June 2011

Cell phone food apps mean that your closest restaurant may be behind you

I don’t have a smartphone, and iPhone or even a Blackberry.  I never thought I needed one to be a foodie or to get into my local food scene—I can look up restaurant reviews on Yelp, get directions on MapQuest and buy discounted entrees through Groupon.  But again, I am missing a technological epiphany.  Cell phone apps are changing the way foodies—and everyone else who eats—finds their new culinary obsessions, manages their food restrictions and gets good food on the cheap.  Let’s take a look at some of the best food apps out there:

Urbanspoon:The Urbanspoon app lets you create a restaurant slot machine where you punch in neighborhood, cuisine and price and then pull the lever to find a restaurant. 

OpenTable:  This app locates the restaurants close to you with GPS technology and then checks at places close to you to see if there’s a table open for you if you decide to stop in.  Only for iPhone and Android.

CouponClipper.com and Valpak: These applications help shoppers to find coupons.  They both let you bring up food coupons on your phone and Valpak uses GPS to find coupons at grocery and specialty foods shops in your vicinity. 

Cultural Palette Cleanse

I am drowning. Not physically drowning but mentally. I’ve reached my saturation point and my head is going under the water. This article is the sound of me gurgling.  Simply put there is too much. I have access to way too much information and only realizing the effect this is beginning to have on me. I suppose a little more detail might help explain my statement. I am sitting at my job scanning the internet; reading music, business, politics, and film sites. And following links to one article to the next. My job isn’t normally this slow but it’s an off day. And here I am reading up and making lists of albums I haven’t heard that I want to download, and books that I still need to get around to reading, and the list of films piling up in Netflix account is ridiculous. I keep reading about the new album from an artist I’ve always liked so I know I’m going to have to listen to it. Not to mention all the new articles on my favorite sites that I still need to get to. I can feel it all start to pile up. And then for some reason I asked why.

There are so many great films, movies, and music for me to consume that it might take me three lifetimes to hear it all. This barely takes into account all the new great works being produced. Time is a limited quantity in our lives and the internet has helped fill it up. Time is our greatest resource and it’s the thing we waste the most of. But that’s a different thought for a different day. That even from this point on if all I did was consumer and absorb all the great works out there available at my finger tips what do I hope to gain. And it also raises the question if all I do is consume the classics, and the weird, and the strange stuff everyone tells me to check out; after a while won’t they all seem ordinary.  How do I know that new Korean film is any better or worse when I don’t see any thing of less quality to compare it with? Once great because ordinary and regular in our lives where do we go from there.

The Brits Deliver Hacker Justice: Operation Cupcake

How MI6 turned Al-Qaeda bombs into cupcakes.

   

In a show of cyber-force, MI6 agents conducted a mission they dubbed "Operation Cupcake" infiltrating an al'Qaeda online magazine entitled Inspire and replacing instructions for making lethal pipe bombs made from sugar, matchheads, and lightbulbs with a recipe for something else made from sugar but significantly less lethal: cupcakes.

     The original document, a 67-page color file entitled "Make a Bomb in Kitchen of your Mom" by AQ Chef, was replaced by "The Best Cupcakes in America", a webpage from Ellen DeGeneres' show written by Dulcy Israel and produced by Main Street Cupcakes, a business in Ohio.

Flynn's Tomb: Real Horror Story or Internet Folklore?

How we create a cultural history online.

    

Before you read the rest of this article, you may want to visit Ted's Caving Page and read the story. If you're claustrophobic (as I am), you may want to take breaks. His story is horror writing 101, but of course, in the age of internet anonymity, he claims it's all true. For me, simply the tale of squeezing into the space the narrator dubbed "Flynn's Tomb" was horrifying enough, but the events that came after are truly the stuff of horror films.

Slacktivism: Social, Political, and Environmental "Activism" in the Internet Age.

How organizations use the internet to mobilize a complacent generation, and why they don't go anywhere.

    

Slacktivism: n. (slakte-vizem) the policy or action of using online social media and websites to bring about social or political change. a portmanteau of "slacker" and "activism".

     Slacktivism, so named because it requires very little on the part of the "activist", (was there ever a more ironic meaning of the word?) has drawn both praise and criticism for its use of quick online transactions in contributing to various campaigns. Also referred to as "nano-activism" this kind of direct action (which is anything but) requires very little in the way of time, commitment, or real sacrifice on the part of the actor. The question is: is it effective or does it just provide these armchair activists with a fuzzy sense of contribution? Perhaps even more damaging is whether or not slacktivism is influencing individuals that were formerly traditional activists to stay at home, replacing pickets with mouse clicks?

Citibank Hacked...Too

Hacktivist Organizations or Cyber-Counter-Culture Movement?

   

The latest in a series of high-profile, high volume hacks on major businesses, Citibank came out today revealing that it had recently been hacked and as many as 200,000 customers' personal information a may be compromised. Although they just now have reported it, the breach evidently took place early last month.

Anthony Weiner's Debauchery

He wasn't the first & won't be the last

So the case of Weiner’s wiener is solved. I couldn’t resist the pun. And regardless what you think of the man we now know more about someone than we ever cared to know. And that’s how it goes in today’s society. One misstep one viral video later and a million Google searches later and everything is known and paraded in front of you from every direction. I’m not saying Weiner didn’t deserve the treatment he got. At the very least these new batch of politicians might just want to look into high priced escorts if they’re going to cheat on their wives. It will save a few text messaging embarrassments. They could always just not get married if they still plan on cheating. In a matter of a week everyone across the country knows everything about this fairly inconsequential young congressman. And that’s how the news moves it crams a light in every corner of your life and devours what it can get its hands on.

Future Generations

What is happening to us?

 

I have to say that sometimes I’m scared for our future. Not in the Glenn Beck belief that evil forces are gathering to take down democracy type of way. No, I’m all for change and I don’t think the next generation is a bunch of screw-ups; that always seems to be older people’s complaint about the next generation; that they are soft and are never going to go anywhere or create anything. I think that argument is false. It’s just every generation’s job to complain about the next one. We are a nation of complainer’s it’s what we do best. But that’s not what this article is about. It’s about the fact that I think we have opened Pandora’s Box when it has come to technology and we have no idea what we unleashed.

Future Generation

 

I have to say that sometimes I’m scared for our future. Not in the Glenn Beck belief that evil forces are gathering to take down democracy type of way. No, I’m all for change and I don’t think the next generation is a bunch of screw-ups; that always seems to be older people’s complaint about the next generation; that they are soft and are never going to go anywhere or create anything. I think that argument is false. It’s just every generation’s job to complain about the next one. We are a nation of complainer’s it’s what we do best. But that’s not what this article is about. It’s about the fact that I think we have opened Pandora’s Box when it has come to technology and we have no idea what we unleashed.

I have fear for this next generation. The internet and technology which started with my generation has completely transformed this next generation. These are the kids that are sixteen and seventeen now. And even the younger kids who are just now reaching puberty. They have no idea of a world without social media, without all consuming video games, with a phone that can access anything, and keep them in contact with their friends. They are leading two lives by the age of thirteen. They are themselves and they are their digital self. Now which one is the real them is the question that needs to be asked. It’s been shown in study after study that people are more aggressive online more likely to engage their worst impulses. All you have to do is look at popular site message board that will tell you all you need to know about where the internet is headed. The scary part to me is that these kids’ minds are still growing and adapting and their minds are being warped by the technology that surrounds them.  I’m not saying every kid is going to be come some sick sexual deviant as some religious groups have said. The fear that I have is that we are changing what it means to be human with no idea of the repercussions.

Take a look at yourself. Think about how much time we waste at work, flipping through emails, sending texts, googling a random curiosity, and then following that down the wormhole of information.  Everyone keeps reading and reading information without us ever really knowing anything. When I think about an afternoon spent roaming the around the internet all I can think of is the massive headache I have by the end. That I’ve read and saw so much that I can’t remember anything. Now, I’m twenty-seven so I can remember the difference between reading and learning in a library and researching on the web. There is a gigantic difference and that’s what we are doing to young kids mind. We are creating youth that has no memory for holding on to information. They expect everything to be available at all times to the there phones. There brains will become scattered chasing information from every corner of the internet and only really absorbing small amounts. They will have minds that will need constant stimulation which will just read to constant distraction. I think great thing have and will come from the internet and technology but I also believe we have to take a step back and look at what we are doing to our youths and if we are changing them for the better.