Tag Archives: technology

In Briefs: Robots Vs. Zombies

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: So, robots have been developing a language to talk to each other in. It’s been nice knowing all of you:

CHRIS PUMMER: Having seen The Terminator, this is something I was afraid of when I bought a Roomba.

AKIE BERMISS: i don’t care about machines talking to each other. that’s cool. they probably won’t gang up on us until they are able to talk to *us* and see how lame and petty we are. then: its on.
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Smartphones: Yea or Nay?

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: A few weeks back, LiveJournal’s “Writer’s Block” question of the day asked, “Do you do your banking on your smartphone? If not, why not?” Well, Eljay, it’s quite simple: I do not do my banking on my smartphone because I do not have a smartphone.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I’m on the same page as Dani, although for different reasons. Sure, there are times when it would be helpful if I had a smartphone. When, for example, I am not at home or at work and need the phone number for a restaurant, or to look up the weather forecast, or movie times. My phone is not very helpful in those situations.

JESSICA BADER: I’ve had a smartphone for about two and a half years now, and the thought of having to get through the day without it ties my stomach up in knots. But that might say more about me than it does about the merits of the iPhone. Continue reading

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Taking Pictures

NAVA BRAHE: I’m not a picture person. I’ve never been one of those people who always has a camera with her, or albums of photos strewn about my house. Actually, all my pictures are in boxes right now, and that’s fine with me. Maybe that’s because I used to see so many stereotypical tourists in Manhattan wearing socks and sandals, with 35mm cameras hanging around their necks. Or, maybe its because my parents weren’t camera people. Don’t get me wrong, there were always plenty of pictures around, but my mom and dad were never jostling for position with the Kodak Instamatic at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and other events. Therefore, neither am I.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I’ve found myself becoming concerned in recent years about the dearth of actual printed paper photographs. It seems as though in a world where we are increasingly living our lives online, our photos are now stuck there too. As there is almost never a situation in which there isn’t a screen handy on which to pull up a picture you wish to show someone—either on a phone, a laptop or an iPad—hard copies of photographs are becoming few and far between. Continue reading

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Super Sad True Love Story: Shteyngart’s Latest

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: I love Gary Shteyngart. I’m just not quite yet sure what I thought about Super Sad True Love Story.

HOWARD MEGDAL: At the risk of disagreeing with Jillian, I found Super Sad True Love Story to be both his best book to date, and the most important work. While Absurdistan does a fantastic job lampooning what has just happened in the world, Super Sad gives the identical treatment to what is to come if we aren’t vigilant- and perhaps, even if we are. Continue reading

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Is Privacy Dead?

AKIE BERMISS: Privacy is not dead! Not by any means — to say so is to cry fire in a crowded theater. You see, the trouble is privacy COULD be dead at any moment. It takes only a few ideal conditions to be met and few of the wrong kinds of people to be at the helm when they do and suddenly: there’s no such thing as privacy. These days its not that privacy is dead, not even that its really become so much of a privilege either (for those who would argue that the wealthy and powerful are the only ones who can afford to maintain privacy) — but rather its become a responsibility. And for us here in America, that’s a new thing. Continue reading

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New Facebook Alternatives?

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: So, about this new ‘Diaspora’ website….those kids have already raised $200k. People are so desperate to have a new social networking site that they will throw money at any group of geeky college students who say they’re working on a an alternative to Facebook, won’t they.

Here, give me $200k. I’ll come up with an alternative way to keep in touch with your friends on the computer. It’s called Email. It will launch in 3 months.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I have a telegraph machine wrapped in a poster of a robot! Continue reading

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Google Stealing Data

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Right now a debate rages as to whether Google grossly overstepped its bounds by collecting and saving the data of users on wireless unencrypted networks for around 3 years. Frankly, I don’t see how there is any way that Google’s actions are defensible.

AKIE BERMISS: I’m with Molly — I fear Google. I find their hippy-dippy branding to be way over the top. Five years ago, it was hip and wonderful and exciting. Now its such obvious pandering as to seem malicious. I’m not saying I hate Google — I use Gmail, google calendars and documents, blogger, and my main browser is Chrome — but I think that when you get to a certain level of power and ownership it can become nearly impossible not to be an overbearing presence.

DAVE TOMAR: People have aggressively surrendered their privacy in exchange for the narcissistic view that we can be noticed by others and leave a mark on the world, even if it is just a media footprint. The Warholian 15 minutes of fame has been critically devalued. In theory, everybody gets the 15 minutes. But it used to be for good reasons like foiling convenience-store robberies, winning local bake-offs or finding a Rembrandt lodged between the pipes in your attic. Now, you just tell everybody in the world exactly what you’re doing at all times and hope that somebody gives a crap enough to click the ‘thumbs up’ icon. Continue reading

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Girlfriend vs. Blackberry

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: As I type this, my boyfriend is on the couch, napping blissfully, his Blackberry nestled to his chest. I remember the distant days when I was the one who nestled there, my head resting lovingly against his shoulder, but apparently because I don’t vibrate like a buzz saw every ten minutes to let him know that he’s gotten an email from Sears.com with great deals for Fall savings, he’s traded up.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Face it, Molly: your boyfriend isn’t paying attention to you because you neither have the technological abilities of a Blackberry, nor do you work particularly hard at making up for those deficiencies. Continue reading

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