When did I get old?

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Douglas Adams had some rules about technology:

1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

I started looking at replacing an old CD player and found out that home audio CD players that plug into an amp are now antiquated. You can buy the high end stuff, but nothing at the lower end. I was hoping they were 50-100, but in that range you need to get a blu-ray player or a bluetooth CD player that looks suspiciously like my Sony Discman from 2003.

I had the same issue when looking for burnable CDs, and blu-ray burners.

I guess the technology that I’m used to using is slowly dying. I’m going to be very salty when optical disks die. Streaming is great, but rights change and disappear. Owning the physical media means you can watch it whenever you want. Even during a nation-wide internet outage.

Okay… I’ll go back to yelling at clouds. (Nothing like a 20 year old meme right?)

Éric

Ron’s Gone Wrong – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Ron’s Gone Wrong.

Story

Ignoring the fact that technology just doesn’t work like the movie portrays, there’s a lot about the movie that really bothers me. The basic premise is cool, but the world building went from ridiculously accurate to completely unbelievable really quickly.

The idea of spontaneously developing artificial intelligence has been done before. The movie doesn’t even acknowledge that it happens, going for a weird commentary on social media instead.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The tech CEO and his partner felt underplayed while the family, kids, cops, were all overdone. The main character doesn’t learn to embrace and love his culture and family so much as tolerate and use them. The kids are all shown as having social media addictions and the cure wasn’t logical.

Old east-block grandma that is completely unhinged was a character type that was overplayed in the 80’s; now it just comes off as anti-immigrant.

Ron was funny but obviously dangerous, and that was never addressed.

Score: 0

Dialogue

The dialogue was clever and had a lot of references to older movies in the same genre. I liked the literalness of Ron and how they showed him grow in understanding language.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This was a well animated movie with some great concepts. Bubble was well designed and unique and the colourfulness of the B-bots was awesome.

The score was so much more epic than expected and really helped punch up the emotion.

Score: 1

Fun

I just couldn’t help wondering where all the adult’s B-bots were. I don’t care if they were made for kids, we all know people would buy some for themselves. People who truly have trouble making friends are the 30+ crowd, not kids.

My daughter and son both got bored part way through.

Beyond that, the movie was entertaining, but left me uncomfortable at the lack of comeuppance for the tech company’s misdeeds, the release of a rogue AI, and the deflection of serious social media issues.

I don’t think this will be a rewatching kind of movie.

Score: 0

Overall

The movie tries really hard to go beyond slapstick comedy and doesn’t succeed. It’s a fun movie if you don’t think about it, but it misses the mark on serious issues and ethics. The conclusion felt trite and horrifying instead of heartwarming. However, there are quite a few good gags and jokes along the way.

Final Score: 2.5 stars out of 5

Our Society’s Obsession with Simple

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m a skeptical person. If someone tells me that moon dust will cure my allergies, I’ll be hopeful but will wait for the data.

I’m also trained in media analysis so every once in a while I’ll see something that makes me wonder why. Today I saw a Lays truck that was designed to look like an old fashioned potato truck.

It’s a common technic in advertising. It gives the viewer an association with something classic, natural, simple, and/or unprocessed. It’s the reason McDonalds runs ads about their eggs being local and toilet paper almost always has a nature theme. It’s the reason JenEric Coffee uses craft bags for packaging.

But why? Why are we so obsessed with what is natural and simple?

Despite the amazing increases in life expectancy and quality, people still have fantasies about the “good old days.” It’s definitely not a new thing; the Romantics worshiped the medieval period and wanted a return to nature. The classicist wanted the same with the classic period, etc.

In my opinion, it’s a combination of fear of change, nostalgia, and impotence.

We are afraid of change as people; I get really angry when my favourite shampoo is changed or unavailable. We like things the way we do and we don’t like losing control of the change.

Nostalgia paints everything in a wonderful light. Just take the paleo diet as an example. It’s the healthiest way to eat… unless you remember that they died at an age younger than most of us graduate high school. It’s also what makes re-watching certain movies and tv shows so painful or why people love to hate reboots.

There is a special kind of feeling that comes from not being able to work a new piece of technology. It gets worse if you try to understand exactly how it works. Most of us are specialized in our fields and don’t have the energy or ability to be experts in everything. That leaves us feeling impotent.

 

When you next see something and your gut reaction is to reject it because it’s too complex, processed, or confusing, take a moment to wonder why you feel like that and then decide if you’re being reasonable. Not all simple things are good, not all complex things are good.

If you are aware of your bias, you can start to watch for people who prey on your fears for their own gain.

 

Later days,

Éric

Screens, Screens Everywhere!

Hello My Imaginary friends,

I hope you enjoyed last week’s instalment of Only Human. If you haven’t been reading the serial story, go check it out.

I’ve had a crazy busy day this morning at work. I work for the government and they have recently started upgrading our equipment. It means big changes in the way we work. For one thing I no longer have the time to nap when my computer boots up. It actually boots in under 5 minutes. So weird!

It also means that older, and now more expensive, equipment is being phased out, particularly landlines. Who would have imagined that cellphones would someday be cheaper for offices than landlines? Seriously weird!

Unfortunately with better tech comes better firewalls and that means I can no longer load TV shows onto my computer to watch while I work. For that reason I started bringing my personal tablet to work. I work way better with something playing in the background.

Because I’m a web/print designer I have two large screens. When they upgraded the computers they choose Microsoft Tablets. Surface Pro 3 I think. It has a dual core i5 and 4 gigs of ram, which is awesome for the government.

One of the interesting side effects of the Surface is that you can use it as a second, or in my case third, screen.

So for those of you counting at home, I now have 6 screens at my desk. My two work monitors, work computer, work phone, personal phone, and personal tablet.

I personally think all these new technologies are exciting and will ultimately help me do my work more efficiently. I love new tech but it’s really funny to see all this stuff on a desk designed for 1 CRT monitor.

We’re also moving to newer more modern offices which will be exciting. I’ll finally be able to work standing up, which I hear is better for you.

So in short, lots of screens.

What tech would help make your work more efficient?

Later days,

Éric