Wedding Memories by Smartphone

Well, it’s not exactly like talking a “selfie” at you own wedding, but it sounds pretty close.   Just ask you grinds and invited guests to snap away at you wedding and see what you get.  Not a bad idea to hire a photographer just in case but  you may be able to save a few dollars by not having to hire the most expensive one, trusting that your friends will be capturing hundreds of other moments that can be shared with any interested parties.  The digital age is upon us, and the traditional photographic experiences of posed matrimonial moments may be casualties of technological advances. Of course, if you still want to spend a lot more money (or that of the bride’s parents), please be my guest, but there are so many more ways to share the events of this day than ther have been in the past.

There are a number of apps that can easily make the uploading of ceremony and reception memories a very effortless process.   Similarly, the iPhone enables us to connect readily with numerous social media sites that are literally in the palm of our hands: Instagram, Facebook, Google photos, etc.  Images can obviously be displayed on more traditional digital devices that we may prefer.  Remember the iPad, MacBook, and desktop computer.  Y0u really don’t want an old-fashioned photographic album do you?  

Maybe the best part is that you don’t have to wait very long to see how are the pictures turned out.  Those wedding day memories will be captured and ready for viewing in seconds.  So the “photographic honeymoon” will be over sooner than ever.  May your marriage be muck longer.

Ray Myers

P.S.

Earlier this month a new book was published on Amazon as well as other online book publishing formats.  I authored one of the essays in this book: “Changed During the Sixties.” The book’s title is “Turning Points: Discovering Meaning and Passion in Turbulent Times.” I hope you will enjoy reading these essays about personal and professional transitions made during this time.

P.P.S.

I will send out a Labor Day greeting next Monday, September 5, and will resume my weekly postings on a regular M-W-F basis on September 12.

There Was an App for That!

“All the News That’s Fit to Print.”  Well, not exactly anymore, at least in its News App NYT Now.  As you may already know, the motto of the New York Times has run into some roadblocks in the digital age.  It’s all about the decline in the number of subscribers over the past year.  In May 2015, NYT Now had 334,000 total unique subscribers?  Over the last three months, the app averaged only 257,000 unique users.

So what is the Times to do?  Facebook and Twitter, baby!  No “Old Gray Lady” anymore.  The Times now has an audience development team that will be looking to third party platforms.  I guess it was just a matter of times(s?).  NYT Now is not the first app that the Times has retired.  In 2014, it shut down NYT Opinion because it failed to gain much traction.

Maybe some people still just like to read the printed newspaper?  In this case, it seems that the Times is chasing the digital audience, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But instead of printing all the news that’s fit to print, they may be only reporting the news that the digital reader wants to “fit?”

Ray Myers

P.S.

Two weeks ago a new book was published on Amazon as well as other online book publishing formats. I authored one of the essays in this book: “Changed During the Sixties.” The book’s title is “Turning Points: Discovering Meaning and Passion in Turbulent Times.” I hope you will enjoy reading these essays about personal and professional transitions made during this time.

P.P.S.

During the remainder of August, I will only be posting commentary on Mondays. I will be “resting” on Labor Day, but will resume my posts on a regular M-W-F basis on September 12.

Will the Internet Make Us Smarter and More Social?

Some people really seem to think that it will do all these things.  I have my doubts as you may have guessed.  Kenneth Goldsmith at the Univeraity of Pennsylvania proposes that it really will make us smarter and more social.  How does he know?  He is the father of a 10-year-old and a 17-year old and they seem to be doing fine.  He surmises that we just find news ways to express things?  So all these new ways are judged to be just as effective, if not better, than the more traditional ways we have always employed.

Now he is a father and a college professor.  I am a grandfather and a former college professor (and a retired federal bureaucrat).  I just don’t see students becoming intrinsically smarter because they use the Internet, and I am very concerned that they may becoming less social in the process.  Please believe me that I know the Internet is one of the most powerful learning tools we now have.  But I believe, unlike Professor Goldsmith, that “basic human qualities” may have been changed by the Internet, and that we have to be aware of its impact in our daily lives, and keep in touch with our growth as compassionate human beings.

I hope that I am not being too sanctimonious in saying all this, but our lives still require some reflection or analysis 0f what and why we are doing what we do.  I just don’t think we can find all those answers on the Internet.

Ray Myers

P.S.
Last week a new book was published on Amazon as well as other online book publishing formats. I authored one of the essays in this book: “Changed During the Sixties.” The book’s title is “Turning Points: Discovering Meaning and Passion in Turbulent Times.” I hope you will enjoy reading these essays about personal and professional transitions made during this time.

P.P.S.

During the remainder of August, I will only be posting commentary on Mondays.  I will be “resting” on Labor Day, but will resume my posts on a regular M-W-F basis on September 12.

What’s in a Name?  Sweet Smell of Tech Success

“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  The sweet smell in this case refers to the emergence of tech companies as stock market leaders in the U.S.  At the close of trading on August 1, the four most valuable companies on the Standard and Poor’s 500-stock index (S.&P.) were tech companies: APPLE, GOOGLE, Microsoft and Amazon.  That meant that tech companies, by one common definition, occupied the four top spots in the market capitalization rankings, a rare and brief occurrence.

We can easily identified these companies as “tech companies” in the traditional sense, but the fact of the matter is that the most successful businesses or companies on the S.&P. today are using technology to fuel their continued growth and expansion.  These days every company is a tech company, but some have better niches, faster growth, more attractive offerings or more favorable share prices than others.  Tech has already taken over in nearly every business sector.

So what’s in a name?  Do we identify these stock market leaders as “information technology companies,” or do you prefer “consumer discretionary companies”?  Your choice.

Ray Myers

P.S.

And now for something completely different.  This past week a new book was published on Amazon as well as other online book publishing formats.  I authored one of the essays in this book: “Changed During the Sixties.”  The book’s title is “Turning Points: Discovering Meaning and Passion in Turbulent Times.”  I hope you will enjoy reading these essays about personal and professional transitions made during this time.

P.P.S.

During the remainder of August, I will only be posting commentary on Mondays.  I will be “resting” on Labor Day, but will resume my posts on a regular M-W-F basis on September 12.


Bug Bounty – Hackers for Hire

Oh, the irony.  “Apple, which has been criticized in recent years for failing to pay outside hackers who report bugs in its products, said on Thursday that it would begin offering a so-called bug bounty to technologists who alert the company to flaws.”  As you might remember, the lack of an Apple bug bounty program made headlines earlier this year  when the F.B.I. announced that it had paid hackers more than $1 million for a back-door into Apple’s iPhone.  If you are a hacker you may be happy to learn that Apple will pay as much as $200,000 to flag critical problems.  I know that’s down from the $1 million that they paid to solve the iPhone problem, but maybe there are just more hackers out there now to make it a more competitive?

Hackers have now entered the political arena.  “Hackers for Hillary” recently held a fund-raiser where tickets were going from $100 to $2,700.  According to event organizers, the fund-raiser focused on “cyber policy issues the next administration faces.”  A number of researchers recently suggested that the Democratic National Committee was hacked by two Russian intelligence groups in what they believed was a campaign aimed at hurting Mrs. Clinton’s presidential candidacy.

I guess you could call all this “hacking for dollars” or “hacking for political power.”  But this hacking of our tech industry and our political processes has enormous consequences world-wide. 

Ray Myers



Live-streaming apps – More Than You Really Need or Want

Now for those of you who like to watch real-time video of rapes, suicides and murders, this blog is very much written to cramp your “style.”  I suggest you find some other healthy pastimes to fill your idle hours, and if you cannot, go get some real mental health help.  Unfortunately, if you truly do have such an obsession, I am sure you have already found where you can get your fill of such content on some of our most popular “social media” sites.  And to make your quest even easier, they are literally at your finger tips as live-stream apps downloaded to whatever handy device you may choose.  

As I mentioned in a blog last week, there are some “human” efforts to monitor social media in the advertisement and sale of guns on the Internet.  Unfortunately to date it is a very labor-intensive effort requiring constant surveillance by concerned citizens who volunteer their time and energy to “watchdog” this market.  In the case of scanning video for for inappropriate content, artificial intelligence (AI) may be the answer to identifying and removing such content in a more efficient way.  Software has already been developed that can easily be used to weed out pornography or violence. And the speed of AI’s recognition give it a huge leg up on human monitors.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in monitoring inappropriate content is that it’s all in the “eye of the beholder” as suggested by one privacy expert.  But let’s not fall for that old bromide.  Rape, suicide, murder?

Ray Myers



Pope Warns of Becoming “Couch Potatoes”

Don’t retreat into video games and computer screens: engage in social activism and politics to create a more just world.  This is not your usual encyclical message from the world leader of Catholicism, but this is not your typical pope.  “Dear young people, we didn’t come into this world to vegetate, to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on.  No, we came for another reason: To leave a mark.”  Pope Francis decried a modern escapism into consumerism and computers that isolate people.  In many ways I believe this has become an unintended consequence of technology’s power to connect us with the rest of the world.  It also empowers us to escape into a more self-centered existence.

Francis’ call challenges Christians to be more courageous, to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes, and to set out on new and unchartered paths.  Leave your comfort zones and tend to the needy of the world was also a major part of the pope’s appeal.  I believe that technology is also a tool that can help us reach out to the needy of the world.  This may not have been part of the Pope’s message that day, but I am sure he wouldn’t mind this interpretation.  You can go online to find an organization that may be of interest to you in meeting the Pope’s challenge.  Have a look at the many social action websites listed on charity.org.

Please also keep those walking shoes handy.  Maybe you will also be inspired to set out on new and unchartered paths.

Ray Myers