Technology

A haiku poem to Orion


As a child I wasn’t particularly marveled by the space I couldn’t see. I tried counting all the stars in the sky and stared tirelessly into the abyss for the chance of catching Orion’s Belt or the Big Dipper. But that’s as far as it went.

This past weekend, I went to see Interstellar and despite what critics say about the movie, I think it sparked a curiosity in space for me that so many other space-related films failed to do.

Today, a different Orion was scheduled to blast off into the sparkly vastness but due to the forces of nature and the failures of mankind, the launch has been delayed.

In tribute and anticipation, I wrote a short poem in haiku style. Enjoy.

Oh poor Orion

Stuck on land with all of us

Waiting for the show

Antsy you must be

To detach from your clutter

And blast off, fly free

orion

Standard
People, Pop Culture, Technology

What it’s like when all your friends are on the internet


When you only communicate with most of your friends through the internet, you feel like what happened to Joaquin in Her is totally plausible.

Your writing skills are impeccable and you can translate the hieroglyphics coined emojis like an expert.

You think you’re more interesting because you can have long, thought out discussions but really you’re just reading Wikipedia faster than the other person.

There’s this unwritten rule about greeting each other after a certain amount of time. It’s like when you see someone in person again after 6 hours, you say hi again. But since you can always say hi to each other over the internet, when people ask you how you are, they really want to know.

Your significant other is always surprised at how many messages you receive. But they only know how many messages you receive because you don’t have any local friends and you don’t leave the house often.

Instead of inside jokes you have inside gifs.

You only share the parts of your lives you want to. But you get to see people’s lives through their eyes sometimes and that perspective can be really insightful.

Happy hour can be anywhere if you text a friend to have a drink too. Even if they’re in Sweden.

You can’t really introduce your friends to other friends by bringing them along. Instead, you reply all on group emails where you don’t know everyone. All it takes is one solid link to forge the beginnings of an internet friendship.

Internet friendships can make you more empathetic. It takes keen perception to notice when someone is being different through text.

When all of your friends are on the internet, you wish you could see them in person all the time. But you still go through things with them as if they were because they can always be there for you. They are literally in your pocket.

One day people will be collecting our emails and making them into a book as if they were letters from Socrates, Neruda or Virginia Woolf. A poem, a love letter, a touching note is still itself when it’s typed. Shakespeare asked if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

I ask, would a word by another medium have such meaning?

And that’s what it’s like having all your friends on the internet.

Standard
Technology

Did you notice Facebook changed your email address?


Surprise!

If you go look at your info on Facebook, you’ll notice your email address has been changed to the one Facebook provides for you. Everyone can see it even if your other email address were hidden.

The New York Times reports, “Jaime Schopflin, a Facebook spokeswoman, said these were not changes to the site’s privacy settings. Instead, she said, this was a ‘visual setting change.’”

Déjà vu anyone? Last year Facebook was accused of unfair and deceptive practices. The Federal Trade Commission settlement required Facebook to, “take several steps to make sure it lives up to its promises in the future, including giving consumers clear and prominent notice and obtaining consumers’ express consent before their information is shared beyond the privacy settings they have established.”  You can read the full settlement here.

So does your email@facebook.com belong to Facebook meaning they can share it with the world? Kinda looks that way.

Is it as big of a deal as when they made Friends List public or when the “friends only” privacy option turned out to not really be “friends only” and you broadcasted that ninja turtle/power rangers gif to everyone?

Time and everyone’s Facebook status today will tell. How do you feel about the change?

[Side note: Where does email for @facebook.com even go?]

Standard
Technology

What do you think about homeless people working for advertising agencies as wifi hotspots during SXSW?


This might sound like a joke at first but when you think about it, it’s a pretty good idea.

I saw this photo while browsing Instagram the other day and I had to take a second look.

It reads:

I’m Dusty, a 4G hotspot
SMS HH Dusty to 25827 for access
www.homelesshotspots.org

What a concept!

Homeless Hotspots is a charitable initiative by Bartle Bogle Hegarty New York that attempts to modernize the Street Newspaper model employed to support homeless populations, per their website.

Basically, they are trying to digitialize the paper boy by having him chant Wifi! instead of Extra!

BBH is a British advertising agency. You remember the “Axe Effect” commercials or the “Keep Walking” for Johnnie Walker commercials? Well that’s them.

“Our hope is to create a modern version of this successful model, offering homeless individuals an opportunity to sell a digital service instead of a material commodity. SxSW Interactive attendees can pay what they like to access 4G networks carried by our homeless collaborators. This service is intended to deliver on the demand for better transit connectivity during the conference,” explained on homelesshotspots.org.

They say all payments for access go directly to the person selling you the access through paypal accounts.

While it looks like the project was created with SXSW in mind, homeless hotspots have crept up in other areas.

If you visit the site you can see photos, maps and even find out more about these individuals who are the “hotspots.”

Meet Clarence.

Clarence is from New Orleans, LA. He prefers the term “houseless” to “homeless.” He originally lost his house in Katrina and has had financial trouble since. He considers himself a good guy and tries to be a good friend to people.

So you help Clarence out and he gives you some decent wifi, sounds like a win-win right?

Not everyone thinks so.

Tim Carmody, Wired, writes, “This is my worry: the homeless turned not just into walking, talking hotspots, but walking, talking billboards for a program that doesn’t care anything at all about them or their future, so long as it can score a point or two about digital disruption of old media paradigms.”

John Mitchell, Read Write Web, critizices the wording of the shirts the homeless are given to wear, “The shirt doesn’t say, ‘I have a 4G hotspot.’ It says, ‘I am a 4G hotspot.'”

He has a point. But are we really going to get into a fight over semantics in an otherwise seemingly legitimate campaign to bring awareness to the homeless while bridging the gap between the digital divide?

Probably.

But I think it is a good thing. If we didn’t questions things, we would lose a lot of the reasons improvements end up being made.

So if you happen to see one of these guys around, take a minute and talk to them. Let us know what you think and they think about the project.

Standard
Technology, Travel

Kony 2012: Invisible Children video. Some say cause others conspiracy.


If you have so much as signed in to Twitter today, you recognize the name Kony.

This movement has gone viral on so many platforms, you’re overwhelmed with it before you even know what it is.

Kony 2012 is a documentary film running rapid online in hopes of raising support and awareness for the arrest of Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony.

The video explains how Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has reportedly kidnapped up to 30,000 children and forced them to act as an army in order to maintain his power. The film was made by a campaign group known as Invisible Children, started by filmmaker Jason Russell.

The video tells the abysmal story of children in Uganda fearing for their lives. It explains how young girls are being forced into becoming sex slaves. Out of fear of being killed, young boys deform the faces of their victims to send a message that Kony is still in power.

So why is it all over your news feed?

To quote the organization behind this campaign, “KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”

This group is harnessing the power of sharing to demand the world’s attention focus on these tragic and ongoing events.

They have planned an event in April called “Cover the Night” where people will, quite literally, paint the town in Kony 2012 propaganda. Much like your social media feeds are being dominated by this new trend, so will your streets.

The power of social media is truly astonishing. I never thought Twitter could make me feel this humble or leave me with such a great sense of community worldwide. I truly hope that by next week we are all sick of hearing about this and the news has turned to focus on his capture.

WordPress is being ridiculous: Here is the link to the video.

On the other side of the spectrum we have The Daily What. A popular tumblr blog that writes, “The organization behind Kony 2012 — Invisible Children Inc. — is an extremely shady nonprofit that has been called ‘misleading,’ ‘naive,’ and ‘dangerous’ by a Yale political science professor, and has been accused by Foreign Affairs of ‘manipulat[ing] facts for strategic purposes.'”

I did some research and found that ForeignAffairs.com is published by the Council on Foreign Affairs which is a nonprofit think tank founded in 1921 with it’s headquarters in D.C. While they appear to be influential and blog regularly for CNN, they have also been accused of conspiracy theorizing.

Standard
Technology

Would you work 60 hours a week for $2 an hour? Foxconn employees speak


A week ago, Apple announced that the Fair Labor Association would conduct special voluntary audits of Foxconn’s Chinese assembly factories at Apple’s request, according to Apple Insider.

This week ABC aired part of a video where a reporter was granted unrestricted access to Foxconn. There has been focus on the number of employee suicides and claims of overwork at the facility. The full video isn’t available yet but the 30 minute episode leaves you feeling dismayed and full of questions that Siri probably can’t answer this time around.

The Nightline episode shows the iPhone is basically handmade by employees in an efficient assembly line. Workers agree to live in dorm style rooms with up to seven coworkers. Their work day is roughly 12 hours and some have moved away from their homes and families just for a chance to work.

But they still pay for their own food and board. ABC reports it is about $0.70 per meal and $17.50 a month for the “spacious” dorm. Wages were apparently $1.78 an hour and new workers were required to go through three days of training and “team building” exercises before starting work.

All that being said, the video shows an assemblage of people huddled outside of Foxconn squirming in hopes of landing a job.

The video definitely leaves you wanting more. You can watch it here.

Does this change your mind about your smart phone or is it all fair in love and technology?

Standard
Technology

How much do you love your iPhone and where did you get that case?


The day I got my iPhone my life changed.

This may seem far-fetched, exaggerated and untrue. But I assure you I am not dramatizing in the slightest. When I try to think about the times before I had an iPhone it just makes me sad.

My phone makes me smarter, on time, more efficient, a wanna-be photographer and a master of multitasking.

I have dropped my lifeline more than 3 times but not more than 10. Every time it suffers an accident, I suffer.

To avoid these difficult events I decided to get a better case. From research and an unofficial survey of random people I run into, the consensus was Otterbox is the best for keeping your phone in one piece. Strong, durable and they have a waterproof case!

So my search begins with Google as many searches do. I’ll be honest, I don’t want to pay 40 dollars for a case. I don’t even want to pay 20 dollars but if it is rather spiffy I just might. When I search for “cheap iPhone 4 cases” the first link I see is sw-box.com.

Sw-box has reasonable prices if you want a bedazzled case or a black and white picture of Steve Jobs on the back of your phone. No offense to the bedazzle lovers but getting an iPhone case is almost like getting a tattoo to me. It is something I will look at constantly and will unintentionally give others an idea of who I am. I don’t want ugly flowers or dolphins frolicking on my phone. I just want something pleasing to the eye and potentially unbreakable for $9.99! This shouldn’t be so hard.

Sw-box, like many other sites I have found, force you to either create an account with them to pay or create a pay-pal account. Shipping isn’t cheap either. I have found it is typically just as much as the case itself! Skip the bubble wrap and save me some cash, it is supposed to be durable anyway right?

At least at applecheaps.com you can search by price range. This was the second link in the search results. For some reason these guys LOVE prints. Want multicolored stars thrown all over your phone cover? You have found the right place. Do you just love that old curtain your grandmother has had since WWII? Perfect, you can get the same outdated print on your phone.

This is out of control

This is out of control. And they are still $14.00. So much for searching in the price range of $1-$15 dollars.

You would think there would be an app for this already. I mean how easy would it be to set up an app that showed you the best, cheapest iPhone cases and provided an easy medium to purchase and ship? Come to think of it I should make that app. Don’t steal my idea please.

So the search goes on. If I find a great site I will let you know. If you find one first let me know!

Where did you get your awesome case?

Standard
Technology, Uncategorized

Things to do while on hold with Continental Airlines


1) Notice the design of your couch. I’d never really looked at my couch. Well it’s my parent’s couch and I’m “borrowing” it until I can afford a grown-up apartment. But look at it.

What was this guy thinking? Seafoam green, royal blue and maroon? I think I’ve gone blind from staring at it so long.

2) Guess what your dog is thinking?

I’m inviting soooo many bitches over while you’re gone.

3) Think about all the productive, pressing things you could be doing if you weren’t on hold!

4) Think about how you wouldn’t be doing those things anyway and that is why there are still so many.

5) Google “being on hold” and talk to other people on hold.

6) Forget what you called about when they finally pick up. Scramble. I know this has got to happen to other people too.

7) And of course, blog about being on hold. Oh and all those other people on hold you talked to.

SIDE NOTE: Continental has awesome customer service. Yes, I was on hold for some time, but they got what I needed done exactly and I only had to speak to one person who was incredibly nice.

Standard
Technology

Twitter and telepathy


This morning I had a nice Twitter conversation with one of our readers.

He thought we could have compared boot fest to a different festival instead of Austin City Limits in a recent editorial.

He had great ideas, but if you don’t use Twitter, how would we know? Telepathy was the only thing I could think of.

 

 

Fortunately, we have another answer besides telepathy, although that would be really cool.

We discussed his ideas and I invited him to our editorial board meetings. Everyone can attend these. They are every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Advocate.

We also have a live broadcast of our news meetings at 10 a.m. every week day. We usually have in attendance Chris Cobler, Becky Cooper local editor, Robert Zavala multimedia editor, Todd Krainin photo/video editor and myself, interactivity editor.

You can chat with us and suggest story ideas, talk about what you saw in the paper, ask us questions or even tell us how you’re liking the weather.

I’ve always been interested in the news and I love reading newspapers. I felt that I could contribute and that I wanted to contribute so I majored in journalism.

You don’t have to major in journalism to contribute to your paper.

Next Monday, Oct. 24th, at 5:30 p.m. we will have a community session on how to contribute to the newspaper through our website. We hope you can make it.

Here is a guide to the many ways you can voice your opinion.

Standard