Philip Berne

Ode to the Nano, V to the izzA

Ode to the Nano, V to the izzA

I was once stranded in Amsterdam for more than a week with my iPod nano and only 4 albums of music. I started the week at a Microsoft Mobius event, from which I got to visit Amsterdam coffeeshops with some fairly interesting and important people from Microsoft, Qualcomm and some of my other favorite tech blogs. After that event ended and most of my compatriots went home, I stuck around for a while to try to crash Nokia World, to which I was not actually invited or approved. In between, I had to wander the city and avoid getting into trouble.

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Renovating and Storage

Renovating and Storage

While I was in college, my parents moved out of my childhood home and bought a new house in the same area. It has plenty of storage space in the basement. When they moved, they took most of the junk I had accumulated. Since college, I've lived in a handful of cities up and down the mid-Atlantic and northeast coast, and every time I move, the pile in my parent's basement seems to build inexplicably. This past labor day weekend, I was home visiting and I heard the words I have been dreading for 17 years:

"We're renovating the basement. We need you to throw out everything you don't need."

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Movie Review – Going the Distance

Movie Review – Going the Distance

This past weekend, I saw two movies. One was a completely unrealistic piece of cinema trash with stale characters and a script that seemed to have been made up on the spot. The other was "Machete." That's right. Of the two, I could more easily believe in Danny Trejo as an ex-Federale-turned-asssassin-landscaper than believe in the relationship that Drew Barrymore carried on with the "I'm a Mac" guy. It wasn't just a bad movie, it was a betrayal of its content and of the, ahem, heritage that these two actors bring to the screen.

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Life on Facebook

Life on Facebook

I almost added a comment to the long, growing list of comments on Stephen's wall. I sat for a few minutes, trying to think of what to say. I'm sorry? I'm thinking of you? I read through the thirty-five or so comments that were already posted, and most of them repeated the same thoughts over and over again. Condolences piling up under Stephen's status update, saying that he had just lost his brother, Mike, and he would be flying home to New York City for the first time in years to be with his family.

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I Hate You, Dell

I Hate You, Dell

This morning I got to know Dell very well. I'm not sure how many people work for the company, especially in sales and customer service, but I talked to 15 of their, ahem, lovely employees. I made 10 phone calls. I started the return process at 9:30 AM, and finally finished my journey two hours later. All I wanted to do was return a crappy cell phone.

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Movie Review: Avatar Special Edition

Movie Review: Avatar Special Edition

It's obvious why "Avatar" was released again, and perhaps a little selfish on the part of the money makers. Near the end of its run, "Avatar" was pushed off a majority of its 3D screens by up-and-comers that couldn't do long term damage, but perhaps shortened the length of the blockbuster's victory lap. The movie could have made more money, so now it has been released again, this time with less than 15 minutes of additional, bonus footage. It's already out on DVD, and you can even get a free copy by buying a new Samsung phone, so is it really worth seeing again on the big screen? Does the movie hold up, now that the hype has worn down? In a word? Hell yeah.

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Music in the Cloud? Hallelujah.

Music in the Cloud? Hallelujah.

I have always had a theory about music. I believe that our musical taste, more than our taste in any art form, is shaped by people we know and aspire to be like. I think that musical taste is much more learned than we realize, much more formed than innate. The music that we like and the music that we hate are strongly associated with people in our lives.

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The Art of the Game of War

The Art of the Game of War

There's a sequence in the game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" that you don't have to play if you don't want to. I haven't finished the entire game yet. My Xbox broke while I was working through it, and I haven't had time to get it repaired. But I did get to this sequence, or level, and I was anticipating it. The game doesn't offer a specific warning about its content, but you do get a warning before you start playing the game from the beginning that something is coming you might want to skip, especially if you're a sensitive viewer.

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Irony on the Bar Room Floor

Irony on the Bar Room Floor

My dear readers, please excuse me, I need to argue with a puppet. While I usually save this space for high-minded thinking, like my review of the film "Piranha 3D," or my rant against the evils of Paul Carr, I've been in a back-and-forth argument with a puppet on Twitter, and I'm afraid I just can't win in 140 character bursts. But I will win. I will beat this puppet into submission.

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An Unalienable Right to Privacy

An Unalienable Right to Privacy

With all the furor over privacy after Facebook introduced its new Places application, I started to think about what privacy really means as a concept. The reaction to Facebook Places ran a startling gamut. On one side people are screaming about George Orwell, whose book 1984 is like the privacy junkie's version of Hitler. It's an argument stopper. It's also science fiction, but a sci-fi parable, at that. On the other side are those who are completely indifferent to Facebook's privacy issues. These people don't care and they don't see the problem.

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