Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Untethered and Wireless Oxymoron

A lot of technology analysts have talked about the "untethered internet," which is to say that with mobile devices you can have the Internet anywhere, without a physical tie to the network. Remember tether ball? The reality is it is all a big lie. Because we have become so dependent on our mobile phones, we are now more dependent on being connected than ever, as I learned this weekend while my phone was dead. I was completely dysfunctional, carrying scraps of paper with phone numbers around and $5 in quarters running to find pay phones which no longer exist because everyone has a mobile phone. I never felt so lost without my tether. I went fetal.

Of course wireless is the other big oxymoron. With every new wireless device (phone, PDA, iPod, etc.) I have to carry more and more specialty wires with me. Why not just one wire? The USB 2.0 cable! With a USB dock you could plug anything in at any time in any region. Well, then everytime you lost your charger you wouldn't have to shell out $39.99 for a charger that literally costs less than $0.20 to manufacture. It's just a way to get more revenue out of you.

So I now I sit here with a jungle of 5 different wires in my laptop bag, completely dependent on the tether to my network thinking about all the promises of freedom in an untethered world. Seems like a sham to me.

Here have some wireless crack. It will free your mind. I promise.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Monumental Collective

Check out this amazing video of the North Korean Mass games.

Watching this video of Korean cooperation shows the power of the human collective, working together in unison. The sheer amount of energy, time, and coordination required boggles the mind. If we could coordinate like this by the tens of thousands, what else could we do? We could raise awareness for virtually anything. We could change government policies or reverse elections. We could build monuments. We could be monuments.

A lot of new technology out there is about harnessing the power of the collective. Wikipedia is the obvious example. But check out sites like Kiva which enables people like me to becom micro-lenders for people in 3rd world countries. And then there are of course all the social networking sites, which to a large extent have been a practical distraction, but I would argue hasn't reached its full portential and lent itself to the betterment of the world ... yet.

What can you organize to do? What are you being organized to do? The North Koreans organize for show. Now if they could only organize for peace or agriculture.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Faith and Love II: Actions Are Louder Than Feelings

I spent a lazy Saturday afternoon in bed and watched a bunch of movies, one of which was The Last Kiss, with Zach Braff, whom I love from Scrubs and Garden State (though I here he is an a-hole in person). But hey, sometimes you can fake things outwardly but it is hard to hide who you are inside. And sometimes it is the other way around. Sometimes it's easy to fake who you are inside and hard to fake it outwardly. Let me explain.

There was an interesting rebuke of Zach Braff's character in the movie when he is caught cheating on his pregnant girlfriend and he proclaims his love for forgiveness:

"Stop talking about love. Every asshole in the world says he loves somebody. It means nothing. It still doesn't mean anything. What you feel only matters to you. It's what you do to the people you say you love, that's what matters. It's the only thing that counts. "

In light of recent posts and actions, this somehow was especially poignant to me. It's easy to internalize feelings, shape them, touch them, and let them distort your vision of actions past and planned. But all that really matters is what you do and the effect on the ones you love. And it is here, I probably get mixed grades. Of course all relationships involve you and others, so you can't take all failures on the chin.

I think this same premise follows for your faith. I care less about what your faith is and more how it affects others. So I find it difficult to call Islam a religion of peace, when fanatics strap bombs to themselves and kill civilians in the name of Allah. Similarly, I find the Christians are un-Christianly when they condemn gays and single mothers, and the Pope declares other religions as "defective."

Your faith should be like your love. What does it bring to those around you? What is the effect of your love in people and in God? Do you use love as a lever or as a lens?