Category: Technology

Electronic Holy Cards

Commercialized? Yes. Crass? I don’t think so. Bad? No.

If you are a Catholic looking for a saint in heaven to protect you, you no longer have to carry a small “holy card.” You can get the image sent to your cellphone.

A company in Italy started offering the service on Tuesday but ran into opposition from some Catholic Church leaders who think the idea is crass and commercial.

I thoroughly believe the new technologies can help us in every way, as long as they’re approached wisely. I’m willing to listen to debate on this topic, but a reminder to live like St. Francis, St. Therese, etc. every time you open your cell phone? That can’t be bad. … Read the rest

Black Wednesday Again?

It’s not black because of drinking. It’s black because Charter Communications has once again gone down. In all fairness to Charter, it’s been months since it has gone down, but (i) if experience is an indicator, this crash portends a series of crashes over the next couple of weeks, (ii) this crash started 1:30ish on Tuesday afternoon and was still going strong Tuesday night, and (iii) it covered a 25-mile-or-longer swath along U.S. 12 in southern Michigan. I think this crash is a doozy, and I’m not optimistic the service will be up-and-running any time soon. I am typing this post Tuesday night via a cellphone card that I insert into my computer. Pretty nifty, but pretty costly, too. It belongs to my law office, but I forgot to return it yesterday when I got back to town.

Anyway, there probably won’t be any blogging on Wednesday. Thank Charter.
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Why I’m investing in Far East Exchange Traded Funds:

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The Screaming Eudemon

Not much today. I had a ton of stuff: Lions draft day (best day to be a Lions fan), my idiot-savant Michael (a second-grader who can barely tie his shoes but has taught himself multiplication and other things, to the general head-shaking amazement of his no-nonsense teacher), beer drinking, etc. I typed for 25 minutes, and then lost it all by hitting the wrong key. Now I can barely see the computer screen because of the spider cracks.

I also wrote about electrical sensitivity. Wi-fi, cell phones, and other electronic devices make a few people physically ill. Some say it’s bunk, some say it’s real. It makes you wonder: Are hot zones going to cause cancers and other health problems down the road? I looked into the health effects of wi-fi before installing it in my house, and everything I found said there is no risk. “It just uses radio waves, which are always around us anyway.” This article doesn’t seem so sure.

This week, Professor David Coggan, a member of the Health Protection Agency’s advisory group on non-ionising radiation, told BBC’s Newsnight: “There is quite a lot of evidence now accumulated on mobile phones and health – and the balance of evidence overall doesn’t point to problems.

“There’s still uncertainty and there still needs to be further research, but so far we don’t have a concern.

“And on that basis, the concern about Wi-Fi is much lower on the scale than, say, that about pan-global influenza.”

Not as much of a concern as pan-global influenza? That’s hardly a comforting re-assurance. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Post them below.

I’m mostly concerned about wi-fi, incidentally, since I’m exposing seven children to it every day. Your opinion?

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Love, marriage, and revenge: An Evansville Read the rest

The New Computer Eudemon

I bought my first new computer in over three years. The Tech Guy installed it yesterday. It’s pretty nice: 19″ flat screen monitor, soft-touch keyboard, Windows Vista, most-current versions of all the standard software. I think I’m one of the first persons in my town to have Vista and the updated MS software products. The Tech Guy, who has a busy practice, said, “You’re my guinea pig.”

Warning: Vista looks cool; Vista looks different. It definitely has some neat features, but it’ll be a week or two before I Fonz it (thumbs up or thumbs down). It took the Tech Guy and me two minutes to figure out how to open a document in Word. Thumbs down. When I shrink screens, I can put my cursor over it and it’ll bring up a mini-screen to show me what’s on it (so I don’t have to leave my current screen–thumbs up). I’ll try to remember to give you an update, but if I don’t, it means I forgot and that means Vista is working well.

No comments on this blog yet. I had hoped that they’d be activated last night, but we’re not there yet. When the feature is activated, post a (civilized and intelligent) message or two so I know it’s working. I’m hoping to have fairly-active comboxes, though I think my style of blogging doesn’t lend itself to a lot of comments. I group topics in one post, hence people may not feel like pinpointing what part of the post is funny, idiotic, infuriating, etc. Based on other blogs that are about my size (I bring in 300-400 visitors a day, about 3,000 different users per month), I should get about five to ten comments on the various posts.… Read the rest

At TCS

I just published a piece with Tech Central Station about multi-tasking with the cell phone, using my experience and Marshall McLuhan. Those interested in McLuhan (and maybe some others) might find it interesting. Excerpt:

I like multitasking, if it’s the right kind. Reading a book while waiting for laundry to dry: smart multi-tasking. Reading a book while interviewing for a job: dumb multi-tasking. Ordering a Pabst while the head on your Guinness settles: fun multi-tasking. Dictating a book to a secretary while handwriting an article: extraordinary multi-tasking (and pulled off by precious few, like G.K. Chesterton; his hero, Thomas Aquinas, could keep six scribes going at once).

What about multi-tasking with the cell phone?

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Smile When You Wear That!

Designer/artist Tim Simpson’s Smile Helmet mechanically draws the corners of your mouth back into a grin. He created it for “people in jobs which demand an unusual amount of smiling, such as air-stewards, receptionists and politicians.”

This is the fourth smiling mechanism I’ve heard of. First, there is paint (ala Little Drummer Boy). Then, there’s Vaseline on the teeth. Beauty contestants use this approach. I guess the yucky feeling prompts them to keep their lips off their teeth. The third mechanism is beer.

I like option three. … Read the rest

Brews You Can Use

Posting will be light today. I didn’t get back from the Tigers game until late. I’m dragging and behind in life. Luckily, it’s Friday. If I can hold on for a few hours, I have a couple days of rest (subject, of course, to three soccer games and junior football game).

Brews you can use? That’ll be light, too, but I found this piece of information a few days ago in Ambient Findability: there are now GPS pub crawl applications. No matter how drunk you are, if you can crawl and see, you can find the next pub with the assistance of satellite positioning software. I searched the web and found this sample. … Read the rest

E-mail Gone Wild

RadioShack Corp. notified about 400 workers by e-mail that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts.

Link.

You don’t need McLuhan to decipher the effects of media on those 400 workers. One commentator thinks it might be dehumanizing. I think “insulting” is a better word. What goes through a worker’s head when he gets that? “What about COBRA?” “Do I just pack up and leave now?” “The CEO must know I was sleeping with his daughter.”

Softening fact: Workers were told in meetings that cutbacks were coming and the news would be delivered electronically. That helps a lot. But I bet the “You got mail!” tingle on employees’s computers was pretty intense for awhile.

But no matter how you cut it, e-mail probably isn’t the best medium for such things. E-mail also doesn’t work well in other situations:

*Breaking up with a girlfriend;

*Notifying co-workers that the building is on fire;

*Marriage proposals;

*Telling a friend that his wife is having an affair.

But e-mail is very good in these situations:

*Breaking up with a girlfriend because you have VD and may have given it to her;

*Notifying co-workers that you set the building on fire while trying to smoke a joint in the paper-shredding room;

*Breaking off a marriage proposal because you’ve decided to try the gay lifestyle for awhile;

*Telling a friend that his wife is having an affair with you.… Read the rest