Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Apple’s Grapple

Monday, February 29th, 2016

UNMAC_NELSON_WHERE EXCUSES GO TO DIECreation of Homeland Security not enough?

Office of Total Information Awareness left for the day?

Is the heart-shaped flower of police militarization wilting?

Did D.A.R.P.A. go dark?

Has the Patriot Act pooped out?

Nope. Nor have the corporations and power brokers of the surveillance state yet tapped out American taxpayers. 

In other words, the FBI does not need the Genius Bar. 

From Feds to street-corner cops and home security companies, law enforcement has more than enough control, technology, and boots-on-the-ground for continued counterterrorism success. And probably lots of fun civil liberties secrets, too.

The FBI has all the tools it needs and plenty more to keep American citizens safe. And when I say “safe,” I mean relatively safe, just as we’ve been since September, 2001. Stuff will happen; that’s just the trajectory of history, especially when we’ve been messing around with it as much as we have. But in trying to force Apple to write new software that will help them unlock an iPhone belonging to the perpetrator of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, the Bureau is overstepping its constitutional bounds. Apple worries that, if they comply, anyone who can grab or mimic their software will have access to every confidence Americans hope to keep electronically secure. (more…)

NO EXCUSES FOR CUBA Pt. 2

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Habana Centro_Where Excuses Go to Die5I may have returned from Cuba a more informed tourist, but I remain a clumsy narrator, for I’ve experienced more than I know how to process at once.

So, with my eye ever on excuses (and a reliance on my iPhone camera for more complete coverage), I’ll just jump right in.

Our casa particular was in Habana Centro, the most densely populated district in the city of Havana, where much of life is spent where the action is: right outside the building in which one lives. Street sports like handball, self-regulating pet and child care, gossip, singing merchants, colorful laundry Habana Centro_Where Excuses Go to Die3being pinned to decaying balconies, inventive refuse repurposing, prostitution, championship dominoes, and, of course, more vintage Chevy tweaking than outside a Barrett-Revolutionary Square_Where Excuses Go to DieJackson auction are daily occurrences, rain or shine. Drivers use their horns in polite little taps to warn pedestrians, slower cars, and ubiquitous bicycle taxis that they’re approaching from behind, because walking in the middle of the narrow streets is necessary – and not because the city lacks sidewalks. This is about Darwinian natural selection: misshapen rebar barely clinging to crumbles of concrete isn’t just a photo op, it’s a reminder that falling chunks of rotting rooftops are common, especially following an afternoon downpour. Our local host was explaining this to my wife when a basketball sized slab of wall proved his point a few feet away.

Habana Centro_Where Excuses Go to Die1

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Born into Phone Plans

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Bigger than your worst nightmaresGUEST POST: 17-yr-old Grant Calderone on the future of phone plans.

If you’re asking me to shell out $749 for a smartphone, don’t market it to me like it’s a hamburger.

It’s hard to imagine Apple, Inc. desperate for anything, but the company has been squirming to return to prominence under the smartphone spotlight following the failure of its cheap and synthetic iPhone 5C.

We didn’t see the fall of tech’s Holy Roman Empire, but it was pie in the face of Steve Jobs’ legacy nonetheless. Now, with the the length of the iPhone 6+ exceeding six inches, infamous media manipulator Apple has detoured the public’s attention from design brilliance to bigness in one product. What’s next? A lifestyle clothing line featuring pockets fit for a smartphone king? A true visionary, MC Hammer sported iPants years ahead of their prime. (more…)

The Mall at Men’s Central Jail

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The LA County Jail doesn’t need tearing down, it needs Rick Caruso.

LOCK DOWN SHOPPING TOWNThe Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail is an overcrowded dungeon, a house of horrors for pre-trial prisoners, the physically disabled, the mentally ill, and even jail visitors. An ongoing federal investigation into allegations of brutality at MCJ has exposed ghastly conditions, corruption, excessive force, free roaming retaliation, and secretive factions of Sheriff’s deputies and jailers.

In other words, give me a better location for a mixed-use mall and I’ll show you how to shake a set of handcuffs!

With the fate of Men’s Central uncertain, why not take a page from the old-timey tours and gift shops currently operated at Folsom and Alcatraz? Or from Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary, fresh from its annual reunion of former guards and inmates? Even better, why not go upscale and consider something along the lines of Boston’s quaint Liberty Hotel, formerly known as the infamous Charles Street Jail? All are popular tourist attractions that generate big bucks, serve as walkable warnings to the wayward, and provide the public with glimpses into America’s penal history – and future.

WHITE WOMEN COME AND CHECK OUT THE PRISON PRICESToo soon for a custody-themed Cellblock Shopping Town? Too “insensitive” of an idea? What’s stopping us, bad taste? Ha! Prison ideation saturates media and advertising anyway, so why not give the secret “crimeshopper” in all of us a little fun?

Let’s go from jail rats to mall rats and rake in the tax revenue!

Why not plan a “Shopping Daycation” around a jail-themed Apple Store or J.Crew? Men’s Central will forever be remembered as O.J. Simpson’s courtroom hotel and where lady-puncher Chris Brown will spend his 25th birthday: why shouldn’t the city cash in? Yet turning a civil rights cesspool like LA’s Men’s Central Jail into one of SoCal’s hippest destinations for designer handbags and iPhones is the one idea no one has proposed.

Until now. Welcome to The Fashion Industrial Complex – the Mall at Men’s Central Jail. (more…)

Jail Was Easier than Feeding My Grandmother

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

At 94, growing her hair long is the extent of her personal choice.

Photo by Alexander KleppestoIt was just an ice cream sandwich, placed in a bowl and broken up after it had thawed some. My mom had handed it to me, saying as she picked up a magazine, “Here, give your grandmother her dessert. Help your grandmother.”

She deserved the five-minute break; she’d been sitting next to her mother for the past 37 hours. Neither of my parents has left her side in years, whereas my brothers and I have the luxury of going wherever life takes those who aren’t trapped.

When I arrived I found my grandmother and my mom in a very nice hospital room. The staff was largely Catholic-Hispanic, so I knew both felt comfortable and free to exaggerate to their heart’s content. The large window perfectly framed the setting sun, and you couldn’t ask for a better time to look out at it. Which was all I wanted to do.

But my mom had put me on the spot by handing me that bowl. I resented her for it because I’m a selfish person first and an empathetic one second, plus I’d become aware of dueling feelings that had arisen within me. I felt both unworthy of and above this task. I was afraid of an up close look at what age had done to my grandmother, and while I wanted to believe this was normal, my brain defended that fear with pride and conceit. (more…)

Excuses, Dishonesty, and Tragedy

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

A daughter’s collect call from jail interrupts Thanksgiving dinner

Jail is the New GroundedTo look at Everett and Ella, you’d never know they’re the parents of a troubled, incarcerated daughter. They’re both successful in careers they love and they both espouse the family values with which they were raised, albeit modernized ones. Their home, where my wife and I were guests for Thanksgiving dinner, sits on a nice street in a neighborhood just about any set of young parents could happily work with.

When the phone rang the air at the table thickened slightly, as if a fly had entered the airspace. If the fly knows what’s good for it, it had better not land. A second ring offered a perspective on what it’s like to be the fly, buzzing in during dinner, which for Everett and Ella is a consistently early evening affair.

It was their old-school land-line ringing, and because, like a lot of us, they live and work by their iPhones, that meant that whoever was being ignored was family. Who else, besides mom and dad, first dials a land line these days? Regardless, ring number three provided satisfaction in the parental example they were setting for their four-year-old boy: no matter who’s buzzing around, during dinner, nobody touches the phone or the television. (more…)