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I’m currently reading Waiter Rant by Steve Dublianca and I can’t stress how excellent the book is. There is something so amazing when someone is just honest and forthcoming about their personal experiences. It’s like an invisible connection of emotions and thoughts that we can relate to. The writer explains his experience working in the restaurant industry.

For starters, I commend him. Working with the general public is difficult but the food industry is a beast all in its own. I tried my hand at working at a local Cuban restaurant when I was about 14 and made it through about a 1 day, 4 hour shift and I never went back. A few years later and one of the only times  I was able to not work and simply focus on school, I took a temp job at a Subway (at least it was temporary in my mind). That lasted just long enough to pay off my newly minted credit card. It wasn’t a hard job, but the clincher for me was when one day I was getting ready for school. I had taken a shower, gotten ready, and got to class. Of course, I always sat in the back and still do like the genuine handful that I am. The thing is that I caught a whiff of Subway. If you’ve ever eaten subway you know they have an incredibly distinguishable smell. It was only after a few minutes that I realized that smell of subway was me. I didn’t last, I cracked. I was still around 19 or 20 years old, super self-centered and self-conscious and couldn’t fathom going to school smelling like I’d been bathing in Subway. Needless to say I quit.

The writer of Waiter Rant talks a lot about humanity, the socioeconomic disparity and more importantly, the ruthlessness in our own humanity. One of the examples he talks about is a women who suffered a stroke in the restaurant. The woman is waiting for an ambulance when a couple walks in and proceeds to argue about the table they want, all while this woman is on the floor having a stroke. If you shook your head while reading that, take a second and think, are you that person on the train that has watched someone pass out and sucked your teeth or sighed out loud at the delay? Because I’ve watched this happen before. Right, because the person laying on the filthy subway car totally planned on botching your morning commute. I’m ruthless and cutthroat in a lot of ways, but on the other hand I am empathetic and understanding. So if I’m stuck under ground or plain stuck because your having a medical emergency, I think, oh well at least I’m still alive to see another day, the person who’s on the floor might not be that fortunate.

The book talks about a homeless guy who sometimes gets food from a restaurant. It reminds me of the homeless problem in New York and nationally. A few years back I was out with one of my best friends. The weather was brutal, I could feel the cold through my 1 Madison fox fur, goose coat. (Okay PETA advocates, have a seat. I didn’t know at the time it was authentic until I read the tag). The thing was that there was a woman with a thin coat asking for a coffee. Yes, a coffee. What upset me was everyone ignored her. She wasn’t asking for change, she wasn’t asking for money, she just wanted something to warm up. Now I pose this question, how can you say no? I’ve often asked homeless people if their hungry. I may not be rolling in the dough but how can you justify denying someone a meal. This past week this has been bouncing around in my peanut head. If I can afford a $300 Coach bag, how can I justify denying someone even a $5 meal? Can you? I know I can’t. Let’s put it this way, if you own an iPhone you know they retail for about $600 or upwards unless you have contract etc.. If you own an iPad, your walking around with now $1,000 in goods at minimum. So just think about that.

I’m not saying it’s up to one person or anyone to dive in financially and help the homeless or to jump in and save the life of a passed out passenger. What I am saying is we need to be a bit more conscientious of our attitudes towards each other. The truth is—even me included in this—it’s easy to be consumed by the work and school grind, however, no matter the pursuit, you should never lose sight of your humanity.

Here is my fave quote from the book:

“My Godfather, a Catholic Priest, once told me: ‘You may be the strongest and survive-only to win a life not fit for living.'”

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”

I started reading a book called Kitty Genovese, based on the 1960’s murder of a young woman. What stands out is that in this case people heard the woman’s screams yet no one did anything. Neighbors either went to sleep, assumed someone else was calling for help and in turn no one did anything. The reason I wanted to talk about this is because according to the book in the 60’s ambulances did not have the capabilities to treat emergencies as they do today. The entire point is no one did anything when she was initially attacked. Her attacker returned and finished the brutality that he started when he found her lying in a hallway of a building.

Yet.. the other day, my significant other showed me a video of a young woman passed out and people working on her. I was disgusted. Why? Because I could not wrap my head around the fact that people were taping it like it was a reality show.

In that situation, medical attention was summoned, but then I was floored by the reaction. Since when did we become a voyeuristic society where everything is filmed even the most shameful, embarrassing, or life threatening situations. You called 911, awesome, you may have saved someone’s life, but why take it a step further and record and why do we watch?

In some cases, one could argue that filming certain events has saved lives. At the same time, would I want to see my mother, sister, or best friend virulently and unsuccessfully being resuscitated for the rest of my days to haunt me? As if losing someone isn’t hard enough! It’s every fight, every encounter that instead of stepping in, we opt to record. People watched the murder of Kitty Genovese. Some weren’t sure what they saw but the point is they watched.

The book is said to explain why people watched and yet, no one intervened. Is it our self preservation? Then again, why in the second scenario would people record such a thing?

All I know is that, I think we need to step up more and hold ourselves more accountable. Consider the consequences of a video that will never go away, consider who it affects, who will pay the price for its existence. Not everything that happens should be recorded to never cease to exist. We all know how the internet works. You post, he post, it gets shared and you can’t stop it. It snowballs from one small snowball to an uncontrollable one. So before we pick up our iPhones and iPads, how about we call 911 first and make sure the person’s okay if it’s safe to do so.

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”

To all my new moms: kids cursing is pretty much a regular stage that all kids go through. One of my favorite movie moments of all time is from “A Christmas Story” when Peter Billingsley’s character Ralphie gets busted saying the “f dash, dash, dash word.” His father who regularly curses around the house turns to him and asks him where he heard that and he gives up the name of a friend. Later on as his mom tells the other boys’ mom what he supposedly taught Ralphie, you can hear him getting his butt whipped over the telephone. Classic, hilarious.

From the post, Kids and CursingTimes have changed. Most every parent I know will squarely place the blame on themselves, even if they try very hard not to slip up around their preschoolers. As it happened, my two older boys started it and ‘ended it’ in preschool, that is to say I gather that one of them never really stopped but he was savvy enough to know when and where to do it without getting caught. The toddler, preschooler form sounds like parroting entire phrases picked up from parents. Stuff like “oh shit!”, “stupid bitch!” and “shut up, asshole!” (What, that’s only in my house? Eh.)

The trick is to not make too big a deal out of it because it can be such an attention getter that they want to do it over and over for a reaction. A mild, “That’s enough Sean. If I continue to hear you use those bad words you’ll have to go to bed early.” Generally they get it pretty quickly and voila, they move on to the next stage where they stop cursing, but every time they catch you doing it, they say things like “Ooooh mommy, that’s a bad word! Stop using bad words in front of me, I’m a child.”

I thought I had pretty much escaped that whole thing with my youngest, he never got in trouble (read caught) cursing until he was six, which I thought was a little old to start. And even then, he didn’t get busted in the traditional way but it was more the fact that I’m one of the worlds’ nosiest moms and modern technology. I was relishing the fact that he and his god-sister & best friend were old enough to hang out in the backyard unsupervised when I noticed that it seemed kind of quiet. No basketball bouncing, no screaming, chasing etc., just a regular conversation. Weird. I snuck over to the window which was open about five inches, bent down and began listening to the conversation.

J.: “I curse. We could be out here cursing and no one could even hear us.” Of course as soon as I heard that, I whipped out my iPhone, turned on the camera to video, and eased it out the window. I didn’t get too much of a visual with the fire escape blocking it, but I caught classic first grade chit chat.

J.: “I can curse. I curse all the time. I can say ass.”
Khev: “Oooooooh! You’ll get in trouble! I can say ass too. ‘Ass’. See? I just said it. I can just say it.”
Ess: “So what. Anyone can say ‘ass’. Ass, ass, ass, ass. It’s not even that big of a deal: ass.”

The three of them proceed to chant ‘ass’ a few more times and then forget about it and moved on to something else. Meanwhile I’m laying on the kitchen floor laughing my ass off with the dog jumping around me wondering what the hell I’m doing. Still, I felt it needed to be addressed so later on that evening when Khev and I were alone, I told him, “I heard you guys in the backyard saying ‘ass’ this afternoon and I think you know better. Please no more cursing, ok?” What happened next was way more shocking and disappointing to me than his casual foray into bad language.

Khev: “No I didn’t!”
Me: “You did I heard you. The kitchen window was open and I was standing right next to it listening to you guys talk. I didn’t say anything at the time because I figured I would talk to you about it later.”
Khev: “I didn’t though. I swear I didn’t curse, it wasn’t me.” We went back and forth for a while and I grew increasing frustrated and pissed off until finally I told him I had it on my phone and if he didn’t just fess up, say sorry it won’t happen again, I was going to punish him for lying. He insisted he hadn’t said it so I played the video for him where each of them is clearly heard saying the word multiple times and not that quietly either. He was speechless.

And then I sent him to his room to lay on his bed for twenty minutes for lying, not cursing. He still occasionally lies, it wasn’t some magic cure all, but he certainly thinks it through better!

Cheryl is a student at The CUNY School of Professional Studies and the mother of three boys.  A former office manager, she currently writes a blog about her adventures in parenting called UrbanMommys.com.  In her spare time she likes to check out fun new places and things to do with children for her readers. Cheryl is also actively looking for a full time job that is both challenging and satisfying.

A major interruption with communication has caused Black Berry RIM users to scramble.  Why do we rely on technology so much?  Because technology has proven to be a useful, efficient and inexpensive tool that allows intra-company communication and communication with outside clients.  The majority of U.S. companies offer blackberry devices to its employees as a means to stay in contact at all times.

But when technology doesn’t measure up, it can be detrimental and even costly.  According to the The Roland Martin Report “Mike Lazaridis, founder of BlackBerry’s Canadian parent company, Research In Motion, appeared this morning in a YouTube video to say, “Since launching BlackBerry in 1999, it’s been my goal to provide reliable, real-time communications around the world. We did not deliver on that goal this week. Not even close.”

Now, I  must admit I have relied (and still do) on my device to keep me in touch with work related emails and personal messages alike.   That’s a good thing. Technology has been monumental in many new arenas of our society, but with anything, nothing is absolute.

Our society has evolved dramatically in more ways than not – one being, the ways in which we communicate.  Twenty years ago, TXTNG was unheard of!  There was a time (before my time) when a boy and girl liked each other, they would write love letters back and forth.  That form of communicating as we know it is now outdated.

Businesses that rely on technological devices to increase productivity should use these mishaps as a learning curve to find ways to keep things moving, if this should happen again – hopefully it won’t. Otherwise, we’ll continue to experience these disruptions all over again.

RIM has provided a very useful service to many companies local and international.

I read an article in Thursday’s WSJ, by Will Connors, Ben Drummett and Christopher Lawton which said “hardware failure began in Europe, Mideast and Africa since Monday.  The company was forced to “throttle” data traffic through its world-wide servers in order to deal with the backlog, triggering fresh disruptions in previously unaffected markets, including Japan, Singapore and  – starting early Wednesday morning-North America.”

For many professionals, this is a must have.

“Service disruptions affected a wide array of U.S. federal agencies, including the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury, as well as emergency services.”

During the email chaos yesterday afternoon, my boss hadn’t received one email since ten o’clock that morning.  But he didn’t mind.  Others that were affected, vented their frustrations on Twitter and Facebook instantly.

With dwindling sales of Blackberry devices, this serves as ammunition for customers to move to the iPhone and HTC smartphones.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, pages A1 & A2 (Thursday, October 13th)

Roland S. Martin’s blog:  http://rolandmartinreports.com/blog/2011/10/blackberry-outage-rim-apologizes-says-service-returning/

Miranda A. Walker is currently in her freshman year in the B.A. in Communication & Culture program at CUNY School of Professional Studies.  She works in the multi-media industry as an Executive Assistant at the New York Daily News.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her children and reading immensely.  Her dream is to one day run her own company.

Have you heard your cellphone ring in the last couple of days? Do you have a “house phone”? Do you even use ringtones for calls anymore? I know I cannot answer yes to any of these questions. With the rise of smartphones over the last few years there has been a decline in actual telephone usage, not that we didn’t see that coming. But why have we become so dependent on them and so quickly as well? Having had a smart phone in one form or another for over four years now I don’t know if I could ever go back to a “normal” phone ever again, nor do I think those types of phones that we once knew will ever be back on the rise again. The new smartphones are great with all the helpful apps – whether it’s an iPhone, Blackberry or another type of device. But with the gain of all this new technology in our phones, have we lost the actual point of a phone to begin with- talking to people?

I have to admit, I am a lover of the Blackberry Messenger feature and texting people who are all over the world and country – but even my own mother would rather text me before she’d call me up. And we live in the same house! Don’t get me wrong I do occasionally get a phone call here or there but I feel as though we as a society have moved away from hearing someone’s voice. Even with the rise in emailing over the last few years I have been wondering if we will remember what people actually sound like versus just what we think they do. Personally I have always been one to be attached to my phone or computer as if it were the last day on earth, but this past week for one of my classes we had to keep a media diary for one day of how much time we spent using different products. Whether it was our cellphones, computers, checking emails, or talking on the phone. I was more than surprised by the results that I received by the end of the day. I spend about 10 hours combined on all of my devices – though not continuously. I cannot speak for anyone but myself but I think I need to do something that doesn’t involve technology. For starters I have been keeping up with actually reading books in print and not from a device and yesterday I decided that I was going to try a new recipe a friend have given me.

Do you think you spend too much time consumed by technology? What about actually calling someone up today? In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, surprise someone you love with a phone call and let them  hear your voice!

Louise Marie Russo is currently an undergrad at The School of Professional Studies majoring in Communication and Culture. She enjoys traveling, cooking, baking, photography as well as volunteering. Her goal one day is to work with a non-profit organization advocating for the homeless population of New York City and one day publishing a book of photography.