Five Apps: Ways to unplug for the holidays

It's the holidays.... unplug!

This gallery is also available as a TechRepublic article.

Technology is a wonderful thing. After all, this article is being written on a computer in Massachusetts, and you might be reading it on a tablet in New Zealand. If you like it, maybe you'll tweet it to followers who span continents. Technology has enabled us to connect with each other across the globe and talk as if we were in the same room.

Paradoxically, technology can also make connecting to those in the same room more difficult -- hard enough that our family and friends on the couch right next to us may as well be across the globe. Tech addiction is a very real thing, with people paying hundreds of dollars to attend tech-free camps.

So, going into the holiday season, what's the best way to unplug from work and Twitter long enough to reconnect with the world immediately around you? Here are five hair-of-the-dog solutions (much cheaper than camp!) to prevent your work email from interfering with your holiday dinners this year.


So I guess you can recommend an App for plugging back in!!! Maybe learning to just say "NO" would be easier. No app to load, nothing to fiddle with. Switch it off Danno!


Do we really have so little self control that we can't just turn off the phone and leave it behind when we need to?


If you think these apps are helping you 'unplug,' you're very wrong.   When they offer:

1- you can reject calls, but still allow Facebook and Twitter

2- you 'set' how many minutes you 'pause' for

3- 'Notify me when time is up' .. what's the matter?  You can't relax over a fixed time?

4- when you 'See how your friends are doing' - with a 'leaderboard?'  Now it's a competition?

5- 'private' numbers can contact you?

Control, control, control - the apps control your life.  You are no longer capable of doing that yourself without an 'app' to keep telling you what to do.   No self-control.....

If you want to 'unplug,' turn the damned device off.   And leave it off .. don't check to see who's ahead or wants to contact you on Facebook.  Don't look at your watch .. or device that's 'timing' you.  

That's not freedom .. that's being a prisoner of technology.