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.

The Simplest Things Are Not The Cheapest

The Simplest Things Are Not The Cheapest

My parents bought my toddler a kid’s tablet as a Hanukkah gift. I had been checking out the VTech Innotab and Leap Frog Leapster tabs as options for him. They bought him the Innotab, with an accompanying, rugged digital camera built for kids. The Innotab is a tough little device, with rubber bumpers all around. It has a resistive touchscreen and a stylus that slots into the back. It comes with some basic programs, and you can download more apps from the company website. It's almost easy enough, but having used it for a few months with my son, I’ve come to realize a fascinating change in the state of technology. The more you pay for a product, the simpler it becomes.

Continue Reading

Keep the Discs in my Xbox and PlayStation

Keep the Discs in my Xbox and PlayStation

The prognostication on the next generation of consoles has begun. Like Federal elections, it probably began the minute the last generation hit the market. No sooner does the Playstation 3 hit the market than spectators start wondering about the PlayStation 4. Did they expect Sony or Microsoft to roll over and play dead? Well, in the case of Sega, this may have actually happened. But while I enjoy a good product rumor as much as the next tech junkie, I think that it is not only too early to start discussing the next generation of console, it might even be dangerous for us, the players.

Continue Reading

The Social Interview

The Social Interview

I should have known something was wrong when I sat down at the table. My interviewer was well dressed. She wore a neat pants suit and her hair was pulled back in a somewhat severe bun. But the questions she asked seemed out of place for the setting. She started by picking up my resume and asking about my college days.

“I see you went to Brandeis University. I had a friend who went there. Did you know Shana Liebowitz?”

Continue Reading

I Cheat at Foursquare

I Cheat at Foursquare

My name is Philip Berne, and I cheat at Foursquare. I’m unrepentant and I have no remorse for my behavior. I will not stop, even now that my secret is out. What are you going to do about it?

I check into places I have not been. Sometimes, those places are far away from where I’m sitting. Before I ever visited Good 2 Go Taco, I checked in there on Foursquare. I was more than 10 miles away at the time. I did it to needle my boss, who was mayor of the joint at the time. I was threatening to steal all of his mayorships from him, and I knew that Good 2 Go was his most prized mayoral possession.

Continue Reading

Sqoot and Skedaddle

Sqoot and Skedaddle

If there is a rule to being offensive, it’s this: you can say whatever you like, as long as it’s funny. That’s true on stage, on the Web, and in person. I’ve been friends with some truly offensive people. They have said horrible things to me, things that echo the bullies and tormentors of middle school days gone by. But my friends were also hilarious. I laughed along, often at my own expense, and I forgive them their trespasses.

Sqoot, a company promoting a coding marathon in Beantown called the Boston API Jam, came up with a doozy. In the invitation to the event, Sqoot lists some of the perks for attendees. Among these: Massages; a Live DJ; Gym Access; Top Shelf liquor; Women; free dark chocol . . . wait a minute, did they say women? Women are a perk? Yes, indeed.

Continue Reading

The Smell of Gaming

The Smell of Gaming

Walking my dog the other night, a breeze wafted in over the ploughed field next to my apartment building, and a scent in the air brought me back to my elementary school cafeteria. It wasn't the pizza. It wasn't the milk served in sealed plastic bags. It was just a general smell. The cleaning solutions. The plastic and linoleum. The scent of a few hundred kids rushing through in a couple hours. Something on the air caught my nose, and I was instantly transported back to a time I didn't realize I could remember. Such is the power of scent memory.

Continue Reading

Much Ado About Booth Babes

Much Ado About Booth Babes

If you look up the term "objectification of women" in your college dictionary, you'll probably see a definition illustrated by a photograph of a tall, slender, blond woman wearing skimpy shorts and a tight t-shirt, standing next to a table stacked with plastic cell phone carrying cases. Recently, there's been a lot of hubbub over these hired guns who stand at booths set up at the trade shows that are dominated by men. The video game shows, the technology shows, the car shows.

Continue Reading

The Problem With Tech and Teaching

The Problem With Tech and Teaching

Let me tell you a funny story about technology in the classroom. I was teaching English at a charter school in Boston a few years ago, and my classes were working on "Macbeth." I'm always looking for new angles of attack, especially with Shakespeare, so I decided to focus on different interpretations and stagings of the play. I cut scenes from a variety of movie versions of Macbeth and showed them to my classes, so we could compare the difference. I used a Royal Shakespeare company version. I used the movie "Scotland, PA," a wonderful modern adaptation in which Macbeth's is a fast food restaurant. But my favorite of all was the Roman Polanski version, produced with funding from Hugh Hefner.

Continue Reading

The Problem With Pink Gadgets: Not Enough Of Them

The Problem With Pink Gadgets: Not Enough Of Them

My son's favorite color is pink. It's not even close. He's three years old. Whenever he is offered anything, he wants it in pink. He's always loved the color. His favorite lovey is pink. His favorite toy cars are pink. When we drive through at Starbucks, he always wants a cake pop, and the only one he'll eat is the Birthday Cake flavor. It's pink, with sprinkles. This is, of course, a problem, but not in the way you might think.

Continue Reading

Stop Whining and Go To Las Vegas

Stop Whining and Go To Las Vegas

Have you seen the video of kids complaining about their Christmas presents? I won't go into much detail, because SlashGear's own Chris Burns covers this succinctly. But the gist is that it's a video of entitled kids complaining about the gifts they did not get. My favorites are the ones (plural) where kids complain "Sure, I got a car, but I also wanted an iPad." Then they curse at their parents, or their creator, or life in general. I agree with Burnsy. Take their gifts away.

Continue Reading

Stop Whining and Turn Off Your Phone

Stop Whining and Turn Off Your Phone

I learned when I was a camp counselor that you should always support the person up front. When they say something wrong, let it slide and fix it later. When they suggest something unpopular, go with it, and if it proves unsuccessful, it's no big deal. I never had a camp director suggest we run naked through a poison ivy patch, or show up to Hershey Park at 4AM so we can get a good parking spot. Usually, things worked out in the end.

Continue Reading

New Year’s Meta-Tech Resolutions

New Year’s Meta-Tech Resolutions

It's been a year since I issued my "Anti-Tech Resolutions," and now it's time for a new batch. But this won't be the same Anti-Tech spiel that I ran last year. I learned a lot from those resolutions, both the ones I kept and decided to abandon. But I learned more about how to keep and follow a New Year's resolution itself. So, here's what I have learned about making New Year's resolutions, including my newest set of technological directives for the coming year.

Continue Reading

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14