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TODAY'S TOPIC: DO SMARTPHONES MAKE YOU STUPID?
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Click to read the articleCan Your Smartphone Cure Facial Acne? Apparently lots of people aren't very smart: they believe that if apps make it into Apple's iTunes store, they should actually work as promised. The article FTC: No, Your Smartphone Can't Heal Acne states: "About 3,300 people paid US$0.99 for Acne Pwner on Google's Android Marketplace and about 11,600 people paid $1.99 for AcneApp through Apple's iTunes store, according to the FTC." That's about 15,000 people who were stupid enough to pay nearly $26,500 for apps (of that sum, iPad users shelled out $23,200) which didn't deliver as promised. That's proof positive that smartphones can make you stupid! The FTC had these worthless apps taken off the market.

At the risk of offending those of you smartphone owners among my readers, I'd like to propose that smartphones can actually make you stupid. Yes, that's right: all along you thought that you were pretty smart to have purchased that iPhone for $600 when it hit the market, plus a monthly 3G connection fee of $60 or $70 locked in for two years, or that Android Whatever-Phone (brands and models abound) for $200, $300 or so, plus a similar monthly connection fee. That works out to a lowball estimate of about $200 + (24 x $60) = $1,640 for an under-powered, under-sized, over-hyped baby computer. You're one of the early adopters who buy the latest, hottest technology... and pay for original design and manufacturing setup costs. You've been sold a bill of goods that doesn't deliver very much for the money, so it isn't very smart in my book. Sociologists call it "conspicuous consumption" and "the ostentatious display of wealth."


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Even with the slickest GUI, artificial intelligence is no match for genuine stupidity.


Now, I must confess that I was once an "early adopter" of technology: I've spent tens of thousands of dollars for new desktop and laptop computers in the past 25 years, but they were crucial for my work. My first hard drive, 30Mb capacity, cost about $3,000. Today you can buy a 2-Terabyte hard drive for $100: that's about one-half a millionth the cost per byte. Of course, today's PC or Mac, although smaller than models 10 or 20 years ago, isn't quite as portable as a smartphone, but your broadband Internet connection probably costs about half as much, plus your PC or Mac can do a lot more than a smartphone and costs about the same, because design and manufacturing setup costs were paid for long ago. Also, its screen is big enough to actually read stuff on, and your ten fingers actually fit on its keyboard.

PC programs are written to solve real-world problems that otherwise would take many manhours - perhaps days or even months - to solve manually. But the "apps" for smartphones often don't solve very difficult problems, and frequently are just for amusement. For example, a GPS app for your smartphone might tell you what routes to take in order reach a destination. But a road atlas can do the same, doesn't need batteries, a device to run on, or an Internet connection; it costs $4.97 from MallWart (compared to $1,640 every two years to own and use a smartphone), and can serve you well for 10 years or more.

My wife and I each have "stupidphones" that cost $50 each, can make phone calls, take pictures, send and receive text messages, and even do a little Web surfing. We each pay about $7 a month for more minutes than we ever use, and can drop the service at any time. We're thinking - when prices drop some more, as they inevitably will - about porting our landline phone number to one of these phones, dropping our landline number, and using that $30+ per month for unlimited Web access on a no-contract, 300-minute, Virgin Mobile smartphone. The net cost over two years will be about what we're currently paying for our present devices and services. Or if we get a Windows 7 Phone, the files should actually be compatible with our PCs, and when Windows 8 comes out the apps should also be compatible: something that iPhones, iPads, Android phones and Android tablets can't offer. And... we won't buy any apps that purport to heal acne, cancer or heart disease. Is that smart, or what?!


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BTW (that's "By The Way" in texting), whether you have a smartphone or a stupidphone, be smart: don't talk or text on your phone while you drive; pull over to the side of the road. A huge percentage of all car accidents these days are caused by stupid people using their phones while driving.


If you're using Google's online search, Gmail, Blogger, or Google+ "free" services, you are the product: your personal identity - your education, age bracket, gender, marital status, income level, topics your read or write about, etc. - hundreds of characteristics about you are being sorted, sifted and sold to advertisers so they can target their ads to your specific interests. Have you noticed, for example, that after you've searched the Web for something, ads begin to appear on your screen from the same or similar companies whose websites you just visited?

See Google+ Isn't Just A Social Network, It's An "Identity Service". Google is trying to completely map your identity. But it's rather stupid that I often see ads for online Russian brides because Google knows that I search about Russia, even though my wife of 45 years and my girlfriend are one and the same person. Even dumber is trying to sell a $9.95 beginner's Russian course to me, who has served as general editor of a revision of the Russian Bible. But what about all of your personal characteristics on Google's servers being made available to the DHS and/or the NSA? It's already happening! What will they stupidly assume you to be?


The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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