Sunday, May 8, 2011

an iPhone for Your Thoughts

I have gone over now to the dark side. I'm working and I've been issued an iPhone, a thing I never would have bought myself. I'm distressed at how much techo-lust remains in me.

I find that it does Chinese in ways that Microsoft's stuff automagically drops out in their striving to rob everyone else's feature set, and skipping effort on the stuff which stays on most peoples' shelves. Or is that what Apple does, with their sweating of all the details of look and feel and I'm just suckered in with all the rest. What do they not want me to be able to do?

I feel a touch of sadness now to be retiring my old Windows smartphone, but I just can't imagine that I'll be using it anymore. Though its "push" email was a tad more alacritous than the iPhone's. I could customize in ways the iPhone won't allow. But I'm afraid it's the Apps. The pinch to zoom and the slick way the parts all integrate.

I suppose I should be worried about the tracking, but, well you know I just learned this fascinating little tidbit I've been puzzling about since I moved to California and have to navigate these massive Mighty Niagara (nostalgic nod to canoeing in Buffalo) traffic flows. Doesn't everybody wonder? You know, how does Google maps get "realtime" traffic information?

I feel embarrassed. I'd been imagining hoards of recruits who call in their observations, and maybe money changing hands to pay for some company which has a service to monitor roadways with cameras or traffic detectors (it's true, there are such things! Which travel to your TomTom over FM channels or some such malarkey). Maybe the government makes a little money off its police reports?

But no, it turns out that this is a really cool form of crowd sourcing, where all these drivers with their location-aware phones are sending up their movements to the mother-processor, and rest assured, we're all anonomized in the cloud because, as usual, they only care about us in aggregate.

So now while I'm fighting off my urge to get an Android in my hands so's I can see how Google's anti-style stacks up against my iPhone, I ponder this: why does it feel so dangerous to question the morality of offing Osama Bin-laden without so much as a nod to a military tribunal? Is it just simply that safe now for our Commander in Chief to read our minds?

In a court of law, would there be mitigating circumstances for the radicalization of a man who'd once thought he was our friend? If he ordered the killings, then surely he must die, but what about specialist Manning now rotting in his cell for aiding and abetting the enemy? Shall we just not bother to hold our leaders accountable to the higher standards of law, since they know what we would want anyhow?

What really worries me though, is that everything has been turned into a kind of digital on-off to where you're either Republican in your thinking or Democrat and these trends tend to polarize us even internally. What happened to leadership whose job it was to raise the level of discourse to where each side could see the reasoning of the other? Isn't that what Obama promised in and by and during his campaign?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not terribly bothered that Obama's been dispatched, but I am bothered that the reason for his dispatch is about the same as the so-called birthers' reason for hating Obama. They just do. But now isn't Obama guilty of extra-judicial killing? What's the statute of distance between a man and his exalted position and the actions committed in his name or by his order? Policemen aren't allowed to shoot someone even though they might have directly witnessed a capital offence. What should we allow secretly to be done in our collective Name?

How do we feel assured that the narrative about the events as they occurred wasn't being tweaked according to our reaction, and facts trickled out or altered according to the traffic flows. There sure are a lot of stories about our enhanced investigative and other special ops techniques. We crow, we crow!

Oh yeah, and I heard this (on NPR, of course, or no, maybe it's in that podcast I refer to above): there is this new virtual french-kissing device that someone's rolled out for fun. You put a virtual tongue in your mouth and then while you're face-timing with someone you'd like to kiss and they have the same device in theirs you can feel each others' wiggles in your respective mouths. Ew!

I know the guy who has a patent on that. I'd better alert him, as though intellectual property could actually belong to someone anymore (I'm of mixed mind!). Meanwhile, you know where this is going, right? While we're all distracted by making virtual love to some Candy-2000 model hot body, the government will already know what we think we want, and then they'll give it to us without our even asking. Click to sign-off, and hey, you can't complain.

Like the other day when I got my free credit report DOT COM and then I stupidly signed up to get my free score because I could cancel at any time. But it took holding for over an hour before someone finally  answered and the scumbags still have my credit card information. Which was a pristine new number since I'd had to cancel the old one for apparent fraud.

Oh yes, I am so thrilled now with my new iPhone!!!

What a world!!

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