Noah, a short film that debuted at the Toronto International FIlm Festival, illustrates the flitting attention span and lack of true connection in digital culture more clearly than anything else in recent memory. (Warning: NSFW)
When we say the words “physician-author-guru,” your brain probably flips to only one person: Deepak Chopra. The man acts a soothing voice in the wilderness of pop culture—hanging with Conan O’Brien, Oprah Winfrey, and the like—all while writing 50-some books. Now Chopra has taken a turn into the spiritual realm of tech entrepreneurship with the Dream Weaver, a device designed to bring your brain into a relaxed state—and now a recently released iPhone app. We talked to him about the nature of wealth, the necessity of rest, and the intersection of technology and spirituality.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? On one hand, it allows for ease of communication, and could potentially take on the world of email. On the other hand… spam.
The story behind the minerals in your gadgets: you’re not going to feel great about your phone, but photographer Marcus Bleasdale’s Price of Precious also captures the positive change happening to the industry.
An artist in Nairobi can use Soko’s platform to create a vendor profile using only her feature phone. She can use basic SMS text entry forms to upload personalized images of herself and her work, as well as product details. This information is then turned into metadata that is automatically uploaded to the Soko website, creating a virtual storefront with the entire world as her potential clientele.
Makey Makey is a little circuit board that comes with a set of alligator clips. You can attach them to anything even mildly conductive (a body part, a glass of water, alphabet noodles, paper clips, Play Dough, or fruit for example) and use that thing to control your computer as though you were hitting the keyboard or moving the mouse.
Turn a bunch of bananas into a piano. Turn your friends into a synthesizer. Turn a trampoline into a slideshow controller. Turn your hand into a game glove. The possibilities are endless.
“You don’t have to know the answers. Don’t waste all your time making it perfect … don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions.”
Katie Finnegan, co-founder of Hukkster. We asked Katie and her co-founder, Erica Bell, what advice they’d give to other startups.
"One of the most important things to remember is that these companies don’t happen over night. They’re not an over-night success story, as I think a lot of people view certain companies. It’s really about finding what works and iterating your product."
—Danielle Abes, director of Qwiki, a video-sharing app that turns pictures and videos from events you’ve captured on your iPhone into brief, sharable movies.
Qwiki was named one of Time.com’s top 10 startups to watch in 2013, and was just bought by Yahoo.
“At the bar, my recently rediscovered heads-up
display—aka my eyes—revealed a person next to me, and for several hours I found myself in a fascinating conversation with one of the dancers from the Broadway musical Spider-Man.”
As part of our #Unplug series we asked, “What do you miss (if anything) about life before the digital age?” Here are some of our favorite responses:
- "The art of conversation, mystique and actually getting to know a person at a natural rate than via online presence… and of course privacy…” —Bree Williams
- "Peacefulness and serenity." —Henry Johns
- "The happy ignorance of not knowing how genuinely crazy some of my friends and family are.” —Todd Wilson
- "People actually having to work to stalk you." —Daisuke Iwamura
- "Wonder. Before the Internet you would wonder about everything. Now you can just look it up." —Matthew Green
Here, a few more things we miss about life before the digital age
“I considered fleeing to a remote island for a few weeks, but I realized I wasn’t craving physical escape. I didn’t actually want to be alone. I just wanted to be mentally free of obligations, most of which asserted themselves in some digital fashion.”
Remember phone calls You should because they are often the best way to get your ideas across. Here’s how to give good phoners.
“It was like, oh my god, I can be so much more productive if I actually let my brain have a little downtime. When I get up in the morning I’m very sharp now. I can do things much faster. I’m much more focused. I feel much fresher. I feel like I used to feel before the Internet was popular.”
-Kord Campbell, who recently participated in a digital detox hosted by Camp Grounded. We’ve collected stories from people who regularly unplug from their devices.