Tag Archives: technology

Off Topic: Today’s Verse 60

I am on a bun!  Two for the price of one.

Parody Numero Un:

My smart phone
has such a crappy battery,
When I’m home,
it’s charging dusk till morning.
It tells me it’s 100% full
but when I talk or text with it,
the level is near empty

What a pain, to carry chargers everywhere
Can’t they make a more dependable gadget
Imagine a pomme that I can count on
in emergencies and waiting rooms through dawn.

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.
I hate this phone, this pomme.

— yiqi 19 april 2012 10:52 PM

Parody Numero Deux:

Smart phone version, a new one every year
I’m getting tired of updating my gear
Then I see the new one’s no better than the last one
Helpless to protest this senselessness
Should I leave the brand that rhymes with “grapple”?

Rounded, flattened the makers choose to pander
to the mindless lowest denominator
Customize the headings?
No options in the settings!
Exasperation wafts like turpentine
Too high a price for flavor like bad wine.

— yiqi 19 april 2012 11:03 PM

These lyrical re-interpretations may be less obvious than the others I’ve posted here in the past.  Click here and here for a musical reenactment.  Note: I’m wearing a mouth guard and am not using my “natural” serenading voice.

Technologically Fantastical or just Unlikely?

Which of these apparati could actually be built, proven to operate effectively, and be available for retail in the next five to ten years?  Are there any already existing devices that perform similarly to what I’ve imagined?

A.  A computer keyboard outfitted with the hardware and software necessary to turn written words into music.  Notes, octaves, chord progressions are programmable.  Default instrument would be the piano with options to select major chords, minor chords, or both, and to adjust tempo.  Versions 2, 3, 3.14, and 411 would have options for guitar, violin, accordion, saxophone, and harp.  Initially, the keyboard would require a person to type the words; after a couple rounds of advancements, it would allow a person to import text.

I wonder what the book of Genesis would sound like as music “translated” from English words vs. from Greek.  What would the Constitution sound like?  Imagine the musical-literary possibilities!  A person could compose music through written language…without knowing how to read and write musical notes (yes, I know that not all musicians and songwriters know how to read/transcribe music).

B.  A plug-in for an e-reader such that a person can modify the grammar of a text to fit his own standards or to emulate another authorial voice.  Don’t like split infinitives? No problem, go to Menu–>Text–>Modify–>Grammar–>Unsplit Infinitives and no more “to boldly go” or “to stoutly dare,” instead, you’ll be graced with “to go boldly” and “to dare stoutly.”

Do you think you’d like this chapter more if it were in first person (as is the rest of the book)? No problem, go to Menu–>Text–>Modify–>Narrator Voice–First Person.  Wonder if this Candace Bushnell conversation would sound better a la Jane Austen?  No problem, go to Menu–>Text–>Modify–>Narrative Style–>Jane Austen (or Mark Twain, HP Lovecraft, Ralph Waldo Emerson, generic Beat poet, or George Halas if you prefer).

Not a fan of adverbs? Worry not, go to Menu–>Text–>Modify–>Grammar–>Parts of Speech–>Adverbs–>Eliminate (or decrease by 25%).

C.  A non-turn signal on the roof of an automobile that a driver would flick on to let other motorists know, “I am going straight when the light turns green; I am not going to turn right or left, so stop honking and getting so close to my car that I can see the pores on your nose in my side-view mirror.”

D.  A plug-in/app/other device that would enable a person to mute, beep out, or word-swap whatever word a person wishes not to hear.  A typographical version of it exists for online discussion boards so that curse words can be automatically replaced with neutral words of the administrators’ choice.  Could researchers and developers not apply it to the aural realm outside television programming?  For example, if Sven hates the word “lactate,” he could go to this device, punch in to the relevant fields “replace ‘lactate/lactates/lactated/lactating’ with ‘granule,'” and the like.  Or, “replace ‘hefty’ with ‘le fromage” so that if someone were to say within earshot, “I cannot believe my Aunt Maggie is still lactating after all that hefty feeding session from last weekend,” Sven would hear, “I cannot believe my Aunt Maggie is still granule after all that le fromage feeding session from last weekend.”

Oh!  And just for schnaaps and giggles, Sven could “replace one/wrong, me, you, money, leave, been, feeling, and filling” with “wong, ming, yoo, monkey, lee, bean, filling, and feeling.”


Memories of Microfiche

In last night’s episode of NCIS, Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon) cut into the bottom of a bookshelf and found a translucent rectangle the size of two side-by-side iPhones.  Agent McGee (Sean Murray) did not recognize it.  Gibbs remarked that he was holding a piece of microfiche, which he then likened to a flash drive.  Of all the analog-digital analogies I’ve heard, the microfiche-flash drive connection is by far my favorite.  Neither is better than the other, but they create very different experiences in terms of storing and viewing data.

In order to use a flash drive, one must have a computer that will recognize the device and read the saved files.  How many times have you had a computer tell you that it cannot open a certain drive because there is no device there even when you’ve put the drive into the USB port?  How many times have you put the flash drive into the USB port, heard the “blurp” sound and yet it doesn’t appear in My Computer or cannot be opened period?  No matter how much information you’ve been able to transfer to that tiny, ultra-portable flash drive, what good does it do if your computer won’t cooperate?

With microfiche, however, all you need is the fiche or film and a reader.  The problems that you may run into are easily resolved.  Bulb burned out?  Knob broken? Screen dirty? Go to a different machine.

True, if your computer can’t see the flash drive in one USB port, more than likely another port will work.  And in the instances where you don’t have another free port?  For anyone who knows how to work a microfiche machine, you probably learned how at your local public or university library.  If something wasn’t working, you could ask for help and the problem would be addressed quickly and effectively.  Remedies may not come about so readily when it comes to a flash drive.

I’ve used microfiche and microfilm many times over the years for research, mostly for old film reviews.  Illume at eight and I once spent the Friday afternoon of Spring Break in college looking through microfiche for a professor who needed to know whether or not and when Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing played in Staten Island movie theatres.  As I watched that scene in NCIS, I started feeling nostalgic.  I missed turning the knob and watching the fiche swish by across the screen.

How many of you have used a microfiche reader and what were you looking for?  What subjects?

Pic creds: here, here, and here.