What I Learned from Watching My iPad’s Slow Death

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My old iPad just turned five, and it’s starting to die…

I’ve lost plenty of devices before, but this death feels different. When my old iPad is powered down, it seems practically new; when I turn it on, it feels instantly old. Tap the familiar YouTube app, and I am met with a pregnant pause: one, two, three, app. Ditto for the App Store, Podcasts, Netflix and e-books. Newer games are often out of the question, which wouldn’t bother me much if Safari, the web browser, wasn’t constantly overwhelmed by complicated pages. My attempt to install an alternative browser ended with this message: Firefox requires iOS 10.3 or later. My old iPad stopped getting updates in the 9s. I wouldn’t say my old electronics always aged gracefully, but their obsolescence wasn’t a death sentence. My old digital camera doesn’t do what some new cameras do — but it’s still a camera. My iPad, by contrast, feels as though it has been abandoned from on high, cut loose from the cloud on which it depends.

It hasn’t been used up; it’s just too old. A pristine iPad from the same era, forgotten in a storeroom and never touched, would be equally useless. The moment it came online, it would demand to be updated; as soon as it was, it would find itself in the same grim predicament as my device, which has been at work for half a decade.

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Collecting and the age of memeing

An example of old-looking memes. People use methods including screenshots and image compression to make memes appear old. (Photo provided to China Daily)

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Well, with the growth of internet and social media culture, the younger generation has cast their eyes on collecting digital memorabilia.

The collecting of emojis, GIFs and memes has become more and more popular among many youngsters-the older, the better.

Bright, colorful high-definition ones are not popular among the major collectors. No, they want digital “antiques”, older images from the early days of meme culture. The more rudimentary and blurry the memes, the better.

One user on Stage1st, a posting bar for Animation, Comic, Game and Novel themes-or ACGN-defines the pixelation and the faded color of these memes as a “digital patina”. It is now a widely accepted term among like-minded collectors, including one who posted that the definition sounds very “cyberpunk”.

The Glamorous Grandmas of Instagram

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On Accidental Icon, her influential Instagram account, she tends to vamp in an eye-catching mash-up of Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto and consignment store finds. Her following, hundreds of thousands strong, skews young, she said, and is responsive to her sass.

“I flaunt it,” she said. “I’m not 20. I don’t want to be 20, but I’m really freaking cool. That’s what I think about when I’m posting a photo.”

 

A Chat Room of Their Own

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In the fall of 2015, Nina Lorez Collins, a former literary agent, writer and mother of four young adults, including a pair of twins, was experiencing a fairly typical middle-aged malaise. She had a complicated second marriage, and her body was betraying her — textbook perimenopausal stuff, awaking most nights at 3 a.m., heart pounding, soaked in sweat. When she Googled “perimenopause,” it amused her to read that one of the symptoms was “impending sense of doom,” and she noted her discovery in an uncomplicated (until recently) manner: a Facebook post.

Friends wrote back, half-seriously, suggesting she start a group for their cohort, but what to call it? Black Cohosh (for the herbal remedy)? How about What Would Virginia Woolf Do? one friend joked darkly, because of course what Woolf did, at 59, was kill herself.

Within a week or so, Ms. Collins, now 48, had created a secret Facebook group with just that title, inviting her friends into the internet era’s version of a consciousness-raising group, where women of a certain age could talk about things they didn’t want to share with husbands, partners or children.

Amazon Echo for Dementia: Technology for Seniors

amazon echo for dementia

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Echo for dementia

Caregivers often get frustrated because seniors with dementia repeat questions endlessly, need to be entertained, or get anxious when you’re not around. Having Echo there to answer questions, talk about news or weather, or play music can give caregivers much-needed breaks.

Echo can’t completely replace human touch or real conversation, but the intelligent voice controls can make it feel like a helpful friend.

Echo’s voice-activated features are great for seniors with dementia:

  • Instantly answers questions, like “what day is it?” or “what time is it?” — it’s a machine, so it will never get annoyed or frustrated!
  • Plays music and read audiobooks and the news — no need to fuss with complicated controls
  • Tells fun jokes and riddles
  • Looks up information about anything — like, “what’s playing on TV tonight?”
  • Reports traffic and weather

What If Smart Homes Were Designed For Seniors, Instead?

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So when Kevin Gaunt envisions the future of the smart home, he doesn’t think of it in terms of millennials, or their “picturesque Airbnb-style houses inhabited by attractive people who effortlessly interact with technology, dealing with all our chores and reading our deepest wishes before we are even aware of them.” Instead, he asks what the smart homes and conversational interfaces of the future can do for the elderly. And his answers seem a lot less empty than the thermostat-automating smart home bots of today.

As part of his graduate project at the Umeå Institute of Design’s Interaction Design in Sweden, Gaunt imagined a series of smart home bots aimed at helping the elderly, as opposed to these devices’ current roles as “gatekeepers to a particular company’s ecosystems,” as Gaunt puts it. “That led me to think about what if a future smart home had multiple [assistants] that each focused on a narrow set of tasks, like online shopping, managing the daily budget, or spying on the neighbors’ whereabouts,” says Gaunt.

 

Spotify data hints at a ‘musical midlife crisis’ for 42-year-old music fans

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek (32) and investor Sean Parker (35) are a few years off musical midlife crises – in theory

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Streaming music service Spotify has identified 42 as the age when many of its users rediscover the joys of current pop music, as part of research into how their tastes mature over time.

“We’re starting to listen to ‘our’ music, not ‘the’ music. Music taste reaches maturity at age 35. Around age 42, music taste briefly curves back to the popular charts — a musical midlife crisis and attempt to harken back to our youth, perhaps?”

The findings come from a study conducted by Ajay Kalia, who oversees Spotify’s “taste profiles” product, which tries to understand people’s tastes based on their listening habits.