The iPhone as "Zenware"

"There’s an emerging market for programs that introduce much-needed traffic calming to our massively expanding desktops. The name for this genre of clutter-management software: zenware." - Jeffrey MacIntyre, Slate magazine (link)

It was a few days before the Internet Drought of 2007. Our home wireless broadband was starting to crap out, and doing work at a local coffee shop with free wireless was not an option, as there aren't many of those Out In The Sticks where I live. I had just purchased an iPhone. It was a pricey venture, but necessary due to a new job not allowing personal 'net acess ("and we will monitor you!"). As I was getting up to speed on all the iPhone applications, the metaphorical defecation hit the rotary oscillator, and I needed to find alternate ways to get online, fast. Bills needed to be paid, blog articles written, and emails returned.

The iPhone capabilities and software were dead simple. The hardware being of such a small form factor - compared to a laptop or desktop - made for less temptation to spend lots of time checking out new web sites or other bright sparklies. Bills were paid via Safari. Blog entries were short and to the point. Emails: ditto. SMS replaced the usual IM's. It was like having a laptop attached to my belt. Stuff got done. Now I had much more time to do other things, like step out into the Big Blue Room and actually interact with people in meat-space. Dang! What an adventure!

The 'Net Drought is long over, but the ease of use and simplicity of the iPhone has made a huge impression on my lifestyle. Traveling doesn't require a lugged laptop anymore. There are days where I don't even sit at my home desk, as I've done everything necessary on the iPhone. I've even been simplifying all the apps on my MacBook, as I've been spoiled with how quick and easy it is to do things on the iPhone. The iPhone as Zenware. I like it.

[ d.a. geeks to live, and lives to geek, in Central Texas. She is currently a Unix system administrator for a Very Large Company. You can read more of d.a.'s lifehack writings at ]


Anonymous said…
Great Post Deb, and yes, We have also found that our laptop has turned into something we take with us, but don't turn on. The iPhone, it is not a phone that computes, it a computer that fits in your pocket and makes phone calls!
Mark Sisom said…
I concur!! I bought a new Macbook not that long before I got my iPhone and since then the Macbook has only been used as a glorified jukebox at work and home, and SOMEtimes a little work on the train (but barely).