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Thread: tech on trail

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    If you start freaking out when there is no cell signal then you are a millennial. Seriously, my observation being around a lot of high school and college age people is that they see smartphones as a necessity where as older folks who spend most of their lives in the pre-smartphone era look upon them as a convenience.
    I always wonder what is behind these types of generalizations. I think that often it may be that older generations are seeing the things younger people use phones for and deeming them as "less important", or are not able to understand them in context... kind of the same way it always seems to work with music from generation-to-generation. A middle aged career-addicted businessman, mom with kids at home, sports fan stuck working during a game, politics obsessed person, etc etc etc will all become just as disproportionately upset at lack of a phone signal, or even lack of wifi, as a younger person wanting to send a snapchat or what not. The reason that basically all hotels, and now even some campgrounds have free wifi is not because "millenials"(which includes up to age 34) were complaining, the older generation is just as responsible for this device oriented society.

    I'm a returning student who takes both day and night courses(going on 4 years now)... days being mostly 18-24 year olds, nights being more in the 30-40's, with a few above and below that. Regardless of which class I'm in, before class starts and during any breaks, typically no one is talking, and there will only be one or two people not staring at their phones until the professor starts speaking again. This includes the professors. During lecture, it seems like phone usage is actually much heavier by the older crowd, possibly due to coordinating with families or children at home. One person may be using their phone to post on instagram or snapchat, and another may be setting up a babysitter for the next night or checking work emails. It doesn't mean either are more or less attached to their devices, everyone just uses them for different purposes.

    I think that saying "I don't have a smartphone" or "I don't use my phone a lot" is becoming the new "I'm a vegan" for some people, enmeshing some sort of association with a self-righteous philosophy with a simple unimpressive act that no one really cares about. While the social impact of smartphones and the effects on neurotransmitter activity by the instant gratification is an intriguing debate to have, saying that 'millennials' are in some way in a special category of phone-usage just isn't really true. If using a phone a lot is something you view as a "bad" thing, then most age groups are very guilty.

    Due to a lack of finances I have an old brick phone at the moment, but if I were to thru hike I would likely upgrade just for convenience sake. I hike often on the AT and have seen map apps and internet searches for shuttles/supply points/weather updates help people out before. If I'm doing a few days out in the backcountry I never bring my phone since service is usually non-existent anyway so why add the weight, but I do have a Delorme InReach if I'm solo... it has a weather option now so it basically covers all the bases for me.

  2. #62

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    I would hike without a phone but would likely carry a digital camera. However, people who love me and worry about me want to know I haven't fallen off a mountain or been killed by man or beast at least once daily. And since it's odd to find public pay phones anymore, I guess I'll stick with my cell phone. After all, it doubles as a pretty good camera.
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  3. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zea View Post
    I always wonder what is behind these types of generalizations. I think that often it may be that older generations are seeing the things younger people use phones for and deeming them as "less important", or are not able to understand them in context... kind of the same way it always seems to work with music from generation-to-generation. A middle aged career-addicted businessman, mom with kids at home, sports fan stuck working during a game, politics obsessed person, etc etc etc will all become just as disproportionately upset at lack of a phone signal, or even lack of wifi, as a younger person wanting to send a snapchat or what not. The reason that basically all hotels, and now even some campgrounds have free wifi is not because "millenials"(which includes up to age 34) were complaining, the older generation is just as responsible for this device oriented society.

    I used to have great fun, when shopping with my teenage daughters. Without fail, We'd run across some middle aged or elderly person chatting on a cell phone, blocking a store entrance, or wandering aimlessly across a sidewalk, showing zero consideration for others. Whereupon, I'd mutter "stupid teenagers with their cell phones."

    Many people, of all ages tend to demonize what they don't understand or care for, and blame that behavior on those they perceive as others.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zea View Post
    I always wonder what is behind these types of generalizations. I think that often it may be that older generations are seeing the things younger people use phones for and deeming them as "less important", or are not able to understand them in context... kind of the same way it always seems to work with music from generation-to-generation. A middle aged career-addicted businessman, mom with kids at home, sports fan stuck working during a game, politics obsessed person, etc etc etc will all become just as disproportionately upset at lack of a phone signal, or even lack of wifi, as a younger person wanting to send a snapchat or what not. The reason that basically all hotels, and now even some campgrounds have free wifi is not because "millenials"(which includes up to age 34) were complaining, the older generation is just as responsible for this device oriented society.

    I'm a returning student who takes both day and night courses(going on 4 years now)... days being mostly 18-24 year olds, nights being more in the 30-40's, with a few above and below that. Regardless of which class I'm in, before class starts and during any breaks, typically no one is talking, and there will only be one or two people not staring at their phones until the professor starts speaking again. This includes the professors. During lecture, it seems like phone usage is actually much heavier by the older crowd, possibly due to coordinating with families or children at home. One person may be using their phone to post on instagram or snapchat, and another may be setting up a babysitter for the next night or checking work emails. It doesn't mean either are more or less attached to their devices, everyone just uses them for different purposes.

    I think that saying "I don't have a smartphone" or "I don't use my phone a lot" is becoming the new "I'm a vegan" for some people, enmeshing some sort of association with a self-righteous philosophy with a simple unimpressive act that no one really cares about. While the social impact of smartphones and the effects on neurotransmitter activity by the instant gratification is an intriguing debate to have, saying that 'millennials' are in some way in a special category of phone-usage just isn't really true. If using a phone a lot is something you view as a "bad" thing, then most age groups are very guilty.

    Due to a lack of finances I have an old brick phone at the moment, but if I were to thru hike I would likely upgrade just for convenience sake. I hike often on the AT and have seen map apps and internet searches for shuttles/supply points/weather updates help people out before. If I'm doing a few days out in the backcountry I never bring my phone since service is usually non-existent anyway so why add the weight, but I do have a Delorme InReach if I'm solo... it has a weather option now so it basically covers all the bases for me.
    awesome, well thought out post. love it! thanks!

  5. #65
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    I carry a smartphone for the camera feature and to make calls in town during resupply. It's also helpful for changing plans on the fly especially if a flight gets cancelled. Airplane mode will keep the outside world away for as long as you like.

    I also carry maps maps and extra food so I'm not the dude (not directed at anyone) bragging about how light he hikes and what he doesn't need before asking to borrow my phone, maps or asking for a few of my snacks.

  6. #66
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    Just my $0.02...

    I really look forward to be disconnected during my hikes, it's a true pleasure to have this "forced" on me by either having no service (perhaps 50% or so of the places I hike has little or no coverage) or by having limited battery life, meaning I keep the phone in airplane mode, even on the AT where there is excellent coverage.

    However, we live in what I consider to be a Golden Age of tech (and craft beer!), my modern mobile phone is fantastic at so many things; really decent camera, excellent navigation apps and jpeg map storage, kindle-app reader, music player, audio book player, all of these things I use extensively on the trail. All for about 7 ounces! Fantastic.

    So, bottom line, I don't see why folks bad-mouth these wonderful devices, however I DO understand why folks bad-mouth staying connected to social media and whatever most of the time on the trail. Silly and counter to what I enjoy on the trail myself, which is being disconnected from "regular" society for a good bit. Yes I'm old and crotchety ! But apparently way less so (the crotchety part) then a lot of folks around my age on here.

  7. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zea View Post
    I always wonder what is behind these types of generalizations. ............................
    I taught high school for 5 years as a second career prior to recently retiring. Our school had a strict no cellphone use in class policy that if a student violated then their phone was taken away and returned at the end of the day. Students often were reduced to tears when their phones where confiscated until the end of the school day. They would literally beg not to have their phone taken. The thought of being out of touch for several hours was abhorrent to them. When my daughter was a teenager (now 21) the worst possible punishment in her eyes was loss of her cellphone. I have been taking classes for fun at a local community college since retirement and the 20 somethings I know there are very similar in their attitudes. Every person my age I know has a smartphone and they use them a lot but their attitude toward their phone is different than the young folks I have been around. I am not making a value judgement or demeaning younger folks just telling you my personal observations. I am not an anti-smartphone Luddite. I don't care how much you or anyone else uses their phone. That's their business not mine.
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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    I taught high school for 5 years as a second career prior to recently retiring. Our school had a strict no cellphone use in class policy that if a student violated then their phone was taken away and returned at the end of the day. Students often were reduced to tears when their phones where confiscated until the end of the school day. They would literally beg not to have their phone taken. The thought of being out of touch for several hours was abhorrent to them. When my daughter was a teenager (now 21) the worst possible punishment in her eyes was loss of her cellphone. I have been taking classes for fun at a local community college since retirement and the 20 somethings I know there are very similar in their attitudes. Every person my age I know has a smartphone and they use them a lot but their attitude toward their phone is different than the young folks I have been around. I am not making a value judgement or demeaning younger folks just telling you my personal observations. I am not an anti-smartphone Luddite. I don't care how much you or anyone else uses their phone. That's their business not mine.
    I see where you're coming from, but again it seems like a context issue to me. And if your students were "often reduced to tears" for having a phone taken away... there must have been other factors at play there. That is in no way representative of a typical teenager, and I'm hoping you were just using hyperbole.

    If you were to tell a teenage girl in the 80's or 90's or whenever that they weren't allowed to use the home phone, it'd likely be a very similar reaction to the reaction your daughter had. It can be seen clearly even in pop-culture, just look at any number of older sitcoms that would regularly have the stereotypical teenage girl of the time getting into a shouting match with her parents because they wanted to use the phone she was hogging. It's a reaction to isolation, not deprivation of a device.

    Adolescence is the most social period of our life, and deprivation of those social connections causes genuine stress. I remember being in middle school and having an "end of the world" feeling when my teacher caught a girl I liked passing a note to me, and separated us. Taking a phone away is not a whole lot different.

    Today, a gigantic portion of socialization occurs with phones and the internet, with young people as well as older. If your online(and txt) personas aren't up to date, you get left out, and this is not just inconvenient but actually can be life-changing when you're younger. There are plenty of opinions on the negatives of the impersonal-nature of web-based social lives, but that's a completely different discussion. Almost all of us are hopelessly addicted to instant gratification, whether it's from checking our Facebook likes, looking at our stock profiles, seeing "3 new texts" on our phone, scrolling the internet, turning on a TV, etc etc etc.

    I'd just hate to see that people are neglecting technology that can make them easily and generally/measurably safer(or even just have a better time) in the back country, to maintain this strange "unconnected" philosophy which has proved irrelevant in nearly all other ways we live our lives. That said I'd still way rather be in a vast wilderness with no connection to society, and no bailout options except for my own experience mixed with intellect, but I settle for a happy medium since it's the responsible thing to do.

  9. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zea View Post
    I see where you're coming from, but again it seems like a context issue to me. And if your students were "often reduced to tears" for having a phone taken away... there must have been other factors at play there. That is in no way representative of a typical teenager, and I'm hoping you were just using hyperbole..............
    Adolescence is the most social period of our life, and deprivation of those social connections causes genuine stress. I remember being in middle school and having an "end of the world" feeling when my teacher caught a girl I liked passing a note to me, and separated us. Taking a phone away is not a whole lot different.
    Today, a gigantic portion of socialization occurs with phones and the internet, with young people as well as older. If your online(and txt) personas aren't up to date, you get left out, and this is not just inconvenient but actually can be life-changing when you're younger..........
    I wasn't using hyperbole and you have explained in eloquent terms why these students reacted the way they did and why it is a natural for an adolescent (or young adult) to have an entirely different view of the importance of a smartphone than an older person.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  10. #70
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    it's all personal choice. bob dylan got the noble, for amidst other things, saying that the times are changin'.

    i get it. i don't do facebook, but i know what a like is...

    ...i guess i just "like" a snickers while sitting on a shaded rock more. for me. not applying that to anyone else. but give me nougat (whatever that is) and caramel and peanuts and chocolate and that's a helluva thumbs-up for me!

  11. #71
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    Are you seeing solar chargers everywhere too? They add weight but seem indenspenable to modern trail communication. Puerto Rico needs thousands!

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    I bring my smartphone.

    Normally it's in airplane mode, so it isn't going to ring with a call or chime with an incoming message.

    It serves me as a store of field notes, a few reference books, an atlas, a secondary navigation system, maybe the novel I'm reading, a camera, .... just about everything but a telephone and text messenger.

    If I brought a notebook, or a field guide to birds of flowers, or a deck of maps, or a paperback novel, or a conventional camera, most hikers wouldn't say a word. Those are traditional and accepted things to have in a pack.

    But there are always a few who say my device ruins their wilderness experience, once they learn it's there. And ordinarily they won't, because unless I'm actually looking something up or taking pictures or making notes, it stays put away. Reading on it is by myself, in my tent, so the light from the panel won't bother anyone. (Just as I'd do with a paperback novel and flashlight, back in a bygone time.) I don't see much of a difference, but I recognize that others do, and try not to whip out the phone in front of people who might mind.

    In any case, you're not going to put the genie back in the bottle.
    Perhaps tech etiquette is the issue here. Being considerate of others' wilderness experience. I recently had hikers come up from behind me on trail having a loud and lively conversation only to discover it was only one hiker on a f.....g phone.




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    I will say that smartphones ruined a yearly hike between friends - for many years a group of us would get together for a week long hike and enjoy nature and nightly Bourbon plus stories around the fire, when smartphones started coming to our hikes it became a gathering of just looking at our phones at every stop and retreating to the tents every night.

    Now it's just me and a rescue dog and so far he's not asked for a phone.

  14. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    I wasn't using hyperbole and you have explained in eloquent terms why these students reacted the way they did and why it is a natural for an adolescent (or young adult) to have an entirely different view of the importance of a smartphone than an older person.
    You started off with a very specific statement about how an entire generation behaves. You then shared an anecdote about how young people get unhappy when you revoke communication/entertainment privileges.

    Maybe we could talk about hiking, instead of bashing an entire generation, which will go through the same cycle of personal growth as every other generation that's existed since the dawn of mankind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adamkrz View Post
    I will say that smartphones ruined a yearly hike between friends - for many years a group of us would get together for a week long hike and enjoy nature and nightly Bourbon plus stories around the fire, when smartphones started coming to our hikes it became a gathering of just looking at our phones at every stop and retreating to the tents every night.

    Now it's just me and a rescue dog and so far he's not asked for a phone.
    you think your rescue dog is begging for that dog biscuit?? heck no! he's begging for a samsung galaxy s9 with unlimited talk, text, and internet!

    ha!

    bummer how your trips with your buddies have turned out...

  16. #76

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    95% for phones.
    How many of you carry a PLB or equivalent in case of emergency. Navigation is one thing, but how do you call in the air cav in an emergency?

  17. #77

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    Apple came out with the iPhone 10 years ago.
    When I joined this forum 6 years ago many people on the forum were rabidly against phones on the trail, but now there is more acceptance.
    In another 5 years it will be a nonissue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    ...
    In another 5 years it will be a nonissue.
    Maybe because the first ones will show up on the trail wearing AR goggles?

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