iPad as hip flask

I reread Paul Graham’s essay The Acceleration of Addictiveness after a friend quoted it in a blog post explaining why he is taking an indefinite hiatus from social media. I hadn’t noticed this gem in the footnotes when I first read Graham’s essay:

Several people have told me they like the iPad because it lets them bring the Internet into situations where a laptop would be too conspicuous. In other words, it’s a hip flask.

Related post: How to neutralize intelligence

4 thoughts on “iPad as hip flask

  1. I took a social media and internet hiatus when I went to China for a week last fall. I expected to feel energized and clear headed, but instead it made me feel lethargic and uninspired. But I do try to log off an hour or so before I go to bed every night.

  2. I love that essay. I know you’ve blogged before about using commitment devices (like tweeting progress) to overcome that kind of problem (the general term is Akrasia). I’d love to hear your thoughts on anti-akrasia tools like StickK and Beeminder.

    Danny of Beeminder

  3. @Daniel: Thanks. I haven’t heard of akrasia or StickK. I think I’ve heard of Beeminder, but I don’t know anything about it.

  4. I’m pretty tickled that you’ve heard of Beeminder but not StickK. But I guess that makes sense, despite StickK’s much more entrenched position in the field of commitment device tools, because Beeminder is “StickK for data nerds”.

    (It could also be that we vaguely know each other from various discussions on StackOverflow some time ago. Thank you, by the way, for your generosity with your stats expertise!)

    To answer your (implicit) questions:
    Akrasia is just the term for acting against one’s own better judgment.
    Beeminder is a “me-binder” — you track your progress on a graph with a yellow brick road to your goal and if you ever have a data point off the road, we take your money.

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