Ten days ago I finished the Old Computer Challenge I started, it gather a dozen of people over the days and we had a great week of fun restricting ourselves with a 1 CPU / 512 MB old computer and try to manage our daily tasks using it.
In my last article about it, I noticed many things about my computer use and reported them. Did it change my habits?
How it changed me §
Because I noticed using an old computer improved my life because I was using it less made me realize it was all about self discipline.
Checking news once a day is enough §
I have accounts on some specialized news website (bike, video games) and I used to check them every too often when I was clueless about what to do. I'm trying to reduce the number of time I look for news there, if I miss a news I can still read it the next day. I'm also more looking into RSS feed when available so I can just stop visiting the website entirely.
Forums with low traffic §
Same as for news, I only look a few time in the day the forums I participate to check for replies or new message, instead of every 10 minutes.
Shutdown instead of suspend §
I started to shutdown my computer at evening after my news routine check. If nothing had to be done on the computer, I find it better to shutdown it so I'm not tempting to reuse it. I was using suspend/resume before and it was too easy to just resume the computer to look for a new IRC message. I realized IRC messages can wait.
Read NOW §
A biggest change on the old computer was that when browsing the internet and blogs, I was actually reading the content instead of bookmarking it and never come back or reading the text very fast by looking for some key word to have some vague idea of the text.
On my laptop, when reading content in Firefox, I find it very hard to focus on text, maybe because of the font, the size, the spacing, the screen contrast, I don't know. Using the Reader mode in Firefox drastically helps me focusing on the text. When land on a page with some interesting text, I switch to reader me and read it. HUGE WIN for me here.
I really don't know why I find text easier to read in w3m, I should try it on my computer but it's quite a pain to reach a page on some websites, maybe I should try to open w3m to read content I want after I find it using Firefox.
Slow is slow §
Sometimes I found my OpenBSD computer to be slow, using a very old computer helped me put it into perspective. Using my time more efficiently with less task switching doesn't require as much as performance as one would think.
Driving development ideas §
I recently wrote the software "potcasse" to manage podcasts distribution, I came to it thinking I want to record my podcasts and publish them from the old computer, I needed a simple and fast method to use it on that old system.
The challenge was not always easy but it has bring a lot of fun for a week and in the end, it changed the way I use computer now. No regret!