What does "The Offline Life" look like in 2020?

Something I’ve been pondering as of late:

What does a “Offline life” look like in 2020?

And, yes, I’m aware of the irony of asking this on an internet discussion forum.

The obvious answer is “Don’t have an internet connection.” However, as one who makes my living via the internet (currently via VPN to… a not-internet-connected network) and has a variety of close friends I rarely see in person…

I’m trying to figure out how to be “Offline first.” This is something I typically play with during Lent, but am trying to figure out as a more general policy for technology use. Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism comes to mind as some relevant thinking about how one might factor a life around limited internet, use, but it’s a topic of interest for discussion (I think).

I’ve been trying to be more deliberate about simply putting my phone down in the evening, but as of yet, I still do a lot of my reading on e-readers and tablets, which hinders fully detaching. I really need to get back into paper books more often, or quit reading articles on a tablet.

I try to carry a camera with me at times so I don’t need a cell phone when working out and about, but it’s still nice to carry some music out with me. I’ve debated building a large boombox sort of thing with music onboard, which might be a fun project - think Raspberry Pi with a hard drive, built into a 1980s boom box for music.

But I guess this is just a topic I’m still trying to work through. Anyone else trying to figure out similar things?

Well they do make bluetooth MP3 players. One of those and either headphones and/or a bluetooth speaker of some sort? Some folks have built their own big wireless speakers into an ammo can with an amplifier and a couple car speakers.

I prefer reading to audiobooks mostly, but am finding I get through more mundane tasks (like yard work) quicker if I’ve got an interesting audiobook or podcast to listen too.

For me the habit I’m trying to brake is getting on the internet too much when it’s really hot or cold. It’s easy for me to avoid the PC’s altogether (like last week) when the temps are good and I need/want to work and play outside. But then it gets too hot, so I spend the time inside, and my mind wanders and I end up fruitlessly searching the internet for something interesting to do, even though there’s plenty of offline or off-computer stuff I could be doing.

I don’t avoid the ebooks much. I do like a good hard copy, but if I got a hard copy of every ebook I’ve got on the home server I’d need a bigger house. Still, I put the tablet in airplane mode when reading time is reading time. At least there isn’t an email notification or other stuff coming in to distract me.

Not sure how to do away with the phone camera yet. It’s easy to carry, and usually close by. If I go back to the bulky Pentax it gets left behind more often than not.

Putting together my own home server has helped a bit, the more ebooks, reference material and helpful tools I put on there the more deliberate and productive my time becomes when using it, rather than looking up something on the internet and getting distracted by other things that come up. So I’m off the internet, though not off the network.

I feel the pain of book space - that’s a major part of why I mostly read ebooks. I don’t have the space for all the books I read. Airplane mode when reading is a good idea, though - I should be more aggressive about that when reading articles (or just actually push them to Pocket and read them on the Kobo).

What does your home server look like? Just a SMB share, or something more organized?

The ebooks are nothing fancy, just a couple JBOD disks, SMB shares and some Rsync scripts to keep the important stuff duplicated. I manually sort books into folders by subject or author. I’d like to find a fancier system, but the only really mature one I found was Calibre and I really didn’t like it.

What I most want is a good ‘online’ reader/viewer. Something that would let me sync highlights, bookmarks, or just remember what page I’m on between devices would be nice.

The electronics and manufacturing reference data I’m organizing with Dokuwiki. I like it’s builtin editor and the fact that it’s all flatfiles for easy editing, transfer and backup. Nothing I’m doing with it is ever going to get big enough to need to bother with some kind of database.

Can we substitute with ‘cached/local’ first?

I’m pretty ‘online’, because why carry a dozen things when I have a general purpose device that can ‘do it all’? Camera? My Pixel is better than basically every point and shoot (though not dedicated SLRs) that I’ve owned. Notepad? It’s there. Nav system/map? Yup!

Content is content regardless of medium. And I’m one of the people who don’t mind stripping DRM, locally caching whatever, etc. My device, my rules. And yes, it’s my device - I have the ability to run rooted and pull anything off, for a reason.

“Local first” does have an appeal to it, and stuff on LANs is generally not nearly so toxic as that on the general internet. Unless your LAN is really messed up…

I certainly cache a lot locally.