they wear their computers on their bodies

Gargoyles represent the embarrassing side of the Central Intelligence Corporation. Instead of using laptops, they wear their computers on their bodies, broken up into separate modules that hang on the waist, on the back, on the headset. They serve as human surveillance devices, recording everything that happens around them. Nothing looks stupider; these getups are the modern-day equivalent of the slide-rule scabbard or the calculator pouch on the belt, marking the user as belonging to a class that is at once above and far below human society.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Live iPhone Video

I recently read about an app for the iPhone called Knocking Video. It is apparently the first app that allows live streams from an iPhone (any iPhone model) that has been approved by Apple. The story I read went on to describe the saga of it’s struggle for approval and it seems was given the thumbs up from none other than Steve Jobs.

A great story and I love the concept of the app. Unfortunately I think it is doomed to failure. There are just too many barriers in it that are needlessly going to turn off potential users.

The first problem has to do with the sign-up portion of the app. It asks for first name, last name and email. The problem is that it’s error checking is just too aggressive and bug filled. For instance my last name is two words and that wasn’t allowed. Good luck people who want to find me on the app, you won’t be able to because I had to use a last name that isn’t correct. Perhaps you could try to find me via my email address? Guess again, it didn’t allow a dash in my domain name so again I had to use an alternate.

Second, once you join you have to figure out somehow if any of your friends are already using it. There is no way to test the app (as far as I can tell) without a friend “knocking”. They should at least have an echo or testing user that people could try it with.

Since I have no way to evaluate the app, I am not going to send emails to my friends asking them to join..

Ooh yeah, I went to the help and about screens to figure out how to let the company know my issues but the email address they list doesn’t exist.. Guess this blog post will have to suffice, perhaps they’ll read it.

Mobile, 5 Years in the future

I was just interviewed for an upcoming book and one of the questions was:
Fast forward 5 years into the future, can you paint me picture of the mobile world?

Here is what I said:
I am going to beg out of this one and instead paint a picture of my utopia.

My mobile utopia 5 years from now:

Carriers have accepted the fact that they are too large and slow to beat the current crop of DIY wireless systems that are being built. They have realized that the cost of maintaining service such as the little used voice platform is not worthwhile when all that anyone cares about is the openness and speed of their internet connection. Besides, they are sick of battling the hackers who continually figure out how to bypass their restrictions and really sick of spending their lobbying money to battle Googlezon and the like over whether or not they have to carry 3rd party data without charge.

They have finally realized and accepted their place in the world as “dumb pipes”, wireless ISPs.

They have given up on locking down phones. Nobody will sign a 2 year contract anymore for a free phone that they can’t install any of the open source software on.

On the other side of the coin, Googlezon, DIYers, hackers and hipsters are developing and deploying game changing hardware and applications at a phenomenal pace.

A prolific open source community has introduced a kit based mobile phone with every feature imaginable and battery life that puts devices from 5 years ago to shame. Tourists are carrying around monstrous looking home built teleconferencing systems with them as they gawk at the Naked Cowboy in Time Square and talk with their relatives and friends back home.

Hipsters in Bushwick no longer carry laptops and projectors to their VJ gigs but rather bring their mobile projector enabled high-speed wireless video mixing system and no longer have to be hunched over a keyboard and mouse. They simply mingle with the crowd or dance until they drop with every movement being tracked by sensors programmed to project and mix particular clips or dynamically generated visuals.

I can’t think of anyone who uses a laptop computer anymore. Everyone seems to have adopted the projected keyboard and gesture controlled interfaces that are common on mobile devices now.

Data flows pretty seamlessly and just by pointing to a contact in the sky a voice, data or text channel is opened to that person.

Wow.. Things are different now that the networks have been broken..

(Perhaps we can dream..)

Sony releasing a Linux based handheld

Linux powers Sony’s new Mylo WiFi handheld
Would love to see a comparison between Nokia’s 770 and this..

From the article:
“In September, Sony expects to ship a Linux- and Qtopia-based handheld device featuring WiFi connectivity, an Opera web browser, and a variety of text- and voice-messaging clients and media players. The Mylo — short for “My Life Online” — will be available in black or white, priced at $350.

The Good and The Bad regarding the new 770 firmware

Nokia 770 Linux tablet firmware update beta draws praise, fire
I am particularly impressed by the “Good” list:
VoIP capabilities
IM and Google Talk messaging client
Integrated addressbook with presence information
Better performance, as well as a control-panel option for setting up a swap partition on the rs-mmc card
Better memory recovery when applications are closed
Google search bar available in home screen
Browser URL input field has partial matching
Home screen items now can be rearranged
Thumb keyboard is “input method of choice”
Package manager handles package feeds, and allows custom menu placement

P2P on Mobile Phones

Symella, a Gnutella client for Symbian Smartphones
Listening to a presentation about this now. Pretty interesting but will have to wait to get back to NYC before I can try it (data isn’t working in Europe for me).
From the site:
Symella is a Gnutella client for Symbian smartphones. Gnutella is a Peer-to-Peer file sharing network system with many clients (and servers) available on various desktop operating systems (for desktop Gnutella clients check out this site).
It is used for exchanging files, especially music, MP3 files. Because mobile phones have limited bandwidth and small memory cards, this client focuses only for downloading, not sharing. It is available on Series 60 and Series 80.