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Have You Ever Thrown Away Your Phone in a Fit of Frustration?

I’ve seen it happen a million times in movies. Fed up with work/love/undead sorcerers, our main character hurls his/her phone into a river/volcano/garbage bin. But do people really do this in real life? Have you?

The one time I threw a piece of tech in a fit of madness, it wasn’t a phone and I didn’t actually intend to destroy anything. But when I hurled that goddamn Netgear USB wireless router that NEVER WORKED across the room, I accidentally broke the glass in the door to my dining room. I was as surprised as you are! Who knew that stupid device could actually accomplish anything, let alone break glass?

So anyway, tell your friends here at Giz-have you ever tossed your phone away because of its crimes against you or humanity? What happened?

Photoshopperie by Ser Andrew Liszewski

Contact the author at
annalee@Gadgetlayout.com
.

Public PGP key

PGP fingerprint: CA58 326B 1ACB 133B 0D15 5BCE 3FC6 9123 B2AA 1E1A

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What Should We Reboot Next?

Everything old is new again, and it seems like a reboot is announced near-daily out of Hollywood. Do you have a favorite property that deserves to come back from the dead?

Two of my favorite television shows,
Twin Peaks
and
The X-Files
, are slated to return. A new
Star Wars
is on the horizon. Even properties that were moderately popular in their day, like
Gilmore Girls,
can gain a wider audience through online distribution and be resurrected, as
announced this week
.

If you could give any entertainment property a new life-be it with a home like Netflix or a big-screen release-what would you choose?

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What’s The Worst Movie Ever Made About Technology?

Today we looked at how
Steve Jobs
flopped at the box office
-but it’s hardly a disaster of filmmaking. What’s the worst movie made with tech as a major plot element?

By standards of Good Movies,
Steve Jobs
has a lot going for it: snappy, Aaron Sorkin-rich dialogue, excellent acting from a top-notch cast, sleek production values. I may take issue with the sappy ending, but
Steve Jobs
is not a bad film about technology.

A bad film about technology is 1995’s
The Net
, starring Sandra Bullock as a systems analyst out to expose dastardly cybervillains. You don’t remember
The Net
? A “cyber action thriller” made in the early days of online, the movie

played on all our worst fears about the scary newfangled Internet. There are cyberterrorists, conspiracies, erased identities, terribly important floppy disks, and Sandra ordering pizza online from pizza.net. Welcome to the future.

The Net
isn’t just laughable by today’s technological standards, it’s purposely fear-mongering about what awaits unwitting web users. “The absolute worst film ever about the Internet is the one whose brain trust couldn’t come up with a better title than
The Net
,” wrote PC World Magazine’s Christopher Null.

But there have been a lot of dumb cinematic spectacles with technology as a central theme, whether they’re starring moronic hackers or hackneyed robots. What’s the worst movie you can come up with?



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What’s the One Device You Need to Survive the Apocalypse?

The zombie horde is coming. The pandemic is spreading. An EMP just fried the grid. One way or another, you need to get out of this soon-to-be-godforsaken city. You gaze forlornly at your glorious pile of technology, knowing you’ve gotta make a hard choice about what to bring.

All week at Gadgetlayout, we’ve been
exploring survival
– how to prepare for the
next major earthquake
, how humans
engineer for disaster

, and how to survive the
terrible, meaningless accidents that hit us out of nowhere

. We’ve also spoken with experts about
how to survive

the collapse of civilization itself.

But honestly, we’re going to be some pretty woebegone survivors without our precious devices. So, we want to know which of those devices to
bring
. What piece of technology will shield us from the nuclear fallout, help us evade the cannibalistic road warriors, or simply keep us entertained in a world without Netflix? What’s the one device we should all be bringing into our apocalypse bunkers, no matter what? Doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be damn useful.

Image: The radio tranceiver I’ll use to chat with the International Space Station after the apocalypse, via Shutterstock

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What Should We Call The “@” Sign?

What Should We Call The

A New York Times article points out that many languages have creative names for the @ symbol. The Dutch refer to it as a monkey’s tail. For Italians, it’s a snail. But in boring old English, we just say “at.” Let’s get creative.

The Times piece discusses how many English Internet terms have become increasingly universal, like hashtag and WiFi. But when it comes to the little circular squiggle that’s crucial for email addresses and tagging on social media, “@” has a range of descriptive terms across the linguistic spectrum:

The Poles use a word for it that means monkey. The Dutch call it a monkey’s tail. The Czechs call it a rolled-up fish filet. The Greeks call it a duckling. In Hungarian, it is a worm. In Italian, it is a snail. In Ukrainian, it is a dog. In Taiwanese, it is a mouse. Meanwhile, in the United States, it’s technically known as the “commercial at.”

Boring! Surely we can come up with a better moniker. I always think of flowers when I see an @, because of ASCII flowers from the pre-emoji era like this rose: @}-,-`-. So I’m going to go with flower. Take that, Czech rolled-up fish filet.

What’ve you got?

[NY Times]

Image via Shutterstock

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What Should We Call the Monster El Nino?

This week, we learned that the 2015 El Nino
may end up being most powerful on record
, eclipsing three other major El Nino years over the past century. So….why doesn’t this beast of a weather phenomenon have a goddamn name yet?

We’ve thrown out a lot of monikers for the
hot blob

that’s been stewing across the Eastern Pacific these past months, contributing to droughts, floods, algal blooms, coral die-offs, and massive tropical storms. The Godzilla El Nino. The Bruce Lee Chris Farley El Nino. Sauron, the Necromancer, etc. But we want to know what
you’re
calling it. We want a name that commands respect, strikes the fear of God into you, sends you running off to Costco to purchase a lifetime supply of canned beans.

The World Meteorological Organization has been naming tropical storms
since the 1950s
. It’s crazy, and frankly, rude, that we don’t do the same for El Nino years. Help us correct this wrong in the comments below.

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What’s Your Dream Tech Set-Up?

Let’s say you suddenly come into a ton of money and can only spend it on technology. What do you buy?

I’m accustomed to searching for bargains and the best deals where tech is concerned, but a girl can dream. My main crush at the moment is on Samsung’s
upcoming Serif TV

(no word on pricing yet, but it ain’t gonna be cheap). Phone-wise I’d go for megabyte broke and get the 128mb iPhone 6s or Galaxy S6. I’ve never had a truly nice camera; the
Sony A7R Mark II
would be mine. For travel (in my private jet, natch) I’d get the 12″ MacBook in gold to match my newfound wealth, a Surface Pro 4, and maybe some Ultrasone Edition 5 headphones, because who doesn’t need $5000 headphones with moor oak earcups?

I haven’t even begun to splash out extravagantly, so help me out. What gear would you get if money is not an issue?

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Is There Any TV Show That Treats Tech Realistically?

I’m getting tired of computer systems that are hacked in seconds, cars hotwired like it’s no big deal, databases that instantly find criminals, and other crimes against tech. What is there to watch for some realism?

I know that entertainment requires a suspension of disbelief and that a lot of the limitations (and actual speed) of our technology doesn’t exactly make for must-see TV. But lately I’ve been rolling my eyes through too many scenes on too many shows that hinge on technical miracles that flat-out don’t exist, or if they do, should take many hours or days or weeks to process. I’m not talking about science fiction here, but shows set in our everyday world, only with resources that vastly outstrip what actual exists.

Surely there’s some drama inherent in true-to-life tech struggles. Keyboard smashing for 10 seconds and gaining an insta-hack with all the answers is just starting to feel like lazy plotting. Please tell me there are some shows out there where technology functions somewhat like it does in the real world. Because I don’t seem to be finding it, and I’d like to start. What’s on?


Top image: Maybe I should just go back to binging on Star Trek

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What Was Your First Screen Name, and Why?

It has to have been better than Kaila1996.

In my initial forays into America Online, I was hardly brilliant, in the screen-name creativity department. The worst part is that I kept updating the name, until “Kaila1999” stuck, and saw me through college. When I first joined Gawker Media a million years ago, everyone still used AIM to communicate, and “Kaila1999” was on my first business card. “Do you really like Prince?” someone once asked over chat. I
wish
it had that cool of a origin story.

Do you remember the first screen name you created, and why you chose to give yourself that moniker? Bonus points for the year of signup.

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Tell Us Your Worst Uber Horror Stories

Image: Getty

Today,
news broke

that Uber is set to launch a self-driving car fleet in Pittsburgh this month. It’s a big move for both the driverless car landscape and for Uber, which has been testing out autonomous cars for
some time now

.

But while these new-fangled innovations may be exciting, they’re not going to solve all of Uber’s problems. And as anyone who has used Uber-myself included-can attest, a lot of shit can go wrong after you hit the request button.

Have you been charged an exorbitant amount of money for what seemed like a normal ride? Post a screenshot! Have you dealt with an asshole Uber rep who wouldn’t help you properly? Call them out! Did you end up in Newark when you really wanted to go to Queens? Share your story with the class! This isn’t limited to passengers, either-if you’re an Uber driver who had a nightmare drunk passenger, we want to hear about that, too.

Head on down to the comments and let it all out. We’ll round up the best stories later.