Friday, November 12, 2010

100 Useful Tips for Car-Less Living: Tip #4 Invest in a Fancy Phone

Smartphones.  Love them or hate them, in our tech obsessed society the prevalence of smartphones is only increasing.  For a transit oriented car-free individuals such as myself smartphones have been and are a godsend.  While purchasing a smartphone will drive up your montly cell phone bill, it is worth it.  And besides think about all of that money you are saving on gas, insurance, and car maintenance, it pales in comparison to a hefty cell phone bill.

I'll hesitate from diving into the weeds of which sort of phone you should get, there are many tech nerds  out there who can do this.  I used to have a blackberry, I loved the e-mail system and hated everything else.  Now I have a droid incredible, I'm lukewarm to the e-mail system and love everything else.  That aside, here are my top 4 reasons why smartphones are a MUST for car-free living:

Google MapsGoogle Transit. Google Bikes. The usefulness of these programs, especially on my droid, are simply amazing.  Figuring out how to get from point A to point B on without a car seamlessly while on the road is invaluable.  Last week I was in car oriented LA and I was able to easily navigate the city on on transit thanks to my phone and google tranist. Smartphone 101s: having a smart phone turns your transit time into productive time.  Whether it is socializing, e-mailing, or working with a smartphone taking 10 or 15 minutes longer on your trip is no big deal because you can be plugged in and productive that entire time, something that is impossible doing safely while driving.Mobile Wifi: Whether it is through tethering or amazing Mobile Wifi hotspots to have internet on the go no matter where you are is mobile transit productivity 2.0.  Especially on commuter routes being able to pop open your laptop, clear out e-mails, and freely use the internet on your computer is simply invaluable. Social Networking: in great urban places that are bike-ped-transit oriented people are always on the go.  Look at NYC, most people leave their house in the morning and don't come back until late.  Having easy to access virtual social connections at your fingertips to facilitate in person meet ups is incredibly valuable and an important tool to living without a car.So close your eyes, sign that evil contract, and make the upgrade.  I promise it will be worth your while.

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