BoingBoing doesn't exactly need a shout-out from me, but this post is timely. Could it be that challenging yourself by working without assistance makes you smarter and, yes, faster in the long run?
As a child my main toys were paper and pencils. Colored pencils, yes, but you get the idea. We were poor, and I didn't have many of the kinds of toys that played with themselves. Now I'm a scientist. Anecdote, perhaps, but still.
Even today I find that I get lost when I'm out driving to places where I've been a half-dozen times ... if I'd been using directions or Alice had been telling me which way to go. If I have to work out the route myself once or twice, on the fly, I remember it. And as an added bonus, I remember the landmarks better instead of just driving past them looking for the next scheduled turn.
Sometimes we become slaves to our crutches.