Do the Opposite - Why I Downgraded My Phone, Saving the Planet, Are Ebooks Ours

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Why I downgraded my phone
Last week I've downgraded from iPhone 6S Plus to iPhone SE (pictured in the photo below - went from the one on the right to the smaller one on the left).

I've wanted to get a super simple phone for a while. I initially planned to get something like a Nokia "brick" phone 3310, but I need to be able to use certain apps like "Google Maps" (or any kind of GPS maps), Audible - for audiobooks, Garmin for tracking running, and maybe a couple others. So I postponed, staying with my trusty iPhone 6S Plus which I had for 3+ years at that point.

Then, last month my wife's parents came to visit and I saw that my mother-in-law was using an iPhone SE and wanted to upgrade. I then considered - could I maybe get her phone and give her mine? After checking that the apps I mentioned above are available, I've made the switch.

The reason why I wanted a simpler phone was: I want to spend less time on it and to use the essential apps only. I don't want to play games on it, I don't want to look at huge Instagram posts on a bigger screen, etc. I am very happy with the change to be honest - the iPhone SE is just what I needed!

It's smaller so it easier fits in my pocket. It's not that different from iPhone 6S in terms of specs as far as I know and from my experience. The apps I need work just fine and my mother-in-law benefits from bigger screen because that way it's easier for her to see text and in general it's a better user experience for her.

The only con so far: It's a bit difficult for me to type - I make lots of typos, but I think this is because I am used to letters being more spread out horizontally. Other than that it's awesome :)

Do we really own the e-books we buy
In the article "Microsoft's Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM", Brian Barrett shares the story of Microsoft pulling the access to the ebooks people have bought in the Microsoft store. They simply can't read the books they've purchased anymore.

I have recently decided to buy more and more ebooks, as opposed to physical books for a number of reasons:
1) I can bring many books on my phone with me instead of one or two physical ones
2) Cheaper
3) I can start reading any book I want at any time - if I purchase it, I have access to it instantly
4) Saving trees + other ecological benefits
5) Less storage space occupied by books + easier to move
6) In Kindle I can tap on any word and see its meaning - to me, a non-native English speaker, this helps widen by vocabulary. If I were reading a phystical book I would just skip the words I don't understand and try to guess their meaning, which sometimes works, but not always.

Despite these benefits, I have had concerns - I am 'attaching' myself to Amazon, the company. They know when I read, what I read, what I screenshot, what I highlight, etc. This by itself doesn't bother me too much, but the fact that I don't really own a book I buy from them, bothers me a bit.

This is not a question of wanting to "own" things, but more of confidence in the future - a belief that I will have access to the content I bought. This, unfortunately, is not always the case - like this example with Microsoft shows. We tend to think of companies like Amazon as permanent, because they are so gigantic, but the truth is - nothing is permanent, and nobody really knows what's going to happen in the future. Did you predict the fall of Yahoo? Or of MySpace?

Amazon, of course, has a lot going for it and will be here for decades to come, most likely.

My verdict is still the same (considering all pros and cons): I will buy book in digital format, and if, after reading, I feel like that was a book I will reread in the future, I will consider buying a physical copy.

1) "Is This Man the Elon Musk of E-Waste?" by Yogi Hendlin
This is very inspring. A story of a man fighting against the planned obsolescence (When products are made with a thought that they will break/disintegrate in a predetermined time - like you pair of shoes falling apart after one season of wearing them) - in electronic waste. I truly believe in "right to repair" - giving people the opportunity, resources and rights to repair their own electronics.

I've had personal experience with it when I got a used ThinkPad last year - I was able to change the screen, SSD, RAM and trackpad all by myself. This experience has changed me quite a bit - now I consider the repair-ability of things I buy and also I have less trouble trying my hand at fixing something around the house (I guess it's the feeling of "It's easier than I thought" translating from electronics to the apartment).

2) "No flights, a four-day week and living off-grid: what climate scientists do at home to save the planet" by Daniel Masoliver
A great article on the practical things climate scientists do to decrease the speed of climate change and, hopefully, reverse that process. It's always been important, but now more and more people realize how fast the changes are coming.

Nevertheless, there are very very few people who are ready to make changes in their own life. Nobody likes even a little bit of discomfort. Same situation everywhere: we want animals not to be killed at animal farms, but we don't want to let go of that steak we so enjoy.

Even with personal matters like becoming physically active, we don't want to do anything until sh*t hits the fan in some sort of way - referred to as a 'wake up' call. The problem is - the momentum of the climate change is different from all the other issues we are used to: if you are sedentary and suddenly have trouble taking the stairs, you can decide to change your life, become more active and build a strong body. With climate, when the majority of people realizes how bad things are, there will be nothing we can do.

Any action you do towards this matters. If you never recycled and start recycling - you are already improving the overall situation. Little actions and improvements add up, and over time, change the world.

3) Reading List by Tom Bilyeu, co-founder of Quest Nutrition and CEO of Impact Theory
The Impact Theory is how I found Tom. This reading list is pure gold. I've read a lot of the items in the list and that gives me confidence that the ones I haven't yet read are going to be amazing.

I join Tom in highly recommending the following:
- "The Brain That Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge
- "Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul" by Howard Schultz
- "The Obstacle Is The Way" by Ryan Holiday
- "Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor Frankl
- "Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind And Defy The Odds" by David Goggins (best book I've read in 3-4 years or more)

Personally, I am curious to read the following:
- "Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance" by Angela Duckworth
- "Relentless: From Good To Great To Unstoppable" by Tim Grover
- "The Power Of Myth" by Joseph Campbell

Tweet that resonated with me


"It takes nothing to join the crowd.It takes verything to stand alone."
― Hans F. Hansen


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Keep doing the opposite,
Alexander Kallaway