Harry Potter reflecting apps-centered society?


On a scale from 1 to 10, how confused is Ron?

It strikes me that Harry Potter is remarkably similar to our apps-centered world of technology. In the 7th book/movie, Hermione conjures up a spell that turns her bag/purse into a voluminous contraption that can hold just about anything without resulting in added size or weight. The boys, Harry and Ron, are impressed with this, and it’s obvious that they’d never thought of such a thing.

In our world of technology, Hermione would be considered an “early adopter” or possibly even an “innovator,” who finds out about spells, incantations, and enchantments earlier than most and essentially influences others to use them. What if we thought of our smartphones and other gadgets, complete with their never-ending world of apps, as the wizard or witch’s magic wand? Certainly we’ll never learn about all the spells, and may never really want to. But, we can know about some, and in exploring their uses, their pros and cons for ourselves, we will simplify our lives with the use of magic – something not created or even fully understood by us.

But, we also have to be aware of the side effects of dependence on “magic.” Magic is costly ($$$ per app), addictive (think of the Windows Phone Commercials, watch below), and will almost always result in controlling its user when it is not respected.

So, are you Hermione, whose use of magic is the result of her own exhaustive research? Are like Ron, who, although rather inept at performing magic, still pushes forward despite his shortcomings, even if such effort results in nothing but frustration? Or are you more like Harry, whose natural talent and distracted personality leave him somewhere in the middle knowing how to use some of the existing magic most applicable to his situation very well?

You know what comes next: I hope you’re not a Voldemort, punch-drunk on magic and the power it brings him.


Are bloggers journalists?


Or, is your blog a newspaper?

As a blogger, I probably have an over-inflated view of my blog, thinking that it’s legitimately on par with the greatest of newspapers. While these assumptions are clearly the result of my ego, we may soon see the courts set a precedent for whether bloggers can be defined as true journalists.

An article posted on Media Decoder, a blog by The New York Times, recounts the recent seizure of the personal property belonging to Jason Chen, a blogger for Gizmodo. If you recall, Gizmodo has been all over the news wires for the past week after purchasing an alleged lost prototype of the next generation iPhone.

These quotes from Media Decoder will likely be referenced in countless news stories in the weeks and months to come as this case goes to court:

“Under both state and federal law, a search warrant may not be validly issued to confiscate the property of a journalist,” she wrote in a letter to San Mateo County, Calif., authorities on Saturday. “Jason is a journalist who works full time for our company,” she continued, adding that he works from home, his “de facto newsroom.”

“It is abundantly clear under the law that a search warrant to remove these items was invalid. The appropriate method of obtaining such materials would be the issuance of a subpoena,” Ms. Darbyshire continued.

Clearly, Chen does not work for a “mainstream” media outlet, but his work is defined by his employer as that of a journalist. In this age of emerging citizen journalism, the question is finally being asked, and soon, we may have have a legal answer.

Apple’s losing it, literally

New iPhone

Courtsey of GIZMODO.com

At first, I couldn’t believe it. An Apple employee mistakenly left his iPhone prototype at the pub. It’s hilarious.

And after a little while of trying to figure out if it was legitimately from Apple and not some imitation, the Web site that has been reporting the entire saga was asked to give back the prototype device in a kindly written letter from a senior vice president at the company.

This all comes just weeks after Apple released the iPad to the general public, and only a few months after it debuted to the media.  In the days leading up to its original debut, media prophets were consulting their crystal balls in hopes that their greatest fantasies would finally come true in this new invention. Unfortunately, many critics were disappointed that the iPad didn’t support Flash technology and that you couldn’t make phone calls or multitask.

I’m just sad that they called it the iPad instead of the iSlate.

Regardless, the release of the iPad said something about Apple’s serious commitment to securing its creative property under lock, key, and electronic password until the exact point in time it should be made public.

This little incident, on the other hand, says something entirely different about media companies and their all-too-serious outlook on the future of technology. I hope that the corporate executives of the large media companies understand this, but the future is going to come – there is nothing you can do to stop it. One day, your product will be released, people will purchase it, and you will release a subsequent product with minor adjustments that even more people will purchase.

This is why the leak of the new iPhone prototype is so comical to me. It’s not that new of a piece of technology. It’s an improvement upon something they’ve already created. If you had given iPhone users the chance to come together and brainstorm what the next generation of iPhone would look like, they probably would have come up with something remarkably similar to what was leaked (according to the social construction of technology theory).

Then again, this could all be an elaborate media stunt created by Apple to distract us from the real future iPhone.

In conclusion, my undergraduate advanced writing class taught me a few things, but one of the important things it taught me was not to take myself (or sports writing) so seriously. Technology is technology is technology. It’s going to come out, and it’s going to be replaced. We live in an extremely disposable world, and we are becoming more disposable by the day. The quicker technology inventors understand this, the more productive I think we’ll be as a society in the future.