What app have you used regularly for the longest time? I had to think about this and I believe it to be Pocket Money which I have used for at least 4 years now every single day.
Nice desks and all that, but I am convinced I would likely hate most of the people who work this way. It suggests more of a focus on the look than what actually happens on the keyboard. In other words, false.
A dedicated poetry reader appears to have discovered a smiley face in a poem from 1648, a find that would extend the pre-history of the emoticon back by about 200 years.
Editor Levi Stahl, publicity manager for the University of Chicago Press, was taking in some poems by Robert Herrick when he noticed a rather unusual typographic formation in the second line of the poem "To Fortune."... More at The Atlantic.
Not completely convinced, but sort of impressed.
What if you only had to pay for coffee once a month? With a new app, there's a way to do that. Called Cups, the app sells monthly subscriptions for unlimited coffee from a few dozen independent coffee shops around New York City. $45 a month gets you as much brew, drip, filter, pour-over, and filter coffee as you can handle. Tea's included too. If you need espresso (and who doesn't?) the subscription jumps up to $85 per month. That gets you any size espresso, americano, cappuccino, latte, macchiato, and iced coffee you want. The only restriction is you have to wait 30 minutes between cups — a reasonable limitation that's probably a good idea for your health anyways... More at The Verge.
When I first read the above I actually quite liked the idea and immediately imagined Costa Coffee offering all of the coffee I could drink for £20 / month. Sign me up!
And then I started to think about subscriptions in general and realised that we are fast moving to a subscription society which is likely good for the organisations providing them and not so good for the consumer. That is a generalisation and I will temper that by saying that these organisations probably win the most from those who blindly sign up without considering their needs; mobile contracts which offer more than they need, music services which are not cost effective and so on. It then dawned on my that I am already over subscribed-
Spotify (just cancelled): £9.99/month
Lost In Mobile hosting: $200/year
Mobile contracts and so on and on. There are some services that require monthly payments which we have always accepted, but we are increasingly paying for digital goods by the month or year and presuming that we get better value that way, or we have no choice because paying as we use is not available.
The move to subscribing to coffee is a possible indicator of what is to come. Will we be subscribing to our groceries, our clothes and who knows what else? There is huge market here for organisations who figure it out and the advantage of better budgeting for the consumer, but I can't help wondering if paying as you buy/use is still the better way. That is the main reason why Spotify has never got past the trial period for me.
What phone to you believe to be the best available at this time? The iPhone 5s? Galaxy S5? HTC One (M8)? Let us know and please include your reasons for believing it to be the best.
I am obviously going for the 5s for many different reasons.
You have probably read Kirk's comments on Lost In Mobile and you may have caught his recent interview. Well, click the image above to read a skeptic's guide to mortality which Kirk wrote. So impressive.
I have been playing with Windows Phone for the past few days as an experiment to see what has changed, what works and what still doesn't. I fully expected to write an obituary about how the app situation is still dreadful and how the lack of flexibility in the OS still hampers what I can do, but I have come away seeing the OS, and the apps, as the best part of the system. An operating system I much prefer to Android by the way.
My choice of device was a Nokia Lumia 625 (£119 SIM free from Phones 4U) and so I got to work with a budget device which offers a fairly low resolution and minimal(ish) specs.
The setup process is a complete pain in the backside. Signing in with my Microsoft ID to be told that I need to have an 'app' password. Multiple attempts to get Gmail working and then the process of downloading the relevant maps for Nokia Here. I set them off downloading and went away to set something else up. When I went back I was asked if I wanted to resume the maps download- we are in 2014 are we not? Anyway, after a fairly short amount of pain it was all set up and so I could get to playing with Windows Phone.
I really do like it. The sheer simplicity of the calendar, email client and contacts make iOS feel complex at times. The tiles work brilliantly once you have your most needed apps in place and there is never a stutter to be felt. It feels like a grown up OS, it feels considered and it has a lot of merit that the over-flexibility of Android cannot offer. Like iOS, it doesn't feel like a computer that has been shrunk down, it feels like a set of tools that all work in harmony together.
And the I tried to download some apps and immediately found a source of worry. The Flipboard app is not a Flipboard app and there are many other examples of apps that are dodgy to say the least. I don't like that because it immediately knocks my trust and makes me consider purchasing and downloading apps too much. If you want to build a successful app store, you have to create a carefree emotion that lets users spend money, and the Windows Phone store is far from carefree. It is worrying just how many dodgy apps I found in the first 5 minutes and that is something Microsoft has to address. You simply cannot have rip-off apps within 2 taps of entering an app store.
Anyway, I downloaded the official Twitter app, Kindle and some others and am pleased to report that they all worked as expected. They have the visuals of Windows Phone tucked in to all the right places, but manage to retain the goodness that makes them so popular on other platforms.
I will continue this another day, but my initial impressions of Windows Phone are that it is impressive, it is quick and it will suit new users down to the ground. There may indeed come a time when the app situation bites and I cannot find a solution I need, but the OS is moving on nicely and 8.1 looks much better already.
To be continued...
Since its 4G launch in August 2013, O2 has amassed over one million 4G customers. Those customers used more data in the 4G network’s first six months than the entire O2 network carried between 2000 and 2008, demonstrating the unprecedented demand for fast and seamless data services... More at LightReading.
I'm trying to get my head around this statement. It sounds great, but it also feels contrived because back in 2008 not too many people were using mobile data and even less in 2007, 2006 and so on. I think the statement is a trick and would argue that 3G usage in 2009 alone was higher than in 2000-2008 combined.
Whenever I see one of these I smile. Every single time.
Siri and so many competing technologies have raised the idea that talking to your phone can save you time and help you to get things done in a much more natural way. The idea is great, but the question remains as to how many people actually use these voice services.
So, do you talk to your phone at home, in public and/or when driving? I rarely use Siri because it struggles in the car through noise and I find other methods just as quick.
In fact, THERE'S an even more intriguing line of speculation: what percentage of phone (PDA/slab/whatever) interaction will move to voice command? Nowadays I find it easier to say "Siri set an alarm for 8am" then to fiddle with the clock UI, and sometimes it's nice to dictate a text (though I have to double check -- the text to speech is still pretty dumb and bad at sussing from context) The movie "Her" -- not even talking about the title character, but some of the lesser helpers-- had assistants who could make intelligent decisions about your mail and schedule and what not.
I wonder how far we are from that? In any event, the most interesting moves in the near-medium future will probably be software, not hardware. (And not just reskins of existing UI paradigms ;-)
I'm very much of the same school of thought as you: that telephony is a function, not a form, and that the slab-device I use today is a computer with a telephony function. Telephony can be built into almost anything these days, and so to define something which has telephony functionality as a phone wold end up defining cars, servers and many other things as "phones".
I agree that phone is a function, not a form factor, but for me one of the two biggest changes technology has made for society in the past two decades- rivaled only by the emergence of the internet itself - is that the phone function is now traveling with us, like Captain Kirk's communicator when he beams down to a planet.
That is a MASSIVE change in day to day life, plans can be made and changed on the fly. People can be contacted in real time via voice or text as people, not as "someone who might be at a specific residence at a certain time".
Some of your tricks to get phone like service at your desktop or what not are clever, but not the world changers that ubiquitous cell coverage was.
(And of course smartphones are the convergence of those two biggest changers: phones with us always, PLUS internet)
So, slablike device or no... I say probably yes, just because the electronics kit (antenna, battery, chip) is gonna have some bulk and 2D screens are cheap and useful.
Absolutely! But what you value, it seems, is the ubiquity of communication, and the location-independent nature of it. This is exactly what I mean when I say that telephony is an issue of function.
Is it currently the case that most devices implementing this function are slabs? Yes. Need it be that way? No — and so I think that defining a "phone" as being a slab is the wrong way of looking at it.
Yeah, but like I mentioned, the slab has a lot of things going for it... room for a generous battery, antenna that doesn't need to be too near bodily bits, a generous screen... that so many of the alternatives just don't have. And it fits in a pocket. (Maybe one way of thinking about the formfactor is how wallet like it is.) So while it's the function that we're talking here, physical reality indicates it will take some real cleverness to separate the two. (But I guess the slab was enough like the flip-phone/candybar in shape that it got called a "phone"-- a bracelet that did the same things would be called a watch or a bracelet "that can act as a phone")
Lost In Mobile may not have the biggest readership in the world, although the numbers are healthy, but I have always been proud of the level of conversation the site generates. The above is just one example from last week (thanks Kirk and Neil) and highlights that it is often worth looking at what is being said behind each of the articles, and you will always be treated with respect.
All this week, a C|Net Aussie has been trialling a current Blackberry, with 4 daily reviews with video and a final summary.
When I was forced to abandon WinMob / Palm, I did consider Blackberry, but chose Android. Okay, call me “chicken-man”, but I was fearful of BB longevity.
I couldn’t see myself making the switch after watching these, but the guy did raise a few interesting observations. David
I suspect we often ask ourselves if gaming can actually get any better in the near future. A quick look at the video above suggests that it surely can, and will.
The above image, tweeted by Fascinating Pictures, popped a question of the day idea into my head.
How would you describe the relationship you have with your phone? I would say that mine has moved from stressful to largely enjoyable these days.
Virus Shield claims it is an antivirus that "protects you and your personal information from harmful viruses, malware, and spyware" and "Improve the speed of your phone," and it does this all with one click. It also claims to have a minimal impact on battery, run seamlessly in the background, and if that wasn't enough, it also acts as ad-block software that will stop those "pesky advertisements." This app costs $3.99, has been on the Play Store for just under two weeks and has already had 10,000 downloads with a 4.5 star review from 1,700 people. 2,607 people hit the Google "recommend" button. This means that the app must be doing something right... right?
Unfortunately for the buyers, Android Police has discovered that all the app does is change a red "X" graphic to a red "check" graphic. Literally. The 859kb app doesn't protect, secure, or scan anything. More work went into the Settings menu than the actual "security" portion of the app, and it appears that thousands of users have been scammed out of their money... More at Neowin.
It's good that the app has now been taken down, but seriously? It says a lot about the trust most users put in official stores that they are prepared to recommend apps based on no real evidence, unless the ratings were scammed as well.
For a less sympathetic view of the Virus Shield mess, go to this podcast and jump to the 33:16 point. Agree with him or not, he has the most amazing laugh.
Apple just banned our ads because we're "a competitive service to iTunes Radio and it is against Apple policy" We must be big time now ;) Tweet by Bloom.fm.
So, why doesn't Apple just remove the app if it is going to use the 'similar' rule? Or, even better, why doesn't Apple just let the market decide which is best and stop playing these silly games?
This rather presupposes that there is a “phone form factor” — do we still think of our devices as “phones with a bit extra”, rather than small computers which have phone capabilities. I would suspect that we will still have phones — devices capable of audio and visual communications — but that they will not be the slab-in-the-hand which perhaps best describes the majority of devices with phone capabilities today.
Neil's comment in his interview which was published on LIM yesterday got me thinking about wearables and how they could change the form of what we call a phone. Let's face it, we rarely make phone calls as a rule and this is why phablets have become so popular. We want big screens to enjoy our content on and we worry less and less about how a device looks next to our faces.
The Bluetooth headset era is largely over, thankfully, but there could be a renaissance if devices can be made that fit so discretely in the ear that no one else can see them. Of course there is the 'they are talking to themselves factor' that would be there at the start, but maybe the next popular wearable will be an in-ear device that attaches to the phone and alerts the user to new emails etc.
From this phones could become non-phones; flexible, foldable, as thin as a thick piece of paper? Who knows, but there is huge potential with the form when you take away the need to hold it to your ear. Ironically, very few of us consider a device on how it looks next to our face, but rather on how easy it is to carry and pocket ability. Either way, I wouldn't discount the ear as the most likely position for wearables of the future despite the fact that only 3% of you thought that way in the recent Lost In Mobile survey.
France has brought in rules to protect employees from work email disturbing them outside office hours. Would a law to this effect be feasible elsewhere?
You're reclining on the beach admiring the surf when your phone goes beep. You've got mail. From your boss.
In many jobs, work email doesn't stop when the employee leaves the office. And now France has decided to act. It has introduced rules to protect about a million people working in the digital and consultancy sectors from work email outside office hours. Those are taken to be before 9am and after 6pm. The deal signed between employers federations and unions says that employees will have to switch off work phones and avoid looking at work email, while firms cannot pressure staff to check messages... More at the BBC.
What do you think? Is this a good idea?