Walk This Way: Kid Gives Up iPod for Walkman, Rides Dinosaur to School & Eats Wooly Mammoth for Lunch

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Giving up my iPod for a Walkman.

Okay, I’ll admit it. People who don’t take the time to keep up with new technology annoy me. Your life could be so much simpler/easier/more fun, and yet you continue to use a bulky day planner and a Razr that can’t even browse the internet.

It’s one thing if you can’t afford new gadgets (hell, even I’m too broke to upgrade my iPhone to the latest model), but if you’re reading this blog on IE6 and it’s in your power to upgrade to IE7 (or, better yet, Firefox), not doing so isn’t just stupid, it’s selfish.

It seems like every day, development on the site I work at is affected by browser issues, monitor sizing issues, etc. Why? Because the tech industry may be moving forward at breakneck speeds, but most people seem to have put the brakes on their personal technology in 2002.

So, when you refuse to upgrade to the latest version of your internet browser, or you don’t bother to enable Javascript, or you (gasp) use a computer with a  monitor the size of my cell phone screen, you’re not just hurting yourself. You’re hurting me. And all of the developers I work with. And that’s just selfish of you.

Now, anti-Luddite diatribes aside, there is something kind of cool about ‘vintage’ technology. Note, I said ‘vintage,’ not ‘outdated.’ What’s the difference you ask? Vintage technology is the stuff you keep around for the hipster cred (your old turntable from the 70s, your Atari from the 80’s, the boom box you toted around on your shoulder pads in the 90’s). Outdated technology is the stuff you actually use, even though you should have thrown it out with those shoulder pads many moons ago.

And, when it comes to vintage technology, nothing quite has the cred (at least for my generation) of the walkman. That bulky box of cassette playing convenience, with its large buttons and its magical battery-sucking powers. It was the precursor to the Discman, which was the precursor to the iPod (of course), and it was the first piece of technology that most members of my generation ever owned.

Go through the drawers in my childhood room, and you;ll probably even find a few stray tapes – Sublime’s self-titled album (which I snuck into the house and then had to replace after my mom found and destroyed it), The Offspring’s “Americana” (same story there), a large collection of parentally-approved Beatles tapes (which were actually the only parentally-approved tapes I owned), etc. You get the point.

When I was a kid, the walkman was more than just a portable music player. It was a symbol. A badge. A physical manifestation of those first feelings of  teenage rebellion beginning to bubble under the surface of my pre-teen pituitaries. With its large, green headphone jack and its rough, round volume button, my walkman was my first refuge from the chaos and the cacophony of a crowded house.

That’s why I found this article so interesting. In it, a modern-day kid reacts to having his beloved iPod replaced with a big, old fashioned walkman. The results? The kids on the bus laugh at him, the teachers at school get all nostalgic at the sight of the device and he goes days before he figures out that there’s two sides to the tape he’s listening to. It’s a fascinating read — particularly the part about his solution to the problem of the walkman not having a shuffle feature — and it did do its part in reminding me of how fast technology moves. What was once the center of my gadget universe is now an antiquated piece of machinery that doesn’t even make sense to a modern-day kid.

Ultimately, I have to admit that the article did give me just a shred more empathy for those people with the old monitors and the slow DSL connections. Maybe machines are just moving too fast for them, and maybe it’s alright that us web folks sometimes have to slow things down to accomodate thir needs. Just because they’re outdated, doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be totally out of the loop. Unless of course they’re using IE5, in which case they can go find something else to play with. I hear butter churners are quite fun.

My first time…

So, this is officially my first post from the wordpress app I just installed on Donatello. (For the uninitiated, Donatello is my iPhone. So named because he has a purple shell. And because he loves pizza, of course).

Anyway, for my first time, I figured what better way to pop my iPhone posting cherry than with something that actually happened in the world outside the interwebs (yes, that world does still exist).

Here’s a picture I took today of a homeless lady feeding the pigeons on Hollywood Blvd…very Mary Poppins.

Were it not for the constant connection of my phone to the web and my fingers to my phone, sharing that moment would never have been possible.

Isn’t all this connectivity great?

Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey Laments Its Sudden Popularity With Political Protesters

“Twitter was intended to be a way for vacant, self-absorbed egotists to share their most banal and idiotic thoughts with anyone pathetic enough to read them. When I heard how Iranians were using my beloved creation for their own means—such as organizing a political movement and informing the outside world of the actions of a repressive regime—I couldn’t believe they’d ruined something so beautiful, simple, and absolutely pointless.” – Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey

. . .

Psych! That brilliant piece of self satire could only come from one place. Yes, that’s right, The Onion has finally gotten around to satirizing everyone’s favorite social network. Too bad they didn’t do it in 140 characters or less  — with  the article clocking in at -860 characters on my twitter text box, I’m not sure I can sit still long enough to read the whole thing, let alone tweet it. And if I can’t tweet it, it must not be worth my time. Right Jack?

Dear Mom: Use This

My mother hates grocery shopping. She says it gives her a migraine. I developed a taste for cereal with apple juice when she was pregnant with my brothers, because she couldn’t even bring herself to go into a supermarket, let alone walk all the way back to the dairy case to pick up milk. Not that I minded. Believe it or not, applejacks + apple juice = a five year old’s dream food.

Anyway, I digress. And, I pretty much just signed myself up for a phone call from mom tonight, asking me why I had to go and humiliate her on my blog. Sorry mom. If it helps balance things out, I’ll tell everyone how when you came home from a long, late night of anchoring the local news, you would sneak Almond Joys into my lunch with little handwritten napkin notes telling me how much you loved me. There, now please don’t kill me.

Anyway, the point is, my mom was a busy woman when I was growing up. A busy woman with an aversion to all things Albertson’s. If only Alice.com had been around for her then. You see, this new site combines coupons, online shopping, free shipping, good deals, regular reminders of the stuff you’re probably running low on, planning, budgeting and even analytics into the online shopping equation — all of which makes picking up a carton of milk at the local grocery store seem as passe as pouring apple juice on your apple jacks.

I checked the site out today, after reading a glowing review on Mashable. Not that mashable prints any kind of review other than the glowing variety, but that’s a whole different blog post. Anyway, suffice it to say, it’s pretty cool. The interface is clean and inviting, the feature set is certainly at least as sweet as Mashable said it was and — the best part — the prices for many things are lower than what I’ve been paying at my local Ralph’s.

The only negatives from my perspective — Fresh & Easy and Trader Joe’s still give Alice.com a run for its money on the pricing front, and the database leaves something to be desired when it comes to niche items, organics and groceries in general. A search for cheese produced plenty of varieties of cheese crackers, but they still haven’t figured out how to handle stocking actual, perishable cheese. That said, the shipping is free and this is clearly a great alternative to running to your local Costco when your toilet paper supply is running low.

If only they could figure out how to hand out free frozen wonton samples while I shopped. . .

There are no words to say about this, except that you should watch it.

Warning: This video contains graphic violence, which I think is necessary for us to see. If you disagree, don’t watch it.

Mommy Dearest

As this is Father’s Day eve, I feel as though it is an opportune time to confess something that’s been bothering me for the past few weeks…please don’t judge me too harshly for what I’m about to say.

I’m a bad mother.

There, I said it.

You see, a while ago I gave birth to this blog. I labored over themes, pushed to Facebook and Twitter, and even woke up in the middle of the night to tend to its needs (aka: to shut my phone off when it beeped with an email notification telling me that I had a comment to moderate).

For the first few months, I was a diligent parent. I cared for my blog every day, lovingly feeding it tidbits of tech news, making sure its posts got changed, keeping it sheltered from spam. I loved my blog, I nurtured it and I upheld my end of the unspoken bargain we made when I first created it.

Then, I got busy. Well, busier. With Ranker just two weeks away from a soft launch (woot!), I’ve spent the past couple of months in the pre-launch pressure cooker, where there’s never enough time in the day, enough energy in the evening or enough vitamin C on the shelf to keep you doing anything beyond the bare minimum of what’s required to live a life beyond work.

Unfortunately, being a working mom took its toll on my  baby. All of a sudden, it was spending days, weeks, even (gasp) months neglected. Its posts weren’t getting changed, it was starving for new news, and spam seemed to start circling around its edges like vultures, hungrily eyeing my baby as tonight’s dinner du jour.

The whole thing was very octomom. Or, for those of you who have actually had the time to keep track of celebrity (or in this case faux-lebrity) news in the past few months, it was very Kate Gosselin.

It looked like my baby was doomed to languish alone on the interwebs, destined to be a wasteland of great intentions gone awry, just like so many other blogs before it.  And if you think the story of my sad orphaned blog paints me as a bad mother, you should hear the stories my friends and family have about my recent availability (or lack thereof) for them.

Then, on Thursday, I went to my little brother Jake’s high school graduation. It just so happens that Jake’s class contains all the kids I babysat for as a teenager, plus many kids that I taught in Hebrew School, a long long time ago.

Watching all the kids I once sang to sleep, marched to the principal’s office and watched Mary Kate and Ashley videos with, walking proudly down to pick up their high school diplomas made me feel old. (I can only imagine how it makes Mary Kate and Ashley feel).

It also reminded me of how quickly time flies. And how much I don’t want my time to be solely characterized by my work.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my work. Even though I kind of fell into it by accident, product managing for a dynamic, cutting-edge consumer website just so happens to be the career I’ve always craved, even if I didn’t know it until I started doing it. But, if watching the cap-clad kids reminded me of anything, it was that my life is and should be about much more than just functional requirements, wireframes, buttons and bug fixes.

So, my blog, my baby, I am back. I hope you’ll forgive me for taking so much time away from you. For spending the past month firing off quick, thoughtless posts, or no posts at all. For ignoring the comments you begged me to moderate, and for neglecting to give you the posts and promotion you deserve.

In all fairness though, you should know that you’re not the only beneficiary of my graduation revelation. Between my friends and family, my freelancing, my favorite classes at the gym and the long list of exhibits, movies, and books I’d like to get to, you’re still not going to be the sole focus of my time. But I hope you remember that every time I do something for myself, it makes me a better caretaker for you.

At least that’s what those Suave ads in all the magazines that I’m finally getting around to reading say.

What to do for my birthday? | Ranker – A World of Lists

What to do for my birthday? | Ranker – A World of Lists

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Back To The Future

According to this Mashable article, between mind-reading motherboards, twittering toasters and bras with built-in sensors, technology is about to get more tactile. It’s a fascinating article, and it even includes a shout-out to the ultimate time traveling teen idol, Marty McFly. Definitely worth a lunchtime read.