The package.

The Tasty Bomb Scenario

Mishloach manot is an ancient Jewish tradition, famous only in Israel, designed to feed the poor on Purim, but evolved, in modern days, into a localized version of Secret Santa. Usually not my problem, but after a long break I’ve started to work in an office, and the culture shock of these things actually happening,

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Photography by Tanya Hoffman.
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The Herd that Grazes on Mountain View Lawns

Two things happened this week that made me think of this column – the first I wrote for Haaretz on June 2013. The first is that Google kind of announce its social network Google Plus, will go the way of the Wave and the Buzz. The second is that, simultaniously, they’ve sent an email to the old Google Talk desktop app saying their favorite way to communicate has signed on for the very last time. As I was translating the following words to English, I found them to be as fresh as the day I hammered them on my keyboard with my forehead. /

 

I just have to say it, I’m afraid of Google, Google terrifies me, I stay up nights – maybe not the whole night, okay, but a good two-three hours of perfectly good sleep time – being just really scared shitless of Google. I’m not afraid of Google because they’re reading my emails or collecting my WiFi passwords or drinking my milkshake – no. I have good reasons. I’m afraid of Google because half my life goes on, irrevocably and with no chance of parole, within the confines of Google’s many services, and Google, while they say its halls are Segwayed back and forth by the brightests fellows, is sometimes – many times – just a big herd of lummox.

Take, for example, this new upgrade – and let’s not concern ourselves with this word, “upgrade”, right now – this new upgrade coming to us now like dirty, sand-covered Manna from heaven: Google is sending down its old, reliable IM, Google Talk, and replacing it with Hangouts, the least rejected member in the band of social media services known as Google Plus. This isn’t a theoretical disaster we might have to face in some distant future, this is happening right now, all around us. Hangouts, as this new broom is called, is a Chrome add-on, it’s a smartphone app, it’s in your bowl of soup, waiting for you to take a big sip so it could jump out and yell “please click here to update your Google Talk experience!”

Google Talk, the old broom, is really an excptional phenomenon in the Googlesphere, an excellent, lean and clean service that just. Friggin. Works. You can use it for just one purpose, which is to IM people. Google Talk is swept away, and not one person from Google called me to discuss this thing.

And what, pray, is this new tool, this Hangouts? Well.

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Heat, Turn It Down

I live in a hot city. Not in a good way: hot, humid city. And noisy, too. And so tiny everything’s always crowded. A hot, humid, tiny, overcrowded city. And angry. Everybody always honks or yells. I won’t go into all the passive aggressiveness going on in the streets. Let me just conclude: I live

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April’s Idiot

Really the best way to deal with the world today is turn off the old WiFi, preferably with a hammer, and wait for April fool’s to pass. Under the blanket – with a flashlight and canned food from the zombie apocalypse supplies – read yesterday’s paper and wait for tomorrow’s. Otherwise, half the day would

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#offli

At first the quiet was unnerving. Around the world and all at once browsers stalled, then froze, then GPFed; screens flickered on and off; cursors stuck to their place; a torrent of half-regurgitated, self-reflective musings of millions dwindled very fast, then died forever instantly. Phones died; iPads died; WiFi SSIDs slipped away from this reality,

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Damnit, Steve

For some decades now, Steve Jobs was being Steve Jobs so we won’t have to. So now we have to – otherwise the world of technology will once again be ruled by those who “just have no taste, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas

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Breakfast

I drove around and got to your house accidentally. So I sat there with the windows rolled down for the cold night and I looked at your windows, and they were dark. I turned the radio on, I smoked a cigarette, but I was uneasy. I changed the stations, I rolled another cigarette. I put the

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Meditations In Emotional Transcendence

Is life covertly good? It may very well be, and our perspective being what it is we may never be able to find out. This shabby room, its peeling paint, the curtains tattered and gray with dust — it may be happily sheltering us from a dark storm raging outside, but we can’t tell; the

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This Is What I'll Have

Two weeks. Two weeks and a day with no pressing deadlines and no urgent phone calls and no news, stuck in the middle of Manhattan, a place perhaps as non-New Englandy as you can possibly get. The noise of the city; the sheer volume of interesting distractions; the many babes coming and going in the

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