In my last blogpost I had been pondering the idea of a « Lightphone » where I was specifically looking for a phone that would allow me to consume podcasts, navigate and communicate if needed.
One of the reasons the Unihertz Titan jumped out at me was because of its rugged interface and the fact that it would be pretty awesome to use as a « terminal » instead of a phone, allowing me to interact with the various command line applications I have. I thought it would be cool to use it to SSH into my home server and use all my « low distraction » apps.
I decided to « try before I buy » and not start throwing out cash and getting yet « another » device, but instead see if I could pull it off with the gear that I have.
I went for a « copy paste » of the way I SSH into my Linux machine at home on my iPad. Using the SSHelfish app you can predefine connections, execute commands upon connections etc. Basically it slides you into your terminal session with one tap on the screen. I installed it on my iPhone (the payed version of the app is worth it » and took it out for a spin.
Hacking at the hairdressers
Waiting at the hairdressers was the perfect opportunity. Instead of scrolling through the « apps » on my phone, I « logged in » to my home server and picked up the Terminal session I had open. Using Tmux I flipped between the different apps I have open (Toot for Mastodon, Tuir for Reddit, Discordo for Discord and Newsboat for RSS) and puttered along. My hairdresser was getting a little worried since the stuff he saw on my screen reminded him more of a hacker doing his thing, than an average joe scrolling Insta.
It’s harder to use, so its easier to focus
My first impressions on this way of working were mixed. The fact you have to « connect » makes it more « intentional » to « check your socials » than by just using the apps on your phone. You are less prone to getting sucked it because it takes more focus to navigate. There are no pretty pictures to « entertain » you and keep you scrolling from one dopamine hit to the other and, because of the small screen, you only have one app open at a time.
This has an upside. Because its a more focused interface, you don’t tend to scroll aimlessly. The downside is that there is no way to (easily) watch or upload media, like pictures in your Toots or posts, for that you still need the apps. As a workaround I still keep the Discord and Mastodon apps on my phone, but just not on my homescreen.
This is of course all just an experiment but my first impressions are pretty interesting. It’s a different way to interact with my « social feeds » that makes them a little less « distracting » and make me feel more « in the moment » when i’m using them. Another small step towards intentional computing I guess.
The app : Shellfish (ios)