I got a link in an e-mail the other day to digitizd.com, specifically to a post that talked about minimalism and lessism. I don’t read pop tech blogs — actually, come to think of it I don’t read blogs at all — mostly because they’re just big advertisements, and because the people who write them are somehow annoying to me. Actually, most bloggers are annoying to me, myself included.
It was odd, however, to hear someone preach about tech minimalism, and at the same time coach me on how to buy a cell phone, or explain why I should buy an iPad, or endorse a blogging service as a way to become an Internet hero. Maybe that alone explains my point about pop tech blogs being big advertisements.
Looking over the essay about minimalism though, what shocked me most was how different my own perspective on technology is from (what I guess is) the mainstream. I chide myself for dropping US$20 on a piece-of-junk 10-year-old Celeron laptop just so I can seed ISOs 24/7, and Mr. Pierce is explaining the 21 items in his dock (is that a Mac thing?) of which only nine are open. Maybe that’s minimalism to the average technophile, circa 2010. Maybe not.
Maybe I unwittingly fall into that “lessism” bracket that Mr. Pierce seems to dislike, where things are pared down so sharply that function becomes questionable. Or it may be that shift in perspective that I mentioned myself, a few months ago, where I’m pointing to the usefulness of contemporary software on technology that is a full decade behind the wave. Heck I even caught myself making a pitch for using floppies the other day.
To be honest, if either is true, I really don’t care. I am not on a crusade to convert anyone into using a computer in any way or fashion outside of whatever they like best. If 21 dock things and nine open at a time is “minimal” to you, then I am with you, brothers and sisters. Your campaign against the proliferation of unnecessary junk in western lifestyles is one step closer to realization. And you got there bravely clutching your $500 iPad.
Nope. I have no goal here. I have no motive, no hidden agendas, no desire to recruit, amass, educate or proselytize. Ninety-nine percent of the time I make notes here because I need to be able to find them for myself later. The other one percent of the time, I want to mark an event or a link that I might want to look at later. If you find this stuff useful as well … well, that’s great. I am cheered that you enjoyed it.
On the other hand, if you’re reading this site from your iPhone, listening to the latest DRM-laden music from your favorite big-name pop music band on your iPod, lugging around your iPad, wondering in the back of your mind how you’re going to make your paycheck stretch to cover the installment on your six-month-old octuple-core gaming laptop, and still have enough money for instant noodles and the monthly subscription to your favorite, newest, coolest on-line game. …
Well, you can still be a minimalist, if it sounds good to you. Personally, I would suggest dumping all that iP* on eBay, and letting someone else lug it around for a while. Find yourself a nice, clean middle-market cellphone, a music player that will play ogg tunes and is no bigger than a pack of gum, a secondhand Pentium 4 laptop and an Ubuntu ISO. You’ll be surprised and how much more simple — and minimal — your life can really be.