Tag Archives: iPhone

Let the dog have his bones

I feel bad that my dog doesn’t have an iPhone. I have an iPhone. All that my dog has is a bunch of dumb bones that I bought at Petco. He’s happy with them for a while, until there’s no more liver-flavored paste in the center. After that they just kind of take up space. I try to keep all of his old bones in one central location, but he much prefers it if they’re scattered across the living room floor. I should just throw the old ones away whenever I buy a new one, but I feel like he’s always looking at me, right as I’m about to toss them in the trash, he’s thinking, “Come on Rob, you have an iPhone, you have the Internet. For me, it’s just these bones, and that’s it. You really want to throw them away?”

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And I make it a point to just do it, because I can’t have these bones everywhere. It’s like, even when I think they’re all accounted for, there is always at least one or two hidden away where I’ll never be able to find them. Sometimes I think they’re so well hidden that even my dog loses track of where they are. And it’s like one day I’ll be looking for the remote or for my phone and I’ll lift up the couch to see if there’s any way that it’s maybe stuck deep between the cushions, and out falls a bone, sometimes right on my foot. I’ll go to throw it away but there he is again, he’s so happy to see this particular bone. Even though there’s no more liver-paste, it’s like he totally forgot about this bone.

It’s kind of like when you’re a little kid and your mom makes an effort to really clean out the downstairs closet. And you see that she’s putting your old Nerf gun into a black trash bag. Of course you haven’t played with it in years, but you also haven’t seen it forever. It’s been buried under all of your Lego sets and wrestling actions figures, you’re like, “Mom! Don’t throw that out, that’s such a cool Nerf gun!” and she’s like, “You never play with this stuff, come on, it’s just taking up space.” But you’re insistent, and you kind of even believe at some level that you’ll use it again, but you’re mistaking this nostalgia for a forgotten item with a feeling of genuine interest in a toy that … well, sure, go ahead, fire off a few rounds.

By tomorrow your mom’s going to be looking at this plastic piece of junk lying in the corner, saying stuff like, “See? I told you we should have thrown it out. Now it’s just another piece of clutter taking up visible space.” And so you pretend to play with it for a little while longer, just until she leaves the room, and then you bury it back under the Sit-n-Spin, somewhere you can’t see it. You don’t want to play with it, but you don’t want to face the idea that you’ll never be able to play with it again either.

And yeah, maybe things would have been different if you were a little kid today. But only if you were a kid and you had an iPhone. Would you have had an iPhone? I don’t know. Your mom wouldn’t buy you a Sega Genesis back then, she probably wouldn’t buy you an iPhone. You can just hear it now, “What does a little kid need an iPhone for?”

My dog doesn’t have an iPhone either, and I’m always wondering whether or not he’s secretly jealous, watching me spend so much time staring at my little screen. Why don’t they make iPhones for dogs? Something a little more durable, so he could chew on it while he’s not surfing the web, watching clips of the Puppy Bowl on YouTube, I’m just kind of throwing out dog-related Internet activities, I’m not sure exactly what he’d use an iPhone for, or if it would have the same user interface as human iPhones do.

But even if they did exist, am I really going to spend that much money on a piece of equipment that I’m not even really sure my dog would even enjoy? No, just let him have his bones. Sure, he’s figuring out how to get at that liver paste faster and faster each time, it’s like I can’t keep up with all of the empty bones lying around everywhere. And just last week, I woke up and came downstairs barefooted in my pajamas, my dog walked up to me, but I didn’t realize that he had a bone in his mouth. This one had to have been his biggest bone, and these things are heavy, sometimes too heavy for him to keep in his jaw. And I don’t know if he was just happy to see me, but he walked over with this thing in his mouth and dropped it right on my foot. It hurt so badly, a sharp pain that shot straight up my leg, like I could feel it in my shoulders.

And I wanted to round up all the bones right there and toss them in the trash. But then my iPhone made a buzz, like I got a message or an email, and my dog went over to the coffee table to investigate the sound. For a minute I thought, is he looking at the phone? Is he interested in text messages? At the very least, I thought he looked curious, and maybe he really does want one, and so I forgot all about my foot. I’ve got my technology, let the dog have his bones. So what if the place is a mess? What right do I have to take them away?

Thoughts on the new iPhone

Are they going keep naming new iPhones based on the numerical order in which they’re released? Right now everything’s fine because we’re only up to iPhone 5. But what about years from now? Are consumers really going to be as excited for the iPhone 36? Hopefully I’m still alive by then. Also, hopefully scientists will have figured out a way to keep everyone looking young and healthy indefinitely, kind of like in that movie In Time with Justin Timberlake, just minus all of the massive inequality and social injustice, not to mention the terrible storytelling and horribly overdone time puns, “Time’s up,” stuff like that.


What am I talking about? Nobody saw that movie. But back to the iPhone. We’re all ignoring the fact that it went right from iPhone to iPhone 3G. What happened to the iPhone 2? And then after that it was 4 and then 4G and then 5 and now 5G and 5C. Talk about a horrible naming strategy. I’ve heard all sorts of theories, how the C is supposed to be for China, because they’re trying to get Chinese people to not only manufacture iPhones, but to buy them as well. But when I hear 5C, all I think of is the word cheap.

Like, “Oh, I see you bought the cheap one.” Why would you want a plastic phone? Why would you want a neon pink iPhone? Although, that’s a pretty stupid thing to say on my part. I shouldn’t be in the business of judging people’s preference in colors. I am a little disappointed by the fact that there really isn’t much of a selection. Not that I’m interested in buying the cheapo model anyway. It’s just that, what if you’re not into really bright colors? I guess for me it never really mattered anyway, seeing as how I never take it out of its plastic protective case.

While I’m on numbers, isn’t anybody else going to point out the obvious incompatibilities with model number and operating system? I’m talking about how when they released the 5S/C, they simultaneously made available the new operating system, IOS 7. Can’t the boys in marketing figure out a way to synchronize the numbers? I’m being petty here.

I just get annoyed whenever a new product comes out and everybody starts gushing over it, the media, everyone at work, people on the subway. And then like a week after it comes out, I start to see them everywhere, new iPhones, shiny new colors, slightly different ringtones and message alert sounds. I took out my phone the other day, and a coworker was like, “You didn’t upgrade to IOS 7 yet?” looking at me like I had just contracted leprosy.

And so I went right home and downloaded IOS 7. And it took like an hour and a half out of my day, plugging it in, waiting for it to download and install, laying on my bed going through all of the menus and settings, discovering which marginal changes had been made to my phone’s user interface. The whole thing left me very underwhelmed, and now I was holding my same old iPhone 4, only it felt less comfortable, my old bright wallpaper was no longer compatible with the white numbers used to tell me the time, but of course Apple wouldn’t give you an option to change the color of the home-screen text.

Or let you decide if you like the old interface better. And I know it’s such a tired argument, that Apple doesn’t really let you customize anything. It does bother me, like the old operating system looked a certain way, and then all of the sudden Apple decides that they’d like mine, and everybody else’s phone, to look a different way. That would be like living in an apartment and the landlord busting in every year deciding to paint all the walls an entirely different color.

But it doesn’t matter. I have this fear that the minute you stop upgrading operating systems is the moment that you decide to get left behind in terms of technology. Sure, skipping one update won’t really get in the way of how you use a phone, but there are subtle changes with every release. You let those changes pile up, and before you realize it, you’re an old man that puts his hands on the newest model only to find that he doesn’t know how to use anything, he’s too set in his old ways.

This is crazy. It’s a fucking iPhone. I can’t believe I just spent all of this time actually writing this down. Sorry if you’ve made it all the way down here. New cell phone releases cause me an unnecessary amount of anxiety.

Internet problems

I got up really late this morning. And even after I woke up, I stayed in my bed for hours, just kind of tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling, not able to summon the will to stand up and get going. I reached for my cell phone and killed another hour or two on the mobile Internet. It’s gotten to the point where I can stay on the Internet indefinitely, not doing anything at all. I’ll go through my Facebook news feed, reading the statuses of my Facebook friends, a lot of people I haven’t even spoken to in years, just kind of indirectly keeping tabs on everybody’s lives.

And it’s weird because a lot of people don’t really use Facebook anymore. Or if they use it, they only lurk in the background, they’re not actually posting daily content. So it’s just this weird mix of friends, relatives, people that I went to school with twenty years ago, people that I’ve worked with ten years ago. And so I can always waste ten or fifteen minutes scrolling all the way the down, keep scrolling, keep loading more stories.

Then to Twitter. I’m really bad at Twitter. As in, I’m not really actively involved. I’m following something like seventy people, but I don’t really know how I chose those seventy. I’ll follow people on a whim, usually because Twitter suggests it. When I first started using it, I’d see a funny Twitter joke and I’d be like, “Ha! Follow!” only to realize that maybe that was the one funny thing that this person ever wrote in an otherwise boring list of daily nonsense. Like why am I following Ensign Wesley Crusher from Star Trek? If I ever tweeted out, “I’m drinking an IPA!” that would be a huge waste of everybody’s time. But Wil Wheaton does it and somehow I’m reading about it. I guess Twitter is really just like a backup Facebook, like if I’m very bored and I seriously just want time to disappear I’ll go through the feeds of all of these people that I really don’t have any connections to at all in real life.

And look at that, Reddit has a mobile app too. Whereas Facebook and Twitter are perfect for eliminating time in ten to fifteen minute chunks, Reddit is a great way to make a whole day vanish, as if you never had off in the first place. Let’s just look at stupid pictures and lame jokes, but indefinitely, a never ending sea of blue links to be clicked and mindlessly consumed. I sometimes have to make it a conscious activity just to refrain from even going to the home page, it’s that dangerous.

The worst part is, if and when I ever pry myself away from Reddit, I’ll get all anxious, looking at the clock, seeing how I’ve let the day totally slip away, something I had, time that I’ve lost that I’ll never get back. I’ll jump up, not standing up entirely, but I’ll leap up in bed and think, I’ve got to do something here, I’ve got to get going. But then I’ll look at my phone again. Well, after I check Facebook. I’ve been on Twitter and Reddit for so long that by now there has to be a whole new list of status updates to scroll through. And the process repeats itself.

There’s no escape. It’s not like I can just not have a phone. What am I supposed to do? How do I turn it all off? I can’t. I don’t know what else I’d do. And I can’t even turn to anybody or anything for any guidance. History doesn’t have any advice. We’re in new territory here. The great minds of humanity never had to deal with such bullshit problems like Facebook and Reddit. How can Plato or Socrates or any of the other great philosophers help me out when I can’t even get through a whole sentence without being distracted by the email sound going off on my iPhone? And look at that, it’s junk mail! What a surprise!

There’s no going back. We can’t turn off progress. But there’s got to be a better way.

Predicting the iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 is set to be announced today. When I say today, I mean two weeks ago. But I write these things in advance, and by the time this blog post goes up, right now, it’ll already have been old news. People definitely have them already. I’m sure there were lines of people gathering outside of Apple stores around the country, people spending actual days out of their lives making absolutely sure that they could be granted the privilege of forking over hundreds of dollars for a product, probably only marginally cooler than last year’s model, that I could get just as easily by walking into any cell phone store the next day. These things never sell out.

But to have it first. That’s the dream right? Even if it’s just twelve hours, that’s twelve hours of getting to walk around town with an iPhone 5, making everyone using an iPhone 4S, or worse, and iPhone 4, or even worse, an iPhone 3GS, or even much, much, much, worse, some sort of an Android phone, feel like the complete losers that they know they already are.

But this isn’t about making fun of those losers without the iPhone 5. This is about me predicting all of the cool new features the iPhone 5 is going to have. I’m calling them right here, and like I said, I’m writing this before the announcement, so when I naturally call everything correctly, everyone is going to be like, “Yeah right Rob. I don’t believe you for a second. You probably wrote this after the announcement.” Whatever. Haters gonna hate, right?

My first prediction involves the screen. Specifically, instead of having a screen on one side, and a glass coating on the other side, the new iPhone is going to have a screen on one side, and another screen on the other side. That’s right, two screens. It’s going to be so cool. When you’re walking around with your new phone, you’ll be able to program all sorts of cool stuff to be displayed on the screen facing the rest of the world.

Like you could have the screen be an image of the iPhone home screen. And could you walk around going, “Hello? Hello?” really loudly. And some passerby might come up to you and say, “Hey, buddy, I think you’re holding your iPhone backwards,” and then you can just flip it around, revealing the other screen, and you can say something like, “Gotcha!” and that person will instantly realize that you’re using the iPhone 5. Classic. And then that person will take out their own much inferior phone, and they’ll look at it, unlock the touch screen, and then flip it around, just imagining what it would be like to have two screens, but their imagination isn’t capable of doing it, nobody’s is really, so they’ll just keep standing there, flipping it back and forth, not able to comprehend what it must be like for you, with your iPhone 5, two screens, playing pranks on random strangers.

And that’s only one possible application of the second screen. You could make the other side look like a picture of your ear. So that way people would think that it’s just a piece of glass, like looking right through the phone to your ear. They’re going to call it chameleon mode. It’s going to be nuts. Or, you could make it look like a picture of your brain, and people would say, “Whoa! I can totally see right through to your brain!” That’s going to be sick.

But the only problem is going to be the edges of the phone, the metal border. Honestly, what’s the point of having two screens if you have to look at a stupid piece of metal holding them together? That’s why on the iPhone 5, the border is going to be a screen also. It’ll be really thin, obviously, but it’ll be an actual screen. And there’s no limit to what you’ll be able to do with this wraparound screen. You could have a line of text scrolling around the edge, like a marquee, like if you’re on the phone and somebody walks up to you to try to talk, you could just run a loop of text, something like, “Uh, can’t you see that I’m on my iPhone 5?” And they’ll read it and get the message, literally.

But the iPhone, well, sometimes it’s a little two-dimensional, don’t you think? Haven’t you ever seen those phones that open up, and inside there’s like a keyboard or something? Well, I’m pretty sure the iPhone 5 is going to open up in the middle, but keyboards are so primitive. Inside there are going to be two more screens. So you’ll really have four screens. Four and a quarter screens if you count the screen that wraps around the outside of the phone.

Why four screens? Isn’t it obvious? How many times do you see people who have dropped their phones, and the whole screen shatters and splinters? It still works, but it’s really ugly and broken looking. With four screens, your iPhone should theoretically last four times as long. All you have to do is flip one of the halves inside out.

But it gets even better. The two halves can actually separate into two thinner independent phones. So if you’re really bored, all you have to do is find twenty-six other people, get them together, and you can all run this app where each half becomes one card in a deck. That way you can all start playing card games. Well, some of you can take turns playing card games. I don’t know any twenty-six person card games. But, bonus, if you find hundreds of people with iPod Nanos, you can program each Nano to look like a poker chip, and you can use those to gamble.

Yeah, you’re probably reading this and thinking that there’s no way that I called it all. But I did. I’m telling you, they’re not launching the iPhone 5 until later today. I’ve written this before, but it’s worth repeating, that right after Steve Jobs died, his genius energy must have been transferred by the universe into me, because there has to be one genius inventor alive at all times, and I’ve been selected, because I totally called it.

It’s another one of those posts where I talk about going back in time and talking to a bunch of cavemen about how much better the future is than the lame past they’re all living in

I haven’t talked about the future in a while. Sometimes I get on these kicks where all I can think about is time travel and space portals to distant dimensions, or even not-so-distant dimensions, like dimensions that might occupy the same space that we’re occupying right now, but just on another plane, (whatever that means) so everything’s happening right around us, but at the same time totally removed. Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve thought about stuff like that. Ever since I saw Batman really. I already wrote pretty extensively about how I thought Batman was so amazing, but it’s gotten past the point of ridiculousness. Like I never think about any of that other cool future stuff anymore because my mind’s still chewing on The Dark Knight Rises. I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago – I know, I’ve written about that a lot too lately – and while I was there I saw Batman again, but this time in Spanish. I thought that maybe seeing it all dubbed up would maybe loosen its grip from my mind, but if anything, it just made it even stronger, because I feel its appeal is universal, not just limited to American audiences.

But the Batman is wearing off of for a second and I’m starting to think about the future again. Or the past. I was thinking about imagining up a time machine and going back in time, like way back, no, even further back than that, to visit some of the very first human beings. Genetically, we’d have to be almost identical, right? I mean, we’d be the same species and everything. But how would we communicate? Language isn’t something that comes preloaded into our brains, which is kind of stupid if you think about it. You don’t have to teach a puppy how to bark, it just does it. One time I took this medieval history class in college and the professor was talking about one of those crazy medieval kings and how, at the time, there existed this rumor or legend that if you left babies to grow up without any parents or other humans around, they’d naturally start speaking Hebrew. So this crazy king locked up a bunch of babies in isolation, but they just cried and cried and eventually died. I always wondered if that professor wasn’t just full of shit, but to be perfectly honest, I actually haven’t thought about that class probably since I took it. I have no idea why that little anecdote just popped in my head.

But back to my little thought experiment. What would it be like to be a member of the very first generation of human beings? All of the sudden these people are just aware of the universe in a way that only humans are. But they can’t talk to each other. What do they do, just grunt, point, throw rocks? And they have to hunt everything to eat. And they don’t have any parents telling them not to eat all those poisonous but tasty looking berries, and so a bunch of them probably died right off the bat. And they can’t write. How does that first generation teach itself to be potty trained? How do they know not to drink their own pee? I’d like to go back and talk to them, or communicate with them somehow. I’m sure I could teach at least one of them enough English for a conversation.

And I’d be like, “Hello! I’m your great-great-great-great-great-great-(you get the idea, right?)-grandson! Being a human in the future is so cool. We have everything. Clothes, TV, Internet. It’s all so awesome. We have so much time to just sit around and chill out and drink. Oh yeah, you guys haven’t even invented alcohol yet. Well, it’s awesome. And so is McDonald’s. Trust me, whatever you guys are doing to get us all to that point, keep up the good work. OK, bye!”

But then I’m thinking a few things. I’m thinking first that, would it even be possible for those really early humans to understand exactly what I’m trying to say? Could they imagine all of the wonders I’d be telling them about? Or would they think I’m full of shit? I always picture my grandparents, growing up during the Great Depression, sharing a baked potato for dinner with their entire extended family. Even if I could tell them then about all of the technological breakthroughs we’ve made since then, all of the abundance our society has come not only to love, but to expect, to demand, would they even be capable of believing me?

In the 1960s, Star Trek gave us all the idea for cell phones. But did the people watching it back then really imagine we’d actually all have them just fifty years later? And not even that, but our cell phones are even better, much cooler than what they had in Star Trek. Sure, we’re not in space, like visiting aliens or anything, and yeah, we can’t transport stuff. That is, not yet. What’s the world going to be like when I’m eighty? Maybe there will be transporters. I’m guessing there will have to be a few Holodecks. That’s going to change everything. But right now it’s all pure imagination and I can’t really get myself to picture it happening.

And then I’m thinking that there’s no way this caveman would get it, and I’d try to explain it for a while, but then what if he did get it, and was just pretending not to get it? He’d think to himself, why the hell did this clown come back from the future, to rub it in my face how much better he has it than I do? And when I least expect it, he’ll knock me out, take my time machine, and take my place in the future, watching TV, going to see Batman again, downloading stuff from the Internet. And I’ll be stuck there, trying to outrun a herd of elk or whatever animal it is that they hunted back then, but I’ll be so out of my element. I’ll never catch one of them. And even if I do, what am I going to do with it, eat it raw? I’ve never made a fire out of sticks before. I’d have no idea how to even start. I’d probably just get a huge blister on my hand and it would get infected, but antibiotics wouldn’t exist yet, so I’d try eating some mold or something, because I heard that’s where the inventor of penicillin got it from, but this wouldn’t work, because you have to do something to the mold first before it turns into medicine, and I’d probably get even sicker.

And I’d lay there dying, hungry, alone, and centuries later some archeologists would find my bones and the leftovers of my iPhone, because right before I died, and right before my phone died in the past, I’d record a video, I’d say, if you’re seeing this video in the future, it’s because I got stuck in the past, please, please send a crew back in time to help me, to find that caveman who switched places with me. But that caveman was a lot smarter than I gave him credit for, because one of the first things he’d do upon arriving in the future is to pose as an archeologist, find my remains, and destroy the phone before any real scientists could get their hands on it.

All this stuff sounds crazy, but not as crazy as all the stuff today must have sounded in the past. That’s my whole point. That today, more than at any other point in history, we can really look around and look back and forward and think to ourselves that there’s truly no limit to what’s coming, holodecks, time machines, World War VIII, everything. It all has to happen. And I’m calling it. Call me a futurologist. Seriously, call me that.