Category Archives: cell phone

Damn you iOS

One of the coolest and amazing parts of the Android system is how trivial it is to create content in one application and share that content with another application.

I can trivially take a picture, and then use smugmug to upload it and wordpress to blog about it.

With iOS it’s a pain-in-the-ass to get the content out of the device onto the app I want.

Why iOS which is built on top of a BSD kernel has such an unbelievable and crappy file system abstraction layer is an enduring mystery to me.

edit: Why am I using an iOS device, you ask? Because I was given as a gift an iPad Mini. I am planning to replace that eventually with an Android tablet.

bing! I want – bing! to – bing! – tell you – bing! something

One of the most irritating aspects of the Android user experience is the bing-bing-bing of notifications.

When you buy a new phone, it downloads all the apps you had in the past. Those apps have default configurations that cause notifications to be put in your notification inbox and to make noises.

And so you play this game of whack-a-mole killing the sound notifications only to have it go bing! at the most inopportune time because some app you forgot about decided that it was the time to go bing! as part of some vain re-activation play.

I wish, wish there was a global way to control these frigging notifications globally…

Apple has learned nothing and neither have their fan boys

Over the last 30+ years, what has become apparent is that it’s all about the applications and not about the hardware.

In the 1980’s Apple pissed away it’s lead because it never knew how to court developers the way MSFT did.

And in the cell phone market, Apple has shown how to make a market for applications, and MSFT intends to demonstrate that they know how to make money for application developers and how to treat application developers.

The good news for Apple is that the reasons this backlash exists are completely meaningless to most normal people. That doesn’t make it right. But it should not affect peoples’ purchasing habits or their enjoyment of the iPhone’s standard features.

So it goes.

20 years ago the importance of applications was lost on Apple. More importantly the importance of a rich development community, and apparently 20 years later, the lesson is still lost.

Privacy and Cell Phones

Nude pics in phone lost at McDonald’s get online

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Here’s some food for thought: If you have nude photos of your wife on your cell phone, hang onto it.

Phillip Sherman of Arkansas learned that lesson after he left his phone behind at a McDonald’s restaurant and the photos ended up online. Now he and his wife, Tina, are suing the McDonald’s Corp., the franchise owner and the store manager.

The suit was filed Friday and seeks a jury trial and $3 million in damages for suffering, embarrassment and the cost of having to move to a new home.

The suit says that Phillip Sherman left the phone the Fayetteville store in July and that employees promised to secure it until he returned.

Manager Aaron Brummley declined to comment, and other company officials didn’t return messages.



With 8 GB of storage, a reasonably good camera, and a desire to photograph everything for posterity, this is going to be happening a lot more frequently than we would like.

I believe being able to remotely wipe a phone of all contents is going to be a key feature of cell phone’s going forward.

And sooner rather than later, folks are going to learn the value of encryption and strong passwords.

I wonder if we’ll see biometrics make it into phones?

And the new smart phone champ is the Nokia E71

Oh my God.

I have been suffering with the my ATT Tilt, henceforth known as the, Piece-of-shit Cell Phone.

I had no idea how bad the experience was. Well maybe. My wife would sneer at my bumbling attempts to do anything with one hand, the absurdly short battery life, the large but mostly useless keyboard, but I faithful to the Microsoft cause stayed the course.

No more.

I am in love.

The E71 battery life is ungodly. No, I don’t do it justice. It’s Phelpsian.

The one-handed use of the phone is Boltian. Try to use an iphone or windows mobile with one hand. Go ahead, try it. Even better, try using an iphone with one hand while holding groceries at the farmer’s market. I defy you to try it.

Failed, didn’t we?

Still trying to figure out where the “slider to turn it on” is? Still trying to figure out where the number 5 is on the keypad, aren’t we?

And the keyboard. Oh that keyboard.  I have these huge fingers, these ridiculous, stubby fingers that my genes bequeathed to me. And yet this keyboard works. Reviewers who tell you that the keyboard is too small are weak-willed, sniveling, cover-your-ass types who can’t admit that the keyboard works for people with big-hands because they feel they’ll sounding like Nokia fan-boys. This keyboard works for me, and I have hands that are ~12 inches from thumb to pinky, and approximately ~10 inches from the base of my palm to the top of my index finger. And I am not known for my dexterity.

And it’s even stylish. Yes, the Finns have made a stylish phone. Unbelievable perhaps, but true.

And of course, since it’s a Nokia phone, the audio quality is surreal, the device will only break if you throw it under an on-rushing train and frankly it just makes you good holding such a well engineered device.

Okay it’s not a perfect phone. The darned software doesn’t match the glorious experience of the phone.

For the corporate world, you really need Goodlink to be happy and unless you are willing to endure some entertaining phone hacking you’ll have to wait for Goodlink version 5.0. You do need to buy a whole bunch of software including an IM client.

And the S60  need a fair bit of customization until the UI experience is usable.

And yes, the iphone user-experience with two hands is superior.

But oh-my-God, I am in love.

gPhone: Google’s capitulation?

The recent announcement by Google around the gPhone has been portrayed by the press as a game breaking move. That somehow a new free OS that is customized for cell-phones somehow, once again, changes everything. And that more, to the point, that was Google’s plan.

I disagree. In fact, I believe Google had grander ambitions, those ambitions proved too costly, and that the recent announcement was an admission that those plans were shelved. And that Google was signaling to the cell phone carriers that they were going to play by their rules.

Hence, the blog title: Google capitulation?

Here’s what I think:

Google’s management team correctly observed that the future of search was search on the cell phone. And that location based search on a cell phone was going to be a tremendous revenue opportunity.

The challenge was that the current cell phone carriers act as tax men. You can’t sell a service without putting the service on a cell phone that the carrier sells. And the cell phone carriers themselves had ambitions on how exactly those advertising services were going to be delivered.

But why would the carriers be any different than MS and Yahoo in their ability to compete with search?

Unlike Microsoft and Yahoo, the cell phone carriers thanks to their connectivity to customers through Yellowbook, and the fact that they sell phone numbers, have the sales force, and the business process to create a real alternative local search advertising market.

So if you’re Google, and you have more money than God, you think outside of the box. If the problem is that the cell phone carriers control access, you need to create a new network that does not have the cell phone carriers acting as the gatekeepers.

To do that Google needed three pieces:

  1. A network that could carry phone calls that was not owned by the cell phone carriers.
  2. A set of devices that would connect to that network
  3. A set of compelling services that would cause people to select that network.

So what was the plan?

Let’s look at them in reverse order. For (3) Google was building it’s own applications, and then buying startups that offered innovative cell phone services. For (2) Google was working on an OS and reference platform. And for (1) Google had a three pronged strategy. The first was to build Metro WiFi like they did in Mountain View and San Francisco. The second was to bid on the wireless spectrum and either build or lure someone to build the network. Third was to create a regulatory environment that would allow other virtual carriers to build their own networks.

I believe that the cost of (1) became prohibitive along two dimensions. The first was the sheer dollar cost to build. The second was that while Google was building out it’s competitive network, the existing cell phone carriers would treat Google and their software as enemy number one. In many ways, the Google move might force the carriers to embrace Microsoft and Yahoo. The potential loss of revenue while the network was being built out and the cost of the network just made the strategy impractical.

Confronted with this reality, Google scaled back it’s ambitions, and like a researcher who has failed to prove something significant, they looked for pieces of that strategy that were still valuable and tried to get some value from them.

And that’s what the gPhone announcement is about. Unlike every Google announcement in the past, Google was announcing vapor. Nothing real, no product, just a statement that the grand cell phone strategy was about releasing a free OS to cell phone carriers.

With that announcement Google was signaling to the cell phone carriers that their plan was to play by their rules. Like Microsoft, Blackberry, Nokia, Palm and Apple they were going to release an OS, that the handset providers could port to their devices, that the cell phone carriers could certify and that Google would continue to be a software provider into those walled gardens.

Google was no longer planning to build an open, unwalled garden.

Google capitulated to the existing market reality. Perhaps we are seeing the limits to even their ambitions?


So I recenlty discovered

This is a fascinating service that may actually be a fundamentally different approach to the phone.

Jott lets me send email by calling a number and entering a message in voice that gets transcribed into a text and email message.

I don’t think the folks who did Jott will transform the mobile phone industry. However, if one of the major players were to provide such a service this could be game changing. It might eliminate some of the need for a smart phone. Interesting.

iPhone: The greatest cell phone browser ever?

Just the other day I was futzing with the Nokia N95 web browser and discovered that it had several features that were similar to the iPhone. For example the N95 has a mini-map:

and the time-travel feature:

I was intrigued. I checked out the relative Apple and Nokia corporate web sites and discovered that the touted features were in fact identical. So I set out to discover the source of the similarity.

Now it turns out that both Nokia and Apple in 2005 had agreed to partner on building a web browser based on Safari:

Nokia has announced that it using open source software in developing a new mobile Web browser for its Series 60 SmartPhone — and that this has been developed in cooperation with Apple.

The Series 60 browser will use the same open source components, WebCore and JavaScriptCore, that Apple uses in Safari that is based on KHTML and KJS from KDE’s “Konqueror” open source project.

Nokia said that it intends to continue its collaboration with Apple — and will actively participate in the open source community to further develop and enhance these components, contributing Nokia’s “expertise in mobility,” the company said.

And in fact Nokia’s open source project page describes exactly how the Safari web browser is the basis for their browser.

Mystery at last revealed, the reason the browsers are so similar is because they are the same browser.

I will observe that this further confirms my near universal irritation with the quality of technology journalism. The fact that the Apple hype machine implied the iPhone was unique in it’s use of Safari did not mean a few moments of fact checking would not have revealed that Apple was using someone’s else technology.