• SOFT-SCI FICTION

I went to Rite Aid to get Lip-gloss. As I’m sniffing around at the different colors, flavors, and sparkle shines my inbox starts blowing up.. it’s an email with a coupon from Rite Aid for the really ugly colored Lip-gLoss in the display case next to the Lip-gloss I’m looking at,..


A Soft-Science Fiction: A BitchAss Casagras Frenemy Phone
By Liz Rywelski

According to me and my Alcatel Smart Phone there are three kinds of people in this world: My kinds of people; BitchAss Casagras Frenemy Phones; and An Audience.
A Smart Phone’s core value is to store personal data and share data as it converges with incoming data in order to sell our personal data back to us in the form of an Identity: Identity as a little container for people to get their jobs done.. but whose job is it in the end?

My Alcatel phone is fitted with a radio service that can also read simple RFID tags in retail stores. My real world items and my online purchases become linked as a single-identity is collected and stored on my phone. This identity is assigned in my constant environment and where ever I am it thinks for me! As I spend time ‘like’ing stuff and as I +1 stuff I’m transparently and subdermally App-lying more than 31 flavors of human to myself than I ever thought I could be.

Just a few days ago I went to Rite Aid to get Lip-gloss. As I’m sniffing around at the different colors, flavors, and sparkle shines my inbox starts blowing up.. it’s an email with a coupon from Rite Aid for the really ugly colored Lip-gLoss in the display case next to the Lip-gloss I’m looking at,..

I’m like, “wait. Phone. Those colors are for horror… Are you my friend or my frenemy? And what kind of Consumer Behavior Pimps you out? Seriously phone? An RFID tag on a neighboring Lip-gLoss that would be purchased with my credit card and club card then end up in my bag just tried to sell you out. ?.” I didn’t choose the ugly Lip-gLoss as suggested (boycott). I shut my fucking phone down while calling it a bitch ass-Casagrass, and left the store with my kind of Lip-Gloss (shoplift).

This shoplifting retaliation reminded me of a time when I wanted something but not because something or someone told me I did or didn’t. Like the first time I bought condoms, my best-friend Danielle drove me a few towns over incase someone’s Mom were to recognize me in the store while I casually examine condom options. I brought my selection to the counter, paid with my debit card, club cards were non-existent, and I went on with getting it on. Over time I figured out “my best condom” which took experimentation, and journaling about different condom choices.

How we-as-consumers consign ourselves by custom tailoring preferences in a mass market environment is how RFID’s commune with smart phones like mine in certain stores. Like, as if my barista: who knows that I like my cappuccino really frothy, and I don’t like a lid on the top it ruins the “head” for me; is also my Rite Aid shelf stocker who knows: that I like my condoms thick, ribbed, and spermicide-ed, and on Thursday’s during my lunch break.

So I want to go a bit more into simple RFID’s the ones in retail stores. The Checksum RFID’s like the one here is an RFID tag that simply depends on the alignment of the tag and reader. It reflects back a portion of the radio waves beamed at it. The reader takes a snapshot of the waves beamed back and uses it to identify the object with the tag. When a RFID tagged item is paid for by credit card in conjunction with a loyalty or club card then the ID of that item is tied to the identity of the purchaser, including the phone # and email of the purchaser.

Whatever happened to the dated version of, “If you want to know something about a person you just ask them”, like I do in Portraits, and why I don’t buy the items with a card in Suite 6. The identity industry uses RFID and Club Cards to detect a product, track a buyer, and peek into the lives of consumers in ways that until recently were off limits. We get to see this too, Twitter allows us to see how other people “use” Twitter and we can compare our own opinions with the profile pic option under a ‘like’ button as a condition of transparency.

My phone is fitted to think I care more about optimizing the things I am designated to care about more than I actually care to care about things in the way my phone thinks I care. Maybe this is a pessimistic view but: my phone is not my friend, it’s not my foe, it is my frenemy: a transponder responsive to coded signals that responds to the signal which turns my phone into an interrogation system that, when in the company of some parties, aims to rival my independent thinking and creativity.

Alcatel hasn’t released an app version of Pete Warden’s app The iPhone Tracker that unlocks how your phone stores info about you,
http://petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker/#5 ,
Steve Jobs says that this app is bogus and you can’t know because your iPhone doesn’t have a collected idea of you. But whatever if my bitchass casagrass Alcatel frenemy-phone monitors my shopping whenever I go into retail stores then other smart phone likely does the same behind a firewall. As I continue to challenge my identity protocol against my actual behavior IRL, and online, my audience demographic will include low-frequency retail RFID’s, club cards, and online purchases as they converge to transpond my life’s performances in more than 31 flavors.

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