Weekend Tidbits from the Tech Front

This weekend NetLingo presents a round-up of tidbits from the tech front, enjoy!

Apps Review
Here are some of the best apps for discouraging texting while driving:

DriveMode blocks all calls, texts, and emails, and prevents drivers from reading or typing. When you select the app, it sends out auto replies to let people know that you’re driving. (Free; AT&T only)

Textecution automatically disables texting whenever your phone is traveling at speeds exceeding 10 mph. But you can send a request to the admin to override the block if you’re just riding in a fast-moving car, not driving it. ($30; Android)

text-STAR uses the same 10 mph speed limit as Textecution, and also allows you to schedule auto-reply texts in advance, for periods when you know you’ll be on the road or otherwise occupied. (Free; Android)

DriveSafe.ly doesn’t block incoming texts; instead it reads them aloud. It allows you to respond by voice instead of with your fingers. (Free; iOS, Android, Blackberry) Source: Mashable.com

Latest Online Trend

Have you heard about Japan's new teenage fad?
In a new fad sweeping Japanese teenagers, girls are going out in public with their panties over their heads, says BuzzFeed.com. The teens are using social media to send out photos of themselves wearing panties as unusual face masks, and are even showing up at school or in clubs thus attired. The fad is apparently based on a teen comic book about a character called “the abnormal superhero,” who also wears ladies’ undergarments over his head as a mask. “I really worry about this country,” one Japanese commenter said.

Book Review
Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked by James Lasdun

Cyberbullying isn’t just a teenage phenomenon, said Emma Garman in TheDailyBeast.com. Novelist and poet James Lasdun was a married, middle-aged father of two when he suddenly became the target of a former pupil’s campaign to destroy him from afar. “Nasreen,” as he calls his tormenter, opened the assault with a flood of vicious, anti-Semitic emails before disseminating her allegations of plagiarism, philandering, and even rape via emails to his colleagues and comment sections linked to his books. Lasdun’s “stunningly well-written” account reads like a warning: “What befell him could befall anyone.”

His book “deftly evokes the chill power of cyberstalking,” said Edward Kosner in The Wall Street Journal. When Nasreen’s campaign ignited, the simple task of checking his email was, Lasdun writes, “like swallowing a cup of poison every morning.” The young Iranian-American woman had been a standout student in a 2003 fiction workshop he taught and, after the pair started a friendly correspondence, she initially responded reasonably when he rebuffed her flirtations. After the abuse began, Lasdun got little to no help from the FBI and the police—in part because his stalker was a nonviolent harasser who lived in another state. But Lasdun’s anxiety about how Nasreen might be destroying others’ trust in him was real. This was an asymmetric war, and he never does find a way to give the story a satisfactory conclusion.

That’s partly because he never accepts that Nasreen is probably mentally ill, said Jenny Turner in The Guardian (U.K.). He even admits that labeling her as simply mad would make his story, “for literary purposes, less interesting.” Yet doing otherwise makes him seem more concerned with being a victim than with getting answers. Still, you can’t fault him for refusing to blame the whole episode on a meaningless mix of chemicals in Nasreen’s brain, said Laura Miller in Salon.com. After all, “insisting that the tribulations people live through amount to more than an accident of biology” is “essentially what writers do.”
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25)

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