"Get off my lawn!" A story about technology

I love technology as much as the next person, but…

Actually, no. That’s probably not true. Let me start again. I appreciate and am simultaneously wary of technology, seemingly unlike the vast majority of the population.

Let me explain. It’s all about apps these days, right? An app for this, an app for that. You can order your groceries or your jeans through an app, save 5% here, rack up points there, play in a simulated world, talk to your friend on the other side of the world, keep notes that update across multiple devices, check your email, your instastorysnaptwitbook, and probably ten million other things that are made simple and easy with a magic little downloadable app for your phone. Brilliant! Right?


But, see, I am SUPER skeptical of most apps. I get really skeezed out by all the permissions that most apps claim they need access to in my phone. I don’t need a restaurant to have access to my location; I don’t want a game to have access to my Gmail data; I don’t want a shopping platform to have access to my camera roll or a big box store to know what other apps are on my device. As such, I have very very few apps on my phone. I turn off my location and bluetooth settings 90% of the time, I sign out of every social media app every time I close out of it, I wear a tinfoil hat, and yell at the teenagers to get off my lawn gravel.

Am I an anomaly? Does anyone else get wary of what kind of data, exactly, all those downloaded algorithms are gleaning off your phone activity and what, exactly, the umbrella company will use that data for? I mean, the most obvious answer is “market research” and “targeted advertising” and not “to sell to the North Koreans” or “to round up the underlings to sacrifice to the extraterrestrial overlords.” But hey! What do I know! I can’t write or even truly understand that kind of coding, and how many of us truly take the time to read-with-the-intent-to-understand every privacy policy we agree to and all the terms and conditions we accept?

My favorite Mexican restaurant (ok, it’s Fresh Mex, not authentic Mexican food) had stamp/punch cards forever; for every 10 meals you buy, you get one free. I faithfully brought my card to be stamped, saved up full cards, and then volunteered to take Mr. Blue Eyes on a date…to my favorite restaurant where I paid with freebie cards. I’m so romantic. BUT! This restaurant is now high-tech; they don’t punch cards anymore, I’m sure they will stop accepting filled up cards soon (and I’ve got about 7 of them in my wallet…yes, really). They want everyone to use their handy-dandy app….only, I am really uncomfortable with the terms and privacy of said app; I don’t want it on my phone and it’s not worth the free meal (after spending upwards of $125 dollars in meals) to allow access. I won’t download it on principle, determined to stick to my own moral high ground.

I’m super fun at parties. Pinky-swear!

Ultimately, I love the information that I can access via technology, but I am super wary about what kind of information other entities can access about me. I suppose that is truly the issue when it comes right down to it. I want to know everything there is to know, but simultaneously I want to have very tight control over what people know about me. Does this aversion to certain types of technology make me a freak? Probably. It certainly puts me squarely outside of the Millenial generation (I truly fall somewhere between Gen X and Gen Y/Millenials, born in the early 1980’s in a community that was always just a little behind the times).

What about you? What kind of apps do you have on your phone? (See what I did there? Want to be all voyeuristic about YOUR phone, but have provided almost zero information about what, exactly, is allowed on MY phone…)

Harriet sig




4 thoughts on “"Get off my lawn!" A story about technology

  1. spinch

    The amount of permissions that some apps ask for is absolutely ludicrous. There are exceptions that I will make (applications from developers that I trust and/or that I’ve already sold my soul to long ago- lookin’ at you, Google), but I’ve been leaning more toward using mobile sites rather than dedicated apps if I can get away with it.

    Anyway, I’ll be the next contestant on WHAT’S… ON… THAT… PHOOOONE!

    ⦿ Scoring/accessory apps for board games. (In particular, I like one called “Rounds”, and some modern board games actually also use an app on the phone to extend gameplay).
    ⦿ Amazon. See the above on Google.
    ⦿ Audio apps. Audible, Pocket Casts, a few music streaming services.
    ⦿ Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, and (nerd alert) Memory Alpha, which is the Star Trek Wiki.
    ⦿ AndieGraph, which is a TI-83 emulator. Yes, I’ve got an actual TI-83 Plus ROM on my phone for when I forget my calculator for class. Or if I don’t feel like using a pretty calculator.
    ⦿ I just realized that literally every game that I have on this phone is a digital version of a board game, most of which I own physical copies of. Hmm.
    ⦿ A shared shopping list between me and Kristen (Buy Me a Pie!). Works well, although I don’t like the access it demands.
    ⦿ Two note-taking apps and CamScanner (for school work).
    ⦿ A Twitter client (Falcon Pro 3) and Instagram.
    ⦿ Goodreads and shortcuts to my LibraryThing catalog (https://librarycat.org/lib/KittySpinch , if you want to peruse our collection).
    ⦿ Waze and Google Maps.
    ⦿ And finally, a Reddit client, because even though I loathe a good portion of that site, there are some bastions of tolerability there. Wow, that’s a glowing review.


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