A few words to the iPhone masses…
Jun 24th, 2010 by scaredpoet

If you’re out there standing in line for an iPhone, or freaking out over alleged iPhone 4 defects, I have a few things to say.

Don’t panic.

This is the fourth time this cyclical hysteria has happened. It never fails. In the end, the blog posts about it die off, the bloggers and “analysts” get bored and find some other shiny thing to speculate about whether x chip was manufactured incorrectly or not or whether x company did their launch right, no massive recall of “defective” iPhones ever occurs, and yet somehow the vast majority continue to use their iPhones just fine.  Life goes on.

Soon, there will be tales  of people who’ve exchanged their iPhone 4s a half-dozen times or more after finding some teensy quirk that drives them OCD-crazy, and don’t get the hint after the 9001st exchange that their expectations on hyper-perfection will simply not be realized. I guarantee it: this happens every time and ends up amounting to nothing. Though, it might take a bit longer this time around for exchange unit inventory to populate the stores.

I think the best advice anyone can give people who are waiting in line, obsessing over defects, or doing any of the other classic iPhone-launch-OCD behaviors, is to just relax, and chill a bit. All these lines that have formed, and most the complaints about network performance tend to ultimately rest on the fact that so many people are obsessing about this particular piece of expensive metal and glass. At the end of the day, it’s just not that important.

And if you’re one of those people who are about to fire back with “WELL FOR A $599 DEVICE IT BETTER BE PERFECT!!” – then you’re exactly the demographic I’m talking to. You’re parting with hundreds of dollars and you’re incredibly stressed over it. Is itworth $599 and all this hassle to not be happy?

It took me being separated from my iPhone – and having no mobile device to speak of – for a week and half to come to that realization. It’s amazing how being unplugged for a while resets your mindset, and helps you be way less stressed over things. The iPhone is an amazing tool and I still wouldn’t prefer to leave it behind, but I’m not not going to let it rule my life, nor will I deprive myself of sleep to stand in an outrageously long line and probably (not) get one.

Relax.  You’ll get your iPhone in good time.  There are more important things in life.

The new police search battlefield: your cell phone
Feb 22nd, 2010 by scaredpoet

One thing that really annoys me about the tattered state of civil rights in the US is how technology is being used by law enforcement as a means to short-circuit basic privacy protections. Flying under the banner of things like “Homeland Security,” the common excuse seems to be made these newfangled desktop and mobile computer-machines don’t operate like the old, analog, physical things that used to replace them, and so somehow, this means the existing laws don’t apply. Sadly, it also seems like lawmakers are in no rush at all to make it clear that our Fourth Amendment Rights apply whether or not our belongings are stashed in a physical box, or whether they’re accessible via a keyboard or touch screen.

The latest arena for the battle for your privacy is your cell phone, and so far, law enforcement is on the offensive here.

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The terrorists might not win, but we’ve still lost.
Jan 10th, 2010 by scaredpoet

It’s over folks.  The age of civilian air travel is coming to an abrupt end.  It’s time to mothball our jets, shut the airlines, and go back to trains and ocean liners as our primary means of long distance travel.  The United States as a country simply cannot fly anymore.

Why? Because of terrorism you ask?  No, not because of terrorism.  It’s because we’ve become a nation of panicky pussies.  That’s why.

To be sure, on Christmas day 2009, a terrorist did try – we think – to blow up a plane.  Hiding a syringe with chemicals and incendiary devices in his underwear, he ignited his payload as the flight he was one prepared to land in Detroit.  The only immediate casualties, fortunately, were his crotch and – we hope – his ability to procreate. In this case, Darwin may have prevailed.

Shortly thereafter though, I realized that one other casualty resulted from this incident: our common sense.  It started right away with Republicans and politicians in Washington.  Rather than actually caring about the safety of the public and working towards learning from this experience to see how we can adapt reasonably and safely to this threat, if it IS a threat, they chose to pounce on this as a media stunt and politcal scare tactic.  That’s right, because some silly Nigerian chose to roast his crotch on a flight, to them this clearly meant that Obama failed us.

So, while Washington was busy wrestling with that idea and preferring to focus on the potential political fallout of whether “the system” was working or not, the people who are allegedly tasked with protecting the public good and safety basically stopped focusing on protecting the public’s good and safety.  Inevitably, this means “the system” that everyone was so busy arguing about has pretty much begun to break down all on its own anyway. That left the general public with the impression that they must now pretty much fend for themselves on the matter.

The result?  Now we must get molested before we board an airplane, even though it probably won’t help the situation anyway.  We now also have to deal with air travel being more erratic and unpredictable than before, ranging from the cut off of internet access and other in-flight amenities, to denying passengers the use of bathroom facilities.  Because we all know that terrorists won’t possibly consider blowing up the plane if they will be denied those last couple minutes of facebook-time, or are unable to take a leak before the big moment, right?

Of course, none of these measures really add to the security of the flights.  The hope, everyone agrees, is that maybe it’ll just help people feel a little safer, even though we’ve already told them, through the powers of twitter, cable TV news and the iReport, that these measures are fruitless and ineffective.

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So what do we do now?
Mar 27th, 2009 by scaredpoet

I’ve spent the wee talking about just some of the less-obvious things, actions and people I hate “in this economy.” So what do I think people should be doing about it? For me, the answers seem fairly straightforward:

stop whining

  • Shut up about it already

  • “You won’t BELIEVE what I heard this morning about the bailouts!”

    No actually, I will believe it. Because I heard it too. See, I read the news, check CNN, watch TV and live video feeds, catch up on articles on my iPhone. I probably know as much about the next Big Crisis as you do. Or at the very least, I know all I want to know. So please, quit assuming I’m an illiterate doof, and stop expecting me to act surprised.

  • Worry about your own situation

  • Critiquing the lives of Bernie Madoff and AIG execs, and then having loud YouTube fits is actually kinda making things worse. Our congressional leaders, unfortauntely, are more concerned about camera whoring than they are about actually finding a sustainable fix to this mess, and so they’re passing knee-jerk solutions to media-manufactured problems that have no overall useful benefit. Chances are, whether some corporate Fat Cat gets a million dollars in bonuses or not isn’t ultimately going to affect your paycheck at the end of the week. Ignoring how good or bad your personal situation is because you’re too busy making your opinion heard is probably going to have a bigger impact.

    So, consider this: we all get it. You’re pissed off. We’re all pissed off, and life sucks. Get over it, and get busy finding ways to make your life a little better.

  • Keep your job, find a job, or find a better job
  • In keeping with point #2, if you’re laid off and indignant about it, go focus that indignation on finding a new job. In the meantime, there’s a good, productive guide to surviving a layoff that might help you out.

    In the meantime, consider the following: you might find it useful to vent at banks and large corporations getting handouts now, but don’t make an ass of yourself over it. No one wants to see that. Besides, some of these very faceless corproations you’re having a fit over now might very well be signing your paycheck in the coming months. Won’t that be embarrassing?

  • Calm down and be rational
  • This needs to be economic mantra way more than “where’s my bailout?” The economy isn’t going to get better if we automatically assume someone else is going to take care of us. Not to mention, a lot of people are doing some pretty irrational things and assuming their situation is a lot worse than it is… sometimes begetting self-fulfilling prophecies.

    The economy is based on psychological constructs, and thus it crashed almost solely because people panicked. Oil is till oil. Food is still food. Cars are still cars. Money is still money. And yet, people perceive needing more or less of things. And this is the ONLY reason why prices or demand for them have gone drastically up or down over the past year.

    People still need, food, oil, houses, cars, and money. People will still be needed in some capacity to make, sell, and fix these things. Things will get better. It’ll just take longer if we continue to refuse to acknowledge it.

    Bad Economic Cliché #3: Congressional Soapboxing
    Mar 26th, 2009 by scaredpoet

    I’ve seen congress huff and puff over the aftermath of 9/11, the Enron crisis, the Basbeball Steroid scandal, and now this new Economic Mess. There’s one thing I’ve learned from watching these things: Damn, these congressional windbags can talk!

    Ostensibly and nominally, a congressional hearing is “the principal formal method by which committees collect and analyze information in the early stages of legislative policymaking.” Presumably, this means that lawmakers are supposed to obtain testimony so that they can be informed about the issue at hand and take some kind of action. So, why the hell are these pompous asses talking so damned much?

    C-SPAN brought the television camera into congress, and they believed they were doing the citizens of the US a favor by casting sunlight onto the machinations of government and letting us all see how it works. Unfortunately, it also means that some of our elected officials are using the same medium to grandstand, expound, rant and show off their bellicosity, wondering aloud with their ill-informed opinions, and showing off their feathers like the ugly old turkeys they are. They also use these opportunities badger and berate witnesses, cashing in on public anger and fostering demagoguery, having already formed their own opinions and judgements about the people who are presumably there to help them form those opinions and action plans.

    It’s a waste of time. Nothing new has been exposed from these hearings that haven’t already been made known via the numerous media outlets that are picking at shreds of information on these scandals 24/7. Frankly, I’m disgusted, and I don’t know who to be more mad at: the AIG execs who got huge bonuses, or the old codgers we’re paying $151 per hour EACH to sit there and flap their gums and get nothing done.


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