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Post-vacation debrief: I wish I had a dumbphone

Well folks, I'm back from vacation. My wife, toddler and I spent a glorious, sunny week at the beach in Delaware.

As for my efforts to unplug from the Internet, I'd have to give myself a "B-" grade.

I brought my iPhone and iPad with me. I left the iPad alone for most of the vacation, but the iPhone didn't leave my side. I brought it to the beach every day, but didn't use it there except to take pictures. I did not post to Twitter, although I check my stream several times a day.

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I posted a few times to Facebook, mostly to share pics of my daughter or to boast about some good food I ate, such as a piece of Smith Island cake.

Overall, I felt fairly relaxed while on my break and acted more as a lurker and passive viewer on social networks than as a participant. I benefited from using the iPhone to find restaurant recommendations and for GPS.

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I always want to have a cellphone on me for emergency situations -- something wacky always seems to happen whenever I don't have a phone on me. But having a smartphone -- a small Internet connected computing device -- on my body during a time of leisure may be a little much.

One has to master the obsessive compulsion to periodically check email/Facebook/Twitter/news every few minutes. The temptation to check, check, check is just so strong when the device is in hand and it's so quick and easy.

I could tell when I was doing a good job of restraining myself because at the end of the day, when it came time to plug in my phone, my phone's battery level was either higher or lower, depending on my usage that day.

Toward the end of my vacation week, I had gotten better about it and I could tell I was using it less because I had more battery power left.

The lesson learned? I'd be willing to try trading in my smartphone for a dumbphone whenever I go on vacation, to force myself to unplug more from the mobile Web. I'd also be less anxious about dropping it in sand or salt water!

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