The Cloud

October 11, 2010

MY GRADE:

I have a lot of CDs.

Hundreds and hundreds, I believe.

But nowadays everyone (including me) simply download new music onto their computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones, iWaterPicks, whathaveyou.

My old CDs take up 3 bookshelves of space in my office yet most of them have not been touched in years.

So why are they still there?

Because I bought them, that’s why. I refuse to toss any of them.  Even that Batman Soundtrack that Prince did 20 years ago.  Don’t play dumb.  You know the one I’m talking about.  Admit it.  You’ve seen 6,000 copies of it priced at $1.99 at every discount CD store you’ve set your foot in since 1989.  Everyone bought that thing and we all think it’s crap.

So why do I decide to keep mine?  Because it’s mine.  And I like keeping my stuff.

And that’s my problem with THE CLOUD — that abstract thing that floats around cyberspace and one day very very soon will hold all of our music, files, photos, videos, memories and dreams as we shred, melt down and recycle every last trace of mankind from 1776 to 2008 .

All well and good and environmentally friendly and futuristic.   But tell me — what am I going to pass down to my children?

“Here son, is a link to one of my favorite books growing up, The Catcher In The Rye.  I hope you will always cherish this… link.”

“Here, son, if your great grandmother’s favorite opal pendant.  Well, not here here.  But go to this secure banking website and you’ll be able to see it through my DropBox account.”

Excuse me if I don’t get teary-eyed.

So I guess the cloud is a mixed blessing in my opinion.  On one hand, I’m so happy to be able to carry all nine Chronicles of Narnia, 373 alternative bootleg recordings of Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks and every episode of Sanford and Son Season 3 on my iPad whereever I travel.

Because I need to have those things with me.  All the time.  In case I want them.  Right now.

But I try not to forget, it’s nice to keep  some old stuff around the house too.

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The Usual Facebook Suspects

September 23, 2010

I’m sort of over Facebook.   If my relationship with Facebook was translated into marital terms you might say we’re having a “trial separation.”

Why?

I think Facebook oversimplifies who people are and the relationships they have with each other.  Everyone seems to be playing some sort of pseudo-version of themselves.  Here are some of the most popular “characters”:

ANNOYING OPTIMISTS: You know the type.  Never a cynical comment or snarky remark.  Just pure, unadulterated, relentlessly irritating positiveness.

Sample Status Update:  Harry just finished his 30 mile run after a really kick-ass home-cooked meal and some great forward-movement on his novel.    Wow, what a day!


BRAGGERS: much like the optimists, it’s not enough for them to be happy, they have to make sure everyone knows this.

Sample Status Update:  Pete is so swamped with career opportunities.   Where am I going to find time to attend David Geffin’s Labor Day party?


OVERSHARERS: honestly, I skim these…

Sample Status Update:  Glenda has an itchy rectum.  Any home remedy suggestions???


OBTUSERS:  they have nothing interesting to say so they attempt to couch their statuses with an air of mystery…

Sample Status Update:  Fred can’t believe she said that.  Day ruined!


SOCIAL FACEBOOK-TIVISTS: It’s always one obvious cause or another.

Sample Status Update:  Roger is against the spread of AIDS.  If you are too, cut and paste this into your own update!  Let’s use the power of Facebook to stop AIDS!


24 HOUR PARENTERS: They see Facebook as an endless live stream of adorable kiddie information.  And they assume we’re lovin’ it.

Sample Status Update:  Nancy is so proud of her little Colten — three trips to the potty with no poopy pants!


ALL-BUSINESS TYPES: They go months, sometimes years, without updating.  Then pop up only when they need something.  Then, they’re gone again…

Sample Status Update:  James is looking for a new dentist in the mid-town area.  Must be good with tweens.

So… which type are you?  Did I miss any?

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The News

September 10, 2010

MY GRADE:

I don’t know what the exact statistics are but people don’t watch the evening news anymore.  And I’m pretty sure I know why.

Because there isn’t any.

News, that is.  Who decided that there were 30 minutes of recent events worth discussing every evening?  The guy who sells Pepsi commercials, that’s who.

Me?  I know the truth.  Most of the things that happen in the world I don’t need to know about.  And the 13 seconds it takes me each day to scan Google News verifies this.   Don’t believe me?  Here’s a live sample:

“Pastor who threatened to burn the Koran decides not to” — when did we decide that not doing something is also news?

“Iran cancels release of detained American” — again, something doesn’t happen and it’s news.  Go figure.

“Jorge Posada cleared to play today’s game for the Yankees but will not play” — wow, we’re three for three in the “news of things not happening” department.

“Obama Defends His Economic Policies” — this falls under another popular news category — news of the incredibly obvious.    Tomorrow’s political headline: “Obama thinks he’s a pretty good President.”

“Justin Bieber hits state trooper with water balloon” — granted, this is very important news.  If I was 12.

“Facebook now more popular than Google” — no, not really news either.  But I do enjoy this irony:  I read about it on Google.

“Playboy model detained after trying to open plane door in mid-flight” — Finally!  Something I need to know about.  If that plane was flying overhead at the time I read it, I would know to duck.  Thank you, Google News.  Nobody wants to be crushed to death by a plummeting playmate.  And if they do that’s news to me…

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I want my smartphone to be more smarterer!

August 28, 2010

I read an article on a tech blog not long ago that someone is developing the technology to allow us to use our smartphones as credit cards.   At first the notion was shocking to me.  What if we lose our phone?  Someone could access our credit card information.  Then I realized — those things we carry our in our wallets and purses — credit cards, I think they call them.  We lose them too.   So I guess it makes sense.  If I’m gonna be stupid and lose my phone, let’s turn the event into a total friggin’ mess —  I’ll lose my “credit card” too.  Why be subtle about it?  If you’re f–ked you’re f–ked, right?

Then it got me thinking.  My iPhone and it’s endless series of apps is capable of doing everything  from scheduling my appointments to downloading podcasts to streaming full-length movies to helping me remember where I parked my car.  But all that stuff is sooo 3 months ago.  iPhone, what have you done for me lately?   Here are some things I want next year’s iPhone 5 to do:

  • Lighten my wallet/pockets — if you’re going to replace my credit card someday real soon, why not take it a few steps further?  Be my car keys.  Be my driver’s license.  Be my Costco membership.  And how about all that loose change jingling around?  Can you spit out a few quarters when I need them for the snack machine?  Also, here’s a thought — iLint.  I carry a lot of the old analog-style lint in my pocket.  Maybe I’d like to get rid of it and simply download any new lint I need from the App Store.
  • Take phone calls —  I’m not talking about making or receiving phone calls.  I’m talking about TAKING phone calls for me.   See, people call sometimes.  But most of ’em   I don’t really feel like talking to.  But I hate to be rude, so I chat.  Sometimes for over two minutes.  Can’t my iPhone just take care of that for me?  After all, it’s a “smartphone”, right?  Certainly it should be capable of a stimulating 15 minute conversation.  Geez, it already has all those news apps I downloaded,  would it be too much trouble to ask it to just take a damn minute to read them and catch up on current events?  Thank you.   That would free up so much more time for me to play Angry Birds.   And speaking of games…
  • Play Games: Yes, smartphones have lots of neat games.  But who has time or patience to  learn how to excel at them?  So here’s what I want, Mr. Smartyphone.  I download ’em.  You play ’em.   And no cheating.  You’re an electronic device.   You have at least 7-8 hours an evening all by yourself on the charger.  What the heck else do you have to do all night?  Flirt with my iPad?  There’s plenty of time for you to make your way through all 6,000 levels of Osmos.
  • iGlue: this one is simple.  I drop my phone a lot.  I’ve tried a bunch of different cases — thick, thin, rugged, white, black, bedazzled — but someday my luck is going to run out and I’m gonna accidentally break the thing.  So let’s cut to the chase — just glue it to me.  We spend 90% of our lives with our smartphones in our hands anyway.   Hands-free is good.  But hands-always might work better.  I’ll even take it in the shower if you make it water-proof.  Which leads me to my next suggestion–
  • iSoap: They’re already the perfect shape.  Just add a touch of lavender and an anti-bacterial foaming agent and we’re set for scrubbing.  But please, give us enough lather to last through my 2 year contract.  I’d hate to have to pay the early upgrade penalty just because I practice proper hygiene.

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Baby Toy or Dog Toy?

August 20, 2010

I’m always on the look-out for a sure-fire way to make major bucks.  And to me there’s nothing less taxing of the mind than developing a new hit gameshow.  Let’s face it, if it’s not Jeopardy, it’s probably a show created for and by morons.

So here’s my pitch.  A show called

BABY TOY OR DOG TOY?!!!


The premise is self-explanatory.  Anyone who has both kids and dogs know that there’s a definite bleed-over — that cute stuffed animal you bought for your adorable infant ends up being Rover’s new snuggle buddy and that industrial strength chewing Kong that you’re supposed to fill with bacon grease to keep the dog busy becomes little Tyler’s favorite teething instrument.

And sometimes the lines are blurred right from the beginning and you can’t even remember what department of Target you’re browsing through.  So here’s a dry run of my brilliant gameshow idea.  See how well you do…  You have 3 seconds to determine each one…

GO!

Baby toy or dog toy?

It’s cute, it’s fuzzy, it’s colorful.  Little Gretchen would love to sleep with it in her crib.  Baby Toy! Read the rest of this entry »


“Isn’t technology magical?” or “101 new ways to be a flake”

August 9, 2010

Technology, as we all know, can be both a blessing and a curse.   It makes our lives faster, easier, more accessible, and convenient.  But there’s a drawback.  It also gives people a thousand more lame excuses.

And our deep dark secret is — we like it that way.  If it wasn’t for the hypothetical failures of our collective gadgets and devices we’d actually have to be responsible and respectful of other people’s time and efforts.

So let’s cut the crap and just all agree that the follow statements are no longer valid: Read the rest of this entry »


Teenagers of 2024: Here’s a glimpse…

July 26, 2010

My 2 1/2 year old son will undoubtedly live in a very different world than the one I grew up in (known to VH1 as the “totally ’80’s).  Some things he should expect: