Tuesday, June 29, 2010

you poor apple users

i really feel sorry for people who recently got the iphone 4. i sat at work, listening to my co-worker half-heartedly explain how his iphone sometimes gets really bad reception, but that it's ok. that he naturally holds his phone in exactly the way necessary to avoid the signal loss. how it's not alright that it has this problem, but it's also ok because it doesn't affect him for the most part.

i just had this twang of empathy. like, i see now... you really don't have a choice. what are you going to do, return the phone and get a non-iphone 4? it's not an option for him. in one sense because it's now ingrained into his life; the apps, the services, the way the phone feels, the way he uses it.... that's part of him now. he can't let it go. it's scary to think of not having an iphone. and that's the second sad thing. it's actually changed his manner of thinking and now he can't get away from the thing. it's like an addiction. he can't see himself without it, and now he's trapped by it.

this is a guy who less than a year ago had never owned an iphone. he's technically a "late adopter." yet in less than a year apple has not only converted him, they've made him their slave. in some ways i can relate... since getting a smart phone i feel like i need to have a more powerful one. i need to be able to stream video, or use irc or ssh remotely, or browse web pages fast and in full render. do i actually need these things? fuck no. i was perfectly fine with my old brick sony ericsson with the wonderful camera, sending pictures and using web pages just fine. now i sit in at&t stores trying to sell myself on buying the newest piece of shit android phone which still doesn't have as good a camera (and definitely no xenon flash) like my old phone.

so i get it now. i'll stop pointing fingers. i'll stop trying to convince you. because i know you can't escape it. you're trapped in a tar pit of technology and you can't get out even if you wanted to. i feel sorry that you're stuck with a (somewhat) shitty phone with a shitty app development model on a really shitty carrier. i wish we could all just have open-brand open-carrier open-market smartphones and share information and use the internet as freely on our mobile devices as we can on our computers.

but we can't. we probably won't ever, or not for a long time anyway. they figured out the way to trap us and steal more of our money than they ever did with the PC or laptop. it's overly-expensive unlocked phones and contracts and insurances and data plans and messaging plans. i pay $110 a month for a "standard" phone plan with "unlimited" data and "unlimited" messaging. that's $2,640 dollars every 2 years (without the extra amount i pay for a new phone every 1.5 years). i don't even buy a laptop or PC that often, or gaming machines or games. i just paid $520 for an almost-new laptop, the first big purchase in over 5 years.

this is kind of depressing me. i feel like i'm trapped too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

what's wrong with my breakfast?

a recent survey found that 85% of a selection of engineers don't use twitter. they cited not caring what people had for breakfast as a reason they don't use it. this is my response.

what's so wrong with my breakfast that you can't stomach the information? i realize it's useless. i realize you don't care. but also realize, i don't care that you don't care. i am one of the mindless drones of twitter and [formerly] brightkite and facebook and myspace that update our status with whatever mindless drivel we happen to think is important in the moment at that time.

there's not much logic involved. wanna say something? say it. people will listen or they won't. but i don't expect them to. it's more of a general smattering of my thoughts and a few choice life experiences that people can refer to if they wish in the future. it can be a way for a potential employer to see if i might be a fit for their organization. it might be a way for a single young lady (or lad?) to determine if i'm worth sending a poke/message/direct tweet/whatever. perhaps i just want people to know i know certain things, or have certain opinions. whatever it is it's certainly one part exhibitionism, one part honest sharing of experiences and thoughts.

it would be nice if it had more function. perhaps a symbol prefix to be flagged in a number of ways: exclamation mark for an urgent or important message, question mark to "crowdsource" (ugh), pound sign to advertise an event, dollar sign to advertise a neat deal or other ad. extra modifiers could be postfixed to give further detail about the post. then each user could set their preferences of what kind of information comes into their stream from their friends.

that doesn't exist, though. what does exist is "i'm at place XYZ and i'm having a blast!" or, "this is a picture of a fucking AWESOME fish taco" or, "who else thought iron man 2 was kind of lame?" my posts aren't intended for the general public. they're not always even meant to be useful. i send this shit out because i'm bored and i want to share with my friends. they don't even have to interact with me. in some small way i am enriching lives with my pointless drivel. i help kill boredom. sometimes i share articles which i find useful or informative. sometimes i share music that means something to me.

you probably won't find it useful at first. you'll probably be too bored with it to even start. but once you have a good chunk of friends added into your account, you'll notice you can interact with them. you can follow what some of them are doing. maybe even find out something you wouldn't have without the service. yes, we should all have real lives and not be so connected to a text interface all the time. but sometimes technology can be more than just a distraction.

granted: most of twitter is pointless, and the examples i give which contain somewhat useful information is by and large not close to the majority of the tweets out there. twitter kinda sucks. but facebook is a good example of what it could be. the old brightkite was a good example of what it could be. maybe in the future all these techie news aggregating sites can turn into an honest-to-goodness social network of just nerds so we can all collaborate interactively and enrich each other's work and personal lives on common ground, where we can hack on it and do what we want with our own little home on the internets. but that's probably just a pipe dream.

i don't care if you use it because i don't watch my twitter feed tbh. but you can get a PixelPipe account, add your friends that are on the various social networks, and share with them all at once. you don't even have to follow what they're saying. just say something. try to make it useful; who knows, maybe you'll start a trend.