Sean Berry's Thoughts on The Human Mind, Behavior, Movies, Video Games, Television, Technology, Internet, Culture, and Everything Else In Between


iPhone and Me

Posted by sean berry on February 5, 2011 at 5:24 PM Comments comments (0)

The future is upon us and although it seems bleak at times, there are a lot of neat toys to play with while the fate of the world is being decided.  As most of you well know,the iPhone is nothing new, but my experience with it is.  I was leery of the device when it first came out, as I have always avoided fads initially with a little bit of arrogance,but after acquiring one only a few days ago, I have come to one very distinct conclusion:  this is one bad ass little  machine! 


Now while most of you are well aware of its existence and features, namely because you may own one yourself or have several friends that do, I’m sure there may be a few of you out there that know little of the device and what exactly it can do.  An iPhone,like the Blackberry and Droid, is a “smart phone”, which means it’s more or less a micro computer that also functions as a cell phone.  The first thing you will notice about the iPhone is its sleek and slim design.  It feels silky smooth in your hand but I will admit that the boxy shape of it doesn’t make for the most comfortable phone call.  The flip side to that negative though is that has a large touch screen on it that allows you to navigate through the many options, apps, and settings.  As with any other phone, it has a camera, a damn good one at that and you can also record video for a few minutes based on how much space you have free.   


All the text within the phone is clear and bright and the sound is pretty decent though not spectacular at loud volumes.  I have to charge it about once a day, which is typical for pretty much any phone I’ve ever owned.  Now I want to be clear that I am not writing this article as a sort of advertisement for the iPhone but more or less smart phones in general, as a lot of them have the same features and basic layout.  I like that you can take a picture of someone and then assign it their contact information and their picture will come up when they call.  Another neat feature is the voice command system which lets you call people and other simple tasks by talking alone, though it has screwed up a couple times for me but not enough for me to actually stop using it. 


For me the number one reason why the iPhone is so damn cool is the applications that you can download for it.  There are TV channels you can stream videos from as well as radio stations that you can hear music.  There are apps that let your iPhone listen toa song and then tell you what song it is and what album it’s on and what artist created it.  You can basically turn your iPhone into a metal detector, a grocery list, a personal assistant, a flashlight, voice modulator, covert listening device, digital scale, level and plumb bob, ruler, note pad, scanner, piano, guitar, drum kit, dog whistle,mirror, police scanner, eye test, hearing test, alarm clock, soundscape, just about any game you can think of and so many more that I don’t even have room to list as new ones are being released weekly. I really like the fact that for a buck or two I can add a completely new function to my phone and honestly, 90% of my apps were free.  Most the time, every app you would normally pay for will have a free version which is just stripped of some of its features.  Like with any device, not all the apps work perfectly and some better than others, but I plan on doing a more formal review of some of the apps in the future so as to save people some time and give some feedback on my own experiences and uses of some of these programs.   


My original reason for not getting the iPhone was that when it originally came out I was not with AT&T and I also didn’t want to pay $200+ for a phone.  I broke my old phone last week and when I went to the AT&T store to pick out a new one, I saw that it was only $50 and there was no way I was passing it up on that price!  Now there are smart phones available for every cell phone carrier just about, though the iPhone still maintains a bit of celebrity status about it. To me this iPhone is a taste of the future in that I can see how these personal technological devices bring man and machine closer.   A friend of mine had heard someone say that once you get an iPhone, you can never go back to anything else, which is understandable because I interact with it quite a bit and it serves me many purposes.   So in closing, we live in an age where technology is evolving and we get to bear witness to the change that ensues.  Maybe one day the world might go to shit, but for now, I’m going to enjoy my shiny things and sweets.   



Granny Has an Ipod & Granda is Smoking Electronic Cigarettes

Posted by sean berry on August 22, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The future is upon us and practically anything we could have envisioned in the past is coming true this very day.  We have robots that can play the violin, cars that can remind us of what to do, and even self check out lines just in case you want to skip the whole ritual of human interaction and scan items yourself.  Sure, we don't have Dick Tracey's wrist communicator, but we have Iphones that can do pretty much the same thing, albeit, with more applications to boot.  The fact is, technology is creeping into our lives and even the people that were opposed to it before are finding themselves more and more enveloped by it.  There doesn't seem a single time that I don't go to the gym and see countless old ladies shuffling along on the treadmills, with white head phones trailing down into a clean white Ipod filled with God-knows what kind of music.  I don't even have an Ipod yet, just some shitty knock off that cost me about $20, but i'll be damned if it isn't superior to the days of old when you would have to try and jog while holding a cd player--now those were the fucking days!

Will human innovation ever change?  Will we one day just decide to say,fuck it, we've come up with enough cool things, let's just start unmaking things now?  The answer to this is clear: absolutely not, but even so,there will always be some part of the population which chooses to keep technology at bay.  You know, the uncle who's afraid to even turn on the computer for fear of breaking it and the aunt who thinks the talking car is possessed.  Then there will be the people who have been born into a pool of information technology, the super kids of modern day who will reprogram yourcomputer while they have convinced you they just want to sign on to play a game of solitaire.  Technology has become the new proverbial bone to bash over one another's heads.  Our next tool of social and individual manipulation and behavioral direction and modification. 

It's no surprise why we invent though, because in reality, the world around us is filled with so many complex systems that we will never be able to even touch until our knowledge of the universe has grown far beyond the realms of where it is today.  Our very brains themselves, while in some respects lacking the processing power of a room full of super computers, are still able to think circles around them.  We are, in a sense, only making shittier versions of products which nature has already created itself.  Sure, we can make a robot that can do any thing a person can do, but will it feed itself as well? Will it take a shit and also wipe it's own ass?  They will get there and probably about that time, mankind will be seeking its next "John Connor" in hopes of wiping out the robot revolution.


It is easy to understand the fear that some people have of exponentially growing technology.  Where does it stop when every single invention seems to replace the function of somebody else?  The very things that connect us to things are also the very things that keep us seperated.  For example, we have listened to cd's for years now, when all around us are musicians and bands who play music live.  That doesn't mean that we don't listen to these people as well, but still in a very basic sense, we are less a part of their world, as they are more a part of ours.  As the universe outside our world expands, we become further isolated ourselves, but the thing is, the seperation is only possible because of the links we build between one another. I can talk to a hundred strangers and never leave my house now, but a hundred years ago, to do such a thing would require a great deal more locomotion. Though a lot of people could argue that the types of connections people make via technology nowadays lack the kind of substance any real meeting would provide, but even those people have to wonder just how long will that be a factor?  There may come a time when linking up to technology can provide us with an understanding of one another that was simply not even possible before, as we may in fact be able to literally understand how other people think and see the world. 


The future will always be unwritten, but to some people, much of its path has already been laid out before us.  It is in our nature that we adapt and progress and more importantly, strive for a quality of life we find pleasing.  So fight the tide or ride the wave, but always keep in mind, you can choose to do what you want, but the world will do the same.


Computer Dependency

Posted by sean berry on July 31, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

You know the old saying, "You never know what you have until you lose it?"  Well, I found that out a couple weeks ago when a virus gang raped my computer.  It crashed, it burned, and I lost nearly everything and a good chunk of change restoring it to working order.  When I was off the grid, I definitely felt a sense of seperation, like the gateway to another world had been closed and I was sitting there staring at it hoping for it to open again.  We live in an age ofinformation, but then again, we always have, but now it is primarily digitized, instead of just things that we take in with most of our senses.  It is amazing the accessibility we have with the online world when compared to what we have to do in real life.  Most anything you can do online can almost always be done with a phone as well, but the main difference is the speed. 


Just as walking gave way to horses and they gave way to cars, we are constantly evolving in speed and capacity.  When I didn't have access to the internet, I had to call my bank to find out my balance and what checks had been cashed and I had to watch the news to get the weather forecasts.  When I didn't know where a certain street was, I had to call someone and ask because I don't even have a map of my local town any more.  Not having a computer made me realize how dependent I was on them, even for writing itself, as I absolutely abhor writing manually because I just find it easier to type then I do to write, not to mention it is faster.  So again, it's about speed.


Since we are but mortal creatures, it's no wonder our fascination with technology in general, as it grants us many things at the click of a few keys.  This dependency also scares me too because it is just that--a need.  Like gun powder and horses, computers have shifted the direction of man kind, some would argue for the better and many would argue for the worse.  I would say it's right in the middle because many people use computers for great things like analysis and research, but on the flip side, people can also use them to create chaos and financial ruin.  As with anything we choose to integrate into our lives, we must know the inherent risks that come with it.  We must choose to weigh between convenience and security, but as time moves forward, the choices are being made for us. 


Think of the last time you had to go into a bank to get money out?  Think of how many touch tone menus you've been through versus talking with a real operater.  Have you noticed the slow increase in the number of self-checkout isles in various stores?  In the end, we are simply recreating ourselves and the potential of what we can do with every machine we build.  There will be a time when you will upgrade your computer and it will mean that you will think faster because it will more than likely be linked to your own brain.  I am fascinated by the prospect and why fight something which may be artificial in nature but was born out of something very much natural, which is our ingrained desire to adapt and survive in whatever environment we live.


There will probably always be places where you can enjoy "the good ole'days" and not every one is in neck deep in technology, but it's growing fast and there will be fewer places to hide from it as a consequence.  All I can really say is keep your files backed up, don't forget about paper, and if we're going to use machines to replace people, then replace our soldiers so they don't have to die and we can just waste metal and resources instead of lives to win our wars.  While we do create the technology around us, it is becoming clear that it is also recreating us and to what end we will not really know until...well, the end.


The Perils and Pleasures of Online Courting

Posted by sean berry on June 19, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

We live in an age of evolving technology whereby all of what we do is being extended by the machines we create.  We have gone from having to hunt for our food in a forest to hunting for information on the computer.  In the case of internet dating, we have gone from meeting people at random to looking through profiles and contacting them via email or instant message.  There are a ton of differing opinions on the value of the internet as a viable medium for couples to meet.  Some people say that all of the people online are potential killers or crazy people with nothing but time on their hands which they use to stalk their pray.  More optimistically, others think of it as a place where people who don't get to go out as much have an opportunity to do a bit of socializing and possibly meet a potential mate.  While the negative assumptions about online dating are certainly not without merit, one has to understand that people are dangerous no matter where you meet them.

The truth of the matter is that we never truly "know" someone until you have spent a lot of time with them and even then there is still stuff people can hide.  The most awkward part of meeting someone online is that you haven't "met" them  physically, which is itself a rush of multisensory perceptions that can often produce a very definite physical effect, whereas you can still feel something for someone online but when you do meet finally, the physical and mental impressions may not line up.  Although we don't get quite the deep physiological rush online as we can in real life, the imagination is still quite a powerhouse in that it can make something as real as we want it to be even in the absence of any physical proof.  In a sense, meeting someone online is like looking through a portal to find the person for you.

So when we look through this portal, we don't always get to see a moving face, our imaginations are left instead with some flattering or in some cases, unflattering pics to inspire us further.  What we get online is the exchange of dialogue and we begin to create roles with one another to some progressive end, whether good or bad.  One's success depends a lot on the ability to evaluate who might potentially be fun, pursue a working trust with them and then meet in the real world. 

This is not to say the medium is irreparably flawed, it just means that when you meet someone online and start to like them, those feelings can be quickly erased, but that's not to say that having a bad date with someone you met around and about town doesn't have the same potential.  It does but because deception is easier online, the negative stigma behind online dating is obviously much more prevalent.  Does it really matter how people meet, so much as the fact that they do?

I think it all just comes down to your own perceptions of what people's intentions are, but ultimately it's success relies on your own judgment of character and the choices you make towards getting to know someone and ultimately meeting that other person.  So, in closing, is online dating any more dangerous than real dating?  I think not.  Don't most rapes happen by people that the victim knows and trusts and that certainly wouldn't describe someone you were meeting offline.  If you think about it, you can sometimes fish out a liar online before you ever have to waste a dime on some drinks and dinner, so use technology to your benefit, especially if you don't like to go out and meet people or get the opportunity.  There are many ways to meet a person, so if you are looking for that special someone, the internet is just a good a place as any to look because you never really know who you are going to find.