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You won’t catch world-famous computer programmer Richard Stallman blogging. He doesn’t even own a mobile phone. How does he manage?
For decades Richard Stallman has been one of the world’s most famous computer programmers. These days the 55-year-old spends his time travelling the globe and speaking about his work. But despite this, he is one of those people who choose to limit the use of popular technologies in a way that may seem strange. For example, he refuses to carry a mobile phone. And even though he does most of his work on a computer, Stallman rarely connects to the Internet and avoids surfing the web without purpose. He also has a rule about answering emails – he never checks his email until he has answered all previous messages.
“Very often I’m on planes and buses, or in a place where there’s no Internet, so I couldn’t possibly do my work if I couldn’t do it offline,” he told the Guardian from his office in Boston. “Fortunately I have a powerful computer, and it’s capable of doing an awful lot without a web connection – something which many users don’t seem to realise.”
In this he is not alone. Most of us know the feeling of fear when our computer announces yet another email. Research from the University of Glasgow has shown that 34 per cent of us feel devastated by the number of messages we receive. That is why some of the most skilled technologists react by choosing to limit their interaction with the hi-tech world. In the most extreme cases, technologists can become so disappointed with the benefits of new systems that they disconnect almost completely. Retired professor Donald Knuth, like many
70-year-olds, doesn’t use email any more. This is the result of his decision made nearly 20 years ago. Professor Knuth says he simply doesn’t want to spend so much time in front of the screen.
However, not everybody is in the lucky position of Knuth or Stallman. We cannot give up modern technologies completely. Of course, some people can afford to do that. For example, if you’re extremely rich, you can employ an assistant to surf the web for you, but most people have their duties at work that force them to be connected.
adapted from www.guardian.co.uk