On Instapaper and the Obsolescence of the Original iPhone

It’s official: Instapaper has been sold to Betaworks. In addition, the original iPhone has been deemed obsolete by Apple in terms of hardware replacement and support. These two events are not related, really, but they both have a very real effect on me. Funny enough, Instapaper was the first app I bought once I received my hand-me-down iPhone 2G from a friend. I will continue to use the service, pay for it, and love it and I don’t feel anything but happy for Marco Arment, the creator of Instapaper. However, the announcement has made me take pause in the fact that the technology world is changing right in front of my eyes.

The tech world changes all the time, but I suppose I am not normally directly affected by it and it is not as much of a surprise as this was. Instapaper has been humanized to an extent for me; even though I don’t know Marco personally, I listened to podcasts and heard him speak, I reached out to him regarding writing for The Magazine and read his work, and I directly associated him with the application on which I have so come to depend.

I recently wrote about my move to quit using Google Reader and RSS in general, which made the closure of that service seem all the more justified in my mind; I had called it” and I was happy that I was weened off of RSS before its downfall. But the people who depended on that service had to have felt the way I do about Instapaper, had to have felt betrayed or questioned what they should do now. In that same vein, then, I suppose I worry that Instapaper will change in some way that makes it less valuable to me, or less friendly. 

Of course, Instapaper remains in good hands; the aforementioned trust that I have in Marco means that I believe him when he says the service isn’t going anywhere, but I was caught off-guard and my fight or flight reaction now makes me feel ashamed. Similarly, the original iPhone was a piece of technology in which I focused my hopes and dreams for a time. The obsolescence of that piece of technology struck me as an event that shows the end of an era; I mourned the passing of a technological friend.

Over the years, I have said hello and goodbye to many technologies, especially given the fact that I am an early adopter and I will try any service at least once. The changes that are engendered by Instapaper’s sale and the original iPhone’s obsolescence have simply force me to reevaluate my connection to and dependency on these technologies, as well as their ability to affect me in ways that maybe they should not.


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The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.