I think I'm at the point where I'm willing to investigate life without the daily presence and use of a computer.
What brought on this thought? It's something I've been thinking for a while, but the last few days have really set the wheels in motion. I haven't been happy with my computer or anything to do with it: poorly-coded software and operating systems, spotty internet service, the fact that it's taken over my life and is quickly becoming the only way I (and most of society) knows how to do things.
I'm fairly well-versed in the Linuxes, so I decided I would switch from Vista before the school year started. Last year I used my computer in class to take notes (my classes are four-hours long each, my hand cramps). I've tried switching operating systems mid-stream and it doesn't work well for me. Anyway, I found that Ubuntu and Fedora are the only two distributions which I both like and can trust to remain stable and usable on my system.
Ubuntu's poop-brown theme gets on my nerves after a while and I couldn't ever get a decent GTK2/GNOME theme to work properly. The Ubuntu community seems to have grown too large to really provide help. I really think the community suffers from a significant bystander effect. Fedora's community, on the other hand, is still small and personable. However, to get Fedora to do anything I really wanted, I had to install some 250 packages and I never was able to install the NVidia drivers my laptop needs to properly suspend/sleep because the repository with those drivers is down.
And I don't like Vista because... well, I'm not sure I need to explain that to you guys.
So, are personal computers worth all the irritation? How would my life change if I didn't rely on my computer?
Banking: I'm dependent on Online Banking. But, I can always call and ask someone any questions I have. Instead of using Bill Pay, I can request paper statements for my bills and send a paper check.
Entertainment: I won't be able to pull up my favorite websites like xkcd, Cute Overload, Post Secret, and a couple of others whenever I want. I do, however, own a BlackBerry which I can use to get my fix (as long as I don't want to watch TV shows or anything, and I never really got into the whole watching-TV-over-the-Internet thing).
Schoolwork: I can tape my lectures in class and review the key points later. I'm sure I can take notes well enough and long enough to note the big ideas and timepoints. Plus, it'll make me a goddess at the study groups. As for research, I think I'm one of the few students at my university who can find journal articles in the paper-based journals relatively effectively. (I used to silently curse my pre-law legal studies research professor for making us look things up in the bound reporters, now I thank her). I still like to outline in long form my papers to make the writing process easier. I can use the school-provided papers to type my assignments up and finish any research I need. I will need to work on my spelling and grammar though; I used to be an awesome writer but I've noticed my writing skills slowly declining since I've stopped writing everything long-hand and then typing it up.
Communication: This is the big one. I've finally "trained" my friends not to leave voicemails or to call my cell phone incessantly. I'm a severe introvert and prefer to initiate communication through IM or text message. If I feel like it I love talking on the phone, but not too much in one shot. I'm usually only good for about 30 minutes at a time and 2 or 3 hours a week total, and my friends need me more than that. Plus, work communicates with me via e-mail. Since I have a BlackBerry staying on top of things won't be too big of a challenge, but not logging into my e-mail accounts every day will be different. My friends are trying to get me into online dating like OkCupid but I'd definitely prefer to meet and mingle in person rather than online. As a matter of fact, I'd rather do everything in person but it seems everyone's too busy to sit down with coffee.
It'll take some changes and it'll lead to some sacrifices, but I think it might be worth it.