Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Is the iPhone a Symbol of American Materialism?

Written by Nathan Hale, associate producer

First, I just want to get a couple things out of the way: 1) I believe in paying for quality goods. I like to spend my money of stuff that worth spending it on. 2) I am not an Apple hater. I have great deal of respect for the design ideals and innovation that comes from the company and its famous CEO. 3) I love cool gadgets. Seriously. That said, there are a number of things regarding the culture surrounding the iPhone--especially this latest version--that trouble me.

On a fundamental level, the sheer number of people who are willing to invest hours of their time camping out for a first-chance at grabbing an iPhone is nothing short of disturbing. I can understand waiting in long lines for rollercoasters (it's a relational, rare thrill-ride) and even some movies (again, there's a communal aspect that adds to our art culture). But a phone? A phone is just a tool. It may be well designed (I stop short of calling it art), and it may be a superior product compared other options on the market, but surely there better things to form large communities around.

When Apple was making niche products, this kind of behavior made more sense, but now Apple has been part of the mainstream years. Standing in long lines to get the latest iPhone seems to me to be less about being part of community and more about getting the latest-and-greatest gadget. The shiniest new toy. The next great thing to allow me be "social" 24/7. The thing that will impress all my friends. Sorry, but that's just shallow.

Virtually all those that stand in the lines to get the newest iPhone already have a perfectly capable older model. The upgrade is certainly significant, but it is worth the time and money? Does anyone (other than professionals) need to take HD video on their phone? What about the greater speed and high-resolution camera? Is it at all needed by most people making the upgrade?

I'm not saying the device isn't cool, or isn't worth buying. I'm not even saying you shouldn't buy the iPhone 4. If you want it and have the money, and consider it a good investment, then go for it! What I am saying is that we should all consider what's behind our buying decisions. I'm convinced that too many people (myself included) are buying the iPhone and other electronic devices out a desire to be defined by their things, rather than their actions and principles.

The emotional attachment people clearly feel, the compulsion they have to constantly have the most cutting-edge object, is more than just appreciating quality and wanting to buy a good product. I find the whole idea particularly troubling when I consider the question, what else could I do with 16 hours and 200 bucks?

Just a few things that come to mind:

· Add to my emergency fund

· Create a work of art

· Sponsor a child for 8 months

· Volunteer 2 hours a week for 2 months

That's just off the top of my head. I know there are more and probably even better options--but we have to be willing to view ourselves as people prior to finding our identities as consumers.

How do you view yourself?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tye has fireworks why can’t we?

I’m a little sad that the city of Abilene isn’t having a 4th of July fireworks show.
For those who don’t know the history, Kenneth Musgrave who has paid for Abilene’s fireworks display for past several years has decided not to put on a show this year.
It’s because Mr. Musgrave and the city had a spat at last year’s show over wind conditions which ended with the show being postponed for a night. Needless to say there are still some hard feelings……which translates to no show for Abilene.
I know Tye is hosting a festival with all kinds of fun things for the family but it’s just not the same.
And yes, I know the city is having budget issues and is doing its best to overcome the loss in sales tax revenue but come on. Squeeze out a little money for a fireworks show….
Every other city in the big country has fireworks why can’t we? I sound like a whiney child. Oh well I like fireworks.
If you live in Abilene and are looking for something to do this Independence Day weekend get on our website and go to our community calendar and look at everyone else’s events.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Production Crew Terrorizes Kailey

Every once in awhile, the production crew decides to have some fun at the expense of the on-air folks. On Thursday morning, Justin Snow had a little fun that Kailey Franz won't soon forget!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Umbrella Joke

My friend and partner Kailey Franz often teases me about needing an umbrella. I made a mistake when she first started by telling her that I have never owned and umbrella and I wouldn't carry one if I had it. It has become a running inside joke...and you should probably be in on it. I grew up in the desert part of Washington State...where the average annual precipitation was about seven-inches. Most of that was in a single January snow storm. I grew up playing baseball, and I don't ever remember having a game rained out. Men and boys just didn't carry umbrellas. We didn't need them. We wouldn't have walked under one if someone next to us had one. It was like carrying a purse or wearing perfume. It just wasn't done. I remember the first time I drove into Texas to go to ACU in September of 1978. It was raining so hard that I really needed my windshield wipers. I thought those were just for pushing the water away after going through a car wash. You can get soaked here in the rain, and I can certainly see the need for having an umbrella...for some people, just not for me. I'll just plod through the rain...unless it's raining hard. Then, I'll dart through the weather as fast as these worn-out old knees will allow until I get to the safety of the car or the building. But, it will always be without an umbrella.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

In the Crapper No More!

This is the story of how I got my iPhone to work after an unfortunate swim in the porcelain pool.

For the short version of the story, read the blue text. Because if you dropped your phone in the loo, you do not have time to read this.

I feel the need to take a moment and defend my irresponsible behavior. One June 1, my sweet husband came and woke me up with a kiss and subsequently turned off my alarm. He assumed the personal attention should have been enough, right? Wrong. I am a three-snooze kind of girl. So I went back to sleep looking forward to that extra 27 minutes in bed. Which turned into an hour. When I finally woke up four minutes before I was supposed to leave, I raced around, attempting to multi-task my way out the door.

Insert iPhone in toilet.

After only a nanosecond of hesitation I stuck my hand in there, fished it out, and ran it over to the sink. I knew it was a bad idea, but I just had to attempt to sanitize it.

The phone was still glowing at the bottom of the bowl, but after several seconds under the faucet it went dark.

I shook out as much water as I could into a towel and tried to turn it on a couple of times, but nothing.

I somehow had the idea to stick it in rice to absorb some of the water, but we generally make Uncle Ben's 90-second Ready Rice. (Aside: If you have never tried this, you must. It tastes JUST as good as regular rice and, HELLO, 90 seconds!) I fished and fished and finally found a package of uncooked brown rice that I had gotten in a goodie bag at a 5K I ran... back in 2007.

I stuck the phone and the rice in a ziplock and raced out the door.

I left the phone in the rice most of the day and periodically took it out to see if it would come on. Everything I read online said whatever you do, DON'T plug it in. You probably shouldn't try to turn it on either, but I'd like to meet someone with that kind of patience. I also discovered the rice was getting stuck down in the headphone jack and plug connector slot area (technical term).

I read that silica gel packets that come with electronics work great. You should place them in an air tight container with the phone and don't touch it for a few days. After work I went to Hobby Lobby and bought silica gels in the floral department. The smallest bag was still way more than I needed, but $5.99 plus my 40% coupon was a small price to pay. (Aside: Why would you ever pay full price for anything at Hobby Lobby? If it's not 50% off it will be next week. And if you HAVE to have something, there's always a 40% coupon on the website for full-priced items.)

Since the silica gels I bought did not come in packets, and are the size of Malt-o-Meal grains, I wrapped the phone in cheese cloth before dropping it in the Tupperware. In the photo you can see they turn pink when saturated and go back to blue when you dry them out in the oven. I actually poured water on them here. There was no real sign of pink gels when I took my phone up.

The phone stayed out of sight (but never, ever out of mind) until June 4. That's three 1/2 days.

It turned on a little bit, but you could barely see anything on the screen and said it needed to be connected to iTunes. I plugged it in and iTunes asked me to restore the phone. I did, and had to hit the road for a trip, so I plugged it back into iTunes at my parents' house and restored it again.

Commence three straight days of the phone deciding whether it wanted to work or not. Sometimes the screen would be dark, sometimes it would be perfectly normal. On day 6 the phone came back to life but the home button thought it was pressed, and it just sat there sliding back and forth between the home screen and search screen. If I opened any program it would return to the home screen. Other times the home button wouldn't work at all. So if I wanted to flip between my email and maps (and why, on vacation in another state in which I was the designated navigator, would I ever need to access my email or maps?) I had to turn my phone on and off.

Then, on day 8, it worked again. Completely back to normal. It must have heard me talk about performing a sim card transplant on an old Blackberry. Or maybe it was jealous when EVERYBODY and their mom started talking about its younger, hotter sister, "4."

Now, I still don't have any contacts or anything because I never backed it up, but the phone is back in business.

What's the moral of the story kids? Back up your phone as often as possible and don't check your email in the john!