Friday, February 08, 2008

Smartphones on the rise

As part of the inexorable, massive shift from phone-as-voice-communication to phone-as-thin-client. Excerpt:
Record numbers of consumers are abandoning their basic cell phones for more-advanced models, according to the latest ChangeWave consumer cell phone survey. The January survey of 4,182 consumers tracked key market share changes affecting cell phone manufacturers and service providers alike.

Seismic Shift To Smartphones

Google Sets

Enter a few items, and Google Sets will try to predict other items that belong in that list. Fascinating. I don't yet know what this will be good for beyond invention, but there's got to be something.

Google Sets


My Intel-based MacBook dual-boots in OSX and Vista. Honestly, I hardly spend any time on the Vista side, but have been using it more for some Windows-only services. But I shudder every time I go in.

Why? I really can't put my finger on it. Partially it's the fact that the default mouse speed is too fast, so until I adjusted it, the pointer would just careen across the screen. Partially it's because Vista has retained some aspects of previous versions of Windows but updated others, so it feels like a mishmash rather than a well-integrated whole. Partially it's because of all the system noises, which to my ear sound self-promotional and needy. In any case, booting into Vista is like picking up a greasy Tupperware dish for me. Yes, I could spend some time washing the thing with lots of soap, but I'd really rather just throw the thing away.

I don't have this reaction with XP, which I regularly use in the labs. Anyone else using Vista? And what is your reaction?

"Douglas Merrill, the chief information officer for Google, shares 4 rules that will help you get it together"

That's the subtitle of a Men's Health article. The interview reads like GTD filtered through Google Apps. For instance, here's one tip:

2. Swap filing cabinets for scaffolds.The traditional approach to organization involves putting things in folders, either manila or electronic. Tax receipts go here, mortgage information goes there, investment advice gets put on that pile, vacation ideas on that stack, etc. While this works for a short time, eventually we end up with cluttered offices and hard-drives full of information that’s neither accessible nor useful.

“There’s a common perception that organization is innate and that it looks the same for everyone,” says Merrill, sipping from a bottle of—what else?—SmartWater. “Both of these assertions are false. Organization is learned, and it’s learned in a way that’s special to you. For me to cram you into the traditional filing-cabinet model is a disservice. A much richer way of helping organize someone is to give them a set of tools that can be personalized.”

Merrill calls these tools “scaffolds” and encourages us to think of the information we’re accumulating as an ever-expanding building. This scaffolding represents the means for quickly gaining access to any floor or room. It’s your network of virtual assistants or, to continue the analogy, ironworkers.

Merrill has wrapped 7 (that number again) scaffolds around his world. Naturally, they’re all Google products and include: Calendar, Notebook, Reader, Documents/Spreadsheets, Gmail, Gadgets and iGoogle. (If you want to scaffold your life similarly, they’re all available for free at

Just think how organized Merrill could be if Google were to come out with its rumored project management system.

The World's Most Organized Man: Douglas Merrill, the chief information officer for Google, shares 4 rules that will help you get it together

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Google phone prototype next week

Time for Google and its partners to show their hand. And Android will be on the market this year, thanks to T-Mobile:
Deutsche Telekom's (DTEGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) T-Mobile and Taiwan's High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (2498.TW: Quote, Profile, Research) have said that they plan to offer phones based on the open-source Android software platform this year.
ARM to show Google phone prototype next week: source | Reuters

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Flock friends MySpace

Thanks to the new MySpace Developer Platform, the social browser Flock will soon support MySpace the same way it supports Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Yet another site that I won't have to log into on a daily basis anymore.

» Bebo buyout rumor; Flock friends MySpace; Wikinvest and Dealipedia | The Social Web |

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An open-access manifesto and a response

Anne Galloway takes danah boyd to task over how to resist closed-access publishing. This is a debate that has been touched upon at KairosNews and other computers-and-composition venues.

Purse Lip Square Jaw: Boycott? I think not.

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How much are candidates talking about God? Here's the answer, and in some cases, it's surprising. What I like about it is that the candidates' heads are arrayed on the scale and you can click the heads for the latest rating and news. The headshots remind me of the top left corner of classic Marvel comics; it's like a Marvel Team-Up for the elections.

God-o-Meter - A scientific measure of God-talk in the elections

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Google Spreadsheets now offers forms

So if you want to conduct a survey, you can have everyone fill out a form and the information is automagically entered into your spreadsheet. You still control the spreadsheet. Doing this gives Google Apps some light Access-like capability, positioning it to compete against Access and online analogs such as Blist for the low-end user. Oh, and it also threatens services such as SurveyMonkey.

Official Google Docs Blog: Stop sharing spreadsheets, start collecting information

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Google Apps Team Edition

Responding to the fears of IT in large organizations, Google makes Google Apps available for everyone sharing an email domain. They see this as a way to beef up security while spreading the word about cloud computing:
With Team Edition anyone can open an account and start using the apps with anyone within the organization. For instance, a group working on a team project could use Google Apps Team Edition and be able to access the shared documents from any computer over the Internet.

"Google Apps Team Edition is another on ramp" to Web-hosted apps, Milo said. "They are one more way for businesses to get comfortable with computing in the cloud and anywhere, any time access to critical information."
Google Apps Team Edition aims to move companies to the cloud | Tech news blog - CNET

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Is there anything they can't do?

Recently I've pointed to stories of cellphones being used to track traffic flow, transfer funds, and open public toilets. Now this.

Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » Cellphones to detect dirty bombs?

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Google’s Android Is Already Delayed

Not an auspicious beginning.

Google’s Android Is Already Delayed

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The Register looks at Android

... and turns up some obstacles to adoption. Including this:
Google suggests a minimum specification of a 200MHz ARM9, with 64Mb RAM and 64Mb Flash. We all know what minimum specs mean
Google Android - a sneak preview | Reg Developer

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This says something about mobile phone use in Finland

SMS opens public toilets in Finland - Boing Boing

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New Opera Mobile is out

Version 9.5. I'm going to download it right now. Opera has improved tremendously over the last year, and it finally has features such as tabbed browsing and copy-and-paste.

Oops (9:08am): That's Opera Mobile, for smart phones. I'm using Opera Mini because my phone (Samsung A900M) is not considered all that smart.

Opera unleashes innovative technology in latest mobile Web browser — Opera Mobile 9.5

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Blist, the Flash-based social database builder, had its beta launch last week. In a nutshell, it's an attractively designed database along the lines of MS Access, surprisingly complex for a web app, but still fairly easy to use. As with other web apps, this one allows you to build social databases, review others' databases, etc.

Unfortunately, it looks like the dashboard and discover features are not yet active, so we only get a dummy view to hint at what sorts of blists might be developed: a to do blist, two lists of target VCs, a recipe blist. There's a difference between database-as-container, database-as-application, and database-as-set-of-data, and it's unclear which of these will really take off or how they will be separated and rated.

Nevertheless, this really has been a missing piece in online office tools. If you can get over having your databases posted online, it may be a good Access competitor. And the Flash interface will go well with Buzzword and other Flash-based apps.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Scoble on Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo

He doesn't think Google actually cares about a Microsoft-Yahoo merger, it just wants to slow things down. Google isn't taking its eye off the most important ball:
Every month longer that this deal takes is tens of millions in Google’s pockets. Why? Well, the real race today isn’t for search. Isn’t for email. Isn’t for IM. It’s for ownership of your mobile phone.
I concur for the most part. The mobile phone is a cheap, internetworked platform that is being adopted globally at a furious rate. Microsoft is stuck supporting its legacy OS for PCs, while Google is putting together an OS and apps for a platform that will be in everyone's pockets. Meanwhile, no one is in love with Windows Mobile.

What you all are missing about Google « Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger

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Sunday, February 03, 2008 analyzes the Open Handset Alliance for clues about the gPhone

Interesting stuff, though it reaches at times. Take this section:

The mobile Opera Mini 4 browser has just been released, to rave reviews. This seems to be just the ticket the GPhone could use as its killer app, since Opera Mini 4 is optimized for quicker scrolling, navigation, and page rendering on mobile handsets.

However, Opera is not an Open Handset Alliance member. Still, that's not necessarily an impediment to the GPhone's adoption of the browser. Consider than an Opera spokesperson coyly refused to tell ZDNet whether the company has been approached to join the Alliance, and added that Opera is "very close to Google."

Sure, but Opera's default search is still Yahoo. On the other hand, if Microsoft buys Yahoo, I imagine Opera will run quickly from that deal. Google is the obvious alternate, and perhaps the Opera folks will find it useful to cozy up to them now without officially making a deal. - Inside the gPhone: What to expect from Google's Android alliance

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