Tag Archives: technology

Black Mirror

Finding something to watch on Netflix can be a bit of a challenge, so let me make a suggestion for you. Check out Black Mirror. I warn you now that it’s so good you’ll binge watch it. You might have to clear your calendar. It’s a spooky anthology show about the dangers of technology. Think Twilight Zone updated for the modern world. Each episode is self contained. It has its own story, characters, cast, and universe so each new episode is completely separate and you can watch them out of order without any real consequences.

Some of the stories could happen today. In “The National Anthem” a beloved duchess is kidnapped and will only be released if the British Prime Minister has to fuck a pig on live television. In “Be Right Back” a young woman uses a computer program that imitates her deceased boyfriend to cope with her grieving. In “The Waldo Moment” a cartoon character enters a real life election and becomes the most popular candidate. This episode first aired in February of 2013, three and a half years before the USA actually elected a cartoon character as president.

Other stories are a bit more far fetched (but still possible). I don’t even want to go into anymore detail. I just want you to watch Black Mirror. I’ve made it my mission to get as many people to watch it as possible. I tell everyone I come across to watch it. I don’t let it come up casually in conversation. I walk right up to someone and say they should watch Black Mirror, give a brief synopsis, then walk away. Then I ask if they’ve watched it yet a few days later. So watch it. Please. I need this. 

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Live Photos

So I recently upgraded to the iPhone 6s from an iPhone 4 and I’m still finding out some of the amazing things my phone can do. One of the coolest features on the new iPhone is Live Photos. Each picture is like a little movie. When you take a picture, it also records the moments before and after you took it. When you press down on the photo, it comes to life. It’s fricking rad, like some Harry Potter shit. It’s magic. You’ll see you and your friend settling into the perfect pose for a selfie. You’ll see dogs wagging their tails and running around. You’ll see babies laughing and drunk friends stumbling. You’ll see waterfalls falling and waves crashing and birds moving across the sky. There’s sound and everything. It’s like you’re right back there experiencing it again. Technology. It blows my mind sometimes.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Forgetting to Charge Your Phone

You’re getting ready to go out for a few hours. You take a shower, you brush your teeth, you find something to wear, you make sure you have your keys, phone, and wallet, and then head out the front door. You feel like you’re prepared and that you have everything that you need until you look at your phone and you see it only has 25% battery left. Great, now you can only use your phone for texting and emergency calls. Checking Facebook or playing games will just turn your phone into a paperweight. You’re still kind of relieved that you brought it because you would feel naked without it, but a dead phone is a useless phone. It’s like a wallet without any cash or credit cards. It’s just a shell of what it’s supposed to be. I don’t like to leave the house with less than 80% battery life, but I always prefer a full charge for peace of mind. And I hate whoring myself out to borrow somebody’s charger.

Critically Rated at 9/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Upgrading Your Phone

We are a society of consumers and that compels us to upgrade our phones constantly. You are behind the times if you don’t have the most current model and that’s somehow shameful. It’s weird. Upgrading your phone is like making your way through high school. You’re a Senior if you have the latest model, and that means you own the campus. You drop in the social standings for every year you’ve had your phone, You’re a Junior if your phone is a year old. You’re still an upperclassman, but you’re not top dog. You’re a Freshman if your phone is three or four years old. And if your phone is five years old you are in middle school and not worth talking about. I am still rocking my iPhone 4. Siri won’t talk to me, but I can look down on anyone who still has a phone with buttons. Conversely, anyone with an iPhone 5 or 4s can legally shun me. Even those fuckers with the Windows Phone can make fun of me because their phone is cooler than mine. Whatever, I’m chill with being in the middle of the totem pole.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Tabs vs. Windows

I consider myself a multitasker. I sit on my ass and have the TV on and my laptop open. I am constantly surfing the net, at any given time I am on at least two or three different websites. And you have two choices when it comes to viewing a new site. You can either open a new tab or open a new window. My buddy Cody is a tab guy. He has Google Chrome on full screen with about fifteen tabs of random shit. He has access to multiple websites, but can only focus on one at a time. I prefer opening a new window because you can be watching Fail videos on one site while reading the news on another. You can check out two sites at once and have Wikipedia or Google waiting on deck. Lately I’ve been listening to the Giants game on the radio while watching the Gameday live updates on the MLB website and simultaneously checking Facebook, my email, and crucial sites like Cracked and Devour. Tabs are nice because you can see all the sites that you have open, but you can only view them one at a time. Windows allow you to scroll the news on one side of your screen with a video playing on the other side, but sometimes a site will get hidden behind another window. You can easily forget about a movie you paused because it gets lost behind the cluster of ADD. Tabs vs. Windows is the greatest bar debate since Tupac vs. Biggie. Choose a side and defend it well.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Uploading Pictures Of Yourself Camping

The whole point of camping is to get away from it all. Away from city life, away from technology, away from your cell phone. You should be chilling in the woods, sitting around a campfire, telling stories and making jokes. You should be living. Why the fuck are you taking picture of yourself camping and uploading it to Facebook? I’m not opposed to taking pictures of the campsite or the views or having fun. That’s totally fine. I’m against taking a picture and instantly uploading it. You’re not camping if you don’t have a signal, you’re just a hipster in the woods. Put down the phone and look at a tree. You came out to nature to experience nature, not to add another hashtag to your resume.

Critically Rated at 3/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Ringtones

I remember those indestructible Nokia phones in the early 2000s. They had a hundred crappy ringtones built in. Now a phone only has a handful of ringtones. It’s almost as if they realized that ringtones are fucking annoying. Some people pay money to have a 30 second song clip as their ringtone. Cool, you have a custom ringtone. I still don’t want to hear it. Nobody else does either. So either turn off your phone or put it on silent. The only acceptable ringtone is vibrate.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Slow Internet Connection

Some people rely on the Internet to make a living. I use it to kill time. So I get fucking frustrated when my sites aren’t loading fast enough. I love the Internet. I’ve paid my dues. I lived with 56k and dial-up modems and downloading a song for twenty minutes and yelling at my mom for picking up the phone and kicking me offline. Now everything is wireless and everything is 3G or 4G. It’s 2012. It’s the Future. Most sites load instantly most of the time, but every once in a while my router will pretend like it’s 1997 and run slower than a fat kid at recess. My iPhone fails me occasionally too. No bars means no reception which means I’m disconnected from the world. It’s 2012. Waiting thirty seconds for anything is unacceptable and Google needs to hurry up. Fucking load already.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Smartphones

The world changed when the iPhone came out in 2007. That’s when smartphones kicked into high gear. Getting rid of buttons was a godsend. We all woke up one day and suddenly there was a phone with a touchscreen interface. Not just a phone. It’s a camera, a gaming console, a music player, you can watch movies and TV shows and listen to the radio, it’s a personal GPS and will show you how to get anywhere, you have the internet and more apps than you can count. With the iPhones and iClones anyone with a steady paycheck can have a portable computer in their pocket.

Once you have that kind of power in your hands, you can do anything. There are stories of people using their iPhones to find out how to perform first aid. Smartphones have literally saved lives. But most of the time you just use it to find out which guy was in that movie or to settle drunken arguments (yes, you can be allergic to water, my iPhone says so).

The only downside to smartphones is that smartphones make dumb people. You get addicted to your device. You always have to check Facebook or your email. Maybe Justin Bieber posted a new picture on Twitter. You have to respond to Becky’s text. You become a slave to it. But so be it. Once you have a smartphone you can’t go back to a beeper.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Calling or Texting Instead of Ringing the Doorbell

It seems like everyone has a cellphone these days, and the lucky ones have smartphones. Everyone is constantly connected to each other with this magical technology. And technology makes you lazy in stupid ways. I’ve noticed that most people end up calling or texting instead of ringing the doorbell. A doorbell has one button that produces a buzzing or chiming noise to notify that someone is at the door. Instead of pushing one button, we now push a few buttons or type out a text saying we are outside. It takes longer to get a response, there’s more work involved, and there’s no real reason to do it. But that’s how it is now. So just embrace it and text me when you get here.

Critically Rated at 10/17

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Looking Up Shit on Your Phone

I like to read interesting articles about interesting things to expand my intellect. And then when I’m drunk, I try to spew out the crazy facts that I learned and no one will believe me. So I’ll bust out my iPhone and look up my source. Looking up shit on your phone is the best nonviolent way to end a bar argument. If that doesn’t work, smash a bottle or a barstool on your opponent and run like hell. Smart phones put the Internet in the palm of your hand, and you can use it to prove someone wrong and make them feel stupid. And then you can take a picture of their misery and share it with the world instantly. That’s the best use of technology to date.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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Pager Code

Back in the days before text messaging and cell phones, all the cool kids were rocking pagers. Pagers are little electronic devices used for communication. You simply call up the pager number of the person you’re trying to reach and you would write the phone number where they can call you back. If it was a really important message you would add 911 to the end of it.

Most pagers or beepers could only display numerical message like a phone number. It wasn’t longer before some nerds started realizing that you could use the numbers to write out messages. I imagine it started out as a simple joke, maybe one geek texted 80085 to his friend and they realized that numbers could double as crude letters. Some letters are obvious: a 0 is an “O”, a 1 is an “I”. Some letters were created by using multiple numbers: 12 is an “R”, 17 is an “N”, and 177 is an “M”, etc.

Some common phrases like “I love you” had assigned numbers. “I love you” became 143. “I” is one letter, “love” is four letters, and “you” is three letters.

 

Pager Code wasn’t set in stone. There would be subtle differences between different regions. Pager code was a fad, it was cumbersome to write and difficult to decipher. You could spend a lot of time trying to figure out that 373948177 is “elephant”. I don’t know why you would be paging someone about an elephant, but it probably happened.

I spent a good three months trying to learn pager code back in the day and I was pretty proficient at it. Now it’s like being skilled in Latin, it’s an impressive language but no one uses it anymore. 74875 580. That’s sad.

Critically Rated at 4/17

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Playing Phone Tag

You realize it’s been about two or three weeks since you last called your mom, and that nagging little voice in the back of you head tells you get call her. You give her a ring, she doesn’t answer, and you leave a message telling her to call you back. A few minutes later you realize that you have a new voice message. It seems that when you were leaving that voice message, she had called you back and left you a message of her own. So you call her back and she still doesn’t answer. A few moments later and you have another missed call. Playing phone tag sucks, but apparently I’m really good at it.

Critically Rated at 6/17

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Tupac at Coachella 2012

So in case you’ve been living under a rock, Tupac performed on stage at Coachella. Ok, it’s not really 2Pac; it’s just a state of the art hologram of him. It gave me chills when he mentioned Coachella by name… the festival started 3 years after his death. It was a dynamic performance too. He actually has stage presence, he dances and struts around, and he lets the crowd shout out the lyrics at times. His chain swings around and his clothes move naturally.

Snoop comes out, and you see the two of them onstage again, interacting and doing their thing. It must have been weird as hell for Snoop to perform with him again. It seems like they are actually playing off each other. At the end of the set, Tupac stands in triumph and then disappears in a flash of light, and his glowing remains fade away.

Tupac is a legend, larger than life. A bunch of people already thought that he faked his death and is just hiding out somewhere. This defiantly won’t clear up any confusion. There is a whole generation of 2Pac fans that never got to experience one of his shows. This new technology is as close as you can get to seeing him live. It’s eerie, it’s haunting, it’s mesmerizing.

The implications of this new technology are amazing. Whole virtual concerts with ghosts rocking out with living legends. Imagine see Paul and Ringo jamming with John and George again. It could happen, it should happen. You can create the ultimate super group with all the members of the 27 Club: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse. You can even reanimate the Rolling Stones.

You can use the hologram technology for things other than music too. You could record a Broadway show and replay it like it’s a film. Imagine museums where they have dinosaurs roaming around and over-scaled insects flying around. Imagine Skype acquiring hologram technology and how much more awesome video chats would be. You could also make your own R2-D2 unit complete with hologram Princess Leia.

For now, we must be content with Virtual Tupac. And that’s pretty amazing. The future is now. Check out the video. Even if you aren’t a Tupac fan, it will still give you goosebumps.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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Group Texting

There is a right way and a wrong way to send a group text. The right way to text multiple people is to write a statement: “The party is at 8 tonight at my house”. The wrong way to text multiple people is to ask a question: “Should we have the party at 8 or 10 tonight? And where should we go?”. My phone will start to blow up from all the people responding to your stupid text. You might have saved a minute by mass texting, but for the next half hour I have to deal with forty people texting me their two cents about why the party should be at the zoo at 8, or why 10 o’clock at the bar is more convenient.

Sometimes when I respond to a group text, someone else thinks that I’m texting them. They will ask what I’m talking about. Or they will ask who I am because they don’t have my number. And that’s even more stupid shit that I don’t want to deal with.

Critically Rated at 3/17

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