Too Much Internet Crack

I hate to say it, but it looks like I've been degraded to having to write what might be called a filler/fluff piece.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Good luck with your media fast and writing. When you break your fast, you might consider approaching the problem my way: with a desktop computer, keyboard and all. They’re so unpopular now, you can probably get one for peanuts. I started working on a computer long before the internet, and I associate them with work, so sitting down in front of the monitor in a good posture actually inspires me to start writing. I dislike most hand-held devices, as well as television. I sit and read while my wife watches TV. I do look up now and them for Dancing with the Stars – the women are magnificent – but generally it’s an intrusion I try to ignore, sometimes by going to another room. Never had the same problem as McGuire, I’ve always been able to concentrate on books. But I have a backlog of “should reads” on my Kindle, nonfiction books on significant topics that I couldn’t seem to get into. Maybe I should stick to novels on the Kindle and get the nonfictions in hard copy.

Just a note to say “ditto” this experience of what the internet/computer blue screen does to one’s brain, the ability to focus, the ability to “think slow and deep”. I used to be a deep reader, now I am a “scanner” it seems. I am not sure what percent of the problem is the dopamine rush of new ideas, and what percent is the problem with the back lit screen and late evening reading. However, one week off on holiday with no computer and I can feel the mental difference.

I would go on long internet holiday as you are, but I am now trying to very quickly come up to speed on key issues covered in your blog and others like it and I can use the variety of topics I hit daily to build my mental scaffolding upon which I hang ideas. The podcasts from Extraenvironmentalist, et al. are great for car rides. I use Youtube for climate change videos from scientist etc. to give me a real time understanding of that issue that perhaps books cannot. And of course, I need my daily and weekly fix of thinking from my favorite key bloggers :slight_smile:

For now, I am trying to stop using the computer by 7PM. And to read more books in that slower deeper reading mode.

One thing I would like to figure out, if anyone has a suggestion, is how I can read PDF’s etc. on a larger Kindle-type gray screen. On the Kindle itself reading PDF’s is clunky especially for academic papers.


Yeah, I’m wondering if I really should have this restricted-to-wifi iPhone any longer, now that I’ve pretty much finished using it to build the mobile website for this blog. It’s just way too accessible. But a desktop? I don’t know. It’s an appliance that if I could I’d like to not have. So far I’ve been rather fortunate to have a computer – or at least access to one – fall into my lap whenever I’ve needed one, and for a while now I’ve been in cities with libraries nearby. As well, and perhaps I’m the odd one out here, but I don’t actually write on computers (besides emails and these blog replies). I do it all by hand, type it out, print out the latest draft, then edit on top of that by hand, rinse and repeat. I usually go through several cycles of this.

However, I hope to not always be in a big city, which means libraries aren’t just down the street, and fortuitous access to whatever other computers wouldn’t be as plentiful. Maybe by then I’d have to start up some Amish-style, pay-computer booth on the side of the country road. Or stick the desktop in the barn. :wink:

(Not that I have a barn – yet.)

And I’ve never read anything on a Kindle or other eReader, but if I had to choose how to go about it, I’d go for the fiction on the Kindle and nonfiction in hard copy, as you suggested. I make (pencil) notes quite often, flip back and forth and such, so I couldn’t see reading nonfiction any other way.

Your notion of “trying to stop using the computer by 7PM” is exactly along the lines of what I’m going to end up doing once I reset my noggin. Or perhaps an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening? I’ll see. And yes, although I haven’t looked into it, I’ve briefly, uhh, scanned over material regarding reading upon back lit screens at late hours. Perhaps I should read up on that a bit more as I decide how to set my new limits.

And like you say, I too “need my daily and weekly fix of thinking from my favorite key bloggers.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve pretty much got only one person (an hour train’s ride away, while I’m still in New Zealand) whom I readily talk to about the issues covered in this blog, so besides him, the Internet, and books, I’ve got nothing. And as much as I like reading, living with your nose buried in books isn’t my notion of “fun.”

All the best with your coming up to speed on these “key issues.”

p.s. I do like to give a plug for a good book every now and then. One of my favorites, covering a lot of this stuff, is Andrew Nikiforuk’s The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude. Maybe I should review it as a blog post one day.