Let’s stop for a moment to do the Punkt. (dot)

The dumb is the new smart

We live in an incessant mental noise of notifications and information. Could a “dumbphone” offer us a viable solution to clean up our act?
N’avez-vous jamais ressenti une overdose d’écran qui vous pousse à modifier votre rapport à ces petits rectangles connectés qui phagocytent votre temps et votre vie avec?
Face à ce constat, chez Hu Care, nous avons décidé de tester l’un de ces “dumb”phones (vs “smart”phones) qui reviennent sur le marché. Au-delà d’une espèce de mode pseudo-minimaliste, un “dumbphone” pourrait-il nous aider à modifier notre rapport dysfonctionnel à l'overconnexion ? 
Un “dumbphone”, autrement dit un “téléphone stupide”, voit ses fonctions réduites à… pouvoir passer un appel (le minimum pour un téléphone!) et envoyer/recevoir des messages. Ce genre de produit pourra à la limite vous proposer un calendrier, une horloge, une calculatrice… mais il ne faut pas espérer beaucoup plus !
Alors cela vaut-il le coup de s’infliger de revenir à l'écriture de messages avec le révolutionnaire système T9 ? Pourquoi entrer dans une espèce de détox digitale ? Serions-nous addicts à notre smartphone ?

First steps towards digital minimalism

Here at
Hu Care
we pay close attention to our habits and try to become aware of any biases we may have developed. Concerning our relationship with our digital life, we started 2 years ago by removing the sound notifications on our smartphones (except for calls and messages).

To begin our journey into the land of digital minimalism, we started by cleaning up a bit. Beware, small changes are not enough to solve the big problems posed by new technologies, but it helps to raise awareness:

  1. Delete unused applications and organize the others (folders for example).
  2. Disable application notifications. Setting aside specific times during the day to check notifications is much better than being constantly disturbed by incessant audio and visual notifications.
  3. Opt for a simple interface, possibly with a minimalist background and icons.
  4. Use the smartphone more thoughtfully, trying to be aware of bad usage habits.

There begins a new adventure into the unknown: taking back control of one’s life in the face of digital overconnection.

After 2 years of applying these tips, we decided today to take a new step: opt for a dumbphone and test if its use allows an even deeper detoxification.

Why a dumbphone?

When we surf the Internet and social networks, we become consumers of all kinds of information. Here is a cognitive reflex that is also very simple to implement, and could save you a lot of time:

"Does the information I'm consuming hold the potential to become knowledge...or is it just trivial data that I'll forget in a few minutes?"

This reflex is very powerful and allows us to become aware of our possible biases and to move from a passive attitude of “con “sommer to the much more active one of being in perpetual evolution. Let’s not forget that without learning, we cannot hope to evolve.

Apart from the times when we use technology to learn, the time spent in front of our screens is a considerable waste of time. We could use this time for more productive, fulfilling activities. In this sense, a dumbphone can be a wise choice to support a desire to detoxify from screens, as they generally do not allow access to so-called “smart” applications, social media and everything else that “occupies” us all day.

"Technology can bring great things, but as in any good relationship, there must be healthy boundaries. The trend of adding 'more and more' to technology products is placing an ever-increasing burden on us. As we spend more and more time looking at a screen, we lose the opportunity to look up, look around and engage with life."

Le Punkt. Mp02

The Punkt. MP02

A minimalist phone with an elegant, efficient and timeless design.

Why a Punkt. MP02 ?

"Today's world is consumed by technology and I think we are too distracted by it in everyday life. I founded Punkt. to provide a viable alternative for those who feel overwhelmed by the advanced technologies that have invaded our modern lifestyles. Punkt. is about using technology to help us adopt good habits for a less distracted life."

  1. First of all, Punkt. is a Swiss brand and Hu Care supports the economy of its country. First argument in their favor, even if their product is made in China 🙁

  2. The product’s design is understated and appealing, designed by Jasper Morrison, the renowned London designer and head designer at Punkt. However, a design is subjective and we could accept to hear that it is ugly :p. It is built around effective simplicity: press the directory key to make a call, press the text key to send a message. The MP02 phone is solid. It is well balanced and designed for one-handed operation. The body is reinforced with fiberglass and has a textured finish that is both protective and unusual. It is splash-proof according to IP52. This is a phone to keep, not to replace.

  3. For everything else, there is a quick and simple menu system: up, down, select, go. Its interface is therefore also minimalist, elegant and efficient. The screen is monochrome+ (black and white… in appearance, because you will be able to see the photos that your friends send you). Unusually, the minimalist interface is 100% textual, without any icons.

  4. It’s a minimalist phone, designed to be connected with people: you call them or, eventually, you send them a message. The MP02 makes it easier to be present, whether it’s a family weekend or an important business meeting. It frees you from a constant onslaught of notifications and other distractions designed to make you addicted. It (re)gives control.

  5. Designed for security, the MP02’s minimalist operating system is reinforced against attacks. In addition, it is not designed for the owner to enter sensitive personal information such as bank details, private images, etc.

  6. It offers the possibility of sharing its connection with other devices. When it’s time to connect, its 4G LTE connection can be shared with a tablet/laptop – which means easier typing compared to a smartphone, and a larger screen. This two-device approach means that the Internet is a tool that you immerse yourself in, rather than the other way around.

  7. The product offers the possibility of installing Pigeon, an application created specifically for the MP02 to allow the phone to interact with Signal (an instant messaging application where the content of communications is encrypted from end to end). The MP02 phone encrypts the data in the device, Pigeon maintains the security and integrity of the data during transmission and the Signal system provides end-to-end encryption. This system allows the user to exchange confidential synchronous and asynchronous communications in complete security while always preserving his own privacy and that of others.

  8. Original ringtones, created by Norwegian sound artist Kjetil Røst Nilsen, to stand out in an increasingly homogeneous sound environment.

Des Sonneries

"If someone wants to talk to me, they can call me. Other forms of communication, for example email or social media, are available when I choose to use them - and via a linked device that allows me to use them more effectively."

Modifier Son Mode De Vie

Change your lifestyle?

Since we started testing the MP02, we feel a sweet freedom, especially when we are out and about. We enjoy watching people walking down the street, heads down, noses stuck in their screens. We know that if our phone rings, it is because someone really wants to reach us, to communicate directly with us.

We try to be aware of the moment when we switch to social media surfing that turns us into a frantic consumer. We must not denigrate the benefits of technology, which, in isolation (product by product, site by site, application by application), can educate us and improve our lives (for example using a GPS vs. a paper map).

What we are discovering, however, is that to regain control, we must go beyond the little tricks and rebuild our relationship with technology from the ground up, based on our core values. This process goes against the reinforcement of behavioral dependencies created by social networks and is a real psychological and physical detoxification process. Therefore, you should not minimize the adventure if you decide to go for it.

The result of this first step: less stress, less stress, less loss of concentration. We feel like we are taking back control of our lives and freeing ourselves from self-slavery.

Read more:

Reminder: we do not support Amazon and encourage you to buy your books from local bookstores 😉

Inspiration by punkt.ch.

Digital minimalism by Cal Newport.

Digital minimalism 101: How to clear out your digital clutter and find focus and calm in 30 days by RescueTime Blog

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