Posts tagged “wireless”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Ont. parents suspect Wi-Fi making kids sick [] – ["Proving" something is causing health problems is tough; but our willingness to believe with full certainty is powerful. We see this perception as a barrier to adoption in many categories of products and services.] A group of central Ontario parents is demanding their children's schools turn off wireless internet before they head back to school next month, fearing the technology is making the kids sick. Some parents in the Barrie, Ont., area say their children are showing a host of symptoms, ranging from headaches to dizziness and nausea and even racing heart rates. They believe the Wi-Fi setup in their kids' elementary schools may be the problem. The symptoms, which also include memory loss, trouble concentrating, skin rashes, hyperactivity, night sweats and insomnia, have been reported in 14 Ontario schools in Barrie, Bradford, Collingwood, Orillia and Wasaga Beach since the board decided to go wireless, Palmer said. "These kids are getting sick at school but not at home," he said.
  • [from steve_portigal] Budgets Tight, School Supply Lists Go Beyond Glue Sticks [] – [A cultural reframe moment; retail is there] Schools across the country are beginning the new school year with shrinking budgets and outsize demands for basic supplies. On the list for pre-kindergartners at McClendon Elementary in Nevada, TX.: a package of cotton balls, two containers of facial tissue, rolls of paper towels, sheaves of manila and construction paper, and a package of paper sandwich bags.Retailers are rushing to cash in by expanding the back-to-school category like never before.Now some back-to-school aisles are almost becoming janitorial-supply destinations as multipacks of paper towels, cleaning spray and hand sanitizer are crammed alongside pens, notepads and backpacks. OfficeMax is featuring items like Clorox wipes in its school displays and is running two-for-one specials on cleaners like gum remover and disinfectant spray. Office Depot has added paper towels and hand sanitizer to its back-to-school aisles. Staples’ school fliers show reams of copy paper on sale.

Free as in coffee

Now Bay Area Starbucks shops offer free iTunes access

The new service lets customers shop for music wirelessly through iTunes at Starbucks for free.

The iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store operates on the new iPod Touch, iPhone and Wi-Fi-enabled PCs and Macs using one of the latest versions of iTunes. Users are automatically connected to the coffee shop’s wireless Internet network and can see – and purchase – the song that’s currently playing in the store. Each coffee shop is configured individually so that the song piped through the store’s speakers is the same song that appears on the front page of the user’s iTunes.

The free wireless Internet access also only applies to the iTunes Store. Consumers still need to pay to access any other parts of the Web through Starbucks’ partnership with T-Mobile.

This is just terrible writing. Access to the iTunes store is free? How is that newsworthy? There’s news to be had here, but spinning up the free angle is just ludicrous. Did the journalist just swallow the press release and not really think about what new service was? Need they also point out that Starbucks provides free parking, restrooms, and now oxygen?

Welcome to 2007, dude

Last week I said goodbye to my old cellphone. A Motorola v60i that I’d had for oh, 5 years or something. Back when they were free and everyone seemed to have one. Technology has jumped forward a few times since then, but having worked in a cell-coverage-free-location, it didn’t make much sense to keep up with it.

Anyway, time to take a leap:

First time I’d switched cell providers, after having a phone for 10 years. Nice to be able to bring the number. Ordering took forever, since my billing address is a PO Box (we don’t have home delivery of email in Montara) a lot of e-commerce sites break. Street addresses don’t pass verification (since they aren’t real addresses to the USPS) and PO Boxes aren’t acceptable. So after trying to place my order (let’s set aside the long process of figuring out what the heck I’d want) I did an online chat with a rep who directed me to phone in. That took well over 30 minutes; they were nice, but what a pain.

A few days later, the phone arrives. The welcome kit that I was supposed to get by email hadn’t arrived. There’s absolutely no information in the package about how to activate it. Google helps me find a Cingular page, and of course it doesn’t work (“check back later!”). After a day, I call in. I spent about 30 minutes on the phone being passed to various reps who can’t seem to activate it and keep escalating to a higher lever of support. Hours later, the phone will make outcalls but not receive any incoming calls. They’re going to the old phone (this is known as mixed service, I think, as part of the porting process – I love the jargon). Another 30 minutes on the phone. Finally it’s all working.

Now I’m wearing my bluetooth earpiece (thanks, Plantronics for all the freebies) and looking like a douche. Meanwhile, basic activities like setting the ringer to vibrate, calling my voice mail, calling from my address book are all milestones on the steep learning curve (mixed metaphor alert). Not to mention things like syncing to the PC, surfing the web and someday figuring out how to read my email on this thing. It’s kinda fun, and it’s a GSM phone, which means I can buy another piece of hardware anywhere I want, and simply move a chip from inside this phone into that phone. This is a really revolutionary idea and it’s not in any ways new, but how come people don’t talk about this more. It’s incredible!

SMS ya later!

Context is everything

Designing Sustainable Mobility is an event recently held at Art Center in Southern California. In Northern California (i.e., Silicon Valley) an design-y event about mobility (sustainable or otherwise), is going to be about wireless communications (i.e. cell phone stuff). In Southern California, it’s about cars.

Although, now that I think of it, a conference about sustainability and wireless mobility would be interesting, since I don’t ever hear of the two things put together.

Pulling the plugs

Virginia Postrel in the NYT on the promise of wireless technology, selling the story of wireless, and the glum reality of a tethered techno life:
That, of course, is also the promise of wireless technology – to cut the ties that literally bind us to our desks, our homes, our mundane existences. Marketers take that promise and try to distill it into glamorous images that will inspire us to take the wireless plunge. It isn’t an easy task.


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