Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from February 25, 2019 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

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Options February 25, 2019: Tim Harford, author and economist, on kicking his smartphone addiction (plus, a cameo by Catherine Price!)

Listen to this show: MP3 - 128K | | Add or read comments



This week: Tim Harford, economist and author, on kicking his smartphone addiction

New site: techtonic.fm, listing recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments, on one page!

Links to Tim Harford:

timharford.com, which contains all of Tim's books and podcasts

How behavioural economics helped me kick my smartphone addiction (Jan 17, 2019) - the essay that prompted this interview

Tim's BBC podcast: 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy (see also on the BBC site)

• During the interview, Tim also points to Jocelyn Glei's podcast Hurry Slowly and Cal Newport's book Digital Minimalism.

Catherine Price links

How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain (by NYT's Kevin Roose on Feb 23, 2019)

phonebreakup.com, Catherine's book site with resources

• Techtonic on April 16, 2018 featured Catherine Price on her book How to Break Up With Your Phone: here are show notes and here's the interview.

Tech news

You Give Apps Sensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook. (WSJ, Feb 22): "Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor, the most popular heart-rate app on Apple’s iOS, made by California-based Azumio Inc., sent a user’s heart rate to Facebook immediately after it was recorded." Other apps include an ovulation tracker and Realtor.com. Apparently there's no way to stop the sharing, even if you are not a Facebook user.

• Jason Kint is trying to get find 64 Facebook scandals in the past year, to fill out an entire bracket. He's at 57 so far, as posted here...



- - -

Check out techtonic.fm for recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments.

PODCAST: Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

......p.s. outtro song tonight is thanks to Nick the Bard, whose Norflax Oxdun Sidetower Feb 14 episode included it.

Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Tim Harford, economist and author, describes how he kicked his smartphone addiction. Also, a quick chat with Catherine Price, author of "How to Break Up With Your Phone."
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
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  Mark's intro  
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  Call with Catherine Price  
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0:14:48 (MP3 | )
  Interview with Tim Harford  
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0:25:09 (MP3 | )
  Your calls and comments  
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0:48:33 (MP3 | )
Anders Enger Jensen  Rainbow Dreams (Instrumental)   Options
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0:54:10 (MP3 | )

Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:00pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark, Techtunkies!
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:00pm melinda:

Hi people
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:00pm annie:

ready!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:01pm Greg from ZONE 5:

Evening, Mark and all!
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:01pm ike:

Fhrghgfhtfnd!
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:01pm dale:

i have a dumb phone and that's enough for me.
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:02pm John from Florham Park:

Hello fellow WFMU listeners and technoids
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:02pm melinda:

I just got a smartphone
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:02pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Welcome to Techtonic, soon to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Facebook, Inc.
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:02pm John from Florham Park:

Hey Melinda
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:02pm geezerette:

Hiiiiiiiiii... :)
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:02pm Linda Lee:

i don't carry a smart phone. never have, because our valley has no cell service. am i healthier already?
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:03pm BigCat:

Hello
Twerktronix
people
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:03pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark! Techtonicalores!
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:03pm stephen adams in the uk:

hi
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:04pm John from Florham Park:

Linda lee you got it right
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:04pm Webhamster Henry:

Hi Mark!
Here's my question: What's a good feature phone? How far back is "dumb" phone tech supported? any analog cell phones still around?
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:04pm melinda:

Hi John
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:04pm BigCat:

Did someone say

"shart phone"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:04pm ultradamno:

Always putting the fun in fundraising at WFMU
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:04pm John from Florham Park:

Ken I don’t think so either
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:04pm Webhamster Henry:

Hi techtontonic-niks
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:05pm Dave Miss:

Howdy
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:05pm Webhamster Henry:

Le TechTonTon Macoute!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:05pm Linda Lee:

thank you John!
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:06pm John from Florham Park:

@webmaster Henry there are older scanners that can pick up analog cell phone signals and you can get a scanner like that from Canada just have to be careful
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:06pm melinda:

I did feel sort of tin foil hattish while setting up my new phone.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:07pm ultradamno:

This isn't the first story about Facebook collecting real-time health diagnostics is it?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:07pm Linda Lee:

listen, kids: let's just stop giving our bodies away while others get paid, shall we?
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:07pm BigCat:

the heart rate recorder
lets Fvckbook know when to spike your feed
with some jolting shocknews
it'll getcha hooked
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:08pm John from Florham Park:

@melinda my sister got me an apple phone about 2 years ago right after my mom died because she wanted to shut off the house internet and the house phone
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:09pm melinda:

Just say no to menstrual surveillance
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:10pm Folsom:

Impressive imterviewing Tim Harford, his BBC podcasts are really good.
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:10pm John from Florham Park:

@ultradamno so far Facebook has not sent me any medical adds yet
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:10pm dale:

john from floral park - i have a scanner attachment that shifted what it received by 400 mhz so it could actually pick up early cell calls.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:10pm Phillippe Bastille:

Hi all
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:11pm Linda Lee:

Mark Zuckerberg: world's nerdiest pimp.
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:11pm John from Florham Park:

Cool dale wish I had that when I used to listen on a police scanner all those years ago
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:12pm John from Florham Park:

@linda lee just spit soda on the screen that was great
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:12pm Linda Lee:

sorry John!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:13pm Folsom:

@John later in the 90s when they made the scanners stop receiving analog cell phones it was easy to hack them to enable it back
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:13pm John from Florham Park:

@linda lee thought it was funny nothing to be sorry about
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:13pm dale:

...and i used to easily pick up neighborhood phone calls made by those first cordless phones. had my handheld scanner at work and picked up a call of a woman breaking up with her boyfriend so i went to shut it off but my office mate was like 'wait - i want to know how this ends.'
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:14pm John from Florham Park:

@folsom now you can’t do that with scanners
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:15pm annie:

i'm happy to stick with my tracfone, as annoying as it is
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:15pm John from Florham Park:

@dale did that too , one of my neighbors was doing phone sex, for a couple of months I always gave her a smirking look
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:17pm dale:

ha ha! that's great.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:18pm Ken From Hyde Park:

We're going to need those new 5G phones so the companies can get their data from us at a faster rate.
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:18pm Sam:

Smartphone addiction, lol. How can you be addicted to something so annoying? I can’t even type th S comment without it fucking up.
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:19pm dale:

this really just applies to all addiction.
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:19pm Sam:

Or just turn your phone off?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:22pm annie:

i think what gets me the most is people walking down the street clutching their phones..even when they're off
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:22pm melinda:

@Sam haha
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:22pm Folsom:

I had a teacher in high school that would enter an elevator and then turn around and stare at everyone.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:22pm Webhamster Henry:

I remember when iPhone was new and I would huddle in an alcove to check a map or something so people wouldn't try to steal it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:23pm Webhamster Henry:

Now nobody cares!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:23pm Phillippe Bastille:

I wonder what people with think in 50 years or so about why so many people are holding up their phones in historical pictures from this time.
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:24pm kevlicki:

Does anyone know if there’s a “consumer report” for apps that assess things like privacy, data collection, geo locating/tracking, etc?
It would be a super use
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:25pm melinda:

I am more concerned with surveillance than addiction.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:25pm Webhamster Henry:

I think that "the phone" as the information connectivity device is going to go away. It's going to shrink, be less obvious, be more contextual. It'll be like living in a world of faeries and elves, whispering in our ears and tickling us.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:26pm Folsom:

@Webhamster Henry back in 90s when I was working on cell phones if I was using one on the street people would say "Say hi to Mom for me"
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:29pm Linda Lee:

restricting the concept of 'addiction' to narcotics will keep us from looking clearly at some very serious societal issues.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:29pm Webhamster Henry:

@Folsom analog phones took over the UHF channels from TV, so if you had a tunable TV, you could pick up cell conversations. Like this one:
www.echonyc.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:31pm Webhamster Henry:

But if the Opposite of Addiction is Connection ... and you are getting pinged constantly from text messages, is that addiction or connection?
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:33pm dale:

webhamhenry - what do you mean by 'tunable tv?' i have an old sony watchman and put batteries in it recently to see if it got ANY type of radio noise though both vhf and uhf and came up silent.
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:33pm John from Florham Park:

@webhamster I only get text from my sister my neice and nephew and a couple of other people, if I get a text from someone I don’t know I just delete it
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:34pm dale:

oh - you meant back in the day before the frequencies shifted.
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:35pm geezerette:

It's important to understand how and why you are using each of your devices.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:36pm Folsom:

@Webhamster yeah we just put the phones in test mode, tuned a channel and then unmuted the audio to see if anyone was there.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:36pm Fuzzy:

The opposite of addiction is equanimity, I think.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:37pm Linda Lee:

the question isn't connection, it's *meaningful* connection & the fact that many fb users wind up depressed indicates to me that our social media connections aren't usefully meaningful.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:41pm Webhamster Henry:

My niece was a super beeper user in the 90s.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:42pm Linda Lee:

@Fuzzy ~ not precisely, since a sense of equanimity is what tends to draw us into repetitive addictive behaviors ..
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:43pm Webhamster Henry:

I guess the analog phones can't work anymore:
On February 18, 2008, the “Analog to Digital Transition” FCC directive went into effect.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:44pm Folsom:

On the BBC podcast "More or Less" they ended one show with putting OBE on everyone that worked on the episode
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:44pm Webhamster Henry:

I rarely get actual phone calls .. lots of junk. And the Text Messages are mostly 2FA codes!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:45pm Fuzzy:

@Linda Lee: I was thinking that equanimity would require not being driven by obsessive, impulsive behavior, among other things.
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:46pm John from Florham Park:

Hey people as a rule my iPhone is so not disturb from 9pm to 7am and only a couple of people can get a hold of me after 9pm, so by the time I wake up in the morning I have a shitload of notifications
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:49pm Linda Lee:

that's the hellish part about addiction. we're not addicted because addictive behavior brings us chaos. we're addicted because it brings us a sense of control. so we find peace in that. it's a wild thing..
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:51pm Linda Lee:

this does sound a bit like cognitive behavioral therapy, which is commonly used for handling all kinds of addictions.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:52pm listener 126464:

Thanks Mark
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:52pm JakeGould:

@dale: So you were one of those radio scanner creeps? So you are attempting to be the moral creep where your co-worker is attempting to be an unapologetic creep.
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:53pm JakeGould:

@dale: All I am just saying is that is a lot of entitlement on your part to listen to other people’s calls that way.
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:53pm dale:

whatever jake.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:54pm ultradamno:

500 BC, thereabout
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:54pm annie:

i'm very happy that there are dead zones in my apartment building...
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:54pm Dr. Goot:

Great show Mark, thanks!
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:55pm Sam:

Pseu!! Watch out, she doesn’t mess around!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:55pm annie:

night all!!!
Avatar Mon. 2/25/19 6:56pm JakeGould:

@dale: Exactly what I expect someone who has never really experienced repercussions for their actions to say. I’ve worked with varying levels of personal data for decades and have never pried or shared info despite access. Speaks a lot for you and your privileged mentality. The worst kind of tech/hacker.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:56pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:56pm Aitch:

Nick the Bard's show always mental. Thanks Mark always interesting
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 6:57pm Webhamster Henry:

Thanks, and turn off your phone!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 2/25/19 6:58pm ultradamno:

...unless you're using it to continue listening to WFMU
  Mon. 2/25/19 6:58pm Sam:

Love your show mark. And for all you hopeless email addicts, just know it gets better, once you give yourself to Jesus.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 2/25/19 7:00pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Have a great week, and get ready for an outstanding marathon!
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