All posts filed under: TECHNOLOGY

Hypnotized by white culture, ‘Get Out’ is about being awakened

By LaReeca Rucker One of the cool things about teaching a college introduction to mass communications class is that you get to discuss the history of media, including books, magazines, newspapers, television, radio, music and movies. We also look at current events that relate to all of these mediums, and this semester, we watched a couple of current movie trailers, including “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Get Out.” While I heard many students say they enjoyed “Get Out,” I didn’t have a chance to watch it until last night when I saw it on pay-per-view. All I knew initially was that it was a horror/thriller movie that seemed to have a theme about racism. As a fan of “American Horror Story,” the trailer seemed comparable to an AHS plot. After all, the real horrors in “American Horror Story” are not the ghosts, vampires, zombies, etc. As I stated in an earlier column, the true horrors are the historical injustices that America once accepted and ignored – such as the way mentally and physically challenged people were treated …

Thrilling Thoughts About ‘Black Mirror’ and Real ‘American Horror’ Stories

By LaReeca Rucker Every now and then, I offer a list of some of the best horror/thriller movies, television shows and documentaries I’ve recently seen. Here they are: Black Mirror: I originally began watching “Black Mirror” a couple of years ago when the first season came to Netflix. At the time, I was a little embarrassed to share with others some of the content of this British science fiction series set in the near future with a technology/social media theme. Some of the subject matter in the first season has the potential to make viewers blush, including an episode in which the Prime Minster’s daughter is kidnapped and held for ransom. She will be murdered if the Prime Minster doesn’t perform an embarrassing act that will be recorded and shared on television and social media. So after watching it, I filed it away in my brain as interesting, but edgy until I started to see numerous articles written about “Black Mirror” recently in The New Yorker – which had already labeled the television series “A …

Pen pals meet for the first time after almost 50 years of writing

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to write a fun feature story about a woman and her pen pal, who had been writing each other for almost 50 years. They first began writing as teenagers when one was living in St. Louis and the other in New Zealand, and they recently met in person for the first time in Oxford. Here’s their story. You can read more at OxfordEagle.com. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

More of the story: Jackson native Kit Williamson talks about his ‘Mad Men’ role

The season finale of “Mad Men” is tonight, so you can imagine how surprised I was to learn last week that one of the actors on the show is from Jackson. Yep, I did a little Googling and ran across Kit Williamson, a former St. Andrew’s student who landed a role on “Mad Men” this season as one of the advertising agency employees. (That’s him on the right.) Kit was nice enough to grant a phone interview last week, and our story ran in Saturday’s paper, but it was heavily cut for space. So here is the original story with many more juicy details about Williamson’s role on “Mad Men,” his Mississippi ties and his other projects. The show’s season finale is tonight, and because the show’s creator is so secretive, there’s no way of knowing whether or not Williamson will make an appearance on tonight’s show, but you now know who he is, just in case you see him.   A “Mad Man” from Jackson Followers of the AMC show “Mad Men,” a 1960s …

Will our Miss Mississippi win the Miss USA crown tonight?

To say that Miss Mississippi USA’s goals are high is an understatement. They’re at least 238,000 miles high, and a little more if you want to make it to the moon. That’s because Paromita Mitra wants to be the first Miss Universe in space. That’s right – a Miss Universe who wants to explore the universe. Some may think that competing in a beauty pageant isn’t rocket science, but that could probably be proven scientifically untrue in the case of Mitra, 21, a Mississippi State University aerospace engineering student, who is representing Mississippi in the 2013 Miss USA Pageant that will air at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 16, on NBC. I can specifically recall not being able to speak English and pretending that I could,” said Mitra, who moved from Bangladesh to the U.S. with her family in 1992. Three years later, the family returned to Bangladesh, but eventually came back to the United States. I always thought (and still do) that America was the most amazing place on Earth,” Mitra said. “I remember wanting …

How to turn your iPhone into a vintage pay phone or Polaroid camera

Chances are, this Christmas, someone you know will be getting an iPhone, and they’ll need a case. Here’s a story we recently ran about some of the unique iPhone cases that are on the market, specifically the website Etsy. The vintage trend is alive and well here. Check out some of the cases fashioned like obsolete objects of the past. LaReeca Rucker The Clarion-Ledger As we move into the future, almost a decade past Stanley Kubrick’s vision of 2001, our culture has become fascinated by obsolete objects of the past that now hold sentimental and nostalgic value, and that fascination has been directed toward our cell phones. It’s become hip and ironic to snap on a phone case and turn your modern smart phone into vintage pay phone, your keypad into an old typewriter or your iPhone camera into a Polaroid. Lisa Russo, of Pennsylvania is a fine art photographer who turns her photos into iPhone cases and sells them in her Etsy shop LisaRussoFineArt. “The cases came about as simply another medium for sharing …

Miss Mississippi USA wants to work for NASA

A Hattiesburg woman has been crowned Miss Mississippi USA 2013, and she will represent the state in the Miss USA Pageant that will be televised in June on NBC. Paromita Mitra, 20, was crowned Saturday at Harrah’s Event Center in Tunica. In addition to her beauty, what may make Mitra, a former Miss Mississippi Teen USA, stand out among other contestants is serious brain power. According to examiner.com, Mitra was president of her senior class, a member of the debate club and has said she wants to become an aeronautical engineer for NASA. According to her Facebook profile, she is currently studying aerospace engineering at Mississippi State University. Brains also run in the family. Her father is University of Southern Mississippi Professor Amal Mitra, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and a Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Community Health Sciences. He has been a Southern Miss faculty member the past 15 years. “I was probably holding my breath at that moment and my heart was pounding,”  Amal Mitra said in a press release, referring …

The Challenger disaster – 25 years later

Where were you when the Challenger disaster happened? For many members of Generation X, the event could be compared to the Kennedy assassination as the defining tragedy of their youth. I recently did a story about the event’s Mississippi connections that I have posted below: Jane Merchant grew up in Huntsville, Ala., where her father worked for NASA as an Ordnance Guided Missile School instructor. Those early childhood experiences led her to shoot for the stars in an attempt to become the first teacher in space. Merchant, a ninth-grade social studies teacher at West Point Junior High School in 1986, applied for the position that was later awarded to Christa McAuliffe. It’s been 25 years since McAuliffe and six astronauts died during the Challenger disaster. Mississippians still live with the tragedy. On Jan. 28, 1986, Merchant was teaching when she heard a knock on her classroom door. It was the school secretary. “She had tears in her eyes and said the Challenger had exploded,” she said. Despite tragedy, Merchant, now 63, said she is proud she …

App-etite for technology

Here are a few apps I’ve downloaded this year. Some have proved useful; others I may eventually delete. Evernote – This notetaking tool helps you index, organize and retrieve notes and memos. Many have given it rave reviews, but others like myself have been hesitant about using it because it requires a login and appears to post your information to its online site. Because of privacy concerns, it will be a while before I feel comfortable letting this program store my thoughts. Siri – Siri is described as “your virtual personal assistant.” If you’re on the go and want to call a cab or locate a certain restaurant, type in your desire or speak it aloud, and Siri will assist. The screen format is well designed, but I haven’t found the app to be any more useful than Google. Trulia – This is a handy app if you’re looking to purchase a home. As a companion to the Trulia real estate website, it detects where you are if you happen to be driving around neighborhoods …

The iArm Forearm Mount

If you’re looking for a good gag gift this holiday season, you may want to check out PrankPack.com. They have several gifts to choose from, but I think my favorite is the iArm, a “fake” product that lets you mount your iPad, Kindle and iPhone simultaneously on your arm for fast access to technology. You can even mount a plate of food if you’re super busy. They also sell the Pet Petter so you’ll never have to pet your pet again. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Covering technology

I recently saw an article on PopGadget.com about the variety of iPad covers on the market and ran across this leather manila envelope cover. I’d love one with padding that’s large enough to use as a protective cover for a laptop or small enough for my iPhone. They cost $38.95. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Lifelong mystery solved via Ancestry.com

From time to time, I buy a one-month subscription to Ancestry.com to see of anyone else throughout the country has added more information to my family tree. The last time I did this, I found a picture online of my great-great grandmother and grandfather. The information mentions that she is full Cherokee, a fact I had heard all my life but had no confirmation until I saw the picture. Both were both originally from South Carolina and later moved to Mississippi. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

iGod

Search the iPhone’s app store and you’ll find a variety of religious applications, including some that enable users to send a “personal note” to God, keep track of holidays and explore a variety of faiths. Read the full story here. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

The New American Gothic

I’m a fan of robots, and while doing an Etsy search, I ran across this painting by seller buttonempire of Canada. It’s appropriately called New American Gothic, and you can still purchase it for $80. It made me smile. I also found this robot nativity scene pretty adorable. PsAndQs sells it for $45. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

The OtterBox

I picked up a new iPhone accessory this weekend called The OtterBox. It’s a box with rubber casing that protects the iPhone, and it’s supposed to be one of the best. Mine has pink accents instead of yellow. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

New iPhone apps

I recently dowloaded three new iPhone applications. For those familiar with the humor of LOL Cats, you’ll be glad to learn there’s an I Can Has Cheezburger app that enables you to view “capshuned” photos at your convenience. Classics is an app that opens to reveal a bookshelf filled with Alice in Wonderland, Call of the Wild, Robinson Crusoe, The Jungle Book, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Paradise Lost and other classic novels. Just click on your book of choice and view it on your iPhone. It actually looks like you are turning a page, and when you leave your book to check out another application, a red bookmark appears to save your place. I’ve begun reading The Time Machine. I also added Phone Flix, an app that lets you handle your Netflix cue. Hopefully,An American Crime, starring Catherine Keener and Ellen Page is in my mailbox. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

The ColorSplash iPhone app

I just downloaded a new iPhone app called ColorSplash that enables you manipulate the color of photos by selectively desaturating them. That means, you can use your fingertip to erase color from part of your picture and leave some to emphasize certain areas. For $2, it’s a neat tool. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Kindle app for iPhone

I got an iPhone for Christmas, and I’m fascinated by iPhone applications. Today, I read that Amazon has created a Kindle Application for iPhone that lets iPhone and iPod Touch users read the same electronic books, magazines and newspapers that Kindle owners can buy on Amazon.com. Some others I have on my iPhone include Flixter, which shows descriptions and times of movies playing in theaters near you; iXpenseIt, an app that enables you to keep track of your spending; BigOven and AllRecipes for cooking; TMZ for celebrity gossip; and BubbleWrap, a fun little game. Of course, I use the Facebook app the most, and I recently added a Twitter application called Twitterrific. What apps do you use? Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Trying out Twitter

I have yet to determine that Twitter is useful. It seems pretty much like the status update feature on Facebook. But I thought I’d start paying it a little more attention. In the process, I began following five celebrities who who actually Tweet – Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, John Mayer, John McCain and Soliel Moon Frye (Punky Brewster). Hopefully, they’ll have something interesting to say. You can find me here. Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.