Category: Gadgets

When the Bible is No Longer a Book

“A new kind of mutated Christianity for a digital age is appearing.” Rev. Dr. Pete Phillips I still remember the first time I preached a sermon with an iPad. Fearing my congregation’s response, I walked to the pulpit with notes and a Bible concealing the glowing screen. I continued the practice of bait and switch for several years until I sensed people growing less nervous. While there are still…  [more]

Do you hear what I hear? Audio reality and public perception

I recently read this fascinating piece on Medium about how changes in audio technology have altered perceptions of live events, including political conventions. Mack Hagood, a professor of sound and media, says that the quality and variety of microphones and mixing technology allows sound engineers to use “huge digital mixers and signal compression to combine these many sources into a detailed surround-sound…  [more]

The alluring ease of Amazon’s Echo

I remember watching The Jetsons as a child and desperately wanting Rosey the Robot to clean my room. I had high hopes that my adult commute would be as easy as George Jetson’s flight to work. Although we don’t have jetpacks yet, we do somewhat live the Jetsons’ dream. We carry computers in our pockets. We have smart thermostats and appliances. Increasingly, we can control our lives with our voices…  [more]

The Apple Watch and incarnational living

I have always been a “watch person,” continuing to wear a wristwatch long after mobile phones had more or less made them unnecessary. So I was thrilled to receive an Apple Watch as a Christmas gift this year. In a month of use, I have been pleasantly surprised by the way that it has changed my relationship to technology and my own health. In a way, the Apple Watch even invites me to reflect on…  [more]

The New York Times’ redemptive use of virtual reality

The thick bundle that is the Sunday edition of the New York Times arrived in our driveway as usual last weekend, but this time it had an extra pouch attached. Inside was a Google Cardboard — a small, rectangular, virtual reality viewer. After downloading a video from the Times onto your smartphone and then sliding your phone into a notch on the viewer, you could look through the lenses and watch a 360-degree,…  [more]

Bitmojis: a bridge toward authenticity?

Few situations in life have prompted as much internal dialogue as the creation of my Bitmoji. My love handles - did they really disqualify me from the athletic body shape? Was it truly necessary to choose a nose that actually matched the crooked shape of my own? Why are there so many eyebrow choices? And, more importantly, why was I so tempted to downplay the actual size of what I have always referred to as my…  [more]

Sharing the good news amidst Tinder’s ‘dating apocalypse’

Love isn’t easy in the digital age and, apparently, neither is responding to criticism. Last week, Vanity Fair ran a piece by Nancy Jo Sales on “Tinder and the Dating Apocalypse,” the contents of which provoked the Tinder Twitter account into an “emotional meltdown” that ranged from accusations of shoddy journalism to invoking North Korean users as legitimation of its services. Although…  [more]

Parsing the Parallel Bible

“When the reader hears strong echoes of his or her own life and beliefs, he or she is apt to become more invested in the story.” That line, taken from Stephen King’s On Writing, is a timeless truth that applies equally well to nearly every form of storytelling. But it is also a potentially dangerous truth when applied to the story of the Bible, authored by God Himself. Such is the inherent struggle…  [more]

The approaching scourge of virtual-reality porn

Before the Internet, it was easy to think of pornography as a worldly problem far removed from the church. Videos and magazines could only be bought in stores, which required showing one’s face at a public establishment - something most Christians probably avoided. But by the time I was 15, I had a computer in my room with a wire to the world. Suddenly, pornography could be accessed at the touch of a button…  [more]

I draw the line at selfie sticks (at least for now)

I went a little selfie crazy while on vacation a few weeks ago. Keep in mind, for a selfie-averse adult like myself, going “crazy” meant taking maybe a total of 15 pictures of my wife and I together while celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in Paris. But that’s about 13 more selfies than I’ve taken in the five previous years. I’ve always had reservations about the practice, largely…  [more]

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