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.

Being Myself Online Tastes Better

Being Myself Online Tastes Better

When I walked into Square Burger for the second time, it wasn't hard to notice that the staff was treating me a little bit differently. The bartender remembered my name and the beer I had drunk on my last visit. They have a few dozen beers on tap, so that was something of an accomplishment on both counts. I sat at the counter and ordered lunch. The first time I had eaten a burger with bleu cheese and balsamic onions. This time I went for a cheeseburger with bacon. I stuck with the sweet potato fries, because they were awesome. I've been to Square Burger five times in the last year and a half, and I've never tried the regular fries. Those sweet potato fries are better than they deserve to be.

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The Different People I’ve Been

The Different People I’ve Been

When I was 14 my parents bought me an account on the Prodigy network. This was back in 1989, before I had a clue the Internet existed, and four years before the first graphical Web browser would be introduced. I did all the things on Prodigy that you did when you first discovered the Internet. I had email conversations and grew addicted to the chiming sound when I fired up the 2400 baud modem and discovered I had new mail. I posted messages on bulletin boards and got into long-winded arguments with people for no good reason. I did research for school projects, played games and read news, and generally poked around the seemingly limitless world the growing network offered. I also pretended to be someone else.

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Do As I Do, Say What I Say

Do As I Do, Say What I Say

I worked in the North Orange, New Jersey school district for one day. It was a training day. I had accepted a job as a teacher in a fine High School (read: rich) teaching Journalism and Theater Arts. As a challenge, this was a step down from the English teaching I had been doing at inner city High Schools for the past five years, but it would have been a very cushy teaching job. I had been offered a salary of $75,000, which is more than I thought a teacher could make. On my first day of training, a couple weeks before the school year started, I got a call from a Web site to which I had also applied for a job. They wanted me to work for them as a product reviewer and news writer.

The Best Picture of the Year

The Best Picture of the Year

Having reviewed some of the worst movies of the year for this SlashGear column, I can finally set my sights on the best of the best, just in time for the Oscars. I'm only going to focus on one category, the most important one, the Best Picture. Full disclosure: I haven't seen all of the movies, but I've seen more of the ten nominees this year than in years past, and I've probably seen more than you have, because you didn't want to sit through the movie where the guy cuts his own arm off.

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The Cat’s In the Cradle and the PS3

The Cat’s In the Cradle and the PS3

When I was a kid, my dad would clobber me at video games. He's not a gamer. He didn't grow up playing games, and he didn't have much interest once games became popular. But we had an Atari 2600, and I remember spending rainy days playing games with my dad. We would play Basketball, which consisted of two jagged stick figures bouncing a square. I was probably 10 years old, or so. We would play for money. He would beat me out of a month's worth of allowance, then I would cry until he let me welch on our bet. So, obviously when I had a son of my own, I couldn't wait to get him started playing games.

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What I Learned From a Year in 3D

What I Learned From a Year in 3D

As SlashGear's self-appointed movie reviewer, I've seen about a half dozen 3D movies this year on behalf of the site, and another half dozen on my own recognizance. After Avatar, it was clear that 3D was more than just a fad, that the new technology was a potential cash cow and definitely here to stay. But has it finally become mainstream? Is this really the year that 3D finally took off, or was the glut of 3D movies just another flash in the pan? After enjoying some of the best - and suffering the worst - that 3D has to offer, here's what I've learned this past year.

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Anti-Tech Resolutions for the New Year

Anti-Tech Resolutions for the New Year

As the new year approaches, I decided to make a different kind of new year's resolution list. Instead of a cheesy list of things to watch or things I'd like to see, I thought I would make a list of the things I will resolve not to do in 2011. As a columnist writing about digital living for the last half of the year, I think the ways in which we remove technology from our lives can be as important, if not more so, than the ways in which our lives collide with the digital frontier.

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Baby’s First iPad

Baby’s First iPad

The first thing my son says when I come into his room in the morning is "iPad." He's not quite 2 years old. He can talk in some basic sentences, and will repeat just about anything you say. He can't dress himself yet, except for his shoes, a pair of Crocs, which are easiest for toddlers to put on themselves. He's a wiz with the iPad. At first, I was impressed when he could simply unlock the screen. Now he can navigate to his favorite apps, open the photo album, and even manage some pinch-to-zoom gestures when he wants to see faces up close. He can't yet peddle a tricycle, but he can already catapult an angry bird, though he hasn't yet killed any pigs. Any day now, those pigs will pay.

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The Late Adopter

The Late Adopter

I don't remember exactly how my PlayStation 2 broke, but I do remember when it happened. It was in 2005, a couple months before God of War was released. I priced out repairs for my system, and I remember that they were prohibitively expensive (more than $100 was prohibitive on my meager budget). So, instead of repairing mine or buying a new PS2, I stuck with the systems I had: an Xbox and a Nintendo GameCube. Yup, I had all three major systems, plus a Sega Dreamcast I had never quite retired. I was an early adopter. I bought all the major systems, sometimes at launch, but usually either after the release of the first game I really wanted to own or the first price drop. But now I'm here to tell you that I have seen the error of my ways.

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Facebook on the Job

Facebook on the Job

When I took a look back at the original Tron movie, one thing that struck me, one thing that I hadn't remembered since I last watched the movie so long ago, was that the encapsulating plot was really about a company that was cutting off its employees' access to the outside world. Jeff Bridges' character Flynn can't get access to the corporate mainframe from outside the company. So, he enlists the help of a couple old friends who still work for Encom, Those friends are disgruntled because their access has been restricted while the company conducts a security review, trying to figure out who has been hacking into the system. It turns out, the company was right to be suspicious. Even though Flynn is vindicated by the evidence he finds, the company was right that there was a security risk.

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