Tag Archives: smartphone

Could Apple be making the same mistake that Blackberry did?

Interesting read on the future of smartphones and technology from Marco Arment

Before the iPhone, RIM’s BlackBerry was the king of smartphones. They seemed unstoppable, because by most accounts, they were the best and most successful at what most smartphones were for at the time: email and phone calls.

When the iPhone came out, the BlackBerry continued to do well for a little while. But the iPhone had completely changed the game — it changed what smartphones were for, from basic business-focused email devices to entire consumer personal computers with desktop-class operating systems and rich app ecosystems.

The BlackBerry’s success came to an end not because RIM started releasing worse smartphones, but because the new job of the smartphone shifted almost entirely outside of their capabilities, and it was too late to catch up. RIM hadn’t spent years building a world-class operating system, or a staff full of great designers, or expertise in mass production of luxury-quality consumer electronics, or amazing APIs and developer tools, or an app store with millions of users with credit cards already on file, or all of the other major assets that Apple had developed over a decade (or longer) that enabled the iPhone.

No new initiative, management change, or acquisition in 2007 could’ve saved the BlackBerry. It was too late, and the gulf was too wide.

Today, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are placing large bets on advanced AI, ubiquitous assistants, and voice interfaces, hoping that these will become the next thing that our devices are for.

If they’re right — and that’s a big “if” — I’m worried for Apple.

Why Your Daughter Wants to be a Porn Star

Interesting post by an ex-porn star

  1. Because you loved her enough, but you didn’t love her right. You weren’t attuned to your daughter’s emotional state as a child, and now, she has difficulty connecting intimately with other human beings. It’s not that you meant to handicap her. You may even have a bit of a problem with authentic intimacy too, and it’s probably an intergenerational issue, so look to your mom and dad for answers as to how the cycle started in the first place.
  2. Because you were her friend, and not her parent (Hello Baby Boomers!). You never set solid parental boundaries, and you failed to teach her about her right to have her personal boundaries respected. Your permissive parenting led to her low self-esteem and crappy social skills. There are four major parenting styles, and I hate to tell you, this one is not the best.
  3. Because you got divorced, and it was ugly. I don’t even need to discuss the damaging effects of a nasty divorce because these statistics are known. However, if you still think it’s cool to get divorced and drag your kids through the mud because children are resilient, or won’t notice how poorly you two treat one another, think again. A study by Paul Armato shows that children of divorce continue to score lower academically, and in the areas of “psychological adjustment, self-concept and social competence.” Furthering this concern, a 2002 study in The Journal of Pediatric Psychology found that adolescents from mother-alone or mother-absent homes are more likely to become sexually active at a young age, risk taking behavior that is compounded by substance abuse and lack of social support. Yes, there are situations in which divorce is best for all, but the process by which divorce happens is delicate and negative consequences can have lasting effects.
  4. Because you raped, beat, or neglected her. Or someone close to you did. Though plenty of women who were abused as children do not go into porn, many women who have been abused (physically, emotionally or sexually) do participate in sexual risk taking behaviors. Even though a recent study found no link between pornography and child abuse, ample research on prostitution and child abuse provide insight to correlates of selling sex. A 2012 study on juvenile entry into prostitution explores the far-reaching consequences of abuse incurred in childhood, and the suggested pathways associated with entering prostitution (i.e. the selling of sex). Of course, this statement shifts the focus from the real argument, and can turn this point into a new argument about whether prostitution is equivalent to participating in pornography. I would suggest looking up the legal definition of prostitution, which states very simply that prostitution is “the act of offering one’s self for hire to engage in sexual relations.”
  5. Because you are a prude — or a total slut — and you didn’t have a good handle on your own sexuality. Your lack of self-knowledge may have led you to inadequately educate your daughter about sex, either teaching an abstinence only or laissez-faire approach. Statistics on abstinence-only programs show this approach to be ineffective. And if you divorced, letting the men (or women) you subsequently dated run in and out of your life (and your daughter’s life) taught her that significant others, and people in general, are exchangeable. Kids need the truth about sex, and reliable sources of adult support and attachment. This article addresses the issues in both point four and five.
  6. Because you let her watch insane amounts of television. There is a cost to letting the media raise your children. Even an hour over the average 72 minutes most children watch per day can cause great damage.
  7. Because you gave her a smartphone when she was 10, and now she takes awesome #selfies all day. With every picture she takes to post to her social media sites, she becomes less sensitive to the idea of her images floating around on the web. Studies show that higher social media use is correlated with narcissism. Sexting is a booming practice, and a gateway technology usage that might lead to appearances on Internet porn sites. You can be fairly certain that your daughter has either thought about sexting, or has friends who do it.
  8. Because her friends want to be porn stars, Playboy models, the Bachelorette or any other exaggerated and hyper-sexualized version of a real woman, and you aren’t close to her friends. When a child has excessive contact with her peers and loses touch with safe adult attachments, the likelihood increases that she will become an addict, as mentioned in addiction specialist Dr. Gabor Maté’s recent book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. I think it’s possible that the problems arising from being raised by her peers can also lead to other harmful and immediately gratifying behaviors, like participating in porn.
  9. Because you never showed her a healthy way to fill the spiritual void that is quintessentially human. Isn’t it interesting that girls leave porn because they’ve found religion? It happens every day, even to girls who were considered to be “the world’s hottest porn star.” Money, sexual exploration, and false adoration didn’t provide personal fulfillment like spirituality did.

How the Smartphone Killed the Three Day Weekend

From MSNBC

“Many of us have an exaggerated sense of our own importance,” she said, speaking on the eve Memorial Day weekend. “I can tell you that come Tuesday morning, the Earth will still be revolving, whether you have checked your email or not.”

Besides driving each other crazy, we are also robbing our brains of critical downtime that encourages creative thinking when we skip weekends and vacations. At extreme levels of exhaustion, rest-deprived brains experience memory loss and hallucinations. But without regular rest, brains fail at more basic tasks. A study at the University of California, San Francisco, found that new experiences fail to become long-term memories unless brains have downtime for review.

Vanderkam also argues that taking breaks makes you more focused when you work. People who work 50 or 60 hours rarely get more done than people who work 40 hours, she argues.

Reboot’s vision is a digital-age Sabbath, Schevitz said, but as she explained it on the phone, she was interrupted by a text message. (“Even I struggle with this,” she confessed.)

“We need a modern day-rest that brings balance back to life,” she said.

Memorial Day weekend is a good time to start. She urged people to start small. Don’t try to go 72 hours without e-mail; begin by promising your family one tech-free meal every day this weekend.

“I think that a three-day weekend provides a unique opportunity for people to unplug and decompress because there is a tradition of people going away. So the expectation by the boss that you will be reachable at a moment’s notice is likely to be less,” she said. “I do think there’s hope. When people are given achievable steps, they start seeing that there’s a difference.”

Home Depot is “listening” to us as we shop

An interesting way to track us as we shop, via our smartphones

A company called Euclid Analytics uses the Wi-Fi antennas inside stores to see how many people are coming into a store, how long they stay and even which aisles they walk. It does this by noting each smartphone that comes near the store, feeding on every signal ping the phone sends.

Using the information, retailers can tell whether someone walked by the store, whether a customer came in and how long the visit lasted. If it is a big store, with a couple of Wi-Fi antennas, the owner can start to see where in the store someone went.

Euclid is three years old and has about 100 customers, including Nordstrom and Home Depot. It has already tracked about 50 million devices in 4,000 locations.

The big initial use is the so-called bounce rate, or the percentage of people who come into the store who leave without making a purchase. But the technology also helps stores make sure that there is enough sales help or that enough registers are open. By seeing how people move in a store, retailers can also better determine where to place low-profit and high-profit items.

Mr. Smith says Euclid has more data than it gives to customers. It gives its customers only anonymous data in a collected form, so individuals won’t be targeted. Stores using the technology may also put stickers in their windows telling customers they are being monitored and allowing them to opt out

It’s likely, however, that over time Euclid and its partners could add an opt in feature, where people choose to be recognized, the way registered Amazon.com customers are greeted when they come to a site. Then people might be offered, say, free parking for staying 20 minutes in a store, or they could get a discount for visiting three times a month.

While the technology has changed, the practice hasn’t.  Retailers have always been obsessed over this kind of information.

“The smartphone is the most lethal weapon you can get inside a prison”

Despite being illegal, smart phones are everywhere in U.S. prisons.

Cellphones are prohibited in all state and federal prisons in the United States, often even for top corrections officials. Punishment for a prisoner found with one varies. In some states, it is an infraction that affects parole or time off for good behavior. In others, it results in new criminal charges.

President Obama signed a law in August making possession of a phone or a wireless device in a federal prison a felony, punishable by up to a year of extra sentencing.

Still, they get in. By the thousands. In the first four months of 2010, Federal Bureau of Prisons workers confiscated 1,188 cellphones, according to Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who sponsored the federal measure. In California last year, officers discovered nearly 9,000 phones.

Payments for cellphones range from $300 to $1,000, depending on the type of phone and the service plan. Monthly fees are generally paid by inmates’ relatives. Phones are smuggled in by guards, visitors and inmates convicted of misdemeanors with lower security restrictions.

But that is not the only way. In South Carolina, where most prisons are rural and staff members have to pass through X-ray machines and metal detectors, smugglers resort to an old-fashioned method — tossing phones over fences.

They stuff smartphones into footballs or launch them from a device called a potato cannon or spud gun, which shoots a projectile through a pipe. Packages are sometimes camouflaged with a coating of grass, which makes them hard for guards to detect. The drops are coordinated through texts or calls between inmates and people outside, said Jon Ozmint, director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, which confiscates as many as 2,000 cellphones a year.

Rewired for the digital age (and that’s not necessarily a good thing)

From the New York Times

Sam Crocker, Vishal’s closest friend, who has straight A’s but lower SAT scores than he would like, blames the Internet’s distractions for his inability to finish either of his two summer reading books.

“I know I can read a book, but then I’m up and checking Facebook,” he says, adding: “Facebook is amazing because it feels like you’re doing something and you’re not doing anything. It’s the absence of doing something, but you feel gratified anyway.”

He concludes: “My attention span is getting worse.”

The entire article is a must read I am amazed at how passive families and parents are about their kids school work.  I was a noted slacker when I was a teenager about homework but my mother rode me to get it done.  While one student points out that there was distractions out there, there has always been distractions.

But Vishal and his family say two things changed around the seventh grade: his mother went back to work, and he got a computer. He became increasingly engrossed in games and surfing the Internet, finding an easy outlet for what he describes as an inclination to procrastinate.

“I realized there were choices,” Vishal recalls. “Homework wasn’t the only option.”

This isn’t new.  I was grounded from early in grade seven (other than church and hockey) until sometime in grade 8 without a break.  Even over the summer months.  It wasn’t one big grounding but a series of smaller ones that kept being added on.  Eventually my mother took away television, then my radio in my room, my toys and I still found new ways not to do homework but eventually you realize that this world demands something of you and you have to focus.

Students say that their parents, worried about the distractions, try to police computer time, but that monitoring the use of cellphones is difficult. Parents may also want to be able to call their children at any time, so taking the phone away is not always an option.

Other parents wholly embrace computer use, even when it has no obvious educational benefit.

“If you’re not on top of technology, you’re not going to be on top of the world,” said John McMullen, 56, a retired criminal investigator whose son, Sean, is one of five friends in the group Vishal joins for lunch each day.

Well first of all, why does a kid need a smartphone.  One student sent 27,000 text messages last month.  That can be controlled by downgrading her phone, limiting her outgoing messages to a more manageable number, and then demanding that she has to have cell phone minutes and and available text messages if she wants to go out.  Since when is “unlimited texting” and unlimited web access a human right?  The Nokia 1100 is the world’s most popular phone and really does someone going to school needs more than that?  250,000,000 users have gotten by with it but in North America, Rogers, Bell, and AT&T have got us convinced that a $600 smartphone is our only option.

“I’m doing Facebook, YouTube, having a conversation or two with a friend, listening to music at the same time. I’m doing a million things at once, like a lot of people my age,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll say: I need to stop this and do my schoolwork, but I can’t.”

That is why kids need parents.  They can’t always draw boundaries themselves.  Sadly it seems like all of us are having a harder and harder time drawing those boundaries.