I’ve recently realized something cool about portable electronics. Many of us are very addicted to our laptops, constantly keeping us plugged in to the internet. That’s nice, but that attachment is to the detriment of time spent on real things in real life: doing productive things around the house, going for walks and being part of the community, talking to people who are really present.
But fortunately, there is a built-in timer telling us when it’s time to go and do something that’s actually important: battery life. I’ve found that my laptop battery nearing emptiness is a great indicator that I should turn off the computer and do something else. Now, maybe this is just because after a couple minutes, I really shouldn’t be on the computer at all, and the battery running out makes me realize the insignificance of my online pursuits. Or perhaps my range of internet activity is well-suited to segments of a couple hours each. But I prefer to see it as a convenient coincidence, a useful conceptual cousin of planned obsolescence. So next time you’ve been on your computer for a few hours and see that low-battery notification pop up, and you have the option to plug in or shut down, give the real world a try. It’s a nice place.