Check out our latest unboxing video! In this one, we crack open October’s spooky themed Loot Pets! Be sure to check out our channel and subscribe for updates on when we post new videos!
Check out our latest unboxing video! In this one, we crack open October’s spooky themed Loot Crate! Be sure to check out our channel and subscribe for updates on when we post new videos!
I was at home scrolling through my Facebook feed on my phone, watching some small video that a friend reposted, when my 10 month old LG G4 rebooted itself.
In the world of small consumer electronics, that event is usually nothing special. It doesn’t happen all the time, but having a device say “You know what, I just need to reboot” does happen. We shrug, wait the few minutes for the device to restart, and go right back to where we were. My LG G4, though, got stuck in a booting loop and wouldn’t return to a home screen.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, my LG G4 had a hardware issue that was just counting down to when the phone would die (no recall notice, LG?). According to LG’s January 2016 statement to Android Authority, “LG Electronics has been made aware of a booting issue with the LG G4 smartphone that has now been identified as resulting from a loose contact between components.” Once that contact comes loose the phone bricks and becomes unusable. For some users that time is sooner, for some later. If you have an LG G4: Be prepared.
To the Strip Mall!
The good folks at our local AT&T store, whom we have always been treated with respect by, seemed to have their hands bound. I didn’t buy the insurance, but I was still within the warranty. The associate said they would have a replacement LG G4 shipped out to me, but it would take about a week to do so.
A week. A decade ago, we didn’t have smartphones, but their invention and proliferation has changed society as we know it. My wife and I don’t have a landline in our condo, specifically because we both have cell phones. An extra line would just be redundant, and I’m not about to give Comcast any more money than I absolutely have to. A week with no phone calls or texts can be done, but in this age of information, it’d be like willfully going deaf. Others would try to communicate, but I wouldn’t be able to hear them or even know they tried. Like it or not, cell phones have become a necessity of daily life.
My options were few. I couldn’t trade my phone in early for a new model, because it technically was broken. AT&T also doesn’t have a “loaner” program (seems like an oversight, this would inspire customer confidence). I also couldn’t pick up a phone and return it a week later, as this would incur a hefty “restocking” fee. So I did what I had to do, I bought their cheapest phone available on the spot, an LG B470 flip phone.
Living in the Aughts
I bought my first cell phone in 2001 at the same time as my then-girlfriend. Terrible decision. Don’t join in any contract with someone unless you’re committed to them. Life lesson. From there, it was flip phone to flip phone until 2010.
When my wife and I got married in the summer of 2010, the flip phone that I was rocking was destroyed on our honeymoon by a freak thunderstorm. Seeing as we were newlyweds and about to board a cruise out of country, my phone was the last thing on my mind. When we returned we bought a pair of our first smartphones, the Galaxy S.
This was only 6 years ago. Such a small time in the grand scheme of things, but such a large change in daily life.
Reaching for No Reason: The first thing I became acutely aware of with a flip phone in 2016 was exactly how often I would reach for my phone. Multiple times throughout the day I check my smartphone for new email, new social media comments, or other app fluff. With a phone that really only receives calls or texts, I keep flipping the phone open but then quickly realize it’s futile. It doesn’t have those frills, and if I get a call or text, the phone will let me know.
No GPS or Weather: Without Google Maps or weather widgets, I’ve felt a little lost (pardon the bad pun). Yes, I know, we use to get by without GPS maps and up-to-the-minute weather just fine. But with Google Maps and GPS devices, I’ve long rid my car of local maps. Also, storms just passed through this morning, and I had no idea they were coming. I could’ve used my home PC or work PC to check, but these are both things I have mentally relegated to my smartphone.
No Curated News: I also have felt much less informed overall. Lack of a smartphone means a lack of those in-between moments to check current events. I use social media, but I primarily use it to get my daily news. Groups that I’ve joined are both social interactions and a curated news delivery system. Yes, tell me all the news about Ultima, Star Trek, and Disc Golf! I’m all for them.
No Podcasts: All the podcasts that I keep up with will just have to be skipped this week, too. I won’t clean my house any less, but where I was listening to podcasts during my commute or while cleaning now will be silence or background music.
Tiny Pictures: And pictures on this little flip phone are laughable. Sure, I could take some, I guess, but without the ability to share them, what’s the point? We passed a business yesterday that it advertising itself as a “Cat Lounge”, and I didn’t even bother taking a picture to ask everyone what they thought that meant. I have no idea. A salon? A bar? Are cats welcome? What *is* that?! I couldn’t post the picture even if I did take it.
It’s not like these are monumental changes by any stretch, and are small annoyances at best. They highlight, though, just how integral these little devices have become in our daily rituals. It’s not in the large interactions that they found their use, but in the small periods of time between interactions. That podcast on the drive home, that quick check of social media in the bathroom, that look at the forecast in the morning.
The Reports of the Death of Social Interaction Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
People complain about how things were better before smartphones, though, how we talked to each other more and didn’t have our faces glued to screens. This is hyperbole, of course, but if anything my technological regression is making it clear how it’s *not* the devices that are to blame. People are.
If someone feels compelled to stick their face in a screen over having worthwhile human interaction, that’s the person doing that, not the device. That person who rudely talks on their phone while ordering coffee? That’s a rude person, not a rude phone. It’s essentially the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” argument, but applied to cell phones. Which is totally true. It’s the act that matters, not the device (cell phones aren’t designed solely for the purpose of death, though, which is the true basis of the guns argument).
So if you’re blaming your bad habits on your phone, nope, you’re in the wrong on this one. The phone is just an outlet to flex those bad habits, but you’re still the one doing them. Same goes, though, for blaming the downfall of society on devices or games. If all it took was a cell phone to trigger the downfall of society, then it wasn’t being held up by much in the first place. Stop blaming Pokemon Go on people’s lack of awareness, blame the unaware people.
A Return to Normalcy
Can’t wait to get my replaced G4 back, though. The feeling of connection, of direction, of making those in-between moments useful again. This has been a fun experiment, and it’s been interesting to note the minute changes in daily life that have snuck up over the years. Every once in a while it’s good to remove yourself from your comfort zone, if only to measure how much you have changed. But, seriously, AT&T, where’s your recall or loaner phone program?
Everyone is talking about wearable tech, especially smartwatches. Comparisons on the latest and greatest feature, practical designs,and discussions on the right manufacturer provide an array of options for every need. There is even a wearable one with built-in biometric sensors that can help you better understand the patterns in your emotional, behavioral and physical wellbeing.
Recently I was given the gift of a Microsoft Band 2. It has a heart rate monitor, notification center, calorie counter, and even a sleep monitor. While the technology is cool and the idea of having multiple types of information almost at my fingertips was appealing, it seems that this watch and other items like it has other possible benefits on the psyche, anxiety, and emotions that was unexpected and certainly surprised me.
“There is even a wearable with built-in biometric sensors that can help you better understand the patterns in your emotional, behavioral and physical wellbeing.”
Are you the type of person who finds themselves constantly wondering what your friends are up to, what might be happening online at this moment, or wanting to stay on top of the latest news and memes? I’m not. I AM the type of person who has an amount of incoming emails that would bury me in about 3.5 hours should they be made of actual paper, a constant stream of PMs both work and personal, and a work schedule that requires me to be globally available for emergencies. Sadly, both these states are fairly typical of the average working individual. This can make it completely normal to be caught in photos and around the house with your phone 12 inches from your face, create the ability to both walk and read simultaneously, and cause the words “just one minute ,honey” to pass your lips far too frequently.
I’ve become used to this state of mind until the advent of this gift. Suddenly, there was something that could allow me the ability to glance at my wrist and see what needed to be prioritized or ignored on all the social media and email programs simultaneously. I was able to look up from that phone and actually participate in events and activities again without the anxiety and panic of missing something essential that needed an immediate response. The extra benefits of the pedometer made me more aware of the importance of getting up and moving around after sitting too long, and the sleep tracker was interesting and had a built in alarm that is touted as waking you at the optimal point in your sleep pattern.
Can all this technology create a sense of control? Yes, it does and that can be advantageous or set you on a path of extreme micromanagement. Balance here is key. I find it calms my mind and allows me a type of freedom while being informed to have this incoming information that can wither be ignored or replied to. So much so that I recently backed the Pebble 2 Kickstarter in anticipation of wanting another “smarter” watch in the future.
Have you used tech to help center yourself and did you find it had an effect on your anxiety?
Ever get the feeling that all your friends who share similar interests only exsist on the internet? There should be an app for that. Enter Leaping Tiger, a location-based friend-finding app for gamers, is now available on Android after launching for iOS and the web in May.
A social discovery tool designed for gamers who want a simple way to make friends with people nearby who share similar gaming tastes, Leaping Tiger allows users to quickly find individuals to play with, consolidate their gamertags across all platforms, and engage with the surrounding gamer community.
“If Foursquare and Tinder had a baby, and that baby was really into gaming, that’s Leaping Tiger” Amy Potter, founder, Leaping Tiger, explains. “We have seen many social platforms move away from lengthy posts and extensive profiles, but social platforms for gamers have lagged behind. We think we are providing a product that is the evolution of the online social experience for gamers. We offer a streamlined set of tools to help the community instantly connect.”
Features include the ability to create a profile with a listing of gamertags for each platform, check-in to games, message other users, location-based search prioritizing local active players and save other users’ profiles for future interactions.
Leaping Tiger provides a variety of intuitive features that allow users to:
- Create a Player Profile – Members can create a player profile housing all of their gamertags, so players with similar interests have the option to connect
- Check-In – Leaping Tiger lets the world know what games members are playing at that moment
- Instantly Connect – After finding a potential friend, users can instantly begin chatting, making it easy for gamers to organize online play sessions and meetups with the local community
- Find Local Gamers – Leaping Tiger prioritizes active members in a user’s area so gamers can locate others who share the same time zone, before searching worldwide
- Save Friends – After connecting with other Leaping Tiger members, users can save their favorite profiles to make future interactions via direct message with those individuals a breeze
The Leaping Tiger founders developed the app to fulfill the need for a simple and instant way to discover local gamers, emphasizing real connections over anonymity.
Games are better played with people you know, and the team at Leaping Tiger is passionate about bringing gamers together. You can find Leaping Tiger on Android’s Google Play Store as well as the iOS App Store, with a web based version being perfected for a summer release.
Need a new plush friend to add to your collection? Consider contributing to the Hatoful Boyfriend Kickstarter! The team behind the popular pigeon dating sim has recently launched a Kickstarter to bring their characters to life with the aid of pledges and stuffing. Wait, pigeon dating? That’s a thing?
Hatoful Boyfriend is a Japanese pigeon dating sim game series, originally created by Hato Moa as an April fool’s joke in 2011. If you haven’t yet be indoctrined into the Dating Sim world, Hatoful Boyfriend is a text-based visual novel where almost all characters, except the player, are birds. The player has been invited as the human ambassador to the prestigious school, St. PigeoNation’s. It is up to the player to make friends and find love among their avian classmates. Yes, you are continuing to read that correctly. Players have to be careful, as every choice they make has the potential to change the ending of the game.
The story stands out from other games in the genre by combing a unique setting, twisted sense of humor, and extremely satirical elements. Because of this, Hatoful Boyfriend has built a dedicated fan base and quickly grown from a practical joke into a franchise that has now been brought to Windows, OSX, Linux, Playstation 4, and Playstation Vita. Who doesn’t love a game where you can fall in love with a guy who coos at you?
And now you can take the obsession even further by snuggling with your very own pigeon-boy counterpart.
At the time of this post, Hatoful Boyfriend’s Kickstarter has well surpassed it’s goal of 25,000$ and has raised 76,399$ with the aid of 1,317 backers who are ready to add these plushies to their collections! The Hatoful Boyfriend Kickstarter has 27 days to raise additional funds. Will you be contributing?