Archive for April, 2009

Mobile Phone: Self-inflicted Surveillance?

28 April, 2009

surveillanceOur mobile phones constantly poll the network, to check for missed calls, voicemail, text messages, and to harvest our location. We have privacy options to restrict friends and others from knowing where we are, but the mobile operators always know, especially when a phone is on a 3G network. If a phone user doesn’t want to be tracked, he or she has two options: switch the phone off or leave it at home.

David Mery wrote a great article for The Register, entitled, “The mobile phone as self-inflicted surveillance… And if you don’t have one, what have you got to hide?” In his article, he brings up the scary point of how:

On 31st July 2007, in Brandenburg and Berlin, Germany, the flats and workplaces of Dr. Andrej Holm and Dr. Matthias B., as well as of two other persons, were searched by the police. All four were charged with “membership of a terrorist association” and are alleged to be members of a so-called ‘militante gruppe’ (mg) … The fact that he – allegedly intentionally – did not take his mobile phone with him to a meeting is considered as “conspiratorial behavior”.

Scary. Not bringing his mobile phone was considered proof that this man was a criminal. We have gone too far.


Great Site: BBC’s Languages on iPhone

8 April, 2009


img_0002BBC Mobile on an iPhone, is very cool.

It helps travelers by translating and pronouncing phrases in five languages. It is a mobile web site that launches a QuickTime player that speaks hyper-linked phrases through the loudspeaker. It will be a brilliant help to travelers who have access to Wi-Fi or affordable roaming data plans.

BBC has established some interesting mobile design conventions for their mobile web applications.

Still, I have some suggestions for BBC. First, link the phrase to the player and skip the Listen links. I suspect that visitors will be adventuresome enough to try the links–and the design is clear enough that many visitors will hope for and be suitably rewarded with the clear, loud-enough pronunciations that result.

Second, Link the English phrase to equivalent playback. Yes, the audience is English, but it would be so nice and easy to help visitors to learn how to pronounce these phrases too.

These are pretty subtle suggestions. The site’s really well done.

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Pomegranate NS08: Hot Phone Preview

1 April, 2009


The Pomegranate NS08 is amazing. Aside from its iconic colour and shape, it’s thin, gorgeous, and has features only lusted after in current competitors: a pico projector and even a voice translator. Of course it has the usual bevy of required functions:

  • MP3 player
  • Email
  • Web browser
  • Touch screen
  • Camera pomegranate-projector

It’s the voice capabilities and the pico projector that really gave me pause. It’s cool-looking, attention-grabbing digital candy for the new season. Check out more details of the Pomegranate NS08. Take that, Palm Pre!