Response to ja smartphones SDF

Found at: zaibatsu.circumlunar.space:70/~solderpunk/phlog/response-to-ja-re-smartphones.txt

Response to ja re: smartphones

SDF user ja wrote a response[1] to my recent musings[2] on dumb- vs
smart-phones which I completely missed at the time.  Sorry about that,
ja!  I must confess to having fallen behind with keeping track of some
of the newer SDF phlogs.

It was definitely a huge eye-opener for me to read critical thinking
about smartphones from someone younger than me.  Ja fondly remembers
writing Python programs on his smartphone under his desk during boring
high-school classes, and acredits this experience with his current
interest in aptitude in programming.  After I had shaken off my
initial shock that anybody could actually *write code* on a smartphone
touchscreen (I find just writing short English text on a smartphone
tedious, and trying to use a terminal program to interact with a unix
shell absolutely infuriating), I recognised that this sentiment was
quite reminiscent of how many older folks feel about their C64, ZX81
or Apple II.  I had always figured that the fact that more and more
people were getting their first exposure to computing on phones or
tables meant the looming death of this kind of early discovery of
technical computing, because everything about the devices seemed, to
me, to actively discourage this kind of thing.  Maybe I'm wrong on
that front - I'd be very happy if I were.

I'm still not sure I've adjusted to the idea of high-school students 
having their smartphones on them during class.  I didn't get my
first mobile phone until my first or second year of undergraduate
studies, and didn't get a smartphone (which I probably did a year or
two after many other people) until just before I finished my PhD.  I
also didn't make much use of laptops until about the same time, so I
had very definite and quite regular "offline" time in my life, even
if I *was* online a lot.  Knowing what I do now about how well I can
think and work productively on a computer, and thinking back to how
much more focussed and dilligent I remember myself being as a
student, I kind of feel like I may have dodged a bullet...

[1] gopher://sdf.org:70/0/users/ja/phlog/2018/04/15-phones
[2] gopher://circumlunar.space/0/~solderpunk/phlog/dumbphone-dilemma.txt