Tag Archives: Kindle Fire

Techno zombies beware! You will be assimilated!

Walking down the street.

Waiting for the train.

Standing in line at Starbucks (or Dumb Starbucks).

You’ll see them.

Disembodied.

Half-human.

Staring bleakly.

Wide-eyed.

Faces illuminated.

Tapping furiously.

Oblivious to the world around them.

You know what I’m talking about. Don’t you?

You’re probably not even aware that you may one of them.

Zombies.

Techno-zombies to be exact.

What’s a techno zombie?

I thought I made it up, but the Urban Dictionary describes them as follows:

A person or persons who walk through public areas (shopping malls, sidewalks, etc) text messaging on their cellphones, not paying attention to their surroundings.

My definition is a little more expansive.

In my universe, a techno zombie is anyone whose life revolves around their device. Their every waking hour is devoted to an absolute (or near absolute) obsession with their device.

How do you know whether you’re a techno zombie or not?

Simple: answer the following questions.

When you get up in the morning, do you automatically check your phone or tablet?

When you head out the door, do you reflexively check your phone?

When you’re walking to the train or subway, do you frequently check your phone?

When you’re riding the train or  subway, are you checking your phone?

When you’re sitting in a meeting or on a conference call at your job, do you find yourself checking your phone?

At various points throughout the day, do you find yourself checking your phone?

Do you find yourself checking your phone even when you haven’t received an alert, buzz or notification prompt?

Have you ever experienced the ‘phantom vibration’?

If you answered “yes” to four or more of the questions above, you’re a techno zombie.

And I don’t want to hear that you’re always checking for missed calls.

You’re not that important and who actually calls anyone anymore?

You’re checking for a response to that last text message.

Or the latest Facebook post in your feed.

Maybe you just got an alert from the NY Times.

Or someone invited you to play Words with Friends.

Perhaps it was a notification that someone started following you on Twitter.

Whatever the reason, we have become a people inextricably tied to our devices.

Somehow, insidiously, we have slid from a people who thrive on physical interaction to ones who subsist virtually.

We have become the Borg.

Borg 1

Oh, I’m exaggerating, am I?

Check it.

The next time you leave your office, count the number of people walking down the block with their faces buried in their phones.

Walking and texting is so commonplace that one can navigate an entire city block without ever looking up.

Instead of bumping, pinball like, off other people, eliciting “Hey! Watch where you’re going!s” in your wake, people part like the Red Sea, allowing you to pass unaccosted.

Because no one wants to disturb you mid-text.

The next time you’re on the train, observe how many people whip out their devices and remain glued to them the entire ride.

Gone is the polite banter among riders, replaced by mutes, immersed in tiny screens.

The walking dead.

walking dead

Zombie-like we wander, shunning human interaction for virtual pleasure.

Seeking validation in likes, retweets and shares, instead of in the company of other people.

We have lost our individuality.

Subsisting instead, as part of a large undifferentiated mass of eyeballs, to be sold to the highest bidder.

And what is this collective to which we belong?

Who profits from our lack of individuality?

Facebook? The Government? Microsoft? Google? Apple?

Who knows?

We certainly don’t. Nor do we care.

Today, February 11th, is a rally to protest data collection by the NSA.

How many of us will be there?

How many of us are even aware of the data collection practices of the numerous carriers, apps, websites, and online service we happily sign up for?

Which of us actually takes the time to read the Terms and Conditions associated with using Gmail, or Facebook, or Instagram?

When was the last time you opted out of a request by a third-party app to “post on your behalf” when “signing up using Facebook?”

When was the last time you actually turned your phone off or (even more daring) left your phone at home? On purpose?

With all the data collection being done, hackers lurking around every public wi-fi spot, and swiss cheese privacy policies making your every keystroke fodder for marketers, I’m surprised that more of us are not alarmed at our steady decline into digital complacency.

Rather than fighting to ensure that we safeguard ourselves against the insipid practices of Big Brother, we’re checkboxing our way to our own demise.

And we’re taking our kids down with us too.

We happily hand our children Nintendo DSIs, Kindle Fires, PlayStations and Xboxes and wonder why they’re fat, lazy, with ADHD, short attention spans and don’t know how to socialize with their peers.

While my rant today may seem random, it was inspired by my own personal descent into digital oblivion.

The other day, I found myself staring downward, at my iPhone, as I made my way towards the train.

I had become that which I abhorred!

How often had I cursed the wayward walker ahead of me, bobbing and weaving, oblivious to all else but their precious device?

Imagine my shock to find myself the wayward walker.

When I got home, I took and hid all the kids’ electronic devices in the house, and none too soon.

I realized that my children were being assimilated and I was contributing to the their social demise.

Who knew how much longer I had before I was LOLing with my kids via text and ‘liking’ on Facebook instead of hugging and playing with them in real life?

Take this as a cautionary tale, my friends, before you too end up assimilated…

…or crumpled under the bumper of a car.

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iPad Mini. iPad Jr. Whatever you are, just get here already.

I’ve been quietly watching from the sidelines to see what, if anything Apple is going to do with the iPad Mini.

So far, there have been (the standard) sightings of the Mini, leaked to the internet.

And oodles and oodles of speculation about what features will be baked into it.

To be honest, I can’t say that I’ve followed any of this chatter closely.

I’ve done that dance before.

Wait with bated breath, only to be let down when the <insert name of much anticipated Apple device here> actually arrives.

At this point, it’s just that I know how Apple does.

Why should the iPad Mini be any different?

We all know what the iPad mini should be.

But it’s unlikely that it will be what we expect.

I firmly believe that the iPad Mini should be a small version of the iPad.

It should be fully functional with all its current features intact.

That means, the iPad Mini should have: a forward and read-facing camera, wifi, 3G, essentially everything the current iPad 3 has.

But will Apple give us the device we expect?

Probably not.

It will most likely be like the original iPad.

You remember how disappointed you were when you opened up your iPad and realized that there was no camera.

But wait!

Here comes the iPad 2, with what?

Wait for it…

…A camera!

Bastards!

Why did do they do that to us?

Wasn’t the iPad really just a big iPhone?

Didn’t the iPhone already have 2 cameras!?

So why strip the iPad of what everyone assumed would have been a natural feature to include in the iPad?

Money, obviously.

But they’re not going to do that to the iPad Mini?

Are they?

Isn’t the whole point of the iPad Mini offering to compete with the other smaller form tablet devices in the market today?

Shouldn’t the strategy be to bake all the bells and whistles that devices like the Kindle Fire and Galaxy Note have?

Wouldn’t it be counter-intuitive to withhold features that consumers are already used to on the current iPad?

I got my son the Kindle Fire, and it really is a great device.

Now there’s the blown out HD version, which is a real step up in a number of respects for Kindle.

Higher resolution screen.

Faster processor.

More storage.

Additional ports.

4G LTE.

They blew it out!

Apple would be wise to follow suit and go H.A.M. with the iPad Mini.

H.A.M.=hard as a motherfucker for my Kanye West challenged readers.

Unfortunately, experience tells us that Apple doesn’t always do what’s best for the consumer.

So while I’m interested to see the new iPad Mini, I’ve set my expectations very low.

Do I want it?

Sure.

I’d rather have an iOS device that synchs with the rest of my Mac world, than some other device that doesn’t.

Will I be disappointed.

Sure.

History tells us that Apple is notorious for putting out products that often fall far short of user expectation.

Apple should just release the iPad Mini and put us all out of our collective misery already.

But with a constantly moving announcement date, its unlikely that we’ll see an iPad Mini in the wild anytime soon.

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eBook reader-cum-tablet? A Kindle Fire get-over saga.

This summer, I got my son a Kindle Fire for his 9th birthday.

He had given us a short list of his birthday wishes.

Mind you, his list was fairly perfunctory.

Library card. Library card? Live a little kid!

New bike. Nah B! Your current bike is perfectly fine.

Kindle Fire. Hmm…I can do this.

I was impressed by my son’s third request.

His sister had requested (and received) an Amazon Kindle for her last birthday.

She really seemed to be into reading books, and I suppose, this inspired his own interest in the eReader.

Seeking to support my son’s intellectual pursuits, we hurriedly ordered the device and, beaming, presented it to him for his birthday.

But once it was in his grubby paws, I realized that we had been hoodwinked.

The desire to read electronic books (like his sister) was the furthest thing from his mind.

Even though we had admonished him to avoid ordering anything without consulting mommy or daddy first, he found a loophole – free apps.

It wasn’t really ordering if they didn’t cost anything was it?

So almost immediately, he began downloading all kinds of games, and apps and game apps.

There was nary a eBook among the email confirmations that flooded my account.

All hours of the day and night, he was either glued to the device or ordering apps like a maniac.

It was only as my son morphed into a zombie, that I first saw the Kindle Fire commercials.

As drool escaped the corners of my son’s mouth, illuminated by the glow from the device, that I realized that this little bugger had gotten completely over on us!

The signs were there, but I missed them.

I hadn’t put two and two together.

You see, he’s always asking to play Angry Birds or some other innocuous game on my iPad.

And I repeatedly say ‘no.’

His request for the Kindle Fire was an end-around to my opposition.

A thinly veiled way of getting a tablet, to play games and such, without raising any suspicion or alarm.

The Kindle was certainly NOT to read.

This experience has me re-examining this whole eBook reader phenomenon.

I used to think all eReaders were just that – readers.

First, there was the Kindle (2007).

Then the Nook (10/09).

Sony also had some skin in the game with their readers.

There were black-and-white versions, color versions, backlit versions, versions with keyboards and versions without.

And then came the iPad.

And the eReader game was forever changed.

Sure a tablet device was good for reading, but the iPad offered so much more.

Apps. The web. Light computing.

It was truly a device of the future.

Not wanting to be left out, Kindle released the Kindle Fire, with apps and internet surfing baked right in.

Of course, Barnes & Noble followed up with their Nook Tablet, which offered the same functionality.

eReaders went from simple monochrome blah to web surfing, wifi/3G connected funky, combining the connective utility of a tablet with the pure function of an eReader.

And what I initially thought was my son’s simple request to get his read on, has become a straight tablet coup!

All I know is that the lines between eReaders and tablets have been forever obscured…

And that my son is slick.

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I’m sorry. I just can’t get excited about the iPad Mini.

Is this the new iPad Mini? Time will tell.

There’s quite a hullabaloo around Apple’s alleged September 12 announcement.

The buzz around the iPhone 5 and the release of iOS 6 have kept tech bloggers busy.

I have to admit, that I too, have been caught in the frenzy.

I was totally bamboozled by a colleague who posted up a link to a leaked ‘first look’ video of the iPhone…only to realize that it was a hoax.

Damn you adamthinks.com!

But as much as I’ve tried, I simply can’t muster the energy to get excited about the iPad Mini.

Yeah. The rumor mills have been throwing around theories about what the iPad Mini will ultimately be.

And there has much speculation about its potential features.

Sure. The Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 have left Apple in the unenviable position of NOT being first to the mini tablet space.

So the likelihood of a smaller, lower priced offering, designed to compete with these devices, is great.

But I’m still not waiting with bated breath for it.

I mean really.

The ‘new‘ iPad dropped a few months ago.

Less than six months later, they’re dropping another iPad.

And I’m supposed to be all gaga over it?

Why?

Because of the smaller form factor?

The lower price?

Will it have all the same bells and whistles of the current iPad?

Or will Apple pull an ‘iPad’ and drop a device without all the attributes you know they have the capacity to bake in – just to set up the crush for the fully loaded iPad Mini 2.

We’ve all been victims of Apple’s frequent bait-and-switch.

As much as we applaud Apple whenever a new innovative product is released.

We resent them.

When they immediately drop the new and improved whatchumacallit rendering your latest acquisition obsolete.

So you’ll pardon me if I’m over the fanfare and leaks around the iPad Mini.

If you’re really interested, I’m sure that TechCrunch, Gizmodo or Engadget are following the iPad drama unfold.

But not the kid!

Not today anyway…

If you’re really interested in the latest-and-greatest iPad Mini news, check the link to the latest iPad mini photographs from the Daily Mail.

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Filed under digital advocacy, iPad, mobile, opinion, technology