype is ok

To mak sure my slight addiction doesn't get in the way I will likely use an /etc/hosts hack and make sure facebook.com and similar don't load outside the allotted hour a day and I will turn off push notifications on everything on my phone. But I will try to rough it at first.

Right now I have no idea how this experiment will pan out. Most likely I'll keep finding some sort of excuse for not doing it or I will break down in tears and cry in a fetal position in the corner. I might even start reading proper books again! That would be awesome.

Hopefully by the end of the 30 days I will have a less polluted perspective in the world.

Wish me luck!

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Published on August 17th, 2011 in Online Communities, Social Networking, Twitter, Uncategorized

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