Obituary For An iPhone

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“Zachary’s unlocked iPhone 4 died suddenly on May 18, 2014, after he downloaded files infected with a virus from a Moldovan Web site with bootleg Disney classics. Zachary and his phone spent virtually every waking minute together. They often snuck off to the bathroom at his office for twenty-minute Candy Crush breaks. In fact, Zachary’s supervisor noticed his close relationship with his phone and mentioned it at more than one performance review. Zachary has suffered some physical withdrawal symptoms since the loss, and will be staying at his mother’s place in Connecticut until he is able to face the world again (or until the new phone arrives in the mail—so possibly until tomorrow). His family is planning an intervention. Please contact Aunt Patricia if you’re interested in participating.”
– excerpt and image from ‘Cell-Phone Obituaries’, Molly Roth, Daily Shouts, The New Yorker 19 Dec 2016

‘Digital Heroin’

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“He would refuse to do anything unless I would let him play his game,” she said. Barbara, who had discarded her TV 25 years ago, made the mistake of using the game as a bargaining tool.
Her son became increasingly explosive if she didn’t acquiesce. And then he got physical. It started with a push here, then a punch there. Frightened, she tried to take the device away. And that’s when it happened: “He beat the s–t out of me,” she told me.
When she tried to take his computer away, he attacked her “with a dazed look on his face — his eyes were not his.” She called the police. Shocked, they asked if the 9-year-old was on drugs.
He was — only his drugs weren’t pharmaceutical, they were digital.”


Over 200 peer-reviewed studies correlate excessive screen usage with a whole host of clinical disorders, including addiction. Recent brain-imaging research confirms that glowing screens affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way that drugs like cocaine and heroin do. Thanks to research from the US military, we also know that screens and video games can literally affect the brain like digital morphine.

– from ‘Kids turn violent as parents battle ‘digital heroin’ addiction’, New York Post, 17 Dec 2016

Martin Scorsese: ‘Words and images don’t mean anything anymore’

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“We’re just completely saturated with images that don’t mean anything. Words certainly don’t mean anything anymore, they’re twisted and turned. So where’s the meaning? Where’s the truth? So we have to strip away everything. It goes back to that question I had in ‘Means Streets’, how do you live a good life? A life which is good, meaning compassion, and respect for others, in a world like today?”

Scorsese’s complaints have been echoed by many directors, critics and cinephiles recently, but it’s a tricky topic. The explosion of filmed content onto phones, tablets and laptops may have subjected it to the law of diminishing returns, but it has also made it much easier for aspiring filmmakers to create.

– image and excerpt from Martin Scorsese: ‘Words and images don’t mean anything anymore’, Christopher Hooton, The Independent, 13 Dec 2016

Sindr – Catholic Church Launches Confession-Finder App [no, not a joke…]

For those Catholics itching to be absolved, a Scottish Archbishop may have just revolutionized the search for a confessional — with a new smartphone and tablet app launched at the Vatican on Tuesday.
The Catholic app, which has inevitably been dubbed “Sindr” by some media and online commentators, is expected to go live in early 2017, according to Vatican Radio.
“The idea was really inspired by the Holy Father himself,” Edinburgh’s Archbishop Leo Cushley, who announced the launch, told Vatican Radio. “He said to be imaginative about what to do for the Holy Year of Mercy.”
The app, which lets users search for the nearest Holy Mass, confessional or diocesanal statistics, reportedly uses technology by software firm Musemantik to guide the faithful from their current location to the nearest Catholic Church.

– from TIME magazine, 22 Nov 2016

Next up, cut out the middle-man and develop an app that speaks directly to the Big Guy -ed.