Tag Archive: iPhone

Can words heal wounds? Can words stop a war? Can words bring justice? Can words make you laugh? Can words make you cry? Can words build a home? Can words put food on a dinner table?

When I came into college at Liberty University, I had already decided that I wanted to write or become a journalist. I declared my concentration on print and have never looked back on that decision.  When I tell someone I am a journalism major, they raise their eyebrows in obvious perplexity or feign support. They give you this overall impression that you are heading towards an industry that has no future. Over the past recent years, I have heard the recurring phrases “The print industry is dying” or “journalism is dead.”

My response to these statements is that they are typical misconceptions of a long-lasting and much needed industry. However, given this current day and age of technology, I also understand why such statements have surfaced. Simply put, I agree the print industry is dying but it is reincarnating as something more powerful. As a result, journalists have been challenged to compete and satiate the demanding need for instant information.

Since the days of American independence, the newspaper revolutionized the way people communicate. It established a new relationship between the reader and writer. I believe the newspaper has always served as a voice or the watchdog within its community. For example, the famous ‘muckrakers’ who wrote compelling stories that brought down big industries and monopolies to proper regulation. Persistent journalists such as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein from the Washington Post sought out to seek the truth and forced Richard Nixon to resign as President. These stories or iconic writers elevated the status of print journalism.

People once emplaced a trust in the information they held in their hands. Newspapers were on the high, jobs were available and profit was on the ride. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. Since the days of online journalism, there is no doubt things have drastically changed. I have researched various online articles on the current status of newspapers and the first thing you will read about is the crippling amount of losses in revenue, the decreasing subscriptions and the troubling lay-offs. An example from the New Yorker in March 2008 states until recently, newspapers were accustomed to operating as high-margin monopolies. To own the dominant or only, newspaper in a mid-sized American city was, for many decades, a kind of license to print money. In the Internet age, however, no one has figured out how to rescue the newspaper in the United States or abroad. Newspapers have created Web sites that benefit from the growth of online advertising, but the sums are not nearly enough to replace the loss in revenue from circulation and print ads,”

To make things worse, the magazine goes on to explain most newspaper owners go the length of budget cuts, bureau closings, buyouts and reductions in page size and column inches. According to columnist Molly Ivins, the newspaper companies’ solution to their problem is to make “our product smaller and less helpful and less interesting.”

Overall, the dwindling number of Americans who buy and read a daily paper are spending less time with it. The average is down to less than fifteen hours a month. Only 19 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 claim even to look at a daily newspaper. The average age of the American newspaper reader is 55 and rising. I can’t even remember the last time I picked up a physical newspaper and read it cover to cover. I check everything online.

A passage from The Economist is not on the bright side of print journalism either. “Circulation has been falling in America, Western Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand for decades but in the past few years the web has hastened the decline. In his book ‘The Vanishing Newspaper’, Philip Meyer calculates that the first quarter of 2043 will be the moment when newsprint dies in America as the last exhausted reader tosses aside the last crumpled edition,”

Maybe this is some valid proof that the print industry is dying. So as a print journalism major, Shouldn’t I ask myself- is this the path of career I want to follow?  I am very aware that the life of the average writer is not easy. There is the belief or stigma writers live a lonely and depressing life. They work long hours behind the desk and receive little pay desperately trying to make end meets. In an address to UC Berkeley journalism grads, prominent journalist Barbara Ehrenreich once said, “You won’t get rich, unless of course you develop a sideline in blackmail or bank robbery. You’ll be living some of the problems you report on – the struggle for health insurance, for child care, for affordable housing. You might never have a cleaning lady. In fact, you might be one.”  She went on and told stories of her glory days of being paid $10 a word and working for Time magazine. Sadly, all that changed by 2005 when she became a meager freelance writer scrapping for work.

The funny thing is, despite all these statistics and tragic stories, I never have questioned myself or career choice. In fact, at this point and time I have never been more excited at the mere thought of being a writer or working for a news publication. The emergence of online journalism presents an exciting time for today’s aspiring journalist.  Online journalism represents the face-lift for print. It’s no different from VHS tapes upgrading to DVDs. Owner of the Huffington Post Arianna Huffington could not put it any better, “People love to talk about the death of newspapers, as if it’s a foregone conclusion. I think that’s ridiculous,” she says. “Traditional media just need to realize that the online world isn’t the enemy. In fact, it’s the thing that will save them, if they fully embrace it.”

From my perspective, we should not be opposed to it. Online journalism means writers will be able to reach readers faster. With the assistance of technology news subscribers will be able to access articles with a click of a mouse or touch of an iPad.  According to PC World Magazine, moving towards the online medium can beneficial. “The future of customized online subscriptions is already at the door. The Times itself introduced two innovative tools on its Web site that allow readers to share the articles they enjoy and, much like Google News, check out various sources for front-page stories. The services, called TimesPeople and TimesExtra, respectively, bring a Web 2.0 perspective to an antiquated industry and may help the Times when its advertising dollars run out.”

These are times we live in and we have to get with it. It is not a terrible thing. As I have said the print industry only served as a format and its successor is the Web. It is faster, stronger and better. Not only is the format changing but writers also have to adapt and become more versatile with online mediums and learn how to piece photography, video and illustrations with words as well. The decline of print does not mean I will be out of a job but that I have to work harder and re-brand myself in the midst of competition. In this day and age, there will always be a need for journalism because good journalism is useful and objective information that is beneficial for the public. The use of online media will serve as a platform for writers and work as a catalyst for the demand of information.  Paraphrasing Ehrenreich, journalism as a profession does not mean you are a big shot. It means you are part of a working class.

“As long as there is a story to be told, an injustice to be exposed, a mystery to be solved, we will find a way to do it. A recession won’t stop us. A dying industry won’t stop us. Even poverty won’t stop us because we are all on a mission here. That’s the meaning of your journalism degree. Do not consider it a certificate promising some sort of entitlement. Consider it a license to fight,”

By Jenna Wortham

Brendan McElroy’s living room in an apartment on the top floor of an East Village walk-up is crowded with anxious patients, each one jiggling a knee, or gnawing on a fingernail or lip.

Everyone is awaiting a prognosis — not for an ailing child or pet, but for an iPhone.

Mr. McElroy, a lanky, clean-shaven 28-year-old who looks more likely to be playing an afternoon game of touch football than tinkering with the innards of a phone, is standing at a workstation littered with the detritus of his trade: tiny silver screws, peels of plastic and cartons overflowing with spare parts.

Using a quick succession of tools — suction cup, razor blade and screwdriver — Mr. McElroy sets to work replacing a broken screen, deftly prying it off the iPhone.

Fifteen minutes later, he slips the back cover on and hands the phone to an eager client, who punches in the code to unlock it and sighs with relief as it leaps to life.

“It’s not difficult to do,” said Mr. McElroy, who taught himself to repair iPhones by studying YouTube video tutorials that demonstrate how to disassemble and reassemble the device. “But it’s difficult to do perfectly.”

With Apple having sold 50 million iPhones, it was perhaps inevitable that a cottage industry of iPhone repair shops would spring up. The one-year warranty that comes with the iPhone doesn’t cover damage unless it is shown to be caused by a manufacturing defect. And using official Apple channels for repairs can get expensive quickly. Screen replacements alone can cost as much as $300, inspiring some iPhone owners to seek out alternative ways to restore their phones’ health.

Enlisting the services of Mr. McElroy — or Dr. Brendan, if you prefer his Web moniker — costs markedly less. Replacing the battery on a 3G or 3GS iPhone for example, will run about $50. The price tag for fixing the touch-screen on an iPhone 3G is $70; for a 3GS, it’s $15 more.

Mr. McElroy’s operation is one of many offering rehabilitation services for the iPhone. A quick perusal of the business reviews site Yelp for places to take a mangled phone turned up dozens of listings in urban areas like San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Companies like MissionRepair, Rapid Repair and iResQ primarily offer mail-order services, which require shipping off the damaged iPhone. In addition to inviting customers to his apartment, Mr. McElroy makes house calls in and around New York City, sometimes crisscrossing boroughs several times a day. He also accepts repairs by mail and says he has a healthy international clientele from as far away as Portugal.

Of course, the bravest among us — and those with the steadiest fingers — can always try to make the repairs themselves. There’s no shortage of kits and online how-tos to guide adventurous tinkerers.

It’s worth noting that taking the D.I.Y. approach, or allowing someone other than Apple or its authorized repair centers to fix the phone, could violate Apple’s warranty.

One of those authorized businesses is TekServe, a well-known computer store in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. Although its fees are significantly higher than Mr. McElroy’s — repairing a smashed screen on a 3G iPhone costs $149 — the company justifies them by pointing to its long track record.

“We’ve been around for 23 years,” said Jazmin Hupp, a spokeswoman for the company. “We’re not a college kid who set up shop to do it this weekend and won’t be around in 90 days after the guarantee is up.”

Ms. Hupp said that the company offered a guarantee on its repairs and that its technicians had been trained by Apple. She would not say how many iPhones the shop had repaired, but she did say that cracked screens were the most common malady.

Apple recommends finding authorized repair shops on its Web site at apple.com/support. “We can’t vouch for the quality of unauthorized repairs,” said Natalie Kerris, a company spokeswoman.

Mr. McElroy offers customers his own warranty of sorts. He guarantees his handiwork and will replace any phone damaged in the repair process — though he says that hasn’t happened since his inaugural attempt at fixing an iPhone.

“The first try went less than smoothly,” he said. “I had just finished a bartending shift and reached for my phone. I dropped it and it smashed on the concrete floor.”

Hoping to find an economical fix, he decided to try his hand at replacing the shattered screen. He purchased parts, first from eBay, then from a local repair shop, and got to work.

“I’d describe it as semi-successful,” he said.

But after polishing his method on the phones of a few willing friends, it wasn’t long before he had improved enough to charge for his services.

Through an advertisement on Craigslist, Mr. McElroy began offering to replace shattered screens, and eventually expanded his menu to include broken SIM card trays, cracked covers, water damage and more mysterious glitches, like unresponsive buttons.

Before long, he said, business was booming. He took down his classifieds ads because word-of-mouth referrals and his Web site (www.drbrendan.com) were driving enough traffic. He quit his job tending bar to focus on his repair work. In the last few weeks, he’s enlisted an apprentice: his younger brother, Dan, who handles the iPod Touch touch-ups.

“There’s rarely a phone I can’t fix,” said Mr. McElroy, who estimates he’s worked on a thousand iPhones since June. “There was once a guy whose phone was thrown out of a 10-story window. The entire thing was split in half, but the motherboard was fine.”

Despite the trauma, he said, “I was able to get it up and running for him.”

The worst phones aren’t the ones dropped from great heights, Mr. McElroy said. They’re the ones that are dropped in the toilet.

“I keep a pair of rubber gloves around for that,” he said.

Mr. McElroy said he had recently branched out to doing repairs on MacBooks. Now he’s gearing up for a fresh wave of business: the iPad. But he suspects the iPhone will remain his main source of revenue.

The iPad “actually looks like it won’t break as often,” he said. “It has a nice sturdy case that should protect it when falling.”



Technology is constantly changing. It has enhanced most electronic devices that are a part of the average American household today. An evident example includes how television evolved from monochrome to color to the nearly mainstream HDTV. Overall, communication keeps changing and becomes more accessible because of technology.

What is most impressive out of all these transitions is the telephone. Alexander Graham Bell’s invention has been one of the most successful advances in communication. He was aware of its huge impact that it would have in America. But it is safe to say he had no idea how far the use of the phone would come and cement itself in the lives of so many people. The telephone has now reached various forms including the home phone and cell phones.

Seriously, the thought of not having a cell phone is unthinkable. Cell phones have also evolved to a new generation of sleek-looking, multi-tasking and touch-screen devices known as smartphones. Smartphones have applications (apps). Programs capable of e-mail, video, alerts, and GPS. Like HDTVs, smartphones are also on the verge of becoming mainstream.

“Touch-screen phone adoption grew by 159 percent between August 2008 and August 2009. The firm also found that by the end of August 2009, there were 23.8 million users with touch-screen mobile phones in the United States alone. In August 2008, just over 9.2 million people were using touch-screen phones,” according to ComScore.

Popular smartphones include the BlackBerry Strom, LG Voyager and Palm Treo. However, these smartphones are no match for the dominant iPhone.

“Unsurprisingly, it was the iPhone that led the way during that period. the iPhone was the top touch-screen device for users aged 13 and older, capturing 32.9 percent of the touch-screen market. The LG Dare placed a distant second, accounting for 8.7 percent of the touch-screen phones in the wild. That device was followed up by the LG Voyager, BlackBerry Storm, and Palm Treo, which captured 7.8 percent, 7 percent, and 6.5 percent of the market, respectively,” according to CNET News.

Of course the iPhone is the leading smartphone this year and has been the most sought after smartphone ever since its debut in 2007. The iPhone is notoriously known for having an unlimited number of apps. There is an app for almost anything.

“Apple’s App Store is now serving over 100,000 downloadable iPhone apps. iPhone owners worldwide have downloaded over 2 billion apps to date,” according to Apple.

Need to convince your boss that you are working while you are actually sleeping? There is an app that makes the random sounds of rustling papers and typing on the keyboard. Trying to hit on that girl you are interested in? There is an app that generates pick up lines that will have her falling for you. Are you a germaphobe? There is an app that simulates a virtual hand on the iPhone that you can use touch to faucets, door knobs and shake people’s hands. Forgot to turn in your homework? There’s an app that give you excuses such as being abducted by aliens that you could use on your professor

Some of these apps are really dumb but they are still a lot of fun as they are always in demand. Sometimes, apps alone are the sole reason people want to purchase smartphones. Who could blame them? Smartphones are cool and are naturally a big hit with the younger crowd.

  “51 percent of smartphone users are under the age of 35. A whopping 58 percent of touch-screen users fall within that age range. 21 percent of touch-screen users range in age between 18 and 24. Less than 5 percent of touch-screen users are 65 and older,” according to ComScore.

As a result, other phone companies, like Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola have been trying to make their own version of smartphones with apps. It is good most companies are following the same trend but in actuality it is a losing battle as the iPhone remains number one in development of apps.

Even though smartphones are a great advancement in technology and taking over the standard cell phone, they still have their problems as they are expensive, have expensive service charges and are 50 percent more likely to have problems and fail than regular cell phones. Still it is hardly a dent in the transition of smartphones and technology itself.