Posts tagged “phone”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Deconstructed: Aesir’s Perfect Cell Phone [Fast Company] – [What's this? Heirloom consumer electronics? Less is more? Is this a trend or an anomoly? Many products start out as carefully crafted one-offs and move towards disposable, commodity mass-products over time – watches, razors, even food. Are mobile phones playing this out in reverse? How will this gadget incorporate unpredictable technological advances that will enable must-have functionality? Does it need to?] "Instead of more, we proposed better and longer lasting," says designer Yves Béhar. "It became a way to answer questions like, Why do I need a new phone each year? And why does it have to be complicated?" For answers, Aesir founder Thomas Møller Jensen spent two-plus years gathering an army of materials specialists, engineers, and craftspeople. The result, the AE+Y, has exceptionally clear audio and parts that are fully replaceable ad infinitum. "We want the phone to be as interesting and relevant in 10 years' time as it is today," says Jensen.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Laptops Look like Race Cars — And Not in a Good Way [NYTimes.com] – [Pogue on the ridiculous sticker-on-laptops package] As A.M.D. points out, it’s like buying a new, luxury car­ and discovering that it comes with non-removable bumper stickers that promote the motor oil, the floor mat maker, the windshield-fluid company and the pine tree air freshener you have no intention of ever using….A.M.D.’s research shows that consumers hate the stickers (duh). But they’re not going away, for one simple reason: There’s big money involved. I(Apple famously refuses to put Intel stickers on its computers, even though there’s Intel inside. In doing so, it leaves millions of dollars a year on the table.)…In 2011, A.M.D. will switch to new stickers that peel off easily, leaving no residue; after that, it’s considering eliminating the sticker program altogether. In the meanwhile, it’s going to make affixing its stickers optional. If a computer company chooses not to use the A.M.D. stickers, A.M.D. will still pay it the same marketing dollars to use in other ways.
  • [from steve_portigal] DROID DOES – [Of course this advertising copy is at least partly tongue-in-cheek but I really have to wonder why – even as a joke – this is the sort of thing that we supposedly want out of our devices. The radio ad goes even further, giving voice to the implicit message here by promising to turn you into a machine. Verizon's raison d'etre is to sell phones, I know, but ulp, people, ulp. As we grapple with where we're at with this digi-firehose, Droid is putting a mecha-stake in the ground for us] Turns your eyes into captivated apertures of ecstasy. Its web-busting speed turns your arms into blistering, churning pistons. It’s power, intelligence and intuition. It’s not a better phone. It’s a better you….Its power, ability, brains and skill turn you into a web-rocketing, message-crafting super-you…with web-browsing speed that shoots you from zero to sixty in nanoseconds. It has an intuitive QWERTY keyboard that turns your thumbs into twin, text turbines and steaming diesel email engines.
  • [from steve_portigal] Robert Krulwich on Wondering [Frank Chimero] – Noticing is tough, yet rewarding work, and it begs to be documented. We’ve more tools than ever to do so…Maybe if the noticing started to arrange into larger patterns or there got to be a lot of documentation, I could maybe even print up a book of all the things I had noticed. And wouldn’t that be a nice thing to have on the bookshelf? My Year of Noticing and Wondering — 2010. As a person constantly in a position to produce words or designs or ideas, or whatever it may be, it feels good to give myself permission to kick back and inquisitively absorb things as they come. Part of noticing isn’t seeking, it’s highly reliant on serendipity and unexpected relevancy.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] New Artisanal Pencil-Sharpening Project [Details Magazine] – [It looks like the artisanal food and craft movement may be fading in cultural relevance if it's subject to this level of brutal skewering.] "What better to complement your collection of limited-edition notebooks, small-batch liquors, and locally sourced honey than a pencil sharpened by a true artisan? David Rees, author of the comic book series Get Your War On and My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable, discovered his passion for sharpening pencils while working for the U.S. Census Bureau. Now he's parlaying his old-school skills into a mail-order artisanal pencil-sharpening business."
  • [from steve_portigal] An App for ‘Despicable Me,’ to Use at the Theater [NYTimes.com] – [Is there a difference between multimedia enhancement and advertising-supported distraction?] Best Buy Movie Mode is being released in connection with “Despicable Me,” an animated 3-D movie in which an aspiring supervillain named Gru inherits three little girls. The marquee feature of the app is called the Minionator, which translates the gibberish of Gru’s little yellow henchmen called Minions. In theaters, the Minionator will work only during the closing credits, but on Blu-ray disc throughout the movie. “It is disturbing to have people doing things that take people out of the movie,” said Patrick Corcoran, director of media and research for the National Association of Theater Owners. Many theaters warn patrons to turn off their phones. Movie Mode tries to appease those who dislike distractions. The app automatically turns off a phone’s ringer and dims the screen to discourage texting. It does not disable the phone. It will still vibrate.
  • [from steve_portigal] Black Taxis offer tours of Belfast [SF Chronicle] – The Black Taxis of Belfast grew out the height of the Troubles. City buses were subject to bomb and sniper attacks as they passed through the strife-torn neighborhoods. Safe passage had to be arranged via taxi, and the taxi drivers could only operate within, never across, each neighborhood's boundaries, The ads for Black Taxi tours promise a neutral historical narrative. That's a tall order, as many drivers have a genuine history on one side of the conflict or the other. Some lost family members. Everyone lost friends. Still, the mere fact that the murals are now a tourist attraction, rather than a touchstone for violence, may signify that peace has actually arrived in Belfast. "We debated whether to encourage this trend or to downplay it," said Bernard McMullan, a representative of Tourism Ireland, of the popularity of the Black Taxi tours. "But in the end, we decided that it was an important part of our history. There's no point in denying it. Besides, it's interesting."
  • [from steve_portigal] Nissan adds noises to Leaf electric vehicle as safety precaution [WaPo] – [The design challenge of creating new, yet familiar feedback cues] After exploring 100 sounds that ranged from chimes to motorlike to futuristic, the company settled on a soft whine that fluctuates in intensity with the car's speed. When backing up, the car makes a clanging sound. Nissan says it worked with advocates for the blind, a Hollywood sound-design company and acoustic psychologists in creating its system of audible alerts. Nissan's sound system is the first created by a major manufacturer. The company says it is controlled by a computer and synthesizer in the dash panel. The sounds are delivered through a speaker in the engine compartment. A switch inside the vehicle can turn off the sounds temporarily, but the system automatically resets to "on" at the next ignition cycle. At speeds greater than 20 mph, any car, electric or not, makes significant noise because of the tires slapping on the pavement, engineers say. The noises for the Nissan operate only at the lower speeds.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Oprah’s No Phone Zone – Creating Behavioral Change By Asking People to Publicly Pledge – If you think you have the cell phone, texting and driving thing down…you do not. Sign our pledge to make your car a No Phone Zone and pass it on. You could save a life—maybe even yours. I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone. Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by pledging the safest driving behavior I can commit to:
    (x) I will not text while I am driving
    (x) I will not text while driving and will use only handsfree calling if I need to speak on the phone while I am driving.
    (x) I will not text or use my phone while I am driving. If I need to use my phone, I will pull over to the side of the road.

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Mashup potatoes

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I’m sitting here at work and my wife Theresa and her friend Kiki are getting an early dinner.

Would I like something?–Kiki IMs me from her phone and sends me a pic of the menu. I text message them an order. Theresa calls me back–it’s too early for the dinner menu. So I click to the lunch menu on my computer.

This is all done without breaking my stride from the work I’m doing. After it happens, I can’t help but sit for a second and think about the awesome array of technology and communications firepower I’ve just used to procure my Caesar salad, and how utterly normal it felt to do this.

It’s the future, now. (But we still need to eat our leafy green vegetables.)

Related posts:
Technology strengthens families
Thinking about tomorrow makes my brain hurt

Consolidated

I’ve been looking at smartphone options, and was reminded of an exchange between Jon Stewart and John Hodgman I heard last summer on the Daily Show:

Jon Stewart and John Hodgeman Discussing Ultimate Fighting

Jon: Why combine all these sports?

John: Why combine a cell phone and a camera?

Jon: That’s my point exactly. All you get is a crappy camera and a crappy phone.

John: Yes, but it fits in your pocket. And isn’t that the promise of America’s melting pot?

This got me thinking about what I really need from my phone. Here’s a list, in the order each item came to mind:

– Camera
– Phone
– Address book
– Alarm clock
– Text messaging
– Email
– Durable
– Waterproof
– Cool looking

But does this list describe a smart phone, or a smart camera? Right now, the paradigm of “phone” dominates. Will that change? Will there be a future in which “device equity” prevails?

A gracious good morning to you

From All Things Considered the remote California town of Iowa Hill will finally get land-line phone service. And their cell coverage is spotty, at best. The woman interviewed explains that people in the community have designated areas where there is cell reception as phone booths; a nice colloquialism since we’re likely to envision a purpose-built structure rather than a warchalked wooded area. She also describes the local 911-proxy: fire your gun three times in the air and hope someone comes to your aid.

Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply

“Anti-Groping Appli” by games developer Takahashi

was released in late 2005 but has only recently climbed up popularity rankings, reaching No. 7 in this week’s top-10 cell phone applications list.

The application flashes increasingly threatening messages in bold print on the phone’s screen to show to the offender: “Excuse me, did you just grope me?” “Groping is a crime,” and finally, “Shall we head to the police?”

Users press an “Anger” icon in the program to progress to the next threat. A warning chime accompanies the messages.

The application, which can be downloaded for free on Web-enabled phones, is for women who want to scare away perverts with minimum hassle and without attracting attention.

In 2000 I made my first trip to Japan to help our client understand the role of mobile phones (“ketai”) in Japanese culture (in order to discover unmet opportunities for the company with their own customer base). We learned a great deal (both from participation and from observation!) about the indirect manner of communication (for example, the absence of “no”) and heard many stories about how the mobile, through its email capability, had enabled ways to circumvent this. People told us stories of negative feedback from a boss to an employee, or a relationship breakup taking place via the phone, and how that was acceptable.

If it’s culturally difficult to scream “Take your hands off me, you @#$%^$ freak!” on a subway train, then this application makes sense. It seems to acknowledge a need and a culturally-appropriate vector for responding to that need.

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Steve in Tokyo in 2000

Easy as 1-2-3

I got a pamphlet from the EDD the other day, explaining their Telefile service. A joyful anthropomorphized telephone welcomes you from the front of the brochure:

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Opening it up once reveals a basic three-step process:

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click to view full size

But after opening the next fold, all hell breaks loose (and you need to see it large to get the full impact of chaos):

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A site map of the phone interface is pretty much a guarantee of bad design, isn’t it?

Radisson doesn’t quite get basic tech

Like the phone.

Last weekend I needed to set a wake-up call, and either introversion or bitter experience leads me to trust an automated service more than a human being, but even so, I always look on the phone for instructions on how to arrange for one.

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Right. Press the button and you’ll either end up in the automated system or you’ll be speaking to someone who can handle it. I press the button, but nothing. Press again, nothing. I try the other buttons and they all simply click. The phone has special function buttons but they are unprogrammed.

Okay, all is not lost. The room has another phone in it.
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But this phone has a different interface. Here we’re told to touch 77 (why is touch the verb, anyway?). Doing so brings me to the voice mail interface, which does not have any wake-up options.

Two phones, two different interfaces, both screwed up. I called 0 (or touched 0, if you prefer) and spoke to someone (shudder!) and it was handled.

It’s just a weird failure of attention-to-detail.

iPhone – More than Talk!

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Cisco and Apple were in a dispute over the ownership of the iPhone name. There was news that a deal fell through right around the time of the announcement. One might assume this is Cisco raising the stakes a bit, trying to push Apple to make it all go away. Because this is certainly confusing the issue.

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