Matt tapped my shoulder on this one. I have to concur.
Seamless - A penny for everytime some service provider uses this word. I've never really been much of a fan of this one. I think it's mostly because this word sounds so much like 'seemless', which reminds me of something shameful, or 'seem less' rather than 'seem more'. I don't know if there's a better alternative, but Matt once used the word 'seamed' - instead of having everything blur into everything else without seams, things stitch together in a nice way, but still with clear delineations.
You can review all my previous 'Tired Words' here on this page.
Twitter intrigues me.
I stumbled upon an amazing article (link below) dissecting Twitter and introducing me to Twitterific, a separate 'widget' to interact with Twitter outside of a browser.
Worth a read.
Your observations about sovereign vs. auxillary posture are spot on. One of our design goals was to ensure that the application could be as unobtrusive as possible. And adaptable to different work environments/conditions.
All right. I'm an now fully in the camp of 'WTF are the operators thinking?'.
A few years back, I was uploading a few videos and it kept failing, since the network was not happy I was sending something huge upstream. When I realized that I was repeatedly uploading a large file, I knew that the bill would be high. And it was.
But, i knew what I was doing.
Well, recently I was doing some research. I handed one of our devices that had WiFi to a 20-something who was really into music and the Web. I told here that it had WiFi and she was all excited.
Later that day, she proudly showed me some free songs she downloaded off the Web.
I commended her in figuring it all out.
Well, a few days later, I notice that she was not using the WiFi, but the 3G connection.
The 3G connection's access point happens to be called 'Internet', so she thought it was all fine.
When I showed her how many Mb of data she had consumed and explained the cost of data, she went pale.
She didn't know she was doing anything that would cost her an arm and a leg. She thought she was using the WiFI (it said 'Internet'). The phone made it so easy to connect.
We promptly deleted all 3G access points.
Yeah, I've been touting mobile access to the Web for a long time. I've always known cost was an issue. But, WTF? It feels like a scam.
It's hard to find anyone who actually uses the mobile operator to access the Internet (if they are paying for it themselves). At least to the extent they use the desktop Web. And, couple that with oases of WiFi access and no one will use the mobile operator once WiFi really comes to mobile devices.
It's bullshitake, if anyone tries to compare WiFi and 3G network coverage. It doesn't matter. On the one hand, you pay a boat load for a few megs of data. On the other hand, you need to wait a bit until you get to the next WiFi oasis to have megs and megs of cheap access. WiFi oases are everywhere.
Yeah, I think flat-rate 3G data will help. But, I think the operators have missed an opportunity to get folks used to using the mobile network. WiFi operators have trained the users first, and will be hard to dislodge.
Ok, so I am sure most of you have said this a hundred times. And I have agreed, for the most part, a hundred times (I've called it the 'dark underbelly' of mobile services).
What's different this time is that I have been able to put this in a much greater context. And it's become a much more interesting story.
I was participating in a Nokia Design workshop a few weeks back and it was the usual flurry of post-its, clever drawings, and a bazilion interesting ideas and concepts.
One new twist for me was the workshop leaders at one stage suggested we write our ideas in the form of poetry.
Yeah, that got me. And I can think of a ton of ideas why it helps. Indeed, for our team, the only one to actually do a poem, it led right into a great collection of concepts.
So, below is our poem. It was a true collaboration, with each of us contributing part of the story.
Her presence permeated the ordinary,
Lighting our pockets along the way.
We smile, and miss her.
With a sniff of sadness,
She knows we are here.
by: Phil, Riitta, Timo, and Charlie
Espoo - 31jan07
In a bout of frustration, Dave Harper flung his hands up to the digital sky and wished that WINKsite had a Wikipedia entry.
Well, I like WINKsite so much, I did it myself.
Alas, as I was in the process of writing it, it instantly got dinged by the Wikipedia powers that be - too commercial.
So, I tried again, pleaded my case, and now there's an entry (link below).
One thing, it needs to be wikified. So, can you all just go there and help me? I just won't be able to properly get to it for at least two weeks (traveling).
Leave a note here if you do.
Wireless Ink's WINKsite is a tool for creating mobile websites. Since 2001, Winksite has been mobilizing websites and publishing content to mobile communities.
OK, so what's the big deal? 1) I like WINKsite and Dave, so it means something to me at least. 2) I don't put stuff on Wikipedia, so it's a big deal for me to put in the effort.
I was at a meeting the other day and noticed that everyone had a pen and notepad.
What's with that? And in this digital age?
I've got a few stories there, but just wanted to stir things up.
Related previous post of mine: What does 'travel light' mean to you?:
I don't remember where I heard this phrase (in the title), but it's one of those phrases that made it onto my list of interesting things to think about.
Recently, I've accrued some items from a particularly design-driven product company and it's all makes sense to me now.
It goes like this:
If you truly love the item you are making, whether it be a knitted hat, a toilet brush, a computer, a Web service, or a mobile phone, you will want it to be beautiful.
That doesn't mean that it cannot be functional. Indeed, that intersection between functional and beautiful is where product designers want to be.
An overworked example:
Many of the Windows apps I've used have krummy UIs, their progress indicators are annoyingly ugly looping graphics, and they seem to love complexity. And my (recently relegated to the reserve list) IBM laptop was downright angular engineering- and feature-driven.
No appreciation for the craftsman was visible. Pure function, no beauty.
In contrast, OSX icons are inviting, the progress indicators calming, and the beautiful hardware (even the styrofoam in the shipping box) shows attention to the total experience from purchase to first use to full use.
There is clear appreciation for the craftsman, an appreciation for the fine melding of form and function and beauty.
I've been fortunate that my work has brought me closer to designers, especially the amazing ones we have here at Nokia. I think exposure to them has rekindled my love of structure, a love I had in spades as a molecular biologist designing proteins.
Back then, we called something 'elegant' if form and function came together in a surprising, clever, and beautiful way. Now, I'm more aware of the elegance of the objects and services we use and create, not just visually, but that elegance of something surprising and clever, something that makes it easy for me to appreciate the craftsman.
Do you make surprising and clever beautiful things?
I consider myself fused with The Cloud, living so much of my life and work through and for the Internet.
Alas, these past few months I have found myself deep in my First Life, living and thinking and doing apart from the Internet.
Indeed, email seems like hard work, I am so behind on my reading and replying. No, it's not that there is too much email, there really isn't. It's just that I'm rarely in Outlook or Gmail.
Or in my feed reader.
Or posting anything.
Oh, I'm really active twittering, working and chatting via SMS, talking to folks all over the world, immersing myself in the lives of users, learning via First Life how folks truly use The Cloud and Mobiles to make their lives easier.
I'm just not spending time in my Second Life.
I'm not ashamed that my First Life has taken over my, euh, life. It's how it should be.
The Cloud is not a destination, but the fabric upon which we live. The Cloud is just behind the stuff we use to interact with it - plumbing.
There is no Cyberspace, no Web site, no Info Superhighway, there is no Second Life.
There is only our First Life.
Stephen Johnston pointed out this great video about what the Web has become.
It tells a great story and shows with great examples and animation where we are today with respect to people and the Web.
Check it out.
Click here to go straight to YouTube.
I'm on to something.
You know when you think or say something and then, out of the blue, someone tells you either that someone recently said the same thing not long before you, or that someone has recently done what you were suggesting.
Well, it has happened to me a lot lately.
Makes me feel like I'm thinking of the right things.*
In the last 24 hours, I was hit by at least three incidences. One of them (below) is about the connections overlaying the Web. How I would do it is slightly different than the way the guys below are doing it. But, they sure come close to what I was thinking of.**
A lot of you are new to Me.dium, and some of you have been with Me.dium since we first launched the private beta in October. To everyone, I just wanted to say thank you for being a part of something that we believe could change the way we browse forever.
Me.dium reveals the hidden world of people and activity behind your browser. The vision is through Me.dium, you'll be able to access all the people out there doing the same things you are.
* You'll be matched to people doing the same Google Searches. You'll see which pages they go to, and be able to reach out to them.
* You'll be matched to people reading the same articles. You'll be able follow the crowd and discuss the news as a group. This works great for Digg users as they decide what news should be tops for the day.
* You'll finally be able to browse the internet together, with friends and with users that you've met through Me.dium. Whether you're planning a trip with friends, or just trying to figure out which computer to buy.
With Me.dium the idea is that you will no longer be alone online.
*My favourite example of this simultaneity is the invention of calculus.
**Now that I think of it, some stuff I learned about IRC Galleria and MyBlogLog probably set me off on this particular idea path.
Another question from that workshop. Don't remember how I answered it. Don't even remember the context.
But, I thought I'd just throw it out there, in case you had an answer you'd like to share.
Heh. We had a workshop where this was one of the questions.* I've been trying to travel light ever since I 'replaced' my laptop with a PalmV, CDPD cradle, and a Stowaway keyboard (I wrote about it here, oh, 7 or 8 years ago).
Today, I manage most of my mobile communications and computing needs with my S60 phone (currently an N73). I don't mind the constraints so much, it keeps me grounded mentally. I think fewer constraints might let the tech take me over (can you say 'crackberry'?).
But, I have always had some key requirements, such as synch and backup (many stories there), connectivity of some sort, some key apps, and good battery life (and being able to change batteries, too).
What is 'travel light' to you?
*My answer was something like: 'connection to communications, connections to money, toothbrush'.
Funny article in the Boston Globe on texting (link below). Even after all these years, there's still a fascination.
And while we are onto the mystique of text messages, Hugo sent me a link way back about an author who wrote a book in text message form.
Very clever. I wish I had thought about it. Indeed, Lifeblog would make it easy to make it autobiographical. And, mix in a bit of Twitter, and you have a very amusing collection of messages (could go on and on about having fun with Twitter).
Link (registration required): Survey gives luv txt tips - Daily Business Update - The Boston Globe.
But don't lose hope. While eight percent of respondents said bad cellphone etiquette ended their relationship, twenty-eight percent they flirted by text, and a third said they texted their significant other -- six percent more than last year. Nearly a fifth said their cellphone had been useful for crashing an unpleasant date.
I was thinking about interaction interfaces, precipitated by the discussions here at work around the Apple iPhone touch UI. Apple has had a touch UI for their laptop trackpad, stretching back at least to the PowerBook 3400c (which was my previous work Mac, BTW), back in 1997.
But, thinking on what folks want to do on the move and how, I keep wondering if the whole Pointer-Icon-Windows metaphor is no longer relevant, especially for mobile, small-screen, one-handed devices.
There is no reason to think that the current metaphor will last. Microsoft Vista and Google (and Lifeblog) and other search-centric worlds have been slowly killing the hierarchical folder structure. Might there be an end or diminishing of the tyranny of the current desktop interface metaphor?
I'm not smart enough to think of alternatives. And I always think desktop metaphors dominate the mobile world, so I am biased. But I am sure there are better ways to interact with devices that are more natural and fit the mobile environment more closely.
Steven Johnson keeps popping up for me lately. I heard a great interview by Ira Flatow on Science Friday. And, this interview (link below) here is also great, going deeper into the Johnson-sphere. Furthermore, this interview points to my poison, what I call 'cognections - cognitive connections'. It's my greatest weakness to want to traverse these connections
Link [via Andrew]: Powells.com Interviews - Steven Johnson
Johnson: It's the one place where there's actually a connection between Everything Bad and Ghost Map. It was basically making the Consilience argument: that one of the most powerful ways of thinking about the world is being able to move across scales of experience. Basically, moving across disciplines. For instance, from the scale of the bacterium to the scale of the human body, to the brain, to society or the city, and to not be focused on any one of those levels but to jump in a consilient way between them and make connections and talk about how behavior on one level predicts or creates behavior on another.
EO Wilson, of ant society and ecology fame, wrote a great book called Consilience, which called out to me as I got deeper and deeper into my own science specialty. Being overly curious, I've always hopped around different scientific domains, finding bits and pieces from each that, when put side to side, led to a wider understanding of the world (kinda how I ended up here).
In the same vein, there are the books by James Burke (one is called The Pinball Effect). He starts with a topic and keeps following connections to related topics until he's taken you on an engaging tour of time and space and knowledge (true cognections), often back to where you started. Burke's books are highly recommended.
In another connections (ha!), Will Wright, of 'The Sims' fame, is coming out with Spore, a game that basically traverses life from single-cellular organism all the way to star-faring civilizations. Awesome.
BTW, when I write stuff like this here, it's to set you off on a cognitive exploration, too. :-)
I think this is a load of krap.
Does anyone know how well VoIP (or Skype) would work on WiMAX? If something like Skype works well, then voice quality would be even better than GSM.
Collins didn't label WiMax a loser but said it will get off the ground slowly because it's an underdog when it comes to carrying voice calls. Emerging WCDMA and EVDO technologies have closer ties to the cellular world and will be better equipped to handle calls over the next few years, Collins believes, so most users will hang onto them.
Seems like Demo is hopping this year with a lot of mobile stuff.
This little app is cool, even if it's not being targeted at S60 devices.
I remember hearing of something like this for the Nintendo DS, which turns out to be their WiFi service (and I work with the guy who did it a lot of it). As far as I understand it, Nintendo cut a deal with providers so that DS users do not need a browser to use the WiFi. Cool. The Sony mylo (krappy device) does something similar with T-Mobile.
Anybody try these?
Devicescape's free software, formally unveiled on Tuesday at the Demo conference in Palm Desert, California, lets users set up log-in information for multiple Wi-Fi networks and then get on those networks automatically from any supported device.
There's still a place for editors (or someone of reputation to vet something as 'this is good').
As opposed to Wikipedia, which uses citizen editors to perfect a single article, Helium offers a forum for experts to submit articles for peer review.
Seems like an outdoor advertising campaign went terribly awry in Boston.
Lighten up, Menino.
For something similar (which is why I really posted this) - the Troika SMS Guerilla Projector.
In a statement, Menino said: ‘‘It is outrageous, in a post-9/11 world, that a company would use this type of marketing scheme. I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any and all expenses incurred during the response to today’s incidents.’’