My personal tech ecosystem, updated

A few of you have asked, I considered that question in 2012, here is a significantly revised update:

1. Now I know how to text, sort of, though I hardly ever do it.  It strikes me as the worst and most inefficient technology of communication ever invented (seriously).  It’s not that fast, and it’s broken up into tiny bits of back and forth.  I don’t see how it makes sense beyond the “What should I get at the supermarket? — Blueberries” level.  There is intertemporal substitution, so just, at some other point in time, spend more time talking, writing longer letters, making love, whatever.  Not texting.  It is never the best thing to be doing, except to answer some very well-defined question.

2. I now carry only one iPad around, as I donated my spare iPad to a poor Mexican family.  I use it very often for directions, book and restaurant reviews, and general life advice.  Plus email and keeping current on my Twitter feed.  I simply don’t want a screen any smaller than that.  My iPad now also has a rather pronounced crack on the front glass, but that adds to its artistic value.  I dare not drop it again.

3. I have an iPhone, which I hardly ever use for anything.  Occasionally someone calls me on it, or I use it to check email in situations when it might be rude to pull out the iPad.  Other times I am rude, but it’s actually a form of flattery if I am willing to check my iPad in front of you.  You may not feel flattered, however.

3b. Except for the occasional Uber ride, I don”t use apps and hate reading news sites through the apps, I won’t do it.  I’m used to the web, not your app, and I hope I can get away with being a stubborn grouch on this forever.

4. I now have a Bloomberg terminal, which is very cool.  It is amazing that a product designed in the “before the internet as we know it” era still is the clear market leader and the best option.  Bloomberg is a great company with a great product(s).  Right now I can do about 5 of the 25,000 separate commands, but the fault is mine not theirs.  In the meantime, send me email at my gmu address, not what is listed on the Bloomberg column.

5. I use my Kindle less over time.  It remains in that nebulous “fine” category, but I prefer “real books.”  Kindle is best for works of fiction when I know in advance I wish to read every page in the proper order.  I am continuing with my long-range plan to read Calvin’s Institutes on my Kindle, bit by bit, in between other works.  This will take me ten years, but a) he is a brilliant mind, and b) in the meantime I won’t lose sight of the plot line.

6. I have a new Lenovo laptop, sleek and fast, plus some computers at work.  I don’t even know what they are, but probably they are quite subpar.

Way more iPad and way less texting are I suppose the main ways in which I deviate from the dominant status quo.  Come join me in this and we shall conquer the world.


This is why I got myself a physical copy of Calvin's Institutes. I knew there was no way I'd ever read it cover to cover in order.

Maybe this is why porn on the inter-tubes crushes print-- no one's anxious to go cover to cover.

(almost said "anxious to finish"?).

I've noticed a dramatic drop off in people using tablets at work. Three to five years ago lots of folks (I'm in consulting) were carrying around iPads to meetings etc. With the exception of the Surface which some people use in place of a laptop, people seem to have given up on iPads or other tablets as productivity tools. I ride the subway a lot in my city (in Asia) and there seem to be fewer and fewer tablets.

Big phones are like small tablets. A lot of people are moving on to their second big phone, so they can now use their first big phone around the house as a tablet, so why buy a tablet?

And the lack of keyboard is a pain in the neck. Somehow I got a Macbook Pro, and find that I don't use my tablet very much anymore. Tablets are media consumption devices. If you want to create, you need a laptop or desktop of some kind.

Yep. I don't think Tablets solve a problem for most people, once the novelty has worn off they are not go-to devices. Phone for portability and Computer for creation, browsing. But my kids do like them for games. Tyler is of course, and for once, entirely wrong about Texting also.

Apparently the word "phablet" works for some. Personally, I like neither the word nor the product, but apparently there are quite a lot of takers.

I've noticed that drop-off too (and the market reflects it -- and notably in the school market where Chromebooks are pushing out iPads), but I still use my Samsung tablet quite a lot -- though rarely as a productivity tool. I find it to be the ideal 'couch' device for casual web browsing, photo viewing (the high-res IPS screen is gorgeous), ebook reading, and video (when not watching with others). I could do all those things on my phone, too, but I prefer the 10" screen over the 5" one.

They're also great for using maps when you're in a strange city. Whenever we travel I bring the tablet and look up things to do on it, and can map it easily. The hone does the same thing, but the tablet's bigger screen is better for reading menus and so forth.

Problem with tablets is that the on-screen keyboard is never as easy to use as a real keyboard. If I want to do real work, I have to have a PC, or laptop, preferably with an external keyboard and mouse.
The tablet is only good for things like looking up recipes in the kitchen or casually browsing the web. I do want a dedicated kitchen tablet to keep recipes and grocery lists on though. I could imagine having some sort of shared grocery list spreadsheet on google docs so I can access it on my phone when I'm on the way home from work.

There is no great stagnation (kitchen tablet for recipes)

Built into the fridge. Smart fridge.

Actually probably better on a swivel stand like those POS tablets they have in hip coffee shops.
Then my fridge can demand a tip.

I'm fine with my small smartphone and Surface. I've given up on tablets and e-readers, I prefer real books.

Texting is useful for coordinating plans. It's also good for short comments, where you don't want to start a whole long conversation.

Ipad is a good small computer for carrying around. Fine for receiving or consuming information. Limited for creating or sending it out.

If you don't text and prefer the Ipad, the Iphone is probably pretty useless.

Texting is also good for sexting.

texting allows the recipient to check the message at their convenience without going through the rigmarole of calling up a voice mail. Very useful if you want to ask what to pick up at the supermarket without disturbing somebody with a phone call. most of my communication with my wife during the working day is via text.

You can't ring somebody whilst they are work and convey that they don't need to answer because you are only asking what to pick up at the supermarket, so especially if you have kids, you might walk out of a meeting to answer a call, only to find it's something trivial. texting is a much better medium for trivia.

Tyler clearly does not have enough trivia in his life.

He's a professor. He can be interrupted most of the time without interfering with anything.

He is also the chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center - which means that there are at least some people who can interrupt him whenever he wants, but most of the time, he has staff that handles such things.

As someone who works with Tyler, I'd offer this:

Tyler emails in a very text-like fashion. He often replies to emails within minutes, and his emails are usually no more than 1-2 sentences and often just a phrase ("thanks, will ponder..."). If he has multiple thoughts, he generally sends them stream-of-consciousness-style one at a time in a burst of emails versus collecting them in a single draft.

The reason I suspect Tyler dislikes texting is it's open-ended nature. A text thread never ends and covers many different topics; email is more discrete, and can thus be processed more efficiently. Usually with Tyler it's an email, a reply, and the loop is closed.

I didn't mean it as a dig. I've previously commented on Tyler's travel and food preferences, noting that they are very far away from those of the typical business professional who is highly scheduled and needs to be reliable for other people. I don't gather Tyler lives that way.

"texting allows the recipient to check the message at their convenience"

Many females in romance strongly disagree with this.

Especially since you can make/receive calls w a properly configured iPad, although it's hard not to look like a pecker

Does #3 mean that TC uses the iPad as a telephone?

iBooks instead of Kindle or paper.

Read your books on either your iPad or phone and go back and forth with iCloud updating your bookmarks and notes on all devices.

Wow, cool, kind of like the Kindle App except it doesn't work with your Kindle.

what tools do you use to write your blog posts that aggregate many stories/links? just iPad and the web interface for Wordpress(or whatever MR runs on)?

Tyler has to be the smoothest troll in the whole Internet.

Well, this snippet manages to even rise above his best recent work when talking about a dining experience - 'I donated my spare iPad to a poor Mexican family.'

Particularly in light of the fact, if this website is to be believed, the only thing that really helps the poor is cash.

Lenovo and Chinese spyware? Don't even go there.

Why not - after all, it isn't as if American public-private partnerships are slouches when it comes to ensuring that systems come pre-installed with all the necessary tools to ensure a smooth user experience for those spying on the user.

All those important state secrets, like the list of best Timorese restaurants in northern Virginia.

Texting may seem dumb at first, but once you realize there's people using voicemail to leave messages such as "call me back".......texting becomes super efficient. Also, in very polite cultures texting forces to go straight to the point without 5min of small talk. Anyway I just text with me wife, brother and a couple friends whom you can start or restart a conversation at any point.

I just hope Tyler don't use voice mail

Texting also has the advantage of not needing hearing nor speaking. If you're in a noisy environment where it's hard to hear, or a quiet one where you're not supposed to be talking, you can still text.

But yes, I pretty much only use it for very short questions and answers with friends and family.

My provider (Telus) has the option of voicemail to text email. I really dislike listening to messages, the transcription is not very good but enough to know who.

Also for broadcasting to groups through Whatsapp or Viber or whatever, very useful coordination tool.

Correct! Texting 1) forces the messager to condense his message to its essence and cut out the bullshit; 2) lets the recipient read and respond at his convenience.

Phone calls are like talking to Gilbert Godfried over a drive-thru speaker. Huh? What? Oh shoot sorry you cut out in that last sentence. To say nothing of the massive discourtesy of talking on the phone in a public place.

Texting also permits communication from locations where signal is too weak for voice traffic.

Re: 3b, you probably will be able to get away with avoiding mobile apps forever. As the web and mobile browsers continue to improve, mobile apps are slowly dying.

Really? Generally speaking, I prefer doing stuff via the browser rather than having a separate app for everything, but my feeling is I'm slowly pushed into using more and more apps.

I don't use mobile devices, only desktop computers. Many web sites have switched to a presentation more suited for reading on a mobile phone, which is too bad for me. For me, it's like a twenty-year step back.

Ideally, they should be using a 'responsive' design where the layout is automatically reconfigured based on the screen size. If you want to see how this should work, go to and watch what happens as you size the browser window from desktop size down to phone screen.

Meh. Responsive is five years ago. The mobile web lost and apps won because the mobile web rarely really works and apps generally do.

I'd say it's the opposite. 'App fatigue' is now a thing:

Cluttering up your phone (and filling limited memory) with an installed app (which is going to want special permissions and is going to continually update itself) for every web site you visit!? Why on earth would you want to do that?

Try cnn,com on a smartphone and wait to see how long it takes for the sequential downloads to end.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those "the web is dead" people. I just think that responsive design promised a lot more than even large development budgets can deliver. not comma.

Apps basically just work, at the cost of ignoring some audiences. It's a tradeoff. Do you want a good solution that works for 90% of people, or a bad solution that works for everybody? How much do you really care about the feature-phone audience? is the kind of thing where I would *never* install their app. There's just no way I'm going to gum up my phone with an app every news/information site I ever view. The mobile web got off to a slow start because mobile processors were too weak and that lead to slower web page rendering. But that's not really a problem with current mobile devices ( loads and displays just fine on my phone and tablet). And it has nothing to do with feature phones, which are no longer a concern. You do a mobile web site to target all customers -- many who don't want to have to install an app just to view your content:

I don’t see how it makes sense beyond the “What should I get at the supermarket? — Blueberries” level.

This strikes me a bit like saying cars don't make sense beyond the getting from A to B level.

The entire purpose of this post was humblebrag that Tyler has a Bloomberg terminal.

Makes one wonder how many Bloomberg paid people receive such a perk. And to be honest - the corporate level cost to Bloomberg handing out terminals to people who are at least putatively increasing Bloomberg's profit is minimal. Though Prof. Cowen does seem to feel that the Bloomberg provided e-mail is not to his personal taste.

Is a bloomberg terminal just a regular computer with a special keyboard? Then the cost isn't too much to Bloomberg.

A Bloomberg terminal does not look that special in hardware terms: two (or more) 23 inch flat LCD monitors, keyboard with colors

On software & data department, still impressive. But Tyler did not mentioned about installing the Bloomberg app on the iPad

Most people don't have a "terminal" anymore, rather use the Windows Bloomberg Professional software. Probably Tyler is referring to that.

Most people don't even use the special keyboard anymore. Just a normal PC keyboard with a separate "Bloomberg Anywhere" fingerprint card. With the card, you can use Bloomberg on a home PC (just not concurrently) as well as set up Bloomberg on Android or iOS.

Tyler, I guess this means you won't reply to any attempts to IB? (Instant Bloomberg messaging.) :-)

If they are really stupid enough to use biometrics they deserve to get hacked. However, I'm sure any Bloomberg trader can be beaten by seeking alpha and an inspiron. If you make the wrong trade, no information system will help you, and if you make the right one watching the bid price flicker faster won't impact the outcome.

i've noticed as smartphones have become more powerful, i'm using one a lot more to check the web, email, etc compared to previous years. Work provides a Samsung S6 so I don't have one of my own - not worth the cost. If i had to get my own, I'd definetly get the latest Note for the big screen.

my iPad is an original and has ceased to be of much use. I've debated buying a new one, but just don't have the motivation yet between the smart phone and a nice Lenovo Yoga ThinkPad (again from work). It would be nice to have, but that's just it - it's a 'nice-to-have' and not something I consider to be a 'must'

A couple of Desktops, one serves as a media center to watch streaming services

"I now have a Bloomberg terminal" was the least-expected part of this (much anticipated) update. Also:
- Why can't I have a Bloomberg terminal? Aren't we all supposed to be cultural billionaires these days?
- I absolutely agree about apps, but agree with Andreas about texting
- That's a lucky Mexican family. Not only do they get your old iPad, they (presumably) get all your open web pages as well...

"I now have a Bloomberg terminal, which is very cool."

It is very cool, but for $25k/yr it better be. It's too bad that it has not been disrupted yet by a cheaper, or even free, product or that Bloomberg has not yet figured out how to do price discrimination. Generally, the arbitrage-seeking culture of the financial industry leads to greater efficiency. However, in this instance, I wonder if that same culture prevents Bloomberg from offering an individual/retail product without cannibalizing their $25k/yr enterprise product.

It's actually a bit of a mystery as to how that product can continue to exist at that price point. Customers are not really that "locked in" to it in the sense that most (or at least many) people use it as an interactive terminal for viewing data/information so switching to another service is not that big of an adjustment. There is some lock-in for those that use the API to integrate with the rest of their data processes. But, the main reason that most people stick with it is that there don't seem to be any other alternatives that provide such a broad range of financial data in one product. Much, though admittedly not all, of the data is publicly available elsewhere, but not in one place. Quandl [] is not bad and allows one to pay for only the "premium" data as one needs it, but it's still nowhere near as comprehensive as Bloomberg.

Bloomberg has definitely figured out how to do price discrimination: so many people are happy to pay $25K a year that they would be totally out of their minds to make it possible to get their service for a lower price (and thus put downward price pressure on their premium product). Bloomberg has this right.

'It is very cool, but for $25k/yr it better be.'

You honestly think that a Bloomberg columnist, presumably hired away from the NYT, pays for that terminal? And do you think that the cost of providing that terminal to a Bloomberg columnist even approaches a tenth of that yearly figure?

BC probably gets that everyone who has a terminal does not actually work for Bloomberg.

But as Prof. Cowen as a Bloomberg columnist - something that loyal readers have undoubtedly noticed with all the repeated mentions here - it may have not have been clear that most of that 25k per year has little to do with actual costs.

The Gates Foundation used to (still does, for I all know) play this game, where they 'bought' and 'donated' Windows licences - licenses which cost nothing in real terms, but which still have a nice value attached in terms of the tax write off. Whereas if I was to donate 10,000 Linux licenses (and if anyone is interested in that, here - you have my permission to make 10,000 copies of Linux and use them however you wish), there is still no cost in real terms, but also no tax write-off.

Lots of things have a price that in no way reflects the cost - and Bloomberg providing its information services to people actually generating information under Bloomberg's auspices can be considered a good illustration of how that works, as some people may not have realized how that game is played. I'm fairly confident that Prof. Cowen does know, so it is extremely unlikely that he is paying 25k a year for Bloomberg access while writing a Bloomberg column. Loyal readers are welcome to disagree, of course.

the site is marginal revolution, the least you could do is recognise your'e talking about marginal cost. neither bloomberg nor windows has zero cost of production.

The one thing that BB has going for it is that it's way faster than a lot of its competitors. Factset feels super slow in comparison.

Bloomberg has at least two advantages. First, a couple of generations of financial services professionals have already been trained on it, are used to its decidedly retro graphical interface and would resist switching to another system. Second, Bloomberg has negotiated contracts with just about every major securities exchange in the world for access to real-time data. A lot of publicly available price quotes on the internet will typically have a 15-minute delay built in and not all of Bloomberg's competitors have the same variety of data or real-time price data from non-U.S. markets that Bloomberg has.

Also a lot of the "important people" in the financial world rely on IB for messaging each other. They don't use Skype for Business (yet), Symphony (yet), etc. There is some network effect-based lock-in due to this.

I have known people to laugh when a counterparty includes an AIM username in his email signature (instead of IB/Bloomberg).

Quandl is not the best Bloomberg competitor. The closest to replicating Bloomberg are S&P (Capital IQ) or Reuters (Eikon). Both pale in comparison to Bloomberg, and the improvement rate of each is also slower (probably because gross profits, and thus R&D budgets, are lower).

Tyler, the reason for your marvels in #4 are due to economies of scale. With such huge R&D and data budgets, due to huge gross profits, Bloomberg can stay ahead of competition. (And I'm sure internal culture/structure has helped as well.)

I spend much of my day writing and reviewing complex contracts. I do it on my desktop because I find it much easier (larger keyboard and screen) than on my laptop or ipad. I use my laptop mostly for reading the news and checking email. I use my ipad for reading books (via the kindle app - I also have an older kindle I use for reading books), watching lectures on itunes university and sports and entertainment programs (such as Jimmy Fallon), and listening to music (itunes) on my speakers that are connected via bluetooth. I have an Apple tv which allows me to watch sports and other programs on my television (via airplay) that are only available via an app on my ipad or iphone. Listening to music via bluetooth (bluetooth connects the ipad to my receiver which is connected to speakers) is actually much clearer than connecting the ipad to my receiver via cable. I have an iphone that I use as a phone. I don't give out the number because I don't want clients calling me on it - it's a problem hearing on an iphone at my age - indeed, on newer versions of the iphone the caller must speak directly into the microphone or it sounds like she is talking through a pillow. And I don't use the iphone for texting or reading email or the news for the same reason - it's a problem seeing at my age. When Cowen gets to be my age he will likely replace real books with his kindle or kindle app (on his ipad) so he can adjust the font. Finally, I often used facetime on my macbook - I reside in one place and "work" in another and some clients liked the idea of being able to see me when they talked to me. But that was simply a phase, as very few people I work with use facetime anymore. Or it could be they prefer not to look at my face.

Very good post, Tyler!

3b. Amen, brutha.

You underrate texting. You can have an infinite combination of "groups" comprised of subsets of your contacts, to whom a specific message can be sent. When you pull up the group, you see the whole history of the group's conversation.

It's actually quite efficient. E.G. wife/daughter, wife/son, daughter/son, wife/daughter/son are all separate ongoing conversations. Some are quiet for weeks.

We have a text group that includes all my siblings and our kids, along with my dad. He's 83 and participates using his IPad. He's the only person I know besides you for whom the IPad is a strategic device.

While I generally agree with your assessment of texting, the iPhone offers two additions that are worth considering:

1) Siri. Press and hold, say "Tell Jane I'll be at my office tomorrow". Think of it as voice mail, without all the awfulness of voicemail.

2) Share My Location, found under the 'Details' tab at the top right of your messaging screen. Invaluable when you are waiting to meet with someone.

What Mike said. The voice transcription on the iPhone is simply amazing. My wife uses a lot of texting for her business, and she simply talks to the phone, and a text message comes out. Rarely if ever does she need to edit it. It even knows punctuation, so you can say, "Hello comma I will be there in 5 minutes period".

This is not surprising. Not using a smart phone is becoming what "I don't watch television" was a generation ago for the managerial class. Apple got rich off a positional good. Having an iPod meant you were cool and edgy. Then it was iterations of the iPhone and then the iPad. Now that the corner boys are texting each other between drug deals, it is not longer cool to engage in mobile tech. It's a prol thing and the cool people are now investing a lot of time telling us they don't use these things.

Yup, I resisted getting a smartphone because I'm an elitist. To show my support for the common man I should drop $750 on an iPhone, donate my time and personal demographic information to Zuckerberg & Friends in exchange for an externalized mental disorder, and get a Fitbit so the corner boys and I can compare how many steps we've taken today (they from cops and rival gangs, me at the farmer's market).

You aren't really in touch with the middle-class struggle unless you're walking around with a hoagie-sized bulge in your hip pocket and panicking if you are without your mini-USB charger for longer than 8 hours.

A. imho, technology includes car (electronics), radio, tv (broadcast, cable, satellite), recorded music playback (stereo, headphones, etc.), streaming services, PC, networks (I assume TC is connected to the GMU system) and all telephone connections. (not to mention smart devices, including wearables). He mentions less than half of those.
B. I wholeheartedly agree that it is a compliment when I scratch my crotch, belch, fart, swear, pick my nose, or spit out some phlegm in front of someone. It is, after all, all about me and not them. Reminds me of that phase of young childhood where kids are so proud of their own excrement: look what I made!

First time I've heard of someone who actually uses their tablet regularly, for something other than watching movies.

"It strikes me as the worst and most inefficient technology of communication ever invented (seriously)."

It strikes me that Tyler hasn't gotten up to speed with thumb typing or swype. For me, texting was a major advance over being interrupted by phone calls or having to listen to voice mail (and this is common, of course -- the use of mobile voice minutes has dropped dramatically in favor of text messaging). Yes, even when you've become adept, swype is still slower than typing on a keyboard, but it's not slower than writing with pen and paper, so it's fine for paragraph length at least. And, of course, anything you could do by text, you could do by email (since most people receive their email on their phones), but texting acts as kind of a white list, with messages coming only from friends and family. So I will take a moment to glance at an incoming text whereas it may be much longer before I bother to check incoming emails.

I'm getting on the bus in 10 minutes.

I'll bring the snacks.

Are you going to be there on time?

How long will it take you to get there?

Is Bob coming?

Very convenient for whatever crosses your mind. It encourages a minimum of advance planning. Which ... can be useful sometimes if you don't want too many uninvited guests to share in the location.

Texting is just an evolution of a telegrams, and phones came later. For people who have family all over the world, especially where phones are unreliable (much of my family is in Asia where this is the case), they're a lifeline for communication. They also useful for sending to many people at once and to save money if you're not rich enough to afford calls. The iPad is also capable of sending texts through messenger, in case you don't know!

Agreed on the phablet designed web news sites. I'm adding twitter to my no-fly list. The NY Times website is still good. Texting still works in areas where you can't get good cell service, I think it has a utilitarian purpose.

It seems like the increase in bandwidth and connectivity have decreased message sizes and information per message (or information per web page even). I suppose the consumable information nugget is now sized for the smallest devices. Because of task switching, or message acquisition costs if you will, it's not as efficient to read 100 tweets as a long form article and reading 100 poorly formed twitter thoughts may have a negative impact on your learning . Using twitter for live blogging is OK, but not as a substitute for a blog or other forms for actual thought. Responding in real-time in short form to everything does not improve most thinking. Plagiarism is a non-existent concept on twitter which leads to herd think. Overall I think twitter has a negative societal value.

I'll just leave this here:

1. Texting is useful for not obliging one to respond immediately. A telephone call demands instant attention. A text says "get back to me when it's convenient for you".

Yup. In retrospect, the telephone is a fairly intrusive means of communication.

It can be easy to take technological determinism too far.

Some folks also seem to consider texting and emailing to be real-time communication these days. In other words, they expect you to read and act on texts and emails immediately.

Depends on the context of course, but you CAN always make up an excuse for not replying immediately. You can claim that you were in the shower, or in a movie theater, or your battery was dead or (in a business context) you were in an urgent meeting.

I think just about anyone would agree that it is hugely preferable to have more control over the time and place of communications that one is involved in. Especially after working hours.

Then again, the convenience of being able to reach people is to be balanced against that.

It used to be that most people (I think) would turn off their phones towards the end of the day and turn them back on after they'd gotten up and were ready to start their day. Now, for some, they are 24/7 chains. Well, 24/7 access might be fine if other things balance out, such as flexibility, time off, etc. A few years ago it seemed that many thought this was the necessary way of things. But now, I think, more people, and employers, are realizing that work-life balance is important for good employees (except, maybe, for the true workaholics).

I don't need to text, talk in transit, or otherwise communicate at other people's convenience. I use email and respond if necessary. Otherwise, I live my life as though it were 1995.

Texting works just like email in that respect. There's no obligation to respond immediately, unless it's implied by context (like "I'm at the grocery store right now. What do you want?")
If someone doesn't respond to your texts, you may assume that their phone is off or they left it at home and went out.

And it doesn't clutter your inbox.

Over the past few years, I'd say messenger apps have largely replaced both texting and email. If you have a good data plan, it's free to send someone a message over Facebook Messenger (or Line, WhatsApp or WeChat depending on what country you are in) and it has the advantage of a text that you don't have to deal with niceties like creating a Subject line and the recipient can easily preview your message at once.

I use Hangouts and SMS interchangably. My plan has unlimited data and text so it doesn't make any difference.

Mmmm...well, if the senders don't expect you to read and respond to their texts and emails, great. Some folks do expect you to communicate at their convenience.

For example, I live and work in a suburb of a major city. One fine day, I had a meeting in the city with someone who, at the time, was signing my checks. She asked me about something and I had no idea. She said she'd emailed me about it and wondered if I actually received it. Sure enough, she'd sent me an hour previously.

Buy this guy an Internet Beer.

I don't do texting. I don't have a smart phone, I have a dumb phone which I keep turned off. I don't use any of the social media. I don't need apps and when I purchase a new laptop I go through and delete all the software/apps I wouldn't use. Don't use the cloud, don't trust it. I do email but have slacked off on that. I do have a "kindle", a Fire actually. I keep it in airplane mode, it's just for reading and videos/movies.

We are on the same wavelength.

I took my iPad 2 in for a new battery and the repair guy was incredulous, said it never happens. 'How much do you use this thing?' Clearly rhetorical.

Texting is great because it's asynchronous and an easier interface than email for short items.

Yes to paper bound books.

Tyler! The point of texting is discretion. No one can hear what you text from under your desk or at the back of your uber ride ;)
Also, I just ordered a Lenovo laptop online, I wonder which one you got ?

I have an older iPhone with a 3.5 inch screen, which I wish was a little smaller. It fits in my pocket. I will not willingly upgrade phones as long as this one lives because they all have larger screens and don't fit in the pocket.

I use an iPad for reading, and love it. I prefer it to hard copy now for fiction. Still not a full replacement for technical or complex / multi-document work.

It's amusing to see people moving to "big phones" as a personal computer replacement. I've lived in the small screen (less than 15") world, and it ... leaves a lot to be desired.

My first desktop computer was a Mac SE with a 9 inch screen. I gratefully use a 24 inch monitor now for any kind of creative work, or even extended research. I understand portability may require a smaller form factor for some people and/or circumstances, but its a painful trade-off.

I started off with an iPhone 4, which was the 3.5 inch screen. Then I moved to a iPhone 5S, which had the 4 inch screen. Both of these fit in my pants pockets just fine. I then moved to the iPhone 6S, which has a 4.7 inch screen; it's a great screen and overall the best phone I've ever used, but it is a much tighter fit in my pants pocket.

Sounds like the iPhone SE is exactly what you're looking for. I've thought about it, but for me the 4.7 inch screen of the iPhone 6S is worth it.

On my desk, I want the biggest monitors I can get away with. I started off on VT100 text terminals, but for graphics we had 19 inch Tektronix 4014 storage tube displays; even back in the '80s, bigger was worth it.

I also have switched most of my reading to my iPad Mini; so convenient. And it is the coolest device ever for the amateur musician; an $80 interface lets me plug my guitar into the iPad and access a wealth of cheap, high quality digital audio workstation SW - virtual amps, stompboxes, multitrack recording, drum loops, keyboards, etc. Simply amazing.

Pocket fit isn't a consideration for me. I always keep my smartphone in an OtterBox, and that in turn in a holster clipped to my belt.

Texting is great for logistical communication. Not just "what should I get at the supermarket," but making plans with people. Before texting, probably 90% of my phone calls occurred solely to make plans to see people in person and/or to facilitate those plans. Nearly all of those phone calls now occur over text, which is WAY more convenient and less intrusive. I don't like talking on the phone, so this is a big plus.

Texting is also OK enough for "hey look at this cool thing!" type of communication, but I still prefer email for this. I do find it irritating when someone tries to have a conversation with me over text. Call me (despite my dislike of phone calls, this is preferable to a prolonged text interaction about something substantial), email me, or - best option, though it's not always possible or practical - make plans to see me in person and talk to me then.

I also do not understand Tyler's fascination with tablets. I've tried to use them, and I...just don't get it. Is it a phone? A very lightweight laptop? The screen size for most phones is pretty small, but its fine for stuff like checking maps and weather and email and looking at Yelp, which comprises the vast majority of my mobile-internet needs. There are also phones with larger screens, but I prefer a small phone that you can easily fit in your pocket. I guess a lot of people are watching videos and reading articles on their mobile devices, but I seldom do this.

We recently got a Kindle. My wife likes it; I've barely used it thus far. It does seem like it would be convenient for very long books, which are kind of annoying to read, and near-impossible to read on-the-go.

I use my kindle mostly for reading articles that I find online. The 'Push to Kindle' chrome extension sends it to my device, and I can read articles in a more pleasant way.

See? Almost everyone's at least a little bit Amish.

Text messaging is a very primitive technology for the following reason. If a message has not been successfully delivered within 24 hours, it just disappears. And nobody will be informed that it has not been delivered. Unlike with email, which is stored on servers and does not require you to check it all the time.

re: texting

Consider dictating your text messages. Voice recognition has gotten really good. And fact I just used it to type this message.

Text messaging has evolved into a platform for rapid communication. I will send pictures, videos, gifs and voicemail using it. If you just use it to send thumb typed text, you are using it as it was 5 years ago rather than modernly

I never texted until past couple of months. Very handy to keep family up to date on family member status who,s in hospital, and far more efficient than phone calls. (Sent from amazon fire.)

Selection of communication channels are often driven by the preferences of the AUDIENCE rather than those of the communicator. I text to elicit a response from an audience (college age children) that is more communicative via texting. I email to communicate with clients and colleagues; they usually respond within the hour. My husband and my parents are more likely to respond to a phone call.

I find no good substitute for listening to music on the iPhone when I work long as I remember to turn off the text notifications - as surely none of these audiences wishes to interrupt me.

Many explanations here for why a small percentage of texts are a good thing.

But most texts don't seem to be.

Someone smarter than me once said that "listening is not the same thing as waiting to talk".

It seems to me that the people most likely to choose texting over other forms of communication are mostly waiting to talk, rather than listening to what is said. This makes it just a gussied up form of yelling.

You made really a valid point on tech. It's everyone situation these days.

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