|An Old Man Speaks-Confusingly|
With each day, I am closer to becoming part of the 1%.
No, not THAT 1% (would that it were so!); the 1% of the population that isn’t “mobile.” I’ve written before about the perks available only to Smart Phone users. Some of those perks failed to excite me. Now comes a major perk that speaks to one of my bête noires—checkout lines.
According to a Time Magazine article, Smart Phone users can now enter a store, submit a shopping list, follow a map to a craved item, then bump the Smart Phone on a reader and get a discount e-coupon! Even better, a homeward bound 99 per center can scan pictures of lasagna and French bread from a Safeway ad, and pick up the bagged items later. It’s the year of the mobile wallet— a Smart Phone that also acts as credit card, checkbook and shop-bot.
One early adopter is Tammy Lam, 26, a PR executive in San Francisco, who uses her T-Mobile HTC myTouch phone to pay for just about everything. "I ordered dinner from my local Thai on GrubHub while sitting on the bus on the way home from work last night. I bought all my Christmas presents on my phone. When friends and I are out, we use Groupon to buy a meal," says Lam, who adds, "I hate cash."
Well, hey–the opportunity to bypass bored, texting checkout teens! But then, I can ALREADY do this, using Self-Checkout stations in supermarkets. I can pay an extra buck or so to pre-order movie tickets and bypass theater lines. I can order stuff to go using a conventional phone or web site. For years, I’ve used little to no cash when out and about. So what’s the big hooh-ha?
It seems to be “mobility.” We still talk about Smart Phones, when what we really mean are Handheld Computers. The ability to make a phone call is just another app, probably the one least used. Miniature circuitry made possible desktop PCs and laptops, and “cloud computing”—the storage of data on remote servers rather than personal hard drives—has made possible Smart Phones. What tickles Tammy’s tail feathers is being able to order groceries while riding a bus, or choosing a restaurant by coupon while strolling with friends.
More than just food shopping has gone mobile. Companies like Netflix are in mortal combat with movie and TV distributors to make content available on any and every device—TV, PC, iPad, iPod, Smart Phone—whenever a consumer wants it. I can’t imagine needing to watch an episode of Breaking Bad while walking down a city street, but sneaking in a flick on your Smart Phone while at work might be cool (if you like 3 inch images).
Right now, there are those, like Tammy Lam, who are fervent acolytes of The Cloud, those who are dour Luddites who still write on yellow lined paper with a pencil, and everyone else somewhere in between. But the true believers can now join together in their own religion!
In Sweden members of the Missionary Church of Kopimism. “Kopimists,” (derived from the Swedish word kopiera meaning “to copy”) have convinced the government to give their web-centric belief the status of an organized religion.
According to the collective's official site: “For the Church of Kopimism, information is holy and copying is a sacrament. Information holds a value, in itself and in what it contains, and the value multiplies through copying. Therefore, copying is central for the organization and its members.” Basically, they consider digital media pirating to be a holy act.
Kopimism's founder, philosophy student Isak Gerson, got turned down three times by Sweden's government because his religion lacked formal rituals. Since then, he’s succeeded in satisfying Sweden’s definition of a religion as a "a belief system with rituals." Presumably, those rituals are downloading, copying, and file-sharing.
As it happens, I’ve come across the Kopimist Ritual of Distribution:
Congregation and Celebrant together:
You are cleansed of all unrighteousness, and you are worthy to copy and distribute all information, legally or not. My files be with you
And ours with you
In the beginning, O Steve, you ripped off AT&T’s Graphic Interface that we might be freed from command–line computing. But even though we fell, by our abandonment of the Holy Apple and our worship of the Demon Gates, you gave us the iOS, so that we may spend every waking moment of our lives using an app.
Therefore, as often as we hack and rip and download and disseminate, we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Celebrant and Congregation together:
Privacy has died.
Copyright is defeated.
Meaninglessness has risen in the distribution of all information.
The people come forward, and present their Smart Phones to the Celebrant, so that their personal data may be uploaded to the Cloud and distributed to all others. A special prayer of thanksgiving may be offered for a congregant who can present hacked information, especially if it might start a war.
We thank you, Steve, that you have enabled us to distribute holy mysteries—and every other kind of information. May the glow of our screens shine always in our faces, and may we never raise our eyes to make contact with another living person. All that we know and need to know lies within your sacred Cloud. You are one Cool Dude, now and forever, Amen.