Author Archives: Philip Berne

By day, Philip Berne works for a major mobile technology manufacturer. At night, he dons his Batman cape and cowl, pours himself a dram, and sits in a dark room contemplating the intersection of culture and technology. His opinions were originally his own, but have since been digitally enhanced by George Lucas.

iVote Therefore I Am

iVote Therefore I Am

If you're living in the United States right now, chances are you're sick of hearing about elections and politics. That's why I'm writing this today, instead of last week. I want to ride the coattails of that nausea and make a suggestion for the future of voting. The problem, I think, is that politicians do not care about you. They are ignoring you, and right they should. You don't matter. Your issues don't matter. Your concerns don't matter. Politicians only care about one type of person, and it's not you, because chances are, you didn't vote.

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What Zuckerberg Never Said About the iPad

What Zuckerberg Never Said About the iPad

Facebook held a press conference about its new mobile strategy on Wednesday. In a nutshell, Facebook is updating apps for Android and iOS, and it is not building a Facebook phone. Instead, it's going to be platform agnostic and try to treat all platforms equally.

Ho-hum. Sounds pretty dull, right? I mean, no hardware announcement. No shiny phone to handle and photograph. The big news is that you'll be able to log onto your favorite poker app with your Facebook ID. Oh, and Facebook is going to start offering local coupons, based on location. You could practically see the crowd falling asleep.

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Movie Review: Saw 3D

Movie Review: Saw 3D

I walked into Saw 3D with only one expectation. Having skipped the last few Saw movies, I figured that I would understand what was going on without knowing the plot. After all, the first Saw movie had arguably little plot, and the next one I watched had even less. So, I figured that by the time they reached the penultimate Saw, the film would probably have been reduced to simple bloody vignettes. The so-called traps. Unfortunately for me, I was even wrong on this count. The writers of Saw 3D actually took it upon themselves to craft a plot and wrap up any loose ends. This is the idiocy of Saw 3D in a nutshell. It's a movie that has no idea how terrible it really is.

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The Myth of the Apple Bias

The Myth of the Apple Bias

If you work for a Web site that covers consumer electronics, eventually you are going to be accused of two things: having an Apple bias and trying to destroy Finland. The backlash against Apple coverage is exquisite, as far as baseless Internet accusations go. It's not quite on the level of 9/11 conspiracy nutjobs or the racist and homophobic bigots you'll find scouring YouTube comments, but it does have its own patterns. Beyond simple bias, I've seen numerous Web sites accused of taking actual bribes and payments from Apple. Are these accusations completely without merit? The answer is complicated.

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Eating the Dog’s Food

Eating the Dog’s Food

I knew a woman who worked for a packaged goods company. She worked on snack foods, but the company, a huge, multi-national conglomerate, also made high quality pet foods. If you visited her at work, her desk would be covered in the crunchy snacks she helped create. Next to her desk, her neighbor had an unfortunate supply of rat poison, the product on which he worked. A few desks down, a co-worker kept an open bowl of dog treats on the desk.

"Do you folks get a lot of dogs visiting?" I asked, assuming that he was keeping treats around for four-legged guests.

"No," she said. "He eats those."

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The Epidemic of Update Fever

The Epidemic of Update Fever

While I was working as a teacher, I got a job moonlighting at an Apple retail store in a high-class mall in the Boston area. I worked as a Mac Specialist on the sales floor, and the most common question I got was whether the customer should buy now, or wait until the next version came out. Inevitably, that laptop or iPod they bought today would be rendered obsolete by a faster version with more memory and a lower price tag. Apple is pretty good about helping you out if you just bought your new kit the day before the newer version is released, but after about a month, you're boned. This is the way with technology. There are three things you can count on in life: death, the planned obsolescence of the cool gadget you just bought, and taxes.

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Please Touch This

Please Touch This

Last night, an embargo lifted and a stream of technology sites posted reviews for a major new product launch. I'm not going to bother telling you which launch, that isn't the point, and you can probably figure it out (hint: not the MacBook Air). It's always a rush to be part of that initial surge of interest. It's hard to sleep afterwards. Instead, I took to Twitter and started posting my thoughts and answering questions.

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I Don’t Use It, Why Should You?

I Don’t Use It, Why Should You?

I use my DVD drive all the time. Some readers may laugh, but I actually pay for movies and music content. Sometimes, I'll find a deal on a movie or a CD that is better than what I could find online. I take it home, I rip it to my laptop, and it's mine, convenient and digital. I used my DVD drive when I installed Windows 7 on my MacBook, and when I had to reinstall iWork, after iMovie started crashing again. In my old Camry, my tape deck stopped working, and that's my favorite way to connect my iPod to my car stereo. Radio transmitters don't work reliably in my area, but instead of shelling out a few hundred bucks to buy a proper car stereo for a car that won't last me through next year, I did what we used to do back in the old days. I burned a CD.

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Movie Review: Jackass 3D

Movie Review: Jackass 3D

First, an apology. To properly review "Jackass 3D," I'm going to have to make many references to a man's nether regions. I'm going to run out of synonyms. I will try to keep this column family friendly, as the SlashGear overlords prefer, so I'll err on the side of being repetitive. Needless to say, when the producers titled this movie "Jackass 3D," they really had things backwards. The movie is not about the rear end. It's mostly concerned with the other side of things, as it were.

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The Privilege of Overnight Delivery

The Privilege of Overnight Delivery

I've been waiting for a FedEx package for a couple days now. This is one of the best parts of being a technology journalist. Often, I get notice that something cool is coming my way, and I track it online and wait for it in my pajamas like I'm a kid on Christmas morning. Only, for me, Christmas morning happens about a dozen times a month, more or less. Today, I'm waiting for a package that was scheduled to arrive at 3PM yesterday. This one wasn't urgent. In fact, I'm not even allowed to tell you what's in the package until some time next week (and now I've said too much), so there's no tight deadline. But I realized this morning, after getting off the phone with FedEx, that of all the companies I deal with, professionally and personally (the gadget companies, the cell phone carriers, the banks, the car mechanics and home appliance repair shops, etc.) I've had consistently the worst time with overnight shipping. I've had a better lifetime experience with Bank of America and Sprint than I have with FedEx and UPS.

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