Does your phone elicit tears of joy?

by phil on Sunday Sep 12, 2010 5:09 PM

User-generated comics

I'm really digging two recurring faces that have emerged lately in the Rage Comics scene. It's the LOL face and the OKAY face:

Rage Comics is a forum for user-generated comics, informally bound by the re-use of stock, stick-figure-like, faces. It reminds me of Randall Munroe's xkcd, which was, at one time, all the rage in the intelligentsia. Here's slides from a Cartoon-off he did for the New Yorker. And here's a talk he did at Google. The media narrative was that this was a new kind of cartoon for a digital age, where the most minimal, stick-like characters, driven by ADHD or Asperger's-inspired humor, was the "next big thing."

Unfortunately, the rise of Rage Comics shows that interest in xkcd was just a transitional phase. Rage Comics use minimalist stick figures as well, but unlike xkcd, they're user-generated and group-voted, so you get more diversity and more rawness.

What I think attracts people to it is the visceral expression of the stock faces. For example, look at the LOL face and the OKAY guy above. When you see the LOL-face you hear a loud horn and you imagine the most obnoxious, puerile expression. When you see the OKAY-face, its the most ultimate downcast, eeyore expression. What makes them good is not necessarily the genius of the artist behind the original LOL or OKAY-face, but the meme-creating nature of the community that surges up particularly poignant faces. It's like natural selection: the most persistently interesting faces stay upvoted, which becomes the stock faces that everybody reuses, further re-enforcing them.

Now that I have my iPhone 4...

I was singing karaoke to my mom on FaceTime this morning. She was still in bed, and I had just woken up. I really love my iPhone 4. She said she was crying during our first FaceTime call because of how awe-inspiring it was. Does your Android phone make people feel like that?

I've reduced my usage of my iPad, though, since getting an iPhone 4. Some of the service staff at the restaurants I frequent remember me for always bringing my iPad. But lately, they've been asking me, how come I don't have it. Usually I make some excuse, like, "oh, I forgot it." But to one cashier, who I knew to be tech-savvy, I gave a candid answer: "My iPhone 4 takes care of 80% of the reasons I bring an iPad to a restaurant." I have nearly the same apps on my iPhone as I have on my iPad, thanks to Apple's universal-application program. As a boredom-killer, the iPhone 4 is nearly as good as my iPad.

Which is a shame. At this point-in-time, the iPad doesn't seem all that much of a game-changer. It seems like a valid, new platform, and may be as popular as the iPod was (pre-iPhone), but it may not be the center of the universe like everybody was thinking in March.

Then again, Steve Jobs really wants the iPad to be the center of the universe, and who knows, maybe he might have an ace up his sleeve with the upcoming iPad update, which promises printing.

Maybe Apple is just extremely suited for one thing, the iPhone. Mobile development requires all those defensible intersections that Apple has, being both design-oriented and tech-oriented. The mobile environment caters well to Apple's walled garden personality, because consumers have zero tolerance for spyware and viruses on mobile.

One weird observation is that I don't have many apps I use on my iPhone. My usage is still dominated by the stock apps, like Safari and Google Maps. I use my Crosswords app every once in a while. This fury and excitement over apps has certainly died down. It's still real, but in the same way that software is still real on your computer. You don't hear your friends saying, "Oh man, did you get the latest XYZ software?" But people still buy software for their desktops and laptops, even though it's just... uninteresting. It's not a big deal. There was a time when people had 4 pages of apps installed. Now they have maybe 4 apps.

What's Obama game-plan?

I wonder what's going through Obama's head. Nate Silver says there's a 2/3rds chance that the Republicans gain control of the House this November. Obama clearly knows he's not the hotshot he was when he was ushered on a bed of Hope and Change.

My unifying theory of Obama is that he's a really good gamer. If there's a prize, he'll figure out how to get it. I mean, how did this black guy, with no experience, and a sacrilegious name, win the highest position in the world? My belief is he had the best strategy. He figured out how to get to Harvard. He figured out how to get into the Senate. You put him a closed system with a singular goal, he'll pull all the levers necessary to get it.

But now that he has the highest position, what prize is he fighting for? There's no position above the President that he can craft his way into. He's in an open-system, with ambiguous goals, and no clear winners. He seems bored in his current state. I think he'll get excited when it comes time for him to fight for himself again.

But what crosses my mind a lot is, what media narrative will he paint for himself? The Hope and Change stuff will be completely out the window. What will be the Obama 2.0 Brand?

I guess he could depict himself as some sort of smooth operator, in the midst of a Barnum & Bailey Congress. 2012 should be another really interesting election. I wonder if the Republicans will cough up another sacrificial lamb or bring out a real contender.


Anon said on September 22, 2011 12:20 PM:

Yes because you can't video chat with an android, or anything other than an iphone for that matter. All hail steve jobs

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