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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Really, so there's an 'app' for that?

Friday, April 29, 2011

In a very George Jetson kind of way, I've always looked to the future with the eyes of the eternal optimist.

The future will be oh-so-good for us -- or so I am fully convinced. Really. (Just forget about that whole Dec. 21, 2012 Mayan thing).

After all, I can't wait to get one of those flying cars of my own, or to live high up in an apartment building that loosely resembles Seattle's Space Needle. And who wouldn't love having Rosie the Robot wait on you hand and foot like some mechanical Hazel the maid?

So when I learned this week that technology has partially taken over my life, it didn't really bother me. So what if my iPhone is now tracking my whereabouts and storing that data without my knowledge or permission, as well as without the expressed, written consent of major league baseball? I say, bring it on, Big Brother.

Of course, conspiracy theorists are all over this supposed miscarriage of justice. It's everything from a Communist plot to the decline of Western Civilization. And now that the Obama birth certificate drama appears to have been laid to rest, the iPhone intrusion is just that much more fodder for AM radio talk shows.

I know that as a journalist I am supposed to be outraged and offended at the very idea technology is invading my space. After all, in this digital age, isn't it everyone's worst nightmare to have their personal data shared with the world?

Granted, there may be a simple, albeit technical, solution to all this iPhone imposition. After all, one of the techies among us has even volunteered to disable the locator feature on my phone. But the last time I agreed to something like that, 12 calls to Kathmandu showed up on my next phone bill.

It all reminds me of the far less technical but equally conspiracy-raising venture when the Kroger Plus Card was introduced. While it was designed to yield discounts to regular Kroger customers, there were those who smelled conspiracy and openly questioned Kroger's intentions. "Why are they tracking what I'm buying?" became a common complaint among our co-workers.

Not that it matters to me that Kroger intimately knows my purchase patterns include buying just three bananas at time (because four are too many and two aren't enough, of course) or that we prefer Gain laundry detergent for our unmentionables, not to mention buying England's Best Eggs because they all come with my initials nicely printed right on them in red.

I'm happy to say all that ever became of that so-called intrusion is that Kroger routinely sends me coupons for items I might actually buy instead of stuff designed only for use in Latvian Lasagna or something only Andrew Zimmern might ingest on his Travel Channel show.

The moral of the story is that now every business from Pet Smart to Putnam Inn has a card that collects your purchase data. No harm, no foul so far for me.

So now my cell phone is spying on me, huh? Logging my every activity, whether I'm tweeting from the privacy of my own bathroom or texting from the Dairy Castle drive-through.

Guess the only way to handle this predicament properly is to teach that intrusive little iPhone a lesson. I'll stuff it in my back pocket, and then, when it butt-dials someone, I'll just let the new technology go right ahead and track me down.

That should leave those mad trackers to wonder just where that iPhone might have been.