I'll be attending my first SXSW soon, with the Interactive portion providing the impetus for this strip. As a member of the press, I'm getting some pretty entertaining emails about startup launches and other tech company promotions.
While I was working on this, I came across this interesting NYTimes article about the folly of thinking apps will solve all our problems; hence the third panel of this strip. Some apps are useful, but I'm still waiting for the one that will turn me into a super-organized person.
Related article here. I use both Facebook and Instagram with the awareness that my data is being mined in probably unimaginable ways, but asking for driver's licenses (or birth certificates!) is a bridge too far. Especially for people who use a pen name or stage name for professional reasons, or reasons of personal security.
This cartoon probably comes off as more curmudgeonly than I am in real life, since I've been a little app-sessive myself lately. I'm a fan of Evernote, which I use to jot down cartoon ideas or information while I'm on the go. Recently, Evernote released specialized apps for remembering meals and people you meet, both of which I would probably find cool and useful. But then I got to thinking: how much time do I really want to spend interrupting life in order to peck away at my phone? Can one no longer enjoy an immersive experience with a plate of Drunken Noodles without getting all meta-noodly?
Okay, maybe I'll make a note if they're really good. But down that path obsessive content creation lies.
A non-political cartoon this week, as I've been busy traveling and trying not to think about politics. All of these offenses except the cigar-smoker were observed recently. Personally, I cannot imagine extending my personal Sphere of Entertainment (or Sphere of Commerce) to those sitting around me in a public space, but hey, that's just me. Skype makes loud cellphone talkers seem almost quaint, doesn't it?
Coffee shop proprietors: feel free to print this one out and hang it on the wall. Use the larger click-through version. I'll be grateful.
This week's cartoon is a "classic" due to freelance projects, early deadlines, and the fact that I always take a week off this time of year because I'm a practicing slowpoke who believes very strongly in vacation. Not that I'm getting one. (Dallas readers: check out my cover of this week's Observer, out tomorrow!) We'll return to our regularly-scheduled broadcast of political barbs and jests next week.
This year's installment was partly influenced by a recent trip I made to an upscale kitchenware store. Even though I'm not a 1% chef, I do enjoy ogling things like 15-pound cast-iron skillets and knives bearing vaguely-Teutonic insignias.
For those unfamiliar with the Carrier IQ controversy, a guy discovered an unremovable program on his smartphone that was sending his text messages and other data to a third party, the mysterious Carrier IQ. Al Franken has launched an inquiry; Carrier IQ claims the information was sent due to a bug. Of course, I'm following this story closely since I just got an Android phone so I can finally read those $@#! QR codes.
I'm almost embarrassed to admit this as a media-type person, but I still do not own a smartphone. My rudimentary cellphone has become a perverse point of pride for me. I figure I've saved thousands of dollars over the past few years, so why stop now? Plus, I work from home, where there's plenty o' internet. Too much, in fact. Oh, I'm sure I'll get an iPhone eventually... once they're considered the Atari of mobile technology.
But these QR codes popping up everywhere, readable only by people who own a Secret Decoder Ring, seem just a little, well, exclusionary to those of us who are frugal with our phones. This will almost surely lead to a greater incidence of Cellphone Inferiority Complex.