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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Time to Upgrade My Parents

Time to Upgrade My Parents

Mom . . . Dad . . . we need to talk. And by "we," I mean I'm going to talk, and you're just going to agree with everything I say and follow my advice forevermore. And by "talk" I mean I'm going to write a public column on SlashGear, and hopefully you won't really read it, because you've always taken my sardonic humor as just a little too mean. Anyway, I love you both, but it's time to have a technology intervention. I'm going to keep this simple and easy. But if something doesn't change, I just don't know if I can provide the kind of technology support you need anymore.

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A Negative Correlation Between Fun and Facebook

A Negative Correlation Between Fun and Facebook

I have a friend who is not on Facebook, and never has been. One friend. Let's call him Marley, like the puppy (don't spoil the ending, I'm still reading). He didn't leave Facebook. He's never been a member. He knows about it. All of his friends are on Facebook. Marley's wife is on Facebook, and she's my friend there (and in real life). Marley's brother is on Facebook, where he also promotes a band and local tour dates. But Marley flatly refuses to join.

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How Much Is A Twitter Follower Worth?

How Much Is A Twitter Follower Worth?

A technology Web site, PhoneDog.com, and one of its former chief editors, Noah Kravitz, are embroiled in a legal battle that could have fascinating repercussions for social networks. Kravitz is suing PhoneDog over contractual issues, but it's the counter-suit that really has my attention. PhoneDog is suing Kravitz over the use of his Twitter handle. They claim that he improperly kept the Twitter name after he left the company, and that he owes them damages of $2.50 for each Twitter follower he took with him, for each month he held them after he left. At 17,000 followers when he left, and 8 months since then, that starts damages at $370,000. So, that's not even the full value PhoneDog puts on the Twitter account, but rather the value that Kravitz took with him when he left. PhoneDog essentially believes a key Twitter account is worth half a million dollars per year.

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How We Can Get Along, Even Though You’re Wrong

How We Can Get Along, Even Though You’re Wrong

It's hard to imagine how we can all get along. Whether in the tech world, in the political arena, in love, and in the clash of different cultures. It's hard, because you are so wrong. You are so very wrong. I know what I'm talking about. I used your device for years, and now I switched, because I'm smarter than you are. I was one of the first to use it. I told everyone. I've been telling people all along. I told you. I told my mother. She didn't listen, and now look what she's stuck with. You didn't listen, because you just don't get it.

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