Tag Archives: smartphone

Unplugging Because. . .

Technology, like sex, has a love/scare relationship with most Americans.

Until relatively recently, sex has been something that you just did not speak about in anything remotely resembling polite company. Not only did Lucy and Ricky sleep in separate beds with a nightstand between them, but most of George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on television have to do with sex.

The flip side to that, however, is that while sex might not have been a public subject, it was the thing most on the minds of American men and women. Porn thrived, especially with the arrival of the internet and the ability of people to buy it anonymously. You couldn’t talk about it, but it was used to sell everything from cars and toothpaste to fridges and massagers.*

Things haven’t changed all that much, but it has become a bit less of a taboo in public discussion. Or at least, my wife, known to one and all as She Who Must Be Talking About Sex, and her friends seem to have no trouble talking about this kind of thing anywhere and everywhere.

I’m thinking technology is beginning to occupy a similar place in the American psyche. Not so much its existence, but, rather its use.What's the point of things like the National Day of Unplugging? Are we that scared of what the internet, in particular, and technology, in general, can offer to us?

More and more people are joining movements like the National Day of Unplugging, which was held early last month. The point of it was to abjure technology from sundown March 7 to sundown March 8. Ironically, folks who participated took photos of themselves and posted them on the National Day of Unplugging website to talk about “I unplug to. . . ”

I’m assuming ironic-deafness is a prerequisite to becoming a Luddite.

This whole thing reminds me of people who used to say, “I never watch television, except maybe a few hours of Masterpiece Theater on PBS.” Mostly folks said that to make it look like they were too smart, too sophisticated to debase their minds with the common drivel the rest of us enjoyed.

I suspect these folks are probably the same ones who won’t use an e-reader because they only read “real” books.

So, really, what’s the point? It’s not like any of these people are going to unplug for the rest of their lives. It seems to me that the whole point of this unplugging is to plug back in and then broadcast to one and all how virtuous you were because you put down your smartphone for a while.

It might have something to do with the fact that people don’t trust themselves very much. They use programs that block the internet or blank their web browsers so they won’t fool around when they should be working. They keep checking their messages and e-mail during meals with other people.

Even if you have always-on connection, that doesn’t mean you have to use it, yeah?

Mostly, I think the attraction of these sorts of things lies in the fact that, for most people, the idea of change is scary. And technology is all about change, about doing things differently, more efficiently, on a wider scale than before, seeing new things in your lives that had always been there, but were never noticed.

Dudes and dudettes get caught up in the world and begin racing toward the future with eyes open, but stop every once in a while, stumble, and realize just how much change we’ve been through and still face.

The strong smile, assess and continue. The weak unplug.

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The Meaning Of Gifted

Attention Deficit Disorder has been called many things: A curse, a disability, a problem, pure bone lazy.

Dr. Kevin Ross Emery, an expert on child and adult ADD/HD, wants to add another term: gift.

“However well intended, society’s collective attempts to medically treat and otherwise manage ADD/HD individuals often negatively impacts their self-worth and self-esteem and significantly hinders their ability to reach their full potential,” Dr. Kevin said. “Indeed, the stakes are high when it comes to finding a successful treatment plan, particularly for children.  Those who face criticism from parents, teachers and others for perceived laziness and bad behavior may face a lifetime of emotional problems.”

Not only that, the researcher and author said in a press release sent to Stately Dude Manor, but that constant harassment, no matter how well intentioned, can have the effect of blunting the sharp edge of the “gift” conferred by their ADD/HD.

“The loss of this population’s insights, brilliance and creativity–their greatness–is all too often sacrificed in order to help them ‘fit in’ to society. We as a culture need to celebrate and nurture those living with ADD/HD as they are so that they can, in turn, love and respect themselves and realize their full capabilities…to the benefit of us all.”

So Dr. Kevin, who actually likes to be called Dr. Kevin, got together with some coders and created the Managing the Gift smartphone app. It’s designed to provide educators, parents and caregivers a better understanding of ADD/HD, so as to counter the more common, negative labels that create such negative presentiment.

According to the press release I was sent: The pioneering Managing the Gift App goes well beyond with highly detailed, custom-tailored reports that help caregivers understand precisely how to best parent, guide, support, feed and educate each specific child living with ADHD, ADD or HD.  To facilitate this, among other features, the App uniquely offers a proprietary, personalized “Paint Your Child’s Portrait” interactive tool that reveals and defines a child’s distinct “ADD/HD personality” and, based on the individualized results, provides an expansive custom report that provides caregivers with valuable behavioral insights to recognize, utilize and maximize what Dr. Kevin calls the child’s “ADD/HD greatness.” The information gleaned from the custom-tailored reports also helps caregivers make critical decisions about diet, guidance and other common areas of concern and confusion, while also providing tools and techniques to help ensure the child flourishes amid the unique capabilities and aptitudes identified through the App.

The Managing the Gift App is compatible with any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with iOS 5.1 or greater and is available for free in the iTunes Store. The optional “Paint Your Child’s Portrait” feature reports are offered through the App for an additional nominal fee.

I’ll be straight with you dudes. I’ve not tried the app. I wish I had, but real life has been kicking a certain dude’s butt quite severely lately.

The reason I’m running this press release is that I love the idea behind the app. All three of my young dudes were diagnosed with ADD/HD and all three of them have been seen in a poor light at times because of it.

But I’ve also seen some amazing bits – some astonishing creativity – that I don’t see in undiagnosed young dudes and dudettes. It’s hard when you’re constantly being told that there’s something wrong with you. I’m all for something that says they aren’t just as good as the other kids in their class, they’re better. And they can get even better than that.

So take this as a qualified endorsement. I love the idea behind the app’s creation. Now it’s up to you dudes to let me know if the app lives up to its promise.

For more information on Emery (a.k.a. Dr. Kevin), or his books “Managing the Gift of your ADD/HD Child” and “Managing the Gift: Alternative Approaches to Attention Deficit Disorder,” you can find him at www.MyDrKevin.com.

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Sexist Selfie Suggestions

Selfie is the new  chad.*

And provides the televised talking heads with the latest social shaming technique aimed at the ladies out there.

For those of you dudes with real lives who might have missed this massively important news, the Oxford Dictionaries recently declared selfie, “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website,” as the Word of the Year for 2013.

Yes, really.

According to Oxford research, the use of the word selfie has increased by 17,000% since this time last year. Judy Pearsall, the Editorial Director for Oxford Dictionaries, further explains their decision in a press release: “Using the Oxford Dictionaries language research program, which collects around 150 million words of current English in use each month, we can see a phenomenal upward trend in the use ofselfie in 2013, and this helped to cement its selection as Word of the Year.”

There have also been lots of plays on this word, such as welfie (workout selfie), drelfie(drunken selfie), and even, for you book lovers out there, bookshelfie (shelfie in front of your bookshelves).

Interestingly, even though Oxford Dictionaries named selfie as the word of the year and gave it a pretty thorough definition, it isn’t yet included in the Oxford Dictionary. Yet. I’m sure. Other words that were shortlisted (for 2013’s word of the year) include bedroom tax, binge-watch, bitcoin, olinguito, shmeat, showrooming and twerk (thanks, Miley).

I told you that story (with massive apologies to Bill Cosby) so I could tell you this one.

On CNN’s Headline News, an male anchor, a female guest commentator and a male actor (Dean Cain) all got together to talk about the 2013 word of the year and to show some celebrity selfies and try to decide which selfies belonged in the Selfie Hall of Shame. Watch the embedded video below and then come back. I’ll be waiting.

So. You’ve seen it, yeah, dudes?

First there was Kim Kardashian’s mostly full-body selfie showing off her post-baby physique. Then a shirtless, 70-year-old Geraldo Rivera in a locker room. Then Miley Cyrus wearing a bra and panties in a mirror asking about her hair. Then a shirtless Justin Bieber.

All four selfies were deliberately provocative. All four showed a bit more skin than would normally be associated with a photograph going out in public. (Unless you’re a celebrity, of course. Then, I guess, the normal rules don’t apply.) And, yet, it was the two female selfies that were immediately inducted into the Hall of Shame.

Geraldo got a “pass” because he looked so good at 70, while Bieber’s shirtless selfie simply was a case of “giving the fans what they want.”

So, let’s look at the equation here: Female celebrity skin = bad and salacious. Male celebrity skin = good for them.

Does anyone see the disconnect here or is it just this dude?

Honestly, at this point, I really don’t know what to say. We all know Americans have an unhealthy obsession with sex. Not that sex is bad, understand, but that we obsess over it, but also obsess over making sure it’s never seen, talked about or thought about by anyone but us. We all know there are different standards for men and different standards for women. A woman doing exactly the same thing as a man will be shamed, while the man is celebrated.

But to see it so blatant, so out in the open and to have no one comment on it. . .

Dudes. . . Dudettes. . . This just isn’t right. Isn’t it about time we did something about this? Do we really want our children growing up into such a sick culture?

 

*If you’re not old enough to know what a chad (and it’s cousin the hanging chad, and the second cousin the dimpled chad) is, then count yourself lucky.


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