Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Six long months...

...since I last posted here. And that's a really long time in the mobile industry. I've been thinking a lot about user generated content recently, and I remembered this article I read a couple of weeks ago in the Village Voice. It's a good article. Give it a read.

Anyway, the basic jist of it is that regular people are now practically demanding to be celebrities, and I'm not really sure that that's a good thing. With the advent of user generated content and popularity of media sharing sites soaring and now being all the rage, is it really what we need more of? More boredass teenagers cluttering up in the internet with vanilla exhibitionism with the same renditions of all the same crap?

Sometimes I think the Amish are lucky. They're free from this excess of boredom which brings us all to the lowest common denominator of humanity.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Links for today

Been kinda busy, so this will just be a brief collection of links. I will comment on some things later on today, hopefully.

First off, Google Spreadsheets! It's a funny thing that the article doesn't mention OpenOffice, which, as far as I know, offers the full MS Office Suite.

Next, after a year of waiting, the Nokia N91. Apparently pretty lack-luster, despite (or maybe because of) a year of hype.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Opera and eBay: together at last

What, weren't you waiting for it? You weren't? Oh. Well, that's okay. I wasn't, either.

Just a quickie update. Found this at, yes, The Register. Yummy, Opera's increasing its distribution by joining up with content providers, this time eBay.de.

I've been a fan of the Opera browser ever since it was first introduced to me like six years ago by a very technologically forward friend of mine (thanks, Thomas!). Now, I have both Firefox and Opera installed on every machine I use. (This is despite the fact that when Firefox first came out, I got very annoyed with it because it was (1) huge; (2) didn't work out of the "box" and crashed my machine during installation; (3) boldly and arrogantly claimed tabbed browsing was a new thing; (4) lacked mouse gestures...I could go on, but I won't. I'm over it. Really, I am. .. So over it.) Anyway, when OperaMini first started to show up on mobiles, I became very happy because I think it's an awesome product. I hope Opera Mini eBay does well because I want Opera to do well, although I think that the co-branding is rather cheesy. What they should do, or at least what I hope they'll do, is bundle the additions they're building into OperaeBay into a newer release of Mini and have it become the new mobile browsing standard.

On a side note, I will review the Nokia 770 soon (the browser loaded on that is also provided by Opera).

On another side note, find ComputerWorld's review and tour of Windows Vista (Beta2) here. To save you the suspense (and maybe whet your appetite), here's a tasty nugget:

"Where does Windows Vista fit among many of the PC-based operating systems of today and the last couple of decades? With Beta 2 running on multiple test units, I feel comfortable predicting that Windows Vista will not outpace Mac OS X Tiger for overall quality and usability. It's hard to beat Apple's top-notch GUI design grafted onto an implementation of Unix variant BSD. Mac OS X has excellent reliability, security and usability. That isn't to say that the user interface wouldn't gain if Apple adopted some other best ideas of the day, but Apple has the best operating system this year, last year and next year. It'll be interesting to see what the company delivers in its 10.5 Leopard version of Mac OS X."


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

Now taking bets. The stakes are high, and there's no pointspread info yet, but the winner will likely take all:

QualSoft vs. NokiAppleTI.

Ahh, divisive battles in the war of convergent devices and technologies.

Get info (and lots of background) regarding Qualcomm and Microsoft alliance here.

Get info (and not so much background) regarding Nokia, Apple and TI (well, really just Nokia, but I like saying "NokiApple") here.

In the QualSoft corner, this snippet:

"Qualcomm and Microsoft have a lot in common, and not just intense scrutiny by anti-trust authorities and huge market influence. They share some key strategic goals, notably leadership of the emerging mobile content and media industry, and control of the device architectures for this sector. They are both venturing out of markets where their dominant position is almost unchallengeable in to new waters where they face different and powerful competitors.

This means they also share several common enemies, most importantly Nokia. So, while the close alliance hinted at by last week's announcement of a smartphone collaboration may be seen in parts of the wireless industry as the gathering of the forces of darkness, it is also highly pragmatic and shows the two giants huddling together for warmth as they face increasingly critical challenges in the world of ubiquitous connectivity and mobile multimedia."

And in the Nokia corner, this snippet:

"Nokia has been licensing Series 60, which runs on the Symbian smartphone operating system, to other vendors in a bid to create a de facto standard. This effort has gained importance as the competitive differentiation on high end handsets has shifted from the operating system itself to the higher layers, notably the user interface and browser.

Gaining multivendor support for Series 60 was the first step in the effort to take, on mobile devices, the role enjoyed by Microsoft on the PC – thereby mounting a major challenge to the Windows giant as enterprise and consumer activity shifts inexorably from the PC to mobile devices.

The next stage is to go fully open source, with the aim of accelerating uptake and creating a major developer community – always Microsoft's trump card in any battle against Windows and the .Net software architecture."

Yummy. Agi has the Nokia 770 (the wi-fi tablet that's NOT a phone, referenced in the article), by the way, and it's awesome. I might review that at some point.

I really hope it goes Nokia's way--they're so much more innovative, I find, and I'm tired of Microsoft, and Qualcomm's BREW, while cool, is very restrictive even from a user's perspective. As the article mentions, QualSoft's alliance is a gathering of dark forces in the mobile industry.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Beat that horse so it don't get lamer!

Found here. Virgin Mobile will give away free minutes in return for watching commercials on your phone and then answering questions about them, at the rate of one free minute per 30 second commercial. Yes. One minute. Color me underwhelmed.

Dude. I thought this would happen with the advent of mobile TV, since commercials on TV (and now at movies before previews) are something that people have gotten used to. I guess it's a kind of trade off, no matter how much I hate it, because data rates in the US are so high for streaming media-rich content that commercials could be a viable way to cut that cost and pass "savings" onto the consumer. What about those of us who want ad-free mobi-TV, ad-free mobi-anything? I guess we'll just have to pay a premium.

It's suprising to me that after all the talk about advertising on mobile screens, Virgin is the one playing around with it. I guess all the big carriers are waiting to see what happens with the youthful subscribers at Virgin before they risk irritating their own older, generally more affluent customer bases.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sony Ericsson w810i REVIEW UPDATE

Curious about how the camera works on this already reviewed device? Look no further. Get a glimpse at this baby's pix below.

In the review, I said that the camera didn't seem like it took pictures that looked as good as the photos taken with our old Nokia 6230i. I think that's because the photos we experimented with were all taken indoors (in a hospital, no less, with more fluorescent lighting than you can shake a stick at), and the color balance seemed WAY off on the SE (but, again, in hindsight that was probably due to hospital lighting). Here are some outdoor shots taken by the w810i. (I'm new to the whole reviewing thing, so I'll note taking comparison shots both indoors and outdoors for the next review.) Something else to note is that on the w810, you can choose and set how much light you want to capture in the shot (missing on the Nokia), rather like an F-stop on a traditional camera.

Up at a building;
Up at corporate art;
Building against another;
Wall Street sharks just hanging out.

Pretty impressive built-in camera, I'd say.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Team Monk: Mobile Smut Force

(Another mini weekend entry)

I've been reading a lot of stuff on The Register, and that's where I found this. Cambodia is locking down on mobile porn on 3G handsets by banning the use of 3G devices altogether. Yummy. I remember reading somewhere once that you can judge how well an industry is doing by checking to see if porn has invaded it. If it has, the industry's not only mature, but very alive and kicking. Apparently, even though only a very few can afford it in Cambodia, it's ready.

But why did he announce the clampdown to an assembly of monks? I wonder if it's because he thinks these very holy, celibate people would be most tempted by mobile smut? (Chinese Shaolin monks use cell phones regularly, and have $25 given to them as monthly spending money. Yeah, random, right?) Or maybe it's because he figures pronouncing that before the holy people would ease that niggling feeling in the back of his mind that maybe he's a tyrant?

Either way, someone needs to hand Hun Sen a copy of AbFab, so that Edina can enlighten him to the fact that "By the way sweetie, people have it off"...

It never ceases to amaze me that with all these advances in technology, the most basic, familiar, and ubiquitous images of sex are the ones that persist enough that we can gauge an industry's ripeness by it. What sad, simple little creatures we are.

Brazil has it rough out there, man...

(Mini-weekend entry)

Poor Brazil is experiencing a lot of woes recently with the mobile phone. In addition to the PCC staging riots using them, there's also this mess. According to the article, five devices (all Motorola) in the last two months have exploded--literally exploded. Motorola claims the use of cheap, third party batteries caused them.