Tag Archives: techno-holic

Jeneral finds of the week: 2016-09-20

One man’s constant connection to the endless news and media feed and how it broke him. The differences between being rude, mean, and a bully. And the amazing tale of two brothers’ discovery that their parents were not Canadian emigrants to the US, but rather Russian spies. That’s the Jeneral Finds of the week: 2016-09-20

This is your brain on continuous information feed

The pervasive usage of digital devices is on my mind a lot lately. And by lately, I mean for the last two years. It started off as an exercise to come up with a strategy of how and when I would be comfortable getting a mobile phone for my daughters. As I read and think more though, the exercise is quickly morphing into examining what my own device usage is doing to me.

Andrew Sullivan’s long-form piece “I used to be a human being: Technology almost killed me” in the New York Magazine this week is an eye-opening cautionary tale. It is all the more terrifying to foresee how easily many more of us will experience the same breakdown as Sullivan.

Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying

My younger daughter got pinched and pushed to the ground by another unknown child at school last week. When she later worked up the courage to tell me about it, she started off her story with “I was bullied today”. A phrase that sends the heart up the throat of any parent.

The info in “Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying: Defining the Differences”, by Signe Whitson, was helpful to keep in mind while I assessed whether I needed to be alarmed about the occurrence. (thankfully it seems to be an isolated incident of a kid being super rude) With the hyper awareness and classroom discussion on the issue of bullying now in our schools, it is not surprising that she labels all aggressive behaviour as “bullying”.

Most of all, I am so proud of her that she put her hapkido self-defence training to use. She told us she immediately confronted the child by making a stop sign with her hand and saying assertively, “Stop that! That was not nice!”. She was shaken up by the experience that day, but she seems be be okay now.

The Spies who loved me

The day we discovered our parents were Russian spies“, by Shaun Walker in The Guardian is a fascinating read. The title of the article says it all; it’s a crazy story out of a TV show plot that happens to be true and real life.


The iPod was a gateway drug.

Last week’s announcement of the Apple iPhone 6/6S and Apple Watch got me thinking back to those early, innocent days of when a mp3 music player called an iPod was launched. At its design core it was a revolutionary way for people to interact with their music. Their marketing then capitalized on this through capturing the joy that people had when using it.

It was a cultural revolution. You could sense that there was this seismic shift happening, even though you may not have been conscious about it. No one wanted to miss out on being a part of the revolution into the future. And so the iPod was a gateway drug for getting us hooked to the desire and aspiration for personal electronics.

Then the iPhone was launched, and with the iPhone 3G version it brought the smartphone away from the paradigm of being a phone and email tool (predominantly associated with business and government) into the realm of a personal “life” tool. Gaming, snapshot photography, YouTube, and importantly, the rise of social media applications: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Anyone armed with the new smartphones could now create content for anyone else to view, anywhere, anytime. Another cultural revolution into the future. And boy you did not want to miss out on this one. Being left behind would not only make you out of touch with the cultural touchstones of the day, but also your friends and family. Addiction complete.

The ensuing versions of each of these products then dealt with making the devices smaller, faster, bigger storage, better cameras, etc, so the perceived utility of each subsequent version seemed to be increasing. And so we keep buying into it, because we are already addicted to the sexiness of being part of the future.

Relevant Oatmeal comic.

For me though, I’ll be taking a pass on the Apple Watch. I’m content with my current level of addition, striving to be a functional techno-holic.