Living without an iPhone – a social and business experiment – Day 2

Okay, not very scientific but the first business day is done and it’s been a bit of a success.

Only ten email messages in my inbox and lots of the things on my written list already completed.

I did get a lot of Twitter activity today and a friend Ben Afia recommended I look up the book ‘David Allen’s Getting Things Done‘. So I have and it is on its way from Amazon. ben then told me afterwards that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so i’ll probably hate it.

Battery life is still completely full on my cheapo phone and at 50% on the iPhone 4 which I have been carrying about in my laptop case on standby.

Looking easy so far. maybe i’m getting cocky too early.

We’ll see.

Kids and social media

I thought I was pretty handy at understanding social media, its uses and its relevance to brands, but compared to my own kids, I officially know nothing.

I was watching my daughter the other day and she was tapping away at her phone. I asked what she was doing and it turned out that she was negotiating via Twitter with the CEO of to get him to supply her a t-shirt for her to use in another of her projects.

The other project is promoting my son’s music career that he is building slowly via YouTube. Between them, it turns out they have been seeding the links to the videos on Justin Bieber fan sites, Robert Pattinson fan sites. She has also been asking cast members from Coronation Street to retweet the links and stories she has been placing.

It’s this total lack of fear and ability to build connections that makes social media exciting, interesting and relevant to any brand, big or small.

I’m not going on any training courses again, i’m just going to watch the kids.

Living without an iPhone – a social and business experiment – Day 1

Okay. the first day of my new era. Life without an iPhone 4 and it all seems pretty smooth so far. Sadly I haven’t got my phone number sorted yet so can’t receive texts, but have managed to redirect all phone calls from the old number to the new. A clever feature of iPhones. Hmm.

I’ve already had to learn how to use predictive text again that I had forgotten. That was easy enough.

So what am I hoping to get out of this?

A few things spring to mind immediately. I’ll try and keep a track of what else appears through the week.

1. The ability to work in a more linear fashion – Rather than being constantly distracted by all the attractions of the Internet and every email that arrives, i’m hoping to be able to deal with them properly first time and then archive them.

A friend of mine sent me a link to this, so i’m clearly not the only person to be thinking along the same lines.

2. More time to read – I am convinced that I will create more thinking time by being away from my iPhone. Hopefully i’ll use this for extra reading and thinking.

3. Not being tied to my charger – The battery on an iPhone 4 is much better than on my previous iPhone 3g, but it’s still crap and has to be plugged in for power at least once a day.

What am I missing about it so far?

The camera.

Sky Sports App

Shazam (but that is one of the main distractions)

iTorch app

Quick access to the timer/countdown timer.

Not sure how important they are yet.

Number of emails in my inbox – 74

Living without an iPhone – a social and business experiment – Day -1

Probably not the best start to the day when I discovered that I have managed to lose the micro sim converter that I bought earlier in the week in preparation for the switchover tomorrow AM. This is the little device that you need to make the iPhone 4 sim (which is essentially a cut down version of a normal sized sim) usable in normal phones.

I am actually looking forward to the thought of being on a normal phone again but one things strikes me already.

I am going to watch my boys footie team this afternoon and it will be the last day I will be able to ‘watch’ the scores of the other matches on Sky Sports App. Actually it is a bit like watching it on teletext anyway – like we used to do, so maybe i’ll be able to concentrate on the kids match rather than what is going on at Oxford v. Hereford.

Okay, so i’m off into town to by a replacement micro sim adapter. iPhone at home on divert to the new number.

Not nervous yet.


That was a wasted trip. The man in Victoria market didn’t have one, the man in the little mobile unit didn’t have one and neither did the Apple Centre. Hmm. I’ll have to order another one on Ebay. It is maybe another sign that Apple are trying to control their customers a little by forcing them to use a unique sim card in order to make it harder to move away from them. Maybe they’re not the cuddly giant we once thought.

Not an efficient start. But I did get my first call on the new phone diverted from the iPhone.

Living without an iPhone – a social and business experiment

We all have too much stuff in our life. Too many possessions, too many media choices and too many ways of accessing any piece of available information from anywhere in the world.

And I’ve had enough, so i’m making a change to the way I run my life and the first stand will be against my beloved iPhone.

I am on 24/7. always checking mail, checking share prices, checking scores and checking things I don’t really need to know.

A book I read many years ago by Isaac Asimov called Azazel, stuck in my mind. I’ve blogged about it here before.

By being so on all the time, i’ve lost my downtime, my time to think, my time to learn and understand. People expect an instant response, but instant isn’t always best, it’s often quite glib, so I want to change.

For an initial one week, my iPhone is staying at home, switched off. I’ll check my emails when I am in front of my computer and i’ll try and deal with them first time.

I’m going to spend tomorrow getting rid of all the emails in my inbox. Currently 70 in number – Most of which need some sort of action. On Sunday, i’ll be into the new regime.

I’ve been a bought a new phone today. The simplest and cheapest they had in the shop. A Samsung GT-E2121b at only £9.45. A bargain from Phones 4U. Sold to me by a young lady called Adele, who thought I was a bit simple when I told her my plan.

Adele from Phones 4U Nottingham Victoria branch - Complete with perfect sign above her head
Adele from Phones 4U Nottingham Victoria branch - Complete with perfect sign above her head - That's the bloody point - I don't want emails on the go!

I’ll try and update the blog every day to let you know how I get on with it.

Safari, Firefox or Chrome

Google Chrome - Better than Firefox and Safari? - certainly less crashy and slow
Google Chrome - Better than Firefox and Safari? - certainly less crashy and slow


I’m a bit of an Apple fan and believed they could do no wrong, but their battle with Adobe over Flash is killing them slowly and by a thousand small steps.

I don’t want Flash on my iPhone as I agree it may well slow it down even further, but I do want a browser that works.

I have had so many hanging pages in the last few weeks from Safari that I have completely switched to Google Chrome as my default Browser.

There have been a few of the most committed fans getting twitchy. Not least Tim Garratt when he got stiffed over his .mac account.

I do use Firefox as one of my browsers, but only so I can keep my shared Google calendar open as it uses a different user name and password to my other accounts. Maybe it comes back to connections again, but I never really connected with Firefox.

But Chrome is good. It is now much faster than Safari, allows clever plug-ins and seems to never crash. Even with sites that have Flash embedded on their front page.

Is Apple losing their grip? or is Safari due a major upgrade.

If you want to see a brilliant Google funded experiment with the power and processing of Chrome, have a look at this site. Put in your home Postcode, wait a few minutes and sit back and enjoy. The first few minutes are dull and then it will stagger you.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Some of you may have seen this. 2 million people have already watched this, so there is a good chance that you have. But it is truly brilliant and inspirational.

Firstly because Sir Ken is very funny in the speech.

And secondly, he talks so passionately about creativity in children and how we have spent years as a nation getting them to conform, rather than getting them to explore – a subject that is very close to my own heart.

If our schools took some notice of this, they would be far better places for kids to grow and develop.

I know it’s 20 minutes long, but bear with it and you will be royally rewarded. And so will your kids, because you will look at them differently and allow them to try things for the sake of it.

My kids are both at Rushcliffe School and they seem to be exercising a lot of his ideas. Concentrating on the individual in a way that seems to go far beyond the Every Child Matters (ECM) agenda being set by successive Governments.

Solar panels installed for £500 – rent your roof

Solar panels on a domestic roof - hardly gorgeous are they?
Solar panels on a domestic roof - hardly gorgeous are they?

I have just been leafletted with a flyer promising the installation of 25m2 of solar panels on my roof for £500 against a normal price of £14,149.

It sounds to good to be true. Because I think it actually is.

With this deal, you don’t benefit from the feed in tariffs that could be as high as £1,100 per year, but you do get some amount of free electricity. The installers claim this will be about £175 per year – so a payback on your investment in under three years and then lower electricity bills for the next 22 after that.

You actually rent your roof out to the investor who takes all of the tariff and lets you keep the free electricity as your contribution.

Maybe it’s win, win and maybe I’m being cynical, but the Daily Mail ran an article last year about them being installed free. The £500 is obviously to pay commission to the ‘Surveyors‘ (or door to door sales people as they are really).

Anyone got any experience of this?

The other big concern is what happens at the end of the life of the solar panels?

Are they really that green? can something that has taken that much energy to manufacture and distribute ever be really green?. This little article says not, but maybe they can be in the future. Maybe our green superhero Simon Spuddey Dare can shed some light?

Thanks to Integr8x for the image

James Lambert – British Ski Jumper – Needs branding

James Lambert is not a name that many of you will be familiar with. I wasn’t earlier until I heard him on Radio Five Live. But he is the natural successor to our very own Eddie the Eagle – and he is 45 years old. There is hope for all of us yet.

James Lamber, Alan Donald Jones, Alex Winterhalde and Jason Weller - Britains Great big Ski Jumping hopes
James Lambert, Alan Donald Jones, Alex Winterhalde and Jason Weller - Britains Great big Ski Jumping hopes

Another plucky british trier through and through. He has already jumped 93 metres and holds the British record for it. Maybe 93m isn’t world class, but it seems an indecently long way for a 45 year old bloke to fly.

In his Radio Five interview this morning, he confessed that he had little or no chance in the upcoming world championships where he is representing Great Britain in Holmenkollen. I think it is because he doesn’t have a nickname, so I’d like to propose a few.

Jumping Jimbo (my fave)

Leaping Lambert

Jimmy the Jumper

It’s more difficult than it looks this alliteration and rhyming when you have names like James and Lambert. Anyone got any ideas?


I emailed the team earlier to wish them good luck and got back this rather lovely and brilliantly honest reply. Lets all get behind them and wish them all the best. I know I wouldn’t fancy jumping 90 metres (or actually ten metres for that matter)

Hi John,

This is Jason team captain for the team, thanks very much for your email I shall pass it on to James and the other lads, we do have some names for each other, but they can’t be repeated here, and they certainly don’t rhyme 🙂

But seriously it’s really great for all the lads when people cheer them on and root for them. Fact is James won’t win a medal and probably won’t get through the first round, but like everyone in the team he will give everything he’s got and more, and Alan, Alex, and myself are really proud of him, and next month the team will be in Harrachov for the Masters World Championships, and we shall have a celebration drink, and a toast to people like yourself who support us 🙂

Thank you very much

Cheers James, Alan, Alex, & Jason

Bye Bye JJB Sports

JJB sports are as good an example as any that changing a logo changes nothing. All the papers were this week reporting that they were closing a further 45 stores that weren’t viable.

For me, you may as well close all of them as they are all pretty unpleasant in terms of a shopping experience and i’m now never quite sure if I’m in a JD, a new JJB, and old JJB or even a sports retailer above a DW?

JJB Sports - Sporting an old logo Rushmere_(05),_August_2009
JJB Sports – Sporting an old logo Rushmere August_2009

You can see below a lovely example of their bold new rebrand with a jaunty high tech logo that made no difference at all.

JJB Sports - Sporting a new logo Belfast, June 2010
JJB Sports – Sporting a new logo Belfast, June 2010