Essential Apps?

Adolfo Neto
2 min readFeb 17, 2018


The text below is a comment I wrote on Cal Newport’s latest blog post: Sebastian Junger Never Owned a Smartphone (and Why This Matters)

“I really wanted to use a dumb phone. I have a dumb phone but I don’t use it. I need my smartphone for:
- ride-sharing and transit apps (Uber, 99, Moovit)
- bus timetable apps
- maps (mostly Google Maps, but Waze too, once in a while)
- alarms
These are essential for me and cannot be easily replaced.

If someone knows how to replace these apps with something almost as good, I am open to suggestions.”

A guy named Kurt replied my comment. My treplic is below:

-Flag a cab, walk.
-Printed Bus schedule
-Actual map, read signs, memory
-Alarm clock or watch.
Cost — lower. Distraction — much lower. Brain cells — much more active.

Hi Kurt,

“-Flag a cab, walk.”
I walk and run commute whenever possible.
But cabs are unpractical here in Curitiba, Brazil.
Uber and its copy here, 99, work much better and are significantly cheaper.

“-Printed Bus schedule”
OK for the lines I usually take.
But sometimes I need a different line.
Should I carry the lines of all buses in my city?

“-Actual map, read signs, memory”
I live in a big city and I rarely have to go to different places. It is only on these rare locations that I need Waze or Google Maps. An actual map? Useless. Signs? Mostly inexistent here in Curitiba. My memory works fine.

“-Alarm clock or watch.”
Alarm clocks are either noisy or crippled when compared to smartphone alarms.
For instance, I can set my smartphone alarm to wake me up only from Monday to Friday.

“Cost — lower. Distraction — much lower. Brain cells — much more active.”
I have to agree with the last point.

Thanks, anyway.




Adolfo Neto

Associate Professor at UTFPR. Interested in programming (Elixir), logic and Deep Work.