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Socially Ignorant

By Gerald McGrew on September 19, 2013 in Other



Having a look at the tech and online news for the month shows us a mixed bag.

The usual stuff is in there: the ‘free world’ tut-tutting as the extent of Western government Internet spying is revealed further – sadly, no big news in that nowadays – and some ball-achingly boring speculation on the next iPhone – Will it be a bit bigger? Will it have a fingerprint scanner? Will there be a cheapo plastic version? Now that hipsters are deserting Apple in bearded droves will anyone even care?

Microsoft has also copped a decent kicking of late as they revealed just how much of a dud their Surface tablet has been. While Apple has historically been very good at stripping products to an effective minimum, Microsoft has proven particularly adept at tacking shit on until it’s hard to remember what the point of their device or software was in the first place.

The Surface is an excellent example of this. It has a touchscreen. And a weird lifeless keyboard. And a stylus! There are two models, one of which runs a cut-down version of Windows 8 that’s even more rubbish than the full version. It has a tiny hard drive and a complicated flip-back stand. It’s perfect in its crapulence, which is no mean feat in these enlightened times of industrial designers, Human-computer Interaction experts and a million other niche geniuses who are paid obscene amounts to make sure that products like the Surface never see the light of day. Maybe they were all playing laser tag when it snuck out of the testing lab and into Harvey Norman.

The biggest news in the tech world, however, involves a decidedly modern day blight. And it sports a new-made-up-word: Phubbing, a.k.a. phone snubbing.

I’ll give you a moment to let this ridiculous expression take up valuable space in your already crowded vocabulary. Felt awful, didn’t it? Let me explain this “crazy new movement storming the Internet”. It was started by a 23 year-old baby advertising executive, and it’s about banning the act of frigging about with your mobile when in the company of friends.

I’ll just give you another moment to consider the irony of anyone under the age of 30 actually having a problem with this. I’d love to say it’s purely a Gen Y issue, perhaps even give the Gen Xs a bit of stick about it. Yet despite the never-ending bitch fighting about how addicted each group says the other is to their mobiles and social networking, the truth is they’re as bad as one another. Even the Baby Boomers, who peer at their Nokia 6230s like they’re grains of rice with the Lord’s Prayer written on them, simply can’t leave them alone if they make any sort of beeping noise.

The reality is that we’re hooked on our online personal gadgets. Whether it’s a vitally important text (“wat ru doin?”), a fulfilling status update about a particularly nasty baby poo, or a career-threatening office email informing you that the fridge is being cleaned out over the weekend so for f**k’s sake DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING IN IT, when the gizmo buzzes we all buzz straight back.

So what’s next? Durex ventured into Wearable Computing and put sensors into their undies, controllable by a mobile app.

If they zap and you respond… are you crotch Wubbing?