Philip Berne

Reduce, Reuse

Reduce, Reuse

I remember when the first iMac came out in 1998. I was a graduate student then, not a technology journalist, but I still followed tech news enthusiastically. Besides the iconic design of the bondi blue machine, I remember a couple of details stuck out as groundbreaking, both in a good and a bad way. The iMac was the first computer I ever saw that shipped without a floppy drive. I was using a Powerbook back then, and I had a floppy drive in my laptop. But here was a desktop that only used CD-ROM. It didn't even have a CD burner in the first run. I also remember that it was the first Mac to ditch serial ports in favor of USB.

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Smoking a Tweet

Smoking a Tweet

The first time I worked for a Dot-Com (back when websites were called such things), there were certain freebies always available. Not on Google levels of freebies, but there were always bottles of water and Mountain Dew in the fridge. There was pizza every other Wednesday, Krispy Kreme donuts every Friday. But we didn't have a water cooler. The office space was mostly wide open, with a pit for the editors and writers, and offices for the higher-ups. I was segregated with a few graphic designers, but my friends all sat in the pit. In that year, I probably smoked more cigarettes than at any other point since I picked up the habit in college. That was also the year I quit smoking.

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Why I dropped My Best Friend on Facebook

Why I dropped My Best Friend on Facebook

I dropped my best friend from my Facebook friends list. When I say best friend, I really mean it. I've known him longer than anyone I still see regularly, since middle school. I have other friends who I see more, and with whom I'm just as close, but my friend Dave has been my best friend since High School. We live a couple thousand miles apart, so Facebook was a great way for us to stay in touch. Still, I had to cut him.

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The Humanity of Facebook

The Humanity of Facebook

I remember the first time I told my parents about Facebook. My father, who can often sound like the Dad in @sh*tmydadsays, immediately called out Facebook as self-aggrandizing drivel. What could I say? He was absolutely right. It is a selfish act, ripe for comic plunder. I can hear Louis Black in my head asking: "Why do you think you're so important that you need to tell the whole world what you're doing right now?"

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How to Save Mobile TV

How to Save Mobile TV

Honestly, it might be too late to save mobile TV, at least in the U.S., where the broadcast network for mobile devices has yet to catch on like it has in Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea. The competition is fierce, and growing almost daily, and mobile broadcast TV service offers few benefits over its competitors.

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Early Retirement

Early Retirement

Over dinner my father looks at me and says, with a straight face: "I hear Google might start building its own phone." I'm trying to figure out which direction to take the conversation. Condescension would be too aggressive, no matter how much my inner troll wants to bait him. Do I explain that Google is not only making a phone OS, but that they will soon rival Microsoft in the netbook space with a new desktop OS? Too technical.

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3D or not 3D, that is the question

3D or not 3D, that is the question

I like 3D movies. Actually, I should say I like some 3D movies. But if I had to make the choice between making all movies 3D or doing away with the technology altogether, I would gladly kick 3D to the curb and declare it no great loss for art and entertainment.

I remember the first 3D movie I saw in a theater. It was "Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone." It was a cheesy, throw-away sci-fi movie, the biggest claim to fame of which is that it was the movie Molly Ringwald did before "Sixteen Candles." I loved it. I was 8.

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Longing for Boredom

Longing for Boredom

Working as a High School teacher in a Charter school, my job wasn't simply to teach and follow the curriculum. I was also a student advisor for a group of kids. It's sort of like a guidance counselor role. I help them get along with each other, and with other teachers. I would help them get psyched about going to college, then help them through the application process. We had guidance counselors, but they were really more like social workers and psychologists. I gave advice, and filled the more traditional guidance counselor role.

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You Get What You Pay For

You Get What You Pay For

Gourmet magazine is relaunching itself as a free iPad app. The New York Times' Jenna Wortham previews the new app and asks whether a repackaging of the magazine's decades of content will be enough for Gourmet fans. Home cooks, she says, "are now used to interacting with others by sharing and commenting on recipes online." Pardon the pun, but what a crock.

I've spent plenty of time reading online food and recipe sites, and I can tell you they exemplify the biggest problems of the so-called Web 2.0 movement. When I read a recipe on Epicurious, for instance, I usually check the comments to see how the recipe turns out. Instead, what I always find are comments like: "I hated this dish. I followed the recipe exactly, except that I didn't have fish sauce so I substituted Heinz ketchup, and I didn't have fresh chicken, so I used broken glass instead."

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How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud

After sixteen years of using portable computers, I'm more convinced than ever that cloud computing, especially cloud based storage, will save us all. It's not without problems and caveats, but I've been betrayed by storage solutions I thought were reliable, and I'm ready to bury the hard drive in favor of the great gigabyte in the sky.

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