Recently in Wireless and Mobile Category


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Screen showing all of the people
available to work on a map.

Last week I met Mr. Sunagawa from LocationValue Inc. that runs Otetsudai Networks. Otetsudai Networks is a very cool service that is one of these "perfect for Japan" things.

Because of the advanced aging population and the tendency for many of the younger generation to not be in a hurry to lock down full-time jobs, businesses are having an increasingly more difficult time filling posts - so much so that some businesses are having to close down, not because of lack of business, but purely because they can't staff their stores.

My sister has written about the Japanese youth behavior where less and less stuff is planned - the kids going out and using their mobile devices to meet up or deciding to do things while constantly keeping in touch with each other. These swarming bands of kids are now adults and many of them don't want to be tied down.

These "kids" are not becoming adults. In a recent survey by Otetsudai Networks, most people surveyed cared more about freedom and flexibility than the pay when considering a part-time job.

Enter Otetsudai Networks. With Otetsudai Networks, if you are willing to work, you sign up for the service with your skills and focus, take a GPS reading on your phone and then just hang out. If you are looking for someone for say... 3 hours to man a cash register or help wash dishes, you just send the request to Otetsudai Networks and within minutes, you have a list of people available. The list shows what each person is qualified for, how others have rated their work and exactly how far away they are. Typically you will receive a list of half a dozen or more people within a few minutes.

The businesses are rated too on a per-manager basis so when you're hanging out with your friends and you get a request to go help at the corner convenience shop, you know how your peers have rated that particular guy who's asking you to come and help. You can also counter the request and say you'd go if they paid you 2000 yen / hour instead of 1500.

As more and more people start using this system, it's liable to start filling a very important gap in the workforce. It's also a perfect example of a location based, peer-to-peer reputation based, mobile behavior oriented product for an aging society.

The website is otetsu.jp otet.jp, but most of the functionality is only available on the phone.

Update from Mr. Sunagawa:

1. The English name of the company is LocationValue Inc.
2. Employer will see only the name of applicants rather than all the
available people around. "...you have a list of people available" may sound
inaccurate.
3. primary URL of our web is otet.jp instead of otetsu.jp although otetsu.jp
would also be redirected to our site.

UPDATE 2: They have about 45,000 users with 1,000 new users per week.

Radar, which focuses and helping groups of close friends share photos mostly on phones has added a new sharing feature. While Radar's focus is still allowing small groups to share their private moments, Radar now allows you to share those photos that you don't mind everyone seeing. They've got the necessary widgets and stuff to make this easy too.

I invested in Radar because I think that the small group co-presence sharing is different from "publishing" like this blog and that this market is still underserved. However, I do think that there are some moments we all want to share and think this shift is a good direction for Radar.

It will probably get me to use it more too since I tend to be... *cough* slightly more "open" than the average person.

Read more about it on their blog.
...

First of all, THANKS to Six Apart and the community of users for the support. Creative Commons and WITNESS can really use the money and we appreciate it VERY much. A portion of the donations by users for permanent Live Journal accounts was donated to RAINN, EFF, Creative Commons and WITNESS during a recent campaign.

Unfortunately, we failed to disclose my involvement in Creative Commons and WITNESS when Six Apart was conducting the campaign. I'm the chairman of Creative Commons and a board member of WITNESS. I apologize to everyone for this oversight. I think that transparency is an essential part of everything we stand for and it really is unfortunate that we didn't handle this properly.

I would like to make it clear that while I donate time and money to WITNESS and Creative Commons, I pay all of my expenses and have never charged anything to either of these organizations... so while it doesn't make the lack of disclosure OK, I don't personally benefit financially from either of these donations from Six Apart.

Anyway, thanks again for everyone's support of Six Apart, Creative Commons, WITNESS and other organizations that I love.

BTW, Valleywag posted about the lack of disclosure.

UPDATE: BTW, my wiki profile probably is the best list of affiliations that I have if you're interested.

Martin blogs about Fiesta Fonera. Announcement includes new antenna for extra power, Fon WiFiAds with revenue share and roaming on other networks.

Disclosure: I'm a FON advisor and my company DG is an investor of FON.

John Poisson
I'm an investor in John Poisson's company Tiny Pictures which is the developer/operator of Radar. Radar is a cool photo sharing site for people who aren't exhibitionist weirdos like me. John and his team have worked with people like my sister trying to figure out the behavior of the mobile youth (and non-youth) and focused on the "Full-Time Intimate Community" (FTIC). FTICs are the close group of friends (usually around 8-10 people) with whom you share presence. Most mobile youths know whether members of their FTIC are awake, at school, happy, sick, finished with their homework, etc. They use their mobile phones to keep in touch with their FTIC usually sending state changes by text message. The idea behind Radar is to use photos as a presence stream to your intimate friends so you can share a richer presence and make short comments on the stream of images that show up in the "channels" from your friends.

Because of it's rather intimate and private nature, you end up snapping photos for their presence value over perfect artistic value and because of the private nature of the friends list, the content is also often more intimate.

I'm "joi" on Radar. Shoot me an email if you want to be my Radar friend. Like Twitter and LinkedIn, I'm only friending people I really know so apologies in advance if I don't accept all friend requests.


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FON has trialed giving away free Wi-Fi routers in other regions and is now giving them away in the US together with GigaOM. Basically, this gets you a free FON router which you can use to register as a Fonero. This, in turn, allows you to access any FON access point for free.

Disclaimer : I am on the FON advisory board and helping with FON in Japan.

The Sony mylo ships in the US September 15. No plans for distribution in Japan.

The mylo is a nifty little device that does wifi, Skype (you can hold it up to your ear or use a headset), GTalk (no voice), and Yahoo Instant Messenger. It also has a browser (Opera, no flash), has a photo album, plays mp3 and Windows Media Player music, and plays video formatted in the weird mp4 video format that the PSP uses. (I think. I have yet to successfully convert and play a video file.) I used it for Skype on a conference call today and it worked really well with Skype-Out. For some reason I don't see my contacts list on Skype. The other IM clients seem to work fine (GTalk and Yahoo IM).

The audio and video playback is good. The screen is a bit small but very clear. The device has a speaker on the back which is not stereo, but makes up for it in sound quality. In a relatively quiet room, playing music on speaker works well - much better than most cell phones designed for this kind of use.

It is rumored to be running some flavor of Linux inside. It mounts on your system via USB, but doesn't have bluetooth. It has wifi, but no GSM/GPRS. Definitely a downside, but an interesting twist after using the Sidekick for so long that has GPRS but no wifi. It also doesn't have email. It has about a gig of memory, but you can buy a 4 gig memory stick Pro Duo.

Overall I like it so far. The keyboard is a bit hard to use, but maybe it just takes getting used to. I like the way it flips out. The size is great. It is about the size of a largish cell phone, but much more pocketable than a PSP, DS Lite or Sidekick 3. I wish it had AIM and MS Messenger too, but I can live with Gtalk/Skype/Y!. The media playback is nice, but I wish it were more format friendly on the video. The interface is pretty fast and nice. The industrial design is pretty cool. The white bands glow in different colors for different states. When you are peer-to-peer wifi'ing, it glows orange. When you are connected to the Net in infrastructure mode, it is blue.

I'll post more updates after I play for it some more, but thought I should post this before everyone else got one and diminished the amount of envy I could muster with this post. I was able to get ahold of one though a secret source at Sony who I am not allowed to disclose. And before you ask me if I can get you one, I can't. You can pre-order them on Amazon.com for $349.99.

I know it's old news now but I'm really bummed that Boeing is shutting down its Connexion online wifi service. At $30 for the full flight on a long haul flight, it was not a bad price. I always used it on the Tokyo-Frankfurt LH flights. I thought it was going to change air travel for me forever. Now it's going away. I guess when something doesn't pay, it can't really exist yet... but I can't help feeling like we're going backwards with this. :-(

I heard a horror story the other day about someone who was traveling for an extended period on a ship. His phone was from Europe. In LA, he placed one called. For a month or so, people who called his phone got voicemail. Because he was last seen by the network as being in LA, all of his voicemail calls incurred roaming charges and he ended up with a $3000 voicemail bill. He argued, but they did not refund it.

I checked the T-Mobile web site and sure enough, after a bit of digging, I found this (link):

Unless you switch your device off or activate Unconditional Call Forwarding on your device, you will be billed for calls delivered to your voice mail box while you are roaming internationally.
The odd thing is, I'm quite sure he didn't have his phone on during the travel period. He said that they had told him that even without the phone on the call was still routed through LA. Does anyone else have any experience with this?

The Nokia guys showed me WidSets yesterday. It's a very cool service that allows people to make simple widgets which get sent to your phone and run on your phone. They are similar to OS X widgets and do various things like read RSS feeds, show flickr images for a particular tag, or show a Technorati feed. It's still in Beta, but seems to work well. It works on Java phones so will work on non-Nokia phones as well.

I just got a new Vodafone Japan phone to mess around with the network. In particular, I'm curious about how SMS evolves or fails to evolve in Japan.

So here's what I tested. I have a T-Mobile US SIM in a Nokia phone and was able to send and receive SMSs over both the Vodafone 3G network and the NTT DoCoMo 3G network. I was able to send an SMS to my Vodafone Japan phone, but not to my NTT DoCoMo phone. However, I was NOT able to reply to the SMS. As far as I can tell, but Vodafone Japan and DoCoMo disable sending SMSs to any other network than their own, but Vodfhone Japan allows you to receive an SMS from outside the network. This is for people with accounts on those networks. Their networks DO allow people who roam on their networks to send and receive SMS freely.

I am going to Finland tomorrow so I will try to use my Vodafone Japan phone there and see if it still blocks my SMS. I have a feeling that since the SMS server is probably where they block it, that it probably won't change anything.

The good news is that the 3G networks in Japan allow 3G phones and 3G subscribers from outside of Japan to roam on the Japanese networks. The bad news is that the Japanese networks are bringing their old-fashioned closed network philosophy and crippling connectivity between their networks. How stupid.

Martin announced today that FON as accepted 18 million Euros in funding from Google, Skype, Sequoia Capital, and Index Ventures. They are also going to support FON strategically. I blogged about FON earlier when I joined the advisory board, but FON is an innovative company that is starting a movement to allow people who have Internet access to create wifi hotspots.

If you’d like to join the FON Community, register with us at www.fon.com. You can select the user profile that most suits you. FON is now working in a Beta phase and is only available for Linus. A Linus is any user who shares his/her WiFi in exchange for free access throughout the Community wherever there is coverage. In the future, FON will also be available for Bills. Instead of roaming for free, Bills are users who prefer to keep a percentage of the fees that FON charges to Aliens. And Aliens are those guys who pay to connect.
The strategic relationship with Google and Skype is quite amazing and a key point. The telephone companies have been trying to prevent Internet companies from "free-riding" on "their" infrastructure. For instance:
"(Telecoms) and the cable companies have made an investment, and for a Google or Yahoo or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes (for) free is nuts!"

-- SBC Communications CEO Ed Whitacre

There is clearly a battle between telephone companies who believe they deserve to recoup their investment in infrastructure by gouging people for voice and soon wifi access. On the other hand, companies such as Skype and now FON are trying to push the bottom-up Internet philosophy to one of the final layers where the monopolistic dinosaurs still reign. FON's ability to get Skype and Google who are natural competitors to work together to try to lower the cost of access to for users reminds me of Yahoo and Google both supporting Firefox to provide users with an free and open alternative browser.

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By

The entire country of Macedonia will be covered by Wifi, according to an announcement by Strix Systems.

There could be many uses for unlimited ubiquitous broadband.

Some of my ideas:

- Wifi webcams filming from a flock of sheep could make a great art project.

- Wifi webcams facing the stove would confirm that nothing is still turned on.

What other Wifi devices could be useful? (Even if it adapts current technology).

By

New Orleans mayor just announced free Wifi for the city.

John Dvorak says vested interests are just too great from telecom providers to let it last.

Can free Wifi survive?

I've accepted an invitation from my old friend Martin Varsavsky to be a fonero and an advisor to FON. Cory blogged about this in October, but FON is a cool P2P WIFI service which allows users to share their WIFI networks with each other eventually creating a global roamable network. They're launching first in Spain but plan to push out worldwide.

8800-1
Yesterday Marko brought me a Nokia 8800. I wrote about this phone when it came out. It has special meaning for me because the sounds were designed by my friend Ryuichi Sakamoto. I'm also proud to have introduced Marko and Nokia to Ryuichi. I had read the reviews, but after playing with the phone I'm extremely excited by how cool it is.

The design is beautiful and the attention to detail is stunning. Everything from the black box with the steel clasp that it comes in to the pulsating blue light at the base of the charging dock to the extra battery and extra battery charger on the dock to the polished steel makes it feel very special. I think it has something to do with the steel, but it doesn't have that cheap plastic feel that most mobile phones have. When you slide the phone open, it is a metal on metal sound/feel, which is a "real" version of the metallic "schwing" sound that some of the Sony phones play when you open them. It's also just the right weight and size for my taste.

Ryuichi did a great job with the sounds and makes this the first phone where I actually enjoy listening to the various ring tones. Congratulations to everyone involved. Excellent job. The only problem is that it doesn't sync with my Mac and doesn't have UMTS so I can't use it in Japan... but when I'm in any country where I can use GSM I'll be using this phone.

Posted by Thomas Crampton

In reporting stories in Casablanca this week I have faced a unique problem due to Moroccan mobile phone habits.

More than any other country I have ever visited, Moroccans used caller ID.

It seems to be part of the phone answering process to closely look at the number of the person calling before deciding whether or not to answer. Often they will let it ring if they can't figure out whose number it is. In most places people look at caller ID and then answer.

From my point of view the result has been that my money-saving tactic of using a local pre-paid card does not work.

Three times now (I am a slow learner) people whom I was supposed to meet for an interview simply did not answer their phone until I called using my French mobile phone on costly roaming. It was a fairly good cross section of society: One was a politician, the other a university academic and the other a musician.

Nobody here has so far been able to explain why this habit exists here. I get a similar reaction when I ask about it here: People in Morocco just presume that everyone uses phones in the same way.

(I have previously reported on other national characteristics of mobile phone usage, including the reluctance of Spanish to use voicemail, the reluctance of English to speak on the phone in places where their conversation can be heard and the way in which the French turn off their phones during meals.)

Any other national habits to add to this collection?

0262090392.01. Aa240 Sclzzz
My sister, the smarter half of the Ito family duo is an expert on Japanese youth culture and mobile culture. Her book just came out from MIT Press. I've been running around in a scatterbrained fashion all my life trying to reach into academia. She has been immersed in academic rigor but has been reaching out to the public from the inside. Recently, we've begun to cross paths more and more. This book is another step in bridging our worlds.

Anyway, I'm totally biased and very proud of my sister, but you should still take my recommendation and buy this book. ;-) (Or at least download the introduction.)

Mizuko Ito
Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life

The book I edited with Daisuke Okabe and Misa Matsuda is out from MIT Press and available on amazon.com. Click here for a pdf of a draft of the introduction.

The book is an edited collection of social and cultural studies of keitai (mobile phone) and pager use over the past decade or so in Japan. We included our own research as well as research by a variety of mostly Japanese scholars whose work we translated from Japanese.

One hour left of my Connexion service. I was using my PHS and Narita Airport wifi before I boarded the flight and they were both slower than this connexion service aboard this flight. I have a feeling Frankfurt airport will be about the same, but it will be more expensive. (I only paid $30 for 12 hours of access on this flight.) I'm on my way to Menorca for a friend's wedding, where the last time I was there, even GSM was spotty. Anyway, gprs roaming, as I found out awhile ago, is ridiculously expensive. Connectivity, at least for this trip, will be better in the air than on the ground... It's a very strange feeling to think, "I can't wait for my flight where my connectivity will be good and cheap." ;-)

UPDATE: Here is a list of airlines and flights that offer the service. Quite impressive.

Lh711
This widget suddenly become a bit more interesting...
Lufthansa just upgraded the plane they use for LH711, the flight from Tokyo to Frankfurt. This is the flight that I use for nearly all of my European travel. The new seats are nice, but more importantly, they now have they have Internet on the flight as well as a multi-standard AC plug. Many of my friends have already been on flights with wifi, but this is my first time. I'm also excited because LH711 is probably one of flights I take the most. It's $29.95 for the whole 12 hour flight. See you online!

UPDATE:

A few observations. I'm online right now when normally I would probably be sleeping. I usually try to crunch through my email flagged for followup during the flight. It's a bit slower now since I'm not as focused, but I just realized that the mad rush to sync my email when I land will be gone. It is going to be odd getting off of the plane without, "where should I connect to the Internet" being the main thing on my mind...

UPDATE 2:

I also just realized that my habit of staying up late the night before doing a lot of work and sleeping on the plane is now a out-dated practice. I should sleep at home and work on the plane...

UPDATE 3:

I unfortunately didn't bring my headset or I would have tried Skype. Warcraft worked, but was showing a red alert for latency. I transfered a fairly large mp3 to someone over iChat without much trouble. (Sorry, didn't check the speed.) I'm trying BitTorrent now, but it doesn't seem to be finding peers... Pings to Google are taking about 770 ms and it takes 11 hops to get out of Boeing and 14 hops to get into Google. Bandwidth Speed Test says I've got 137.7 kilobits per second of bandwidth.

UPDATE 4:

I lied. The first thing I did when I got off the plane was look for wifi...

UPDATE 5:

I reviewed a picture I took of the jacks and it is 110V 60Hz power. It also seems to have a USB plug in addition to the ethernet plug. I wonder if you can mount the plane as an external device...

Micah Sifry has written a nice piece about why wifi and cheap broadband is an essential enabler and more important than direct aid for communities which need help. He references various examples and source. I completely agree. I remember speaking to a UN diplomat who said that the Internet has changed the face of global policy making. He told us that the Anti-Personal Land-mine Treaty would not have happened if it weren't for email and the ability for NGOs to get information, organize and pressure governments and the UN using the Internet. I believe that at every level, it is essential to empower individuals and communities with a voice and the Internet is in a position to enable people for the first time at a reasonable cost. It is about global voices.

I believe that it is easy enough to run a basic Wifi, Internet and Voice over IP network that in many cases municipal governments can run them. I realize this hurts competition and this is what Verizon argued when they tried to stop Philadelphia for setting up their own Wifi network, but I think it would be better than what we have now. In many places broadband is controlled by organizations that are effectively monopolies anyway. See for example the new ruling in the US that cable companies don't have to allow others to provide access through their network. Would you rather have the network run by a monopoly that is controlled by a bunch of greedy shareholders or a local government that the people at least have some control over?

People will argue that allowing local governments to operate networks will stifle innovation because of lack of competition. I think that the benefit is worth the cost of providing cheaper and more universal access. The network is becoming less and less a "service" and more and more a "thing". You can buy a bunch of routers and hook them together and you have a pretty good network. You do need maintenance, but you don't need some huge company with a bunch of bell-heads running the thing. Simple access is more like a road than a full-service hotel. It just has to be cheap and work.

I agree that this isn't for all municipal governments, but I think the central governments of the world should try very hard not to give in to the pressure of the telco lobbies and stifle the attempts of municipal governments to provide network services including voice. I also believe that non-profits and NGOs can play a huge role in helping provide access in addition to municipal governments as well as helping municipal governments set up such networks.

N8800
Photo by Nokia
Nokia
Art Meets State-of-the-Art: Exquisite Materials, Distinctive Details Unite to Create a Mobile Icon - the Nokia 8801

April 07, 2005

Exclusive audio accompaniment, including signature ringtone "Dharma", by award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto

Espoo, Finland - Drawing upon modern watchmaking and jewelry techniques, Nokia has unveiled a truly inspired mobile phone for today's connoisseurs of quality and taste. Encased in a slim stainless steel body, the Nokia 8801 subtly glides open to reveal a number of distinctive details, each meticulously considered and researched to complement the prestige and quality of the device. To heighten the experience, the Nokia 8801 features exclusive audio accompaniment, including all ring tones and alerts, by award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. This attention to detail continues Nokia's heritage of premium mobile phones that have set the industry standard for elegance and performance.

See also "Art Meets State-of-the-Art: Exquisite Materials, Distinctive Details Unite to Create a Mobile Icon - the Nokia 8800"

When Marko Ahtisaari approached me for an introduction to Ryuichi Sakamoto I didn't know what they wanted to do with him. Nokia and Ryuichi Sakamoto? Now I know. This is great. I want one! hint. hint...

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A special form of "toothing" for Valentine's day. Encode your bluetooth device with your preferences, choose some images and participate in Bluetooth Valentine's Day. See the site for more details.

via Sander

Feet Up!
More Nokia Python

It looks like people haven’t been slow to get using Nokia’s Python project, and Matt Croydon has been collating projects and news on his Python for Series 60 wiki page.

Seeing as there’s no central clearing house(other than Forum Nokia) for Nokia Python projects right now, I reckon this is as good a focal point as any.

The official public release of Python on Series 60 just came out on the 22nd of December. You can get it on Forum Nokia site.
Mike Masnick @ The Feature
Can DoCoMo Say No To Microsoft?

NTT DoCoMo made a splash by announcing a new common platform for its 3G FOMA offering that only works on Symbian and Linux phones. The lack of Microsoft isn't just a timing issue -- DoCoMo purposely shunned the software giant. Will they be able to keep it up?

It really is hard to say no to Microsoft. Most people will say you're being arrogant, stupid or insane. Many of my friends think that Microsoft will eventually take over mobile devices too, but it's nice to see that DoCoMo can afford to say "no"... for now.

Today I was on a panel at a JETRO conference with Hong Liang Lu. He has some amazing numbers about telephones China. Chinese are buying 90M new mobile phones a year. (Compared to 80M total mobile phones in Japan.) Japanese are about to make pre-paid mobile phone illegal because they are being used in crime. 80% of Chinese cell phones are pre-paid because of collection issues. PHS (Personal Handy Phone) which was developed in Japan (and I thought was a dead standard) is heavily deployed in China with 70M subscribers vs. only 5M subscribers in Japan. Minutes are as cheap as 1 cent per minute in China. China has 300M land-line phones and 300M mobile phones now.

I knew telecom was going crazy in China, and many of you may know these numbers, but they are stunning none the less.

Lifeblog 1.5 has just been announced and it will support blogging directly to TypePad from Nokia phones with Lifeblog. Yay! Good work gang.

via Christian Lindholm

I just tried taking my NTT Docomo Foma (3G) SIM out of my F900iC and put it in my unlocked Nokia 7600 which is also a 3G phone. The SIM worked fine, but I couldn't send international SMSs. When I put the US T-Mobile SIM into the F900iC, it said "please insert your Docomo SIM". So obviously, the phone is locked. The question is, is there a way to unlock it? And, is there a way to use it on foreign networks. The Good news for Docomo users is that it appears Docomo now has roaming agreements so you can keep your Japanese phone number overseas, but the big question for gadget freaks is if you foreigners can use the new swanky Docomo phones. ;-) I'll look into it, but if anyone has any info, let me know.

F900Ic
I spilled juice on my phone and had to get a new one. I got a F900iC. It's the first 3G phone with the new FeliCa contactless IC card built in. I just set up my Edy account and downloaded some money to it from my credit card. I think they will let you get money from your bank as well. I can wave it at the garage machine at Tokyo station, or at the cash register at AM/PMs or in a bunch of places inside of the Marunouchi building where I'm hanging out a lot lately. Not sure how nationally rolled out it is. Edy is a e-money system spearheaded by Sony and NTT-Docomo. (Some people joke that "Edy" sounds like a play on "Idei" the Chairman of Sony.) I used to carry an Edy card around with me, but the biggest problem was that I had to go to "charging stations" to put cash into it, and I couldn't check how much money I had left. Now I can see how much money I have and download more money on the phone. Yay! Also, this mobile wallet of mine allows me to create accounts with other systems like Suica. Suica has not yet launched on the phone, but will soon. Suica is run by JR. I currently have a normal plastic Suica that I use for the gate entry/exit and shops inside of JR stations. This Felica system uses a different technology than the contactless IC card that the government was pushing for the national ID system. This is good news to me. The idea of having a bunch of different ID cards in one place but all issued by different commercial vendors sounds better from a privacy perspective that having vendors use your national ID card for digital cash.

My phone also has a nifty fingerprint thing that actually works. It's really fast. To access secure features, instead of punching a pin, I just swipe my finger across a fingerprint pad. It also has the standard 2 screens, 2 cameras, mini SD and a QVGA TFT display.

As a side note, I noticed that when I turned on my Nokia 7600 the other day, both J-Phone and Docomo showed up as available networks. I was able to send and receive SMSs internationally using my US T-Mobile SIM card in my Nokia while in Japan. Some SMSs took days to get to me so it's not perfect yet, but what a change! We have a multi-operator 3G network that allows foreign SIMs and phones! It looks like I have SMS on my Docomo Foma phone, but I can't seem to figure out how I can send international SMSs. Does anyone know how to do or if I can do this?

UPDATE: Reading the manual, it says that I can only send SMSs to other Foma owners only. Which is weird, since my Nokia roaming on the Docomo network using a US T-Mobile SIM lets me send international SMS. Go figure. I wonder what happens if I put the US SIM in this Japanese phone...

Ethan explains that although Wikipedia tries to maintain an neutral point of view (NPOV), it is inherently systemically biased by its demographic to pay more attention to articles that the contributors know about and research from sources which are available online. Xed, a Wikipedian has tried to address this systemic bias with a new project called the "Committee Regarding Overcoming Serious Systemic Bias On Wikipedia" or CROSSBOW.

From draft CROSSBOW manifesto
Wikipedia has a number of systemic biases, mostly deriving from the demographics of our participant base, the heavy bias towards online research, and the (generally commendable) tendency to "write what you know". Systemic bias is not to be confused with systematic bias. The latter just means "thoroughgoing bias". Systemic bias means that there are structural reasons why Wikipedia gives certain topics much better coverage than others. As of this writing, Wikipedia is disproportionately white and male; disproportionately American; disproportionately written by people from white collar backgrounds. We do not think this is a result of a conspiracy - it is largely a result of self-selection - but it has effects not all of which are beneficial, and which need to be looked at and (in some cases) countered.

Wikipedia is biased toward over-inclusion of certain material pertaining to (for example) science fiction, contemporary youth culture, contemporary U.S. and UK culture in general, and anything already well covered in the English-langauge portion of the Internet. These excessive inclusions are relatively harmless: at worst, people look at some of these articles and say "this is silly, why is it in an encyclopedia?" Of far greater (and more detrimental) consequence, these same biases lead to minimal or non-existent treatment of topics of great importance. One example is that, as of this writing, the Congo Civil War, possibly the largest war since World War II has claimed over 3 million lives, but one would be hard pressed to learn much about it from Wikipedia. In fact, there is more information on a fictional plant.

They are planning a variety of projects to try to address the bias. If you are interested and can help, you should.

Our good friend Andrew Orlowski points out that as Wikipedia tries to get more distribution on smaller devices such as mobile phones, they need to be wary of the size of the database and the framework in order to be more inclusive than just web oriented techies or in his words, "Californian techno-utopians, wiki-fiddlers."

So the most useful thing the Wikipedia project could do is not write another adoring 20,000 word article on our good friend Joi Ito (the spiritual leader), or "memes", but nail down a simple lightweight framework that librarians, schools, churches and small businesses could use as an annotation and broadcast channel.

This is another way to address the bias. Move to non-web devices too, although in this article Andrew is talking about "Questions like 'What's the kid's soccer schedule?', and 'Is Thursday street cleaning day on Geary?'" I do agree that Wikipedians should be spending their time writing about the Congo Civil War instead of writing a 20,000 word article on me.

Technology Review
Japanese Schools Use Computer Chips to Keep Tabs on Children

TOKYO (AP) - Cutting class just got harder but schools are safer thanks to computer chips that help track students, Japanese officials say.

Some schools here this month began trial runs in which students carry chips that have tiny antennae and can be traced by radio, with some of the kids attaching the tags to their backpacks.

The chips send signals to receivers at school gates. A computer in the system shows when a student enters or leaves.

School officials say rising concerns about student safety prompted the idea.

But student safety is still MUCH better than the rest of the world. Elementary school first graders still take public transportation to school by themselves. I think tagging is a bit over the top.
"And the kids love it - they think it's cool," he added.
Yeah. Right...

And when are they going to start tagging everyone else...

via Smart Mobs

From Christian Lindholm who is in charge of Lifeblog at Nokia:

ChristianLindholm.com
Lifeblog will blog to TypePad - some reflections

Our team today announced that we are partnering with Six Apart to make TypePad the preferred destination when you blog from Lifeblog.

Yay!

Philadelphia is considering investing $10M to blanket 135 square miles with wifi coverage.

I agree with David Weinberger that the wifi project in Philadelphia is a good thing. Like David, I hear and understand the arguments against government running things that businesses can do, but I think that in the case of some of the low cost basic infrastructure like this, I think municipal governments can often deploy and run it just fine. I think that we need to start thinking of parts of our network as assets like roads, which can and should be run by government.

I will add that in most cases I believe in free markets and competition for this sort of thing.

The Feature
Encouraging Cameraphone Use -- For Less Than Encouraging Reasons

Instead of banning them, Chinese authorities have creatively adapted cameraphones as yet another tool to control its citizens, if the latest allegations prove to be true. Authorities there reportedly threatened pro-democracy radio talk show hosts, after which they all quit. This didn't involve cameraphones until new reports emerged that authorities have contacted the families of callers to these shows still living on the mainland. They have been told to convince their relatives to vote for pro-Beijing candidates and then snap a picture of their ballots with a cameraphone to send back proof.

Of course we should all have seen this coming. I remember when I got my first camera phone, I got one for Mizuka and myself. Our relationship was still pretty "fresh". That week, I went on an trip to Kyoto with a small group of older Japanese businessman friends. "So... where are you? Can you send me a picture?" "Ummm... sure. OK. Here." Yes, there are simple ways to get around this by preparing photos or doctoring stuff, but it's obvious that the privacy issue for camera phones isn't just the subjects being photographed, but the owners of the phones as well.

Image from Gary Turner
OK He wasn't almost arrested, but he was told that he couldn't be use computer within range of the open wifi network of the public library by a policeman. The officer cites some law against it and describes all of the terrible things Reverend AKMA could be doing. When AKMA asks whether this was a state or federal law, the officer says, "It’s a federal law, sir; a Secret Service agent came and explained it to us.”

Anyway, it's worth reading his entire post. What law is this officer referring to and how can we undo damage that misinformed (if there is no such law) Secret Service agents are causing? If it were me or some other less pious person, I'm sure the policeman might not have been as nice.

Mimi Ito (my sister) has some interesting research about mobile phone and Japanese youths on the Vodaphone site.

Ironically via Gen Kanai (Mimi never tells me anything)

Mike @ Wi-Fi Toys
New World Record for Bluetooth Link!

The date: Wednesday, July 28th 2004
The time: 12:00 PM PDT
The test: Connect to a low-power Bluetooth cellphone from a distance of 1 kilometer

The result: Success!

...With a slight cable modification, this test shows that, based on previous research in the area, bluetooth functions (and exploits) can now be performed from distances thought to be impossible.

Is this unprecedented or are they just trying to sell bluedriving kits?

via MyAppleMenu

sent
SENT, "america's first phonecam art show" opens in LA's Standard Hotel Downtown tomorrow. The site looks great. Congrats Xeni, Sean and Caryn!

ANANOVA
Student smashes SMS record

A Singaporean student looks to have smashed the world record for high speed text messaging.

Kimberly Yeo, 23, managed to send a 160-character SMS message in just 43.24 seconds.

It knocked more than 20 seconds off the official record of 67 seconds held by Briton James Trusler.

That's like 36 words per minute.

Do you still think this thumb keyboard is silly?

via Seth Godin

Got a new Nokia 7610. Short review on my stuff blog.

Nokia asked me to be a guest speaker at their annual press event, Nokia Connection 2004. I was the only outside speaker and they told me I could say what I wanted. What a treat. ;-)

A summary of my presentation:

sharing++ open++ customer_oriented++ user_empowering++ blogs ++

DRM-- "pipes"-- "terminal devices"-- traditional_marketing--

Dan Gillmor blogs about a suit filed by a consumer group against mobile phone carriers which "lock" phones. The argument by the mobile carriers is that they subsidize part of the cost of the phone and therefore have the right to now allow customers to use the phone with other carriers. Dan makes some good arguments about why this may be a red herring. It will be interesting to see how this suit turns out.

In the mean time, a quick Google search will provide links to lots of people offering services and information about unlocking phones.

From a Japanese perspective, I'm quite envious that at least you're using open standards and have the option of unlocking phones. We can't even imagine using our current Docomo phones on any other network.

airtext

Smart Mobs
Wave Messaging

From the company that pioneered text messaging, picture messaging and multimedia messaging, comes new innovation - Wave Messaging, or Light Messaging, according to a Nokia press release

By waving the Nokia 3220 camera phone from side to side, the LED lights of the Nokia Xpress-on FunShell light up to "write" a message that appears to float in mid-air.

Related articles on airtexting-type technologies:

-- In March 2003, the WSJ reported from CeBIT about a phone called Kurv, made by Kyocera Wireless Corp which featured airtexting: "The company believes airtexting will be one of it's most popular features, especialy in night clubs. To airtext, you type in a text like 'call me' then wave it back and forth in the air. As the phone moves, a row of blinking red lights along the top of the phone leaves the phrase trailing behind it."

-- A company called Wildseed actually tested airtexting with teenagers.

If they made an airtexting enabled BlackBerry, I wonder if they would allow them in Congress. With the massive penetration of BlackBerries (NYT - A BlackBerry Throbs, and a Wonk Has a Date), it would be like a chorus of Hecklebots. Anyway, I want one. Forget night clubs, imaging having one in the audience during talks.

News24.com
Rumsfeld bans phone cameras

London - Cellphones fitted with digital cameras have been banned in US army installations in Iraq on orders from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, The Business newspaper reported on Sunday.

Quoting a Pentagon source, the paper said the US defence department believes that some of the damning photos of US soldiers abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad were taken with camera phones.

"Digital cameras, camcorders and cellphones with cameras have been prohibited in military compounds in Iraq," it said, adding that a "total ban throughout the US military" is in the works.

via Smartmobs

The increasing reliance of this administration on secrecy is really disturbing. When your government starts to strip the people of their privacy and civil rights and consistently marches forward with a variety of efforts to hides its own movements, you know you're in real trouble.

I've worked on whistleblower protection bills and thought a lot about the importance of the ability for people to come forward outside of the chain of command. It is an essential protection measure against coverups and corruption. I can understand arguments about why allowing random photos could be bad, but I'm sure the importance of having "eyes on the ground" outside of the "main channel" out-weigh the risks.

UPDATE: There are many media sites and blogs running this story, but they all seem to quote the same source. We still have no corroborating original sources. Please see comments on this entry for more.

UPDATE2

This morning, I asked a Defense Department spokesperson whether or not the reports of a phonecam ban were true. This spokesperson said that these reports were technically inaccurate -- that the Pentagon is not issuing a new ban on camera phones per se, but that a Directive 8100.2 was issued on April 14 establishing new restrictions on wireless telecommunications equipment in general. The text of this directive is available online here in PDF format: Link. The intent of this April 14 directive, and how commanders in the field will be expected to enforce it, are matters I'll be reporting on in more detail for the NPR program "Day to Day," later this week.

I woke up at 7:30AM when my phone beeped with an incoming SMS. It was a message telling me that Min had just checked in. I forgot to turn off dodgeball and the SMS was telling me where Min was in SF and that she had checked in. Now I know why they call it "dodgeball". ;-p For those who haven't tried it yet, dodgeball is a cool new service that is a location based SNS that lets you "check in" and it sends a SMS to your friends to tell them where you are. But it's not very useful when I'm in Madrid and Min's in SF. ;-)

Will porn save 3G? Vodaphone seems to think so.

International Herald Tribune - Pornographers to ring up more profit

Antoin doesn't think so. I agree with his analysis.

My, "traditionally, the (content) industry has been wrong about how consumers use these devices" comment at Milia seems to have become a popular quote in the media and has made it all the way to Al Jazeera. ;-)

via thewirelessweblog

nokia7600
I bought a new Nokia 7600 when I was in Helsinki. When I landed in Tokyo, my Docomo phone was not working. (I think I missed a bill payment.) But my Nokia 7600 roamed on the J-Phone WCDMA network without a hitch.

Probably only people who have travelled to Japan from GSM countries will understand how cool it is to be able to use your GSM SIM card in a phone in Japan where we don't have a GSM network.

More about the phone on my stuff blog.

I just got Amaretto, Python for the Nokia series 60. I've got it running on my Nokia 6600. I'm so excited. Not I have to figure out what to write.

I'm not sure how I feel about being in the WSJ for my stupidity, but I agreed in order to emphasis my point to more people.

I recently discovered lomography. I think it fits very naturally with the spirit of moblogging.

The 10 Golden Rules of Lomography

1 - take your camera everywhere you go
2 - use it any time - day and night
3 - lomography is not an interference in your life, but a part of it
4 - try the shot from the hip
5 - approach the objects of your lomographic desire as close as possible
6 - don't think (Wiliam Firebrace)
7 - be fast
8 - you don't have to know beforehand what you capture on film
9 - afterwards either
10 - don't worry about the rules

Here are some thoughts on where I think things are going in the mobile and content space.

I wrote this essay before reading Free Culture so I'm saying a lot of stuff that Larry says better...

Several crucial shifts in technology are emerging that will drastically affect the relationship between users and technology in the near future. Wireless Internet is becoming ubiquitous and economically viable. Internet capable devices are becoming smaller and more powerful.

Alongside technological shifts, new social trends are emerging. Users are shifting their attention from packaged content to social information about location, presence and community. Tools for identity, trust, relationship management and navigating social networks are becoming more popular. Mobile communication tools are shifting away from a 1-1 model, allowing for increased many-to-many interactions; such a shift is even being used to permit new forms of democracy and citizen participation in global dialog.

While new technological and social trends are occurring, it is not without resistance, often by the developers and distributors of technology and content. In order to empower the consumer as a community member and producer, communication carriers, hardware manufacturers and content providers must understand and build models that focus less on the content and more on the relationships.

Smaller faster

Computing started out as large mainframe computers, software developers and companies “time sharing” for slices of computing time on the large machines. The mini-computer was cheaper and smaller, allowing companies and labs to own their own computers. The mini computer allowed a much greater number of people to have access to computers and even use them in real time. The mini computer lead to a burst in software and networking technologies. In the early 80’s, the personal computer increased the number of computers by an order of magnitude and again, led to an explosion in new software and technology while lowering the cost even more. Console gaming companies proved once again that unit costs could be decreased significantly by dramatically increasing the number of units sold. Today, we have over a billion cell phones in the market. There are tens of millions camera phones. The incredible number of these devices has continued to lower the unit cost of computing as well as devices imbedded in these devices such as small cameras. High end phones have the computing power of the personal computers of the 80’s and the game consoles of the 90’s.

History repeats with WiFi

There are parallels in the history of communications and computing. In the 1980’s the technology of packet switched networks became widely deployed. Two standards competed. X.25 was a packet switched network technology being promoted by CCITT (a large, formal international standards body) and the telephone companies. It involved a system run by telephone companies including metered tariffs and multiple bilateral agreements between carriers to hook up.

Concurrently, universities and research labs were promoting TCP/IP and the Internet opportunity for loosely organized standards meetings being operated with flat rate tariffs and little or no agreements between the carriers. People just connected to the closest node and everyone agreed to freely carry traffic for others.

There were several “free Internet” services such as “The Little Garden” in San Francisco. Commercial service providers, particularly the telephone company operators such as SprintNet tried to shut down such free services by threatening not to carry this free traffic.

Eventually, large ISPs began providing high quality Internet connectivity and finally the telephone companies realized that the Internet was the dominant standard and shutdown or acquired the ISPs.

A similar trend is happening in wireless data services. GPRS is currently the dominant technology among mobile telephone carriers. GPRS allows users to transmit packets of data across the carrier network to the Internet. One can roam to other networks as long as the mobile operators have agreements with each other. Just like in the days of X.25, the system requires many bilateral agreements between the carriers; their goal is to track and bill for each packet of information.

Competing with this standard is WiFi. WiFi is just a simple wireless extension to the current Internet and many hotspots provide people with free access to the Internet in cafes and other public areas. WiFi service providers have emerged, while telephone operators –such as a T-Mobile and Vodaphone- are capitalizing on paid WiFi services. Just as with the Internet, network operators are threatening to shut down free WiFi providers, citing a violation of terms of service.

Just as with X.25, the GPRS data network and the future data networks planned by the telephone carriers (e.g. 3G) are crippled with unwieldy standards bodies, bilateral agreements, and inherently complicated and expensive plant operations.

It is clear that the simplicity of WiFi and the Internet is more efficient than the networks planned by the telephone companies. That said, the availability of low cost phones is controlled by mobile telephone carriers, their distribution networks and their subsidies.

Content vs Context

Many of the mobile telephone carriers are hoping that users will purchase branded content manufactured in Hollywood and packaged and distributed by the telephone companies using sophisticated technology to thwart copying.

Broadband in the home will always be cheaper than mobile broadband. Therefore it will be cheaper for people to download content at home and use storage devices to carry it with them rather than downloading or viewing content over a mobile phone network. Most entertainment content is not so time sensitive that it requires real time network access.

The mobile carriers are making the same mistake that many of the network service providers made in the 80s. Consider Delphi, a joint venture between IBM and Sears Roebuck. Delphi assumed that branded content was going to be the main use of their system and designed the architecture of the network to provide users with such content. Conversely, the users ended up using primary email and communications and the system failed to provide such services effectively due to the mis-design.

Similarly, it is clear that mobile computing is about communication. Not only are mobile phones being used for 1-1 communications, as expected through voice conversations; people are learning new forms of communication because of SMS, email and presence technologies. Often, the value of these communication processes is the transmission of “state” or “context” information; the content of the messages are less important.

Copyright and the Creative Commons

In addition to the constant flow of traffic keeping groups of people in touch with each other, significant changes are emerging in multimedia creation and sharing. The low cost of cameras and the nearly television studio quality capability of personal computers has caused an explosion in the number and quality of content being created by amateurs. Not only is this content easier to develop, people are using the power of weblogs and phones to distribute their creations to others.

The network providers and many of the hardware providers are trying to build systems that make it difficult for users to share and manipulate multimedia content. Such regulation drastically stifles the users’ ability to produce, share and communicate. This is particularly surprising given that such activities are considered the primary “killer application” for networks.

It may seem unintuitive to argue that packaged commercial content can co-exist alongside consumer content while concurrently stimulating content creation and sharing. In order to understand how this can work, it is crucial to understand how the current system of copyright is broken and can be fixed.

First of all, copyright in the multimedia digital age is inherently broken. Historically, copyright works because it is difficult to copy or edit works and because only few people produce new works over a very long period of time. Today, technology allows us to find, sample, edit and share very quickly. The problem is that the current notion of copyright is not capable of addressing the complexity and the speed of what technology enables artists to create. Large copyright holders, notably Hollywood studios, have aggressively extended and strengthened their copyright protections to try to keep the ability to produce and distribute creative works in the realm of large corporations.

Hollywood asserts, “all rights reserved” on works that they own. Sampling music, having a TV show running in the background in a movie scene or quoting lyrics to a song in a book about the history of music all require payment to and a negotiation with the copyright holder. Even though the Internet makes available a wide palette of wonderful works based on content from all over the world, the current copyright practices forbid most of such creation.

However, most artists are happy to have their music sampled if they receive attribution. Most writers are happy to be quoted or have their books copied for non-commercial use. Most creators of content realize that all content builds on the past and the ability for people to build on what one has created is a natural and extremely important part of the creative process.

Creative Commons tries to give artists that choice. By providing a more flexible copyright than the standards “all rights reserved” copyright of commercial content providers, Creative Commons allows artists to set a variety of rights to their works. This includes the ability to reuse for commercial use, copy, sample, require attribution, etc. Such an approach allows artists to decide how their work can be used, while providing people with the materials necessary for increased creation and sharing.

Creative Commons also provides for a way to make the copyright of pieces of content machine-readable. This means that a search engine or other tool to manipulate content is able to read the copyright. As such, an artist can search for songs, images and text to use while having the information to provide the necessary attribution.

Creative Commons can co-exist with the stringent copyright regimes of the Hollywood studios while allowing professional and amateur artists to take more control of how much they want their works to be shared and integrated into the commons. Until copyright law itself is fundamentally changed, the Creative Commons will provide an essential tool to provide an alternative to the completely inflexible copyright of commercial content.

Content is not like some lump of gold to be horded and owned which diminishes in value each time it is shared. Content is a foundation upon which community and relationships are formed. Content is the foundation for culture. We must evolve beyond the current copyright regime that was developed in a world where the creation and transmission of content was unwieldy and expense, reserved to those privileged artists who were funded by commercial enterprises. This will provide the emerging wireless networks and mobile devices with the freedom necessary for them to become the community building tools of sharing that is their destiny.

keitai

Gen Kanai
Funny keitai photo

(the caption on the sticker can be loosely) translated as:
"Games should be played only in game arcades."

(Which is a riff on the fact that it is rude to talk on the mobile phone on the train here in Japan.)

The little Sega logo on the top right makes me think it's a Sega ad making fun of people who used to think games weren't for homes. Maybe they were copying the Pepsi/iTunes commercial and glorifying the criminals.

I wonder if the expected social norm of not talking on the phone in trains in Japan will change. If people learned that shouting into your phone doesn't really help and talked in a normal voice that might help. I don't see how that would be any different than two people talking to each other face to face from a noise pollution perspective. (I can see a bunch of other arguments here about why it's not the same thing as face to face, but I'm not going to go there.)

The fact that you have to have a sign forbidding it must mean that there is a gap between some people's behavior and hoped for behavior by a particular group of people with access to the authorities.

Anyway, I'm all for talking on the phone in trains.

I am hosting a gathering here in Tokyo starting tomorrow. It's a somewhat academic meeting to talk about social science issues and technological issues around mobility and microcontent. Participants include a small group of academics, technologists and business people. I'll let you know if we come up with anything interesting. Some of the other participants will probably be blogging as well.

This is the first time that I've ever worked together with my sister to organize something so that's been fun. It's also been great working with the team at the Insight & Foresight unit at Nokia who are supporting the event. BTW, "Kizuna" is a Japanese word that means a kind of mental linkage between people. "Friendship" and "family tie" are probably close counterparts in English.

loickiss
You silly French. I love this picture of Loic. ;-)

I'm looking forward to going to Cannes tomorrow.

Wet talked last night with Linda Stone about her idea of continuous partial attention. She says it is different from multi-tasking.

Linda Stone
From Inc.com

It's not the same as multitasking; that's about trying to accomplish several things at once. With continuous partial attention, we're scanning incoming alerts for the one best thing to seize upon: "How can I tune in in a way that helps me sync up with the most interesting, or important, opportunity?

This is really relevant to some of the thoughts I've been having about the UI of mobile devices and how they fade in and out of your attention rather than being on or off like computer screens. Yes, you do this a bit with computers, but not nearly as seamlessly as mobile phones are integrated in the real world by advanced users.

Also, the IRC back channel at conferences or the multi-modal distance learning projects where you have a video of the speaker, the power point presentation, the chat, the wiki and the back channel going at the same time. It CAN be very overwhelming, but I think it's because we are conditioned to think that we need to understand all of the information that is being transmitted.

I think an interesting metaphor might be the difference between loss-less and lossy compression technology. There is so much information being transmitted and it doesn't matter if you everything exactly (or if you are getting exactly the same bits as someone else). You can glean from the fire-hose in the mode that makes the most sense for you. The trick is to get a picture of what is going on from a perspective that makes sense for you in a format that compresses well for you. I think that if we stop trying to "catch it all" which we are conditioned to do, and think more in terms of lossy compression and surfing parallel streams and multi-modes, maybe it is easier.

Also, we discussed last night now human brains are adapting to these changes and how probably younger generations will continue to grow up differently and interfaces and modes will adapt again to this new generation. This has a lot to do with the discussion on ADD.

Good entry in Smartmobs with more links.

I've been talking a lot about the Full-Time Intimate Community lately. I comes from work that Misa Matsuda is doing at her lab and I heard about this from my sister who is doing a lot of work in this area. It's a study about the mobile phone email communications of people in Japan and how people seem to keep in close contact with four or five people using a constant stream of messages. The point is that the content of the messages aren't as important as the fact that the people in this "Full-Time Intimate Community" are aware of the current state (awake, in bus, at school, happy, sad) of each other. It's a Granovetter "strong tie" community. Granovetter talks about how more valuable content flowed over "weak ties" and talked about the "strength of weak ties", but in the FTIC, it's not the "content" but rather the intimacy that is being transmitted. (Help me out here academics. I'm getting in a bit over my head. ;-p ) It's very much part of my "context vs content" rant about how presence and context is, in ways, more interesting than content and that content is just the carrier signal or substrate upon which community is built.

The fact that Glenn picked up "Full-Time Intimacy" as his title for the blog entry about the NPR SXSW audio postcard by Mary Bridges and Benjamen Walker makes me think that this word/meme has legs. ;-)

This should be a cool event. I'll be participating remotely in some way, but if you can make it, you should. I'm on the program committee.

Subject: Int'l Workshop on Inverse Surveillance: Camphones, 'glogs, and eyetaps

Call for Participation:
International Workshop on Inverse Surveillance:
Cameraphones, Cyborglogs, and Computational seeing aids;
exploring and defining a research agenda

Date: 2004 April 12th.
Time: 12:00noon to 4pm, EST (a working lunch will be served)
Location: Colony Hotel (1-866-824-9330), 89 Chestnut Street, Toronto

TOPICS:

* Camera phones and pocket organizers with sensors;
* Weblogs ('blogs), Moblogs, Cyborglogs ('glogs);
* Wearable camera phones and personal imaging systems;
* Electric eyeglasses and other computational seeing and memory aids;
* Recording experiences in which you are a participant;
* Portable personal imaging and multimedia;
* Wearable technologies and systems;
* Ethical, legal, and policy issues;
* Privacy and related technosocial issues;
* Democracy and emergent democracy (protesters organizing with SMS camphones);
* Safety and security;
* Technologies of lifelong video capture;
* Personal safety devices and wearable "black box" recorders;
* Research issues in "people looking at people";
* Person-to-person sharing of personal experiences;
* End of gender-specific space (e.g. blind man guided by wife: which restroom?);
* Subjectright: ownership of photograph by subject rather than photographer;
* Reverse copyright: protect information recipient, not just the transmitient;
* Interoperability and open standards;
* Algebraic Projective Geometry from a first-person perspective;
* Object Detection and Recognition from a first-person perspective;
* Computer Vision, egonomotion and way-finding technologies;
* Lifelong Image Capture: data organization; new cinematographic genres;
* New Devices and Technologies for ultra miniature portable cameras;
* Social Issues: fashion, design, acceptability and human factors;
* Electronic News-gathering and Journalism;
* Psychogeography, location-based wearable computing;
* Augmented/Mediated/Diminished Reality;
* Empowering children with inverse surveillance: Constructionist learning, creation of own family album, and prevention of both bullying by peers and abuse by teachers or other officials.

TO PARTICIPATE:
IWIS 2004 will be a small intimate discussion group, limited to 25 participants.

Email your name, the name of your organization, and what you might add to the meeting, as part of a one page extended abstract, outlining your position on, and proposed contribution to the theme of inverse surveillance. Submissions should be sent by email to hilab at eyetap.org. Alternatively, authors may email up to four pages, in IEEE two column camera-ready format that address the theme of inverse surveillance. Prospective participants wishing to submit a full paper may also contact the workshop facilitators prior to submission.

All participants (accepted papers or extended abstracts) will have the opportunity to contribute to the published proceedings.

There is no workshop registration fee. There is no submission deadline; reviews will continue until there are sufficient numbers of high quality theme-relevant contributors.
PROGRAM COMMITTEE:

* Dr. Jim Gemmell, MyLifeBits (lifetime data storage) project with Gordon Bell; author of various publications on lifelong personal experience capture.
* Joi Ito, Japan's leading thinker on technology; ranked among the "50 Stars" by Business Week; commended by Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications; chosen by World Economic Forum as one of the 100 "Global Leaders of Tomorrow"; Board member of Creative Commons; http://joi.ito.com/moblog2/
* Anastasios Venetsanopoulos, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto; author on hundreds of publications on image processing.
* John M. Kennedy, Chair, Department of Life Sciences, UTSC; author of Drawing and the Blind: Pictures to Touch.
* Dr. Stefanos Pantagis, Physician, Hackensack University Medical Center; Geriatrician, doing research on wearable computers to assist the blind, and clinical work on brainwave EyeTap interfaces for Parkison's patients.
* Steve Mann, author of CYBORG: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer; 30 years experience inventing, designing, building, and wearing devices and systems for personal imaging.
* Douglas Schuler, former chair, Computing Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR); founding member SCN.
* Stephanie Perrin, Former Chief Privacy Officer of Zero-Knowledge Systems; Former Director of Privacy Policy for Industry Canada's Electronic Commerce Task Force; responsible for developing domestic privacy policies, new technologies, legislation, standards and public education; recipient of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award.
* Dr. Jason Nolan, Senior Fellow, Mcluhan Program in Culture and Technology
* Dr. Nina Levent, art historian, Whitney Museum; works with visually impaired; collaboration on using EyeTaps and wearcamphones in museum education.
* Elizabeth Axel, founder, Art Education for the Blind, Inc. (AEB); collaboration on using EyeTaps and wearcamphones in museum education.

ORGANIZERS: S. Mann; S. Martin (smartin@ecf.utoronto.ca); and J. Nolan.
IWIS 2004 arises from planning over, the past 2 years, at Deconference 2002/2003.

ADMINISTRATION: PDC, 416-978-3481 or toll free 1-888-233-8638

One more panel...

Wireless and Grassroots Innovation

Tuesday, March 16
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
16A

WiFi is a grassroots phenomenon where innovation is driven by the DIY gestalt that is so much a part of Internet and Open Source development. What are the latest grassroots developments and how do they relate to the future of wireless?

Cory Doctorow , Outreach Coord - Electronic Frontier Foundation
Dan Gillmor , Columnist - San Jose Mercury News
Brad King , Author
David Weinberger - Small Pieces Loosely Joined
Joichi Ito , CEO - Neoteny
John Quarterman , CEO

I haven't seen John Quarterman since there were only a few hundred nodes or so on his map of the Internet. ;-) Look forward to seeing you John.

I'm on two panels today. I am moderating this panel:

Mobile Gaming and Entertainment
Monday, March 15
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
16A

Mobile applications that succeed as commercial products require careful planning and evolution to work with cellular networks and operating systems. What are the steps leading to successful commercialization?

Joichi Ito , CEO - Neoteny
Art Min - Metrowerks
Mario Champion , Chief Creative Officer - team smartypants inc

Dave couldn't make it to SXSW so I'm taking Dave's place on this panel:
Ridiculously Easy Group Forming
Monday, March 15
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
17B

Ridiculously easy group forming is what happens when "everyone is empowered to create open channels where any blogger can contribute content," according to internet hippie Gary Murphy. This panel offers perspectives on group forming and information sharing via the latest social software tools.

Adam Weinroth , Pres - Easyjournal
Tantek Çelik , Diplomat - Microsoft
David Sifry , CEO - Technorati Inc
Pete Kaminski - Socialtext
Sam Ruby

Hope to see you there.

New York Times on the Finnish character and comment about similarity to Japanese. So why do these are these two cultures full of repressed emotion, alcoholism and suicide also (sort of) lead the world in mobile phones? What's the connection? Hmm...

via Gen Kanai

BUZZBEE
Buzz2Talk is a Symbian application that lets you push-to-talk and use SIP to talk over gprs. What this means is that you can use the data channel on your phone to do voice over IP instead of making voice calls. This means that if gprs becomes flat rate (IF) then you will be able to call your friends without using the carrier telephone circuits. This looks like yet another extremely useful application for mobile phones that really throws the whole billing structure of mobile phone operators through a wringer. Does voice become free? Should they charge more for different kinds of traffic on gprs? Won't people build work-arounds?

Symbian is great because it is an open platform and allows software developers to develop obvious things that carriers won't build because of their "optimized" billing structures.

When I was traveling in Europe this trip, I heard the default ringtone of the Nokia 6600 everywhere I went and it was confusing because I always thought it was my phone. I mentioned this to someone and they said, "that's the sound of market share." ;-)

PS Does anyone know where / how to get a mp3 of the Nokia 6600 default ring tone?

Newsweek
"What a convenient world we live in - for the management, that is." A union member at a South Korean credit-card company that sacked 161 employees via mobile-phone text messages.

As the thought of paying $3500 for a month of gprs sinks in and I think about the speech I'm going to give at MILIA to the carriers and content providers in the audience, I'm thinking more and more about how I think it might be a bad idea for the carriers to get into the content business.

I think that as broadband becomes a standard part of households, more and more people will fill up their iPods and mobile devices with all the content they need from their flat-fee low-cost pipe. Most content isn't THAT time sensitive. I don't see any reason to have to download content on-the-go over expensive gprs when devices can talk wifi or bluetooth and have enough storage to allow you to carry content around.

The main value that always-on provides is presence information, short messages and time sensitive stuff like news. I don't really see the need to have broadband to do that. I think the carriers should focus their energies on stuff like identity, payment systems, IM and presence and leave the content business up to people who know how to move large volumes of bits around at low cost. The problem with most telephone companies is that they have spent their whole lives worrying about quality of service, but moving large volumes of data around is not about quality of service. You can afford to drop a few bits if they're not time sensitive and it's a completely different game than the circuit business.

I realize that 3G networks are supposed to provide us with a cheaper way to provide mobile broadband, but I just can't imagine the cost of all of the roaming deals, the metering systems and the BigCo overhead ever being able to compete with the simplicity of the Internet and wifi. I am not convinced that there is a market for broadband mobile content.

This may seem obvious to Internet folks, but I think the mobile operators are seriously considering broadband content over mobile phone networks as "the next big thing".

Newsweek
"We will not take part in the funeral for freedom."

A cell-phone text message circulated in Iran to protest against a clampdown on reformists in last weeks of parliamentary elections.

I spent last month so excited by my Nokia 6600. Land in a random city, flip open my PowerBook, click, "connect" and I was immediately online via bluetooth, gprs and my T-Mobile roaming. Internet everywhere. It was sooo cool... until I got my bill. $3500 for one month of mobile abandon. At $3500 / month, I would say that it works, "technically" but is totally unacceptable socially and economically. It's like having a PowerBook stolen from the carriers and being beaten over the head with the stupid stick. It reminds me of the "good old days" of x.25. What's the point of broadband wireless unless people can afford it. This trip I'm hunting down the free wifi and only using grps when absolutely necessary.

NOTE TO CARRIERS: Make gprs cheap, flat fee and with free roaming or else... or else... you suck and I'm going to take my marbles and go play on 802.11.

UPDATE: I just got a Sonera account so I don't have to roam in Finland. It's about $20 for up to 100MB.

I just saw python running on the Nokia 6600. Soo cool. I can't wait to get my hands on it. You may have heard, but python is coming first, not perl. My next python script will be a bot from my phone.

fotoblog_alpha
Christian is "Mr. UI" of Nokia. He gave me this cool application yesterday.

Christian Lindholm
Pertti Korhonen, Nokia’s new CTO introduced PhotoBlog for Series 60 in his keynote at ETech in San Diego. This application proof-of-concept is supporting the Atom API enabling users to post to leading blog platforms. The application was developed by Futurice, who is developing a Photblog platform.
This lets you post photos to your TypePad (or any other Atom API compliant) photo album directly from the phone without going through email.

I'll be in Austin, Texas in March (13-16) for a conference called Wireless Future, actually a "mini-conference" that's part of South by Southwest Interactive. I think I'm on two panels. According to Jon Lebkowsky, who's one of the organizers, the conference focuses on developers, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers who're interested in wireless technology and mobility. The program includes major presentations by Howard Rheingold (the keynote, called "Mobile Communication, Pervasive Computing, and Collective Action") and Kevin Werbach (the opening presentation, called "The Open Spectrum Revolution"). Other presenters include Cory Doctorow, Dewayne Henricks, David Weinberger, David Isenberg, Dave Hughes, and Justin Hall. We're also throwing a big EFF/Creative Commons party on March 15.

I need to figure out how to blog about upcoming conferences in an organized way. I wonder if I should have a rotating banner in the sidebar. Do you think that putting them in on my travel page is enough?

I'll be giving a plenary keynote at MILIA in Cannes, France on Thursday, April 1 at 9:30 AM. The title of the talk will be "Mobile Lifestyles" but, I'll build on the presentation at I gave at the Sony Open Forum and add some stuff about mobility. I'll be in Canne from March 31-April 3. If you're going to MILIA this year, let me know.

Wiki page of talking notes. Please make suggestions here.

I will be moderating a panel at ETech at 2:45pm on Feb 10 called "Untethering the Social Network or What Happens to Social Networks in the Untethered Wilds?" The panelists are danah, Scott, Mimi and Howard.

It should be one of the less geeky panels at this geek-a-thon.

And yes... Mimi is my sister and Scott is my brother-in-law. This is what happens when you talk about work at home too much. This is the first time my sister and I will be on a panel together.

Untethering the Social Network or What Happens to Social Networks in the Untethered Wilds?

Joichi Ito, Neoteny
danah boyd, U.C. Berkeley
Scott Fisher, Division of Interactive media, USC School of Cinema-Television
Mizuko Ito
Howard Rheingold

Track: Untethered
Date: Tuesday, February 10
Time: 2:45pm - 3:30pm
Location: California Ballroom C

Users, not vendors, create communications revolutions, and the untethering of social networks from desktops promises a user-generated revolution over the coming decade as profound as the Internet revolution of the 1990s and PC revolution of the 1980s. This panel addresses how the coordinated actions of diverse connected users challenge fixed visions of technology deployment, particularly as social software migrates from the desktop into the mobile settings navigated by handhelds. We will discuss how undisciplined behaviors and places push back on models of social software and how this can and should affect technological development. We will consider the role of social networks in the development of and participation in mobile technology. Case studies used in this conversation include pervasive gaming, media mixes, mobile texting, and mobile blogging. This panel presents a good opportunity to discuss the role of social research in technology development.

I'm in a car on my way from Zurich to Davos happily blogging on my T-Mobile gprs connection that is roaming over Sunrize in Switzerland. When I landed, I had trouble connecting to Swisscom, but "611" and two rings later, I was connected to a friendly T-Mobile support person speaking in English and she gave me other roaming partners to try. Sunrize connected without a hitch. In Hawaii, Frankfurt, Helsinki and a little hiccup, but one call later in Switzerland, T-Mobile has consistently kept me connected. Also, the support people have been EXCELLENT and I haven't had to wait more than a few minutes on the phone.

I'm a happy camper and I'm SOO glad I didn't pick ATT.

Perl on Nokia phones? Sounds cool to me!

via skimpizu

I remember when everyone shouted into their cell phones and thought that their batteries drained faster when they made long distance phones. I remember when people (who now have cell phones) swore to me that they'd never have a cell phone. I remember when cell phones looked more like military radios. I think it's fine to gripe about technology, but I would warn those people who swear they'll never use a technology. Technology evolves and so do social norms.

We've been having a dialog recently about the relationship between social norms and technology. I think this is part of the same dialog. New technologies disrupt our habits and our norms and what we feel comfortable with. I am an early adopter type who uses every technology possible and I try to wrap my life around it all. Some people try the technology and point out the tensions. Some people ignore the technology. Technology evolves along with the social norms. When it works well, we end up with a technology that contributes to society in some way and becomes a seamless part of our social norms. When it doesn't work well it either damages society or does not integrate and is discarded.

Being the techno-utopian optimist that I am, I think that writing off Skype and IM as annoying is a big mistake. They are what military radios were to the cell phones of today. I think it's important to take what David Weinberger and danah have to say about the tensions they create and thinking about how to make presence more granular, how to make it easier to manage the emission of your presence information and control access to you. What DOES free VoIP really mean? Can it be a background thing that allows us to continue to focus on our work instead of being an interruption? I am very excited by IM and VoIP and think that the tensions and the annoyances they are creating is a good a reason as any to dive into the privacy, identity, presence and interop issues that we've been talking about for so long. The more annoying it becomes, the more people will care about these issues.

I'm giving a speech about the future of the Internet tomorrow afternoon from 2:30pm-3:30pm JST. The speech will be at the Rakuten New Year party. (Rakuten acquired Infoseek Japan and I am now on the Portal Group advisory committee.) I'll try to stream it, but it will be in Japanese. My slides are in English and I've put my outline on my wiki. Please feel free to add comments or links to examples on the wiki. The outline just lists the topics I will cover, but not what I'm going to say. ;-)

I'll be giving live demos of #joiito and IM so if you're around, I might ping you.

I'll be using keynote exported to QT inside of Safari with my examples loaded in tabs.

The latest version of the Keynote QT is here.

GRIPE : Keynote doesn't let you put hyperlinks in presentations. They should either figure out some way to embed Safari inside of a Keynote presentation or allow hyperlinks. Apple Computer presentations use two machines, one for browsing and one for Keynote. Doh. Not very user-friendly.

I will be streaming this if I have enough bandwidth. Copy and paste this URL into QuickTime rtsp://stream.joi.ito.com/joitv.sdp. (Warning. Japanese.)

UPDATE: Sorry folks. Didn't have a Net connection so couldn't connect to IRC or get Hecklebot working.

right
Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, Masuda, CEO of CCC/Tsutaya and me. Photo by Ms. Noumura.

In order to 1) mess around with TypePad more, 2) allow me to indulge my gadget obsession with complete abandonment and 3) experiment with multiple blogs, I've decided to start a blog about Joi Ito's Stuff. It is "a blog about stuff that I have, why I have it, what I'm doing with it and how I feel about it." I have no idea if this is a good idea or not, but starting blogs on New Year's Day seems like a good idea to me.

So here's someone who has "social norm tensions" around gadgets and cell phones.

John C. Dvorak
Cell Phone Hegemony - PC Magazine

Let me walk you through my tale of woe. First, picture this gathering: New York Times reporter John Markoff, San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Gilmore (sic), Andrew Orlowsi from The Register, author Gregg Pascal Zachary, blogger/investor Joi Ito, lyricist/pundit John Perry Barlow, and me. Everyone there had some relationship to the computer scene, and we were about to have dinner at a pseudo-swanky San Francisco eatery. Each reveler was political, opinionated, and outspoken. What transpired made my flesh crawl. Everyone, with the exception of me, like beings possessed, pulled out one, two, or maybe three cell phones, and while collectively drooling, began the macho 21st century showdown game of "who has the coolest cell phone?" It was horrible. I left, nauseated and shaken after witnessing this cult-like phone-features feeding frenzy. When I was a kid, we talked about football.

Since this dinner was officially "off the record" I didn't blog much about it, but you can imagine it how it could have been a rather awkward dinner. It was part of my "round up the journalists" dinner that we occasionally organize. It's amazing how gadget talk seems to bond most geeks (except for Dvorak) regardless of what they think of blogs or techno-utopias. We kicked off the evening with cell phone talk and had a great time.
John C. Dvorak
I've complained previously about idiots on cell phones in public, but I've given up.
[...]
Cell phones now rule the world's collective unconscious in untold ways. What astonishes me about all this is the sociology that has crept up on us. Why do we have this incessant need to chat on cell phones all day long all of a sudden?
I do agree that different countries seem to have different manners, the Finns seem to have some of the best manners. Maybe it's because American learn to talk on their cell phones when they are in cars... but you're right. Many Americans tend to shout into their phones.

But Dvorak... Why are you freaking out about cell phones man? Why don't you freak out instead about why American's can't seem to figure out how to use them or make them. ;-p

A few days ago, I quoted Wendy Seltzer in a entry about building norms together with the technologies.

I wondered at first if privacy tensions would ease as more people became more technically sophisticated, but I'm inclined to think that gaps in understanding will just move with the tech, and social norms will follow still further behind.
danah responds with an interesting point.
I think it is quite dangerous to believe that social norms are "falling behind." Social norms aren't behind; they're baffled at the direction in which things are going. They're pushing for a different direction and they aren't being heard. People are using technology to meet their needs, but they are not prepared for how the architecture is pulling them in a different direction.

Arguing that social norms can fall behind suggests that there is a hierarchy to the four points of regulation. Those points are valuable in discussion because they provide tensions. Social norms pull in different directions than the market, the law or the technology. This does not mean that it is behind. Quite often, social norms leapfrog everyone else. For example, social norms pushed Napster into creating an architecture that challenged the market and the law. It wasn't that the market was behind, but that it was pulling in a different direction and with a new tension, things need to be worked out.

Thus, rather than thinking about how social norms are behind, i truly believe that we should be understanding why social norms are pulling in a different direction. What does this say about the population being served by the technology?

This is a good point. A agree with danah that it is probably not a hierarchy. Sometimes there is a tension and sometimes norms drive technology.

I am reminded of the days when pagers were really popular among the youth in Japan. Back in the day, the pagers only sent numerical codes so kids came up with special codes to mean a variety of things such as "I love you" or "see you at 6pm". There were eventually code books published with a variety of numerical codes for phrases. You would see kids touch typing with two fingers encoded messages on public phone REALLY FAST. This was a technology being pushed beyond the limits of the designers by a need in society and a whole social norm built around a pretty skimpy architecture. These pagers eventually became alpha-numeric and when text messaging became available on cell phones, kids switched to cell phones. It is this pager culture from which the text messaging culture emerged and it was this youth culture that the carriers were tracking and designing their products for.

I'll be at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference February 9-12 in San Diego. It looks like I'll be doing a session with Ethan Zuckerman on the Emergent Democracy Forum day February 9th and a session with danah, Mimi, Howard, Scott and others on the 10th about mobility, identity and culture. Hope to see you there.

The panel members are not "final-final" so they are not on the web yet. I'll post the description of the sessions and the final-final members here when we get everything confirmed.

Barlow and I did an audio IChat AV session yesterday. Barlow has some interesting thoughts about this on his blog. When I was in Helsinki, Matt Jones also talked about how he kept Skype on all the time in the background with his partner who was in another country and felt her presence through the ambient sounds. Another person told me about how he listened to his daughter's piano practice on Skype.

My sister calls it "ambient virtual co-presence" in her paper (pdf) about Japanese mobile culture. She talks about this in the context of texting and talking on the mobile phone. She discusses how the value was not always in the content being exchanged, but in the fact that people felt connected when they were constantly exchanging traffic. The "connection" can be IM, voice, text messages or just about anything that allows you to feel someone's presence.

Over a decade ago, Barlow blew my mind with his essay, "Selling Wine Without Bottles: The Economy of Mind on the Global Net" I think the next one is, "It's not the wine, it's the company" or something.

As Barlow points out, when all this stuff becomes literally free, we can do it "always on" instead of being so m-time "hello/goodbye" about phone calls. I do think audio will become a part of presence. My sister focuses on how mobile computing is a seamless part of our real world instead of the traditional "real life/cyberspace" notion of something we are either in our not. I think combining these two things is an area that will really change the way we live our lives for better or for worse.

Reading Jill's comments over on misbehaving reminded me of a game that some people play in Japan. (I learned it from Eno-san.) It originated with business cards, but has moved to mobile phones. There are three people: two players and a judge. The two players pick someone from their address books and reveal them to each other simultaneously. The judge decides which one is more famous or important. The loser has to shred the business card or in the case of mobile phones, delete that entry from the address book. It's quite funny because you try to play important people to beat the other person, but if you lose, you lose a valuable phone number. The judge's perspective of what sort of person is important also comes into play in an interesting way.

It's no fun when you have backups of your phone numbers, but in Japan, where most people don't backup their mobile phone numbers, it's often for keeps.

Don't try this at home.


I know this is comparing apples and oranges, but that's what I've got: apples and oranges.

The Nokia 6600 has a 65,536 color 176 x 208 pixel display and a 640 x 480 pixel camera whereas the Sony SO505iS has a 262,144 color 240 x 320 display and a 1280 × 960 pixel camera. Both displays are bright, but the Sony display and camera win.

They're about the same size and weight, but the 6600 feels much more comfortable in my hand. Warm, round and buttons in the right place. The SO505iS is cold and a bit awkward (as if a digital camera and a phone got merged in the machine in "The Fly"). Having said that, the SO505iS is much better than the SO505i that it replaces. It's thinner and generally better designed. (The antenna doesn't stick out of your chin, the camera turns on when you open the camera cover, etc.)

The SO505iS runs J2ME and Flash applications whereas the 6600 runs J2ME and Symbian applications. The UI on the 6600 is utilitarian and simple whereas the Sony sports an animated background and a OS X sort of zooming icon wheel. The Sony has a two speaker stereo system and a stereo mini-plug for headphones where you can listen to music and watch videos from the proprietary memory stick in their proprietary media format. (You can record your favorite TV shows onto your memory stick and watch them on the train.)

The biggest difference is that you have to be a rocket scientist to figure out all of the message and data modes on the 6600. The blessing and the horror of the open system is that 6600 has to deal with all of the carrier inconsistencies and trying to figure out how to get online with the 6600 reminded me of just how screwed up the telco standardization process is. The SO505iS, on the other hand comes from the dictatorship of Docomo so what it lacks in flexibility and openness, it benefits in simplicity. Shoot a photo, click and send. Moblog away. I have yet to be able to send a picture via email from my 6600.

Both phones have lots of applications, but the Symbian applications are impressively Internet aware. There is an IRC client and IM client. Docomo, with it's rather closed architecture regarding networking has some cool applications, but they are really focused on providing content and services.

I would probably have a different opinion if I still used my Vaio, but the SO505iS really doesn't want to have anything to do with my Mac. The 6600 on the other hand, loves my Mac, talking to it in Bluetooth and even happily becoming a gprs modem for it. Zooming in a cab in San Francisco with my 6600 in my pocket and my PowerBook on my lap online was a great feeling. (Thanks for showing me how to do this Rael!)

Having said that, this is a totally useless review because you can't use the 6600 in Japan because we don't have a GSM network and you can't use the SO505iS anywhere outside of Japan because it uses Docomo's proprietary PDC network, or rather Docomo uses the SO505iS. Thus apples and oranges.

Emily - Smartmobs
«Intexicated»: Texting under the influence

The Sunday Mail reports that the problem of texting under the influence has become so common, it has been given a name; «intexicated».

According to research by Virgin Mobile, out of the 60 million texts sent daily in December, 15 million of them are sent by people who have had one too many.

Virgin said that two thirds of women who text while drunk send messages to former lovers and some text the wrong person.

A public relations officer in London sent a sexually explicit message to dad instead of boyfriend Dan after hitting the wrong button.

Lucky for me I don't drink anymore. I can see how intexicating could seem fun at the time, but could be trouble.

danah points out the gender bias in the article.

I'm trying to order a Treo 600 for my next trip to the US. There is a problem processing my web order. I get an email that has a phone number in the US and says, "PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL AS IT WAS AUTO-GENERATED". I'm still on hold and have been on hold for about over an hour. Soon my phone bill will be more than the cost of the phone.

What's going on when ATT has 1 hr phone queues and doesn't take support question via email. Blah. I'm going to have to get ready to go to a meeting and will lose my place in line.

"Your call IS important to us. We value your business and appreciate your patience."

Well, if you value my business, get more support staff and let me reply to your email! Ugh.

I don't have time for this. I'm hanging up. Bye bye ATT Wireless.

Rael Dornfest just launched MobileWhack.

MobileWhack is all about that mobile handset, palmtop, hiptop, ipod, or laptop in your pocket, purse, briefcase, or dangling from your utility belt. It's about squeezing every last ounce of mobility out of your mobile device.
Looks cool!


OK I've got gadget envy. Dan blogs about his RSS feed on his Treo 600 and says he wants a client that lets him blog easily from it too. Anyone know of anything good? Ado, want to port Kung-Log to PalmOS?

Sony and Docomo have announced that they are working together to put contactless IC chips in phones. Sony's FeliCa (type C contactless IC chip) is slowly becoming a defacto standard in Japan. (The government is backing a different standard, type B.) Currently the Japan Railways, AM/PM and others are using it for payments. Many companies use it for company ID's. The problem is that you can't see how much is left in your card and it's a pain to "charge" the card with more money. Putting it on a phone lets you download money from your bank and see how much is left. I worry about the privacy and security issues, but connecting an RF payment system with a phone totally makes sense.

I have a theory that Docomo has to become an identity/payment company and dump the voice and other bit-pushing businesses and go flat rate or free on the network. Docomo should buy a credit card company and use the bit-pushing business as a stick when collecting money. There are some regulations regarding payment businesses that make it difficult, but I'm sure the government would waive this if there was enough of a social need. Right now, the transaction business that credit card companies do doesn't make money. This has driven credit card companies to become loan companies that lobby the government to allow them to charge crazy interest rates. These interest rates cause people to end up in debt hell and commit suicide. If Docomo replaced credit cards as the primary non-cash transaction, credit system and could use network service termination to lower the collection costs, I bet they could make enough money on the transaction business to cover the bit-pushing.

Docomo is Japan's biggest mobile carrier that does about $8B / yr in data revenues.

Another great line from "the effects of mobile telephones on social and individual life" by Dr. Sadie Plant.

Dr. Sadie Plant
several people confessed to using two mobile handsets, one for general use and the other for affairs; one respondent in London referred to the latter as a shagbile.

My sister just sent me a link to "the effects of mobile telephones on social and individual life" by Dr. Sadie Plant, a report for Motorola.

Just reading it now... There is a section on the body language of people on mobile phones. Do you adopt the speakeasy pose or the spacemaker pose? Do you have the firm grip or the light touch? Do you have the scan or the gaze. ;-) I wonder what you can tell about the person by how they interact with their mobile phones...

I'm a spacemaker-scanner with the light touch usually... but I think it changes based on my environment.

Dr. Sadie Plant
Public makers and takers of calls tend to assume one of two bodily postures, both of which extend and reflect the broader observations about introverted and extroverted use. Those who adopt the speakeasy pose keep their heads thrown back and their necks upright, giving out an air of self-assurance and single-minded refusal to be distracted by the outside world. This is an open and expansive position, confident and unapologetic.

The spacemaker is rather more introverted and closed, a gesture of withdrawal, particularly in the context of a busy city street. It provides ways of carving out a private arena, establishing a closed circuit from which all external interference is deliberately and visibly excluded. The head is bowed and inclined towards the phone, and the whole body may be slightly leaning, as though into the phone or towards the disembodied voice. The spacemaker may walk around in circles, stopping and starting in a bodily response to the conversation on the mobile. Many mobile users in this spacemaking mode seek out and improvise such places of comfort and relaxation from which to take or make their calls. It was observed in the course of this research that many people sitting down in public spaces – at cafe tables, for example, or on park benches – tend to draw their bodies up, take their feet off the ground, or otherwise create a feeling of safety and withdrawal. Alternatively, the body may be turned away from the world, perhaps towards a corner, or a wall, or even – as observed on several occasions in Hong Kong, an unused telephone kiosk – as though to protect the conversation. To this end, the spacemaker often involves the use of two hands: one to hold the mobile to the ear, and the other to block out any real or imagined external noise. In Japan, people often use one hand to shield their mobile and their mouth from public view.

Those who adopt such positions are also more likely to hold their mobile phones in the firm grip, with one hand clasping the mobile to the ear, as though it were about to fly away. By way of contrast, other mobile users adopt the light touch, in which the mobile is held with the fingers rather than the hand, in the deft or dainty pose reminiscent of the various ways of holding a cigarette.

Those who use their mobiles with this light touch often have their index finger aligned with the aerial at the top of the phone. There are also variations in the ways in which people’s eyes respond to a mobile call. Some mobile users adopt the scan, in which the eyes tend to be lively, darting around, perhaps making fleeting contact with people in the vicinity, as though they were searching for the absent face of the person to whom the call is made. With the gaze, the eyes tend to focus on a single point, or else to gaze into the distance, as though in an effort to conjure the presence of the disembodied voice.

I'm watching the Nokia Capital Markets broadcast right now. It's a 30 minute break and they are playing what might be classified as "light-metal rock"... very cool/weird. Definitely edgy.

I had an iChat with my sister Mimi last night. (Luna and Eamon are my niece and and nephew 3 and 5)

iChat with Mimi
Mimi: It's so funny... watching Luna and Eamon. they are sure that they are going to get married. They were both so crushed when we broke it to them that it is not the way it works, though now Luna's latest is that she is going to marry her best friend haley

Joi: hehe

Mimi: kids are so great because they don't buy the societal expectations yet

;-) I thought this was great. I've been thinking a lot about identity after danah boyd helped connect my notions of identity on the level of privacy and security and identity on the level of my personal identity as a Japanese/American chanponite. I promise to post my notes from this weekend which will put a sharper point on this from a Japanese identity perspective, but what is amazing as you start to deconstruct the notions of identity is how contextual, cultural and artificial it is. I think that approaching the issue of identity from a technical perspective or a "productivity tool" perspective is the wrong approach and that we have to listen to the sociologist and anthropologists in this space A LOT MORE before we get too far down the road.

Lucky for me I've got a sister in this space too. ;-)

FCCster is "A P2P tool for sharing FrequenCy Control fallacies."

FCCster Operational Goals
Operational Goals
-- Using completely public tools, promote interoperability within the additional data channels to be found in the most accessible Wi-Fi pirate bands
-- Convince the telecom finance industry that businesses dependent on new spectrum auctions and allocations can never again generate positive investment returns
-- FCCster will not promote or condone illegal radio use but believes that its short-term inevitability creates an inescapable social responsibility to promote realism, education, and reform
They are trying to coordinate the development of pirate radio equipment to be interoperable. I'm not sure if this is necessarily the right approach to put pressure on the FCC and whether this is a "good thing." It is however pretty interesting and is probably as inevitable as music file sharing...

Work Anywhere!

Your life on the road just got a lot easier. With the first and only WiFi detector on the market today, you no longer need to cross your fingers as you wait for your notebook to boot up. Just press a button and the Kensington WiFi Finder lets you know if your location is "hot"...instantly. No software or computer needed. What could be easier

I MUST get one of these.

via Bopuc on IRC

sputnik.jpgI got my Sputnik. It rocks. It rocks in many ways. It rocks because it uses Jabber to talk to the Central Server (The Central Server is a machine on your network that manages the access points. If you don't want to set up your own Central Server, you can use the community server. You log into the Central Server to access the AP you're using. Similar to the web page that pops up when you first log into WiFi networks in Hotel, except this one is yours.). It rocks because the Central Server controls and manages access and security for all of the access points across the network (even WAN). It rocks because Sifry is giving me real time tech support via... Jabber. (It's amazing that Sifry could build Sputnik AND Technorati at the same time. He was giving me tech support for both at the same time...) It rocks because it's secure. It rocks because it lets me do port forwarding, firewalls and peering for only $185. Anyway, I'm supposed to get my second AP and my own Central Server soon. If it all works out, I'm going to buy a bunch of AP's and try setting up my own little network of Sputnik nodes.

Disclaimer: This is a totally un-scientific review of a product by a friend ;-). I have only tried a few AP's and don't have much empirical evidence to support my notion that Sputniks "rock". I've used MELCO, Linksys and Apple AirPorts. I do think the central server and the Jabber thing are quite unique and seem to be good ideas. We'll see how I feel after I finish building out a network of Spuniks.

mimi2.jpgSo this is my sister. My younger sister. (Many people think she's older, because she's smarter than me.) She chose an academic career where I dropped out of college twice and because an entrepreneur. Our paths went in wildly different directions, but has recently begun to converge as I have begun to dabble in amature academism and her research focuses on the technology and the social issues surrounding the stuff I'm interested in.

Recently she wrote the following article for Japan Media Review. Last night I heard that she had come to give a talk at Stanford about this as well. (She never tells me these things...)

Mizuko Ito
A New Set of Social Rules for a Newly Wireless Society
Mobile media are bringing sweeping changes to how we coordinate, communicate, and share information.

[...]
Just as Weblogs are distributing journalistic authority on the Internet, mobile media further de-centers information exchange by channeling it through networks that are persistently available to the mobile many.
She quotes Howard and Justin. She talks about the mobile phone culture from the perspective of an anthropologist who has been studying the cultural aspects of mobile media for a long time. Lots of cool observations.

I recently talked to one of the vendors involved in i-mode and they told me that Japanese girls have around $300 dollars of disposable income a month. $100 goes to food, $100 goes to clothes and $100 goes to their cell phone. The target average revenue per user (ARPU) for i-mode is around 7000 yen ($50). It's amazing...

Kevin Werbach did a kickass talk. Interesting, packed with info, passionate. But the rest of these guys are part of a fraternity, they talk about things that mean nothing to me. I'm a stranger here. I don't get it. Kevin came from this place to software. This is where he shines.
I feel this too. As Dave mentioned, Kevin is someone who left the FCC and came to the software world.

Someone from the FCC just said that they were part of the physical layer. Maybe it's this physical layer attitude, maybe it's the proximity with the government... There's something about the smile on Kevin's face and the sparkle in the eyes of the software guys clashing with the bit more serious looking and complicated arguments from the FCC guys which makes this feel more like a struggle between a community of software people vs. a community of physical layer folks.

So here I am at a conference with some of the best minds in the world in wireless. We are discussing whether spectrum should be made available to "the commons" or distributed in a property owership sort of method. I'm not an expert, but the arguments for the commons seem to make the most sense. It seems that the main barrier is that the FCC has to protect "the dinosaurs." So, many people from the FCC are here. They should "get it" after this discussion. If the FCC embraces the thoughts being discussed here and opens up the spectrum to the commons, US vendors working in the US market could have a HUGE advantage over vendors in countries where local regulators either don't "get it" or are more hand-tied by the dinosaurs. I guess the question is how much the FCC needs to protect the dinosaurs.

BTW, Cory on Boing Boing is doing such a great job on notes, that I'm just going to post opinions. ;-)

I'm at the Stanford Law School conference on Spectrum. I just set up a Topic Exchange channel for the conference.

P504iS01289.jpgSo yesterday's discussion with Hiroo Yamagata and Lawrence Lessig went well. It was a lot of fun and I think a constructive discussion. Hiroo was in good form. But he usually is... in person. ;-) He had written something negative about Mr. Ikeda in the afterward of translation of "The Future of Ideas" and had gotten in a dispute with Mr. Ikeda. He had just finished the battle and I guess they have both gotten over it now. Maybe Hiroo was just tired from that. I do generally agree with Hiroo's position, although maybe not the way he said it. I think Mr. Ikeda and others had inferred that Larry was against privacy policies. In a mailing list Mr. Ikeda had said that my efforts to stop the National ID were futile and that we didn't have any privacy anyway. The struggle for privacy is a struggle of data structures and can be achieved without destroying the end-to-end nature of the Net. It think it is simplistic to equate privacy with control of the Net. I just finished reading Hiroo's English translation of his afterward. It's quite good. He should post it on the Net.

Hiroo Yamagata
Freedom is supposed to be a good thing. People say Communism died and Freedom prospered, so freedom should be good. But when you ask these people to explain the actual benefits of freedom, hardly anyone can give you a meaningful answer. This isn't (necessarily) because they are stupid. It's because freedom itself doesn't do anything. Freedom is just an environment that allows you to do something.

We talked about the issues from the book and the Japan context. When is going to happen to physical layer, code layer and content layer in Japan?

Are the wires, the spectrum and fiber going to be opened up in Japan? It sure looks like we're headed that way. The government seems quite incapable of stopping the ADSL players from eating NTT's lunch and there is serious discussion of opening up the spectrum.

The code layer is a mess. I talked about the National ID and the fact that lack of understanding about the architecture of the Net is causing Japan to launch itself into a direction without much discussion about the policy of code. We talked about how many people talk about end-to-end, but don't really understand it's high level political ramifications. On the other hand, it's better to have people believing in it and writing code with that philosophy to fight off the circuit-heads who try to make the Network smart and make connections look like circuits. I think education and discussion about the political ramifications of architecture and code are essential, but having a lot of people educated with the right philosophy vis a vis network architecture, security, privacy, and free software (even if they don't understand all off the political issues) is better than nothing.

Content... We don't have MS or Hollywood and most patents and copyright extensions hurt Japan economically. It is very frustrating that Japan tries to "harmonize" with the US and doesn't realize that if they are going to give up something that is a net loss for Japan, they should negotiate for something in return. This is at the government level. At a more basic level, I think Japan should try to run an end-run around these guys with some new idea about how to deal with content. I guess the fact that Sony has a content business in the US and that big Japanese technology companies have "figured out" the patent thing puts these guys in a neutral to hostile position on this issue and doesn't help move this forward...

I gave a copy of Dogs and Demons to Hiroo who knows the construction industry well. It will be interesting to see what he thinks of it.

I think the Japanese are very non-active right now and has Hiroo points out in his afterward, Japan didn't have "the Framers" like Thomas Jefferson who "got it" to inspire the legal professionals to pound the table like Larry. I think it's going to take a lot of luck to get it right in Japan... but for better or for worse, the "other side" is not very smart either so we just MIGHT get lucky. Does this sound depressing?

marubiru.jpg
Mizuka and I went to the new Marunouchi Building built by Mitsubishi Jisho and had lunch with her parents. It was VERY flashy and expensive looking and jam packed with tourist types. Some restaurants are booked through the end of the year, which is rare in Japan. It is also probably one of the most expensive office buildings right now. On the first floor was a weird "XBOX Cafe" where people could play games and there were some huge screens running game demos. I guess if you have $40bb, you can afford to have a game cafe in the most expensive real estate in Tokyo. Also, everything was VERY high tech - steel, glass, concrete. It really reminded me of the Dogs and Demons book. All of the people lining up in front of the elevators watching impressive ads ABOUT nature on the HDTV displays...

The other amazing thing is that such a tall building was allowed to be built overlooking the Palace. In Japan, you are not supposed to "look down on" the Palace. I heard someone mumble, "Only Mitsubishi could do this..."

Anyway, it is obviously the "Thing to See" right now. It will be interesting to see what happens when all of the other new buildings open next year... Like the huge Roppongi Mori Building. Next year is supposed to be a big year that may crash the office building business because there are so many sky scrapers opening... What a strange thing to be happening during an economic crisis...

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The XBOX Cafe
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The view of the Palace from the 36th floor restaurant we ate at

You may have seen this, but this is great news. Yet ANOTHER service I have to sign up for. m.m.m.more...

InfoWorld
T-Mobile in Wi-Fi pact with United, American and Delta

By Juan Carlos Perez
October 30, 2002 1:10 pm PT

MIAMI -- MIAMI (10/30/2002) - T-Mobile USA Inc. plans to add so-called Wi-Fi hot spots for high-speed wireless Internet connectivity in about 100 U.S. airport clubs and lounges over the next year through an agreement with Delta Air Lines Inc., United Air Lines Inc. and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, the wireless carrier announced Wednesday.

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Neeraj is my only buddy so far...
AOL-Docomo the Japanese joint venture between Docomo and AOL Japan asked Neeraj of imaHima to make a Java aplet for the new Java enabled i-mode phones that allows you to use Aol Instant Messenger on your phone. They launched it last week. It's great! You can have multiple conversations at once and it is integrated with the PC based IM. I think this is a first. (There are many IM for messaging between phones.) The only thing that sucks is that you have to sign up for AOL's service any pay a monthly fee to use it. It took me almost 30 minutes on the phone to sign up...

ahtisaari.jpg
I'm blogging this a bit late, but Marko, Ilkka, Shu and Martti from Nokia Ventures Organization visited last week. We talked about the future. Their mission is to do a lot of long term thinking about Nokia. I blabbed about blogs, privacy and all of the other things I love. Howard was the one that got us hooked up. Marko worked on setting up Aula, a project in Finland that I love. I had met Jryi and some others from Aula when they visited Tokyo and have been a fan ever since. Aula is this great space in Finland that is kind of a new space/community/incubator... You should go look at their site to learn more.


Marko Ahtisaari was born in Helsinki, Finland and grew up in Helsinki, Dar es Salaam and New York. He studied economics, philosophy and music at Columbia University in the City of New York where he subsequently lectured in logic, philosophy of economics and the history of thought. He went on to be the leader of the mobile practice at the design consultancy Satama Interactive. Currently Marko works in the Nokia Ventures Organization. In the in-between moments he makes music.

Tallking to Marko reminded me of talking to Jyri which involved getting really excited and a feeling sorry that we ran out of time. Marko's team at Nokia gets to do some really long term thinking and we all agreed blogs on mobile phones made sense.

I tried to get them to increase priority on privacy.

Marko Ahtisaari

I suppose public persons, whether by choice or accident, don’t have the luxury of the distinction between what Joi Ito calls entifying and identifying (following Roger Clarke). Talking to Joi has convinced me to start thinking harder about privacy.

byemegankara_thumb.jpg
Today will probably be Kara, Megan and Louie's last night in Tokyo. They invited me out to dinner. We ate at the Monsoon Cafe in Asabu Jyuban that is owned by Global Dining. Jun is on the board of Global Dining and Hasegawa-san, an amazing guy that I truely respect runs Global Dining...

Kawashima-san from the Japan Society (they sponsored Kara's trip), Megan's friend Takemura-san (an architect), Brett from AOL and Neerja Neeraj, the CEO of imaHima joined as well. I had been hearing about Neerja Neeraj from Howard and others and it was great to finally meet him. He was an extremely friendly and straight forward guy. I'm going to see if he can help me get this blog mobile phone enabled...

Brett knows Howard and Justin... What an extremely small world...

Neerja did the IM for i-mode for AOL and it launches the day after tomorrow. I saw a demo. It looks REALLY cool. It's probably the first real IM running on i-mode.

airstation.jpg Cool! I was officially recognized as a "Japanese digital entrepreneur/venture capitalist" by Esther Dyson! Saw this article today for the first time. (Thanks Frank!) This about the Fortune Brainstorming Conference I blogged about. I brought everyone the MELCO Airstation. It is the smallest 802.11b access point that I know of. Recently, all port-a-demo pitches in Japan of network technologies involve one of these little guys.

Esther Dyson - NYT Syndicate

The Wi-Fi Warrior
by Esther Dyson
distributed by the New York Times Syndicate - August 07, 2002

excerpt

THANKS FOR HELPING

The system worked flawlessly for me, but somehow Farber was having trouble with it. Gage decided to "help" him. As you might expect, it was only after Gage stopped "helping" that Farber got his laptop working, and everyone was happy. (Sorry, John!)

Once online, Farber told our story to Joichi Ito, a Japanese digital entrepreneur/venture capitalist who was joining us in Aspen for the second conference, a far bigger affair. Ito promised to bring some Japanese access points, much smaller ones, costing only about $150 each from a company called Melco.

But the drama wasn't over. Now we had to persuade the organizers of the next event to keep the line alive (at $500 per day). The normal price at home would be no more than about $50 per month.

Somehow we succeeded. Gage brought his AirPort back and the next conference was fully wired -- at least in the hotel basement.

Finally, for a third conference, at the Aspen Institute, I found yet another unused DSL line. This time, I had my own device -- one of Melco's Buffalo AirStations that Ito had brought. It came in a nice box, covered in Japanese documentation that I couldn't read, and weighed only about 6 ounces, just a third of the AirPort's weight.

I'm going to write about setting up GPRS in Menorca because:

1) The line is so slow I can't read other people's blogs or my mail easily for new things.

2) I have nothing else to write about really...

3) This MAY come in handy for someone who is struggling like me.

First, a disclaimer. I still don't understand GPRS and my conclusions below are based on trial and error and deduction. I may be complete wrong about some things.

First of all, GPRS roaming basically doesn't work in most places. Also, most support people don't know what you are talking about.

Second... Most phones act like they know what they are talking about or that they work properly, but they don't.

GPRS is different from using a GSM phone as a modem. It is a separate data network. Each carrier has their own "APN" which I guess stands for "Access Point Number" or something. The APN format is something like "airtelnet.es" for the Vodafone network in Spain. Now the APN in the APN field on the phone will be set for its WAP connection. IE airtelwap.es. This is the wrong APN. So just copying the fields from the phone settings to the computer DOESN'T WORK.

In addition to the APN, you will probably need an ID/PASSWORD. T-MOBILE told me that I didn't need one, but it didn't work without one so far. I had to call Vodafone to get one. I got one, but it didn't work. I called John who gave me his. He said that he had tested mutiple people using it at the same time and it was OK and that the SIM card holder was billed anyway so it wasn't any skin off his back. So... WHY THE HELL TO THEY HAVE THESE ID/PASSWORDS? Anyway, they will probably start blocking multiple log ins just like we did in the ISP business. So... you should probably get your own ID/PASSWORD if you need one and can figure out how to get once, it is totally NON-OBVIOUS. I had to call 3 support people before someone even told me they could give me one and that I needed one.

Also, default setting for my Nokia was "*99#" to access the GPRS network. Well in Spain, it is "*99***1#" Don't get that wrong. Since "*99#" is the default, I have to change the dialup settings for GPRS EVERY TIME I start up the computer. But that's OK. Since at least IT WORKS.

I am using a Nokia D211 which is a nifty little PCMCIA card. It does 802.11b, GSM SMS, GSM Modem and GPRS. It was a pain to set up and is a bit funky because the drivers run deeper than your user login so you get asked for the PIN before you log in and sometimes have trouble shutting it down, but it is generally OK.

I also have a Sony-Ericsson T68i which should do bluetooth with my Viao, but I couldn't get the settings on the unit set up correctly either in Austria or Spain. The bluetooth interface program on the C1MRX Viao called "blue space" also sucks. It looks nice, but I have NO IDEA what is going on with all the little sounds and icons. If you want to see an example of a completely "I thought cool design meant cool user experience" interface, buy a Viao and try to get bluetooth working.

I have a Siemens MT50 from Austria and a Seimens S45 from Spain. They both work fine in WAP GPRS mode with their original SIM cards in them. In fact, the Austrian one even roams properly in Spain. It is just impossible for me to figure out how to get the settings OUT OF these little things and into my computer. Also, I have yet to find any way to connect them to a computer other than IR or serial. Unfortunately, my Viao has neither.

I have a Swisscom SIM that Zai got me that I couldn't figure out how to get support for. I have a T-Mobile Austrian SIM which Thomas got me. It seems to have great roaming rates and the phone is content to roam automatically, but the support people had no idea how to get the thing working in another device.

I have a Vodafone Spain SIM Eva/Martin got me and came inside of the Siemens S45. Other than the fact that the only English speaking support person goes on Siesta on Saturdays and for some reason didn't get my id/password registered properly, she was the most knowledgable support person I talked to. It was the only SIM card that ended up working, but maybe that's because I'm in Spain...

You must also beware of phones that are locked in to a specific network. You need to buy one that is open if you want to move sim chips around different phones. My Austrian Siemens phone was open, the Spanish Vodafone Siemens seems closed and the Sony-Ericsson is supposed to be open...

So, blow by blow, here is what happens.

0) You turn on computer
1) Nokia D211 asks for PIN (for your SIM card)
2) Nokia D211 asks for Profile. (The Austrian T-Mobile support person tried to convince us that the name of the settings profile was relevant. Probably total bullshit.) Profile includes "GPRS ONLY" and settings including mainly the APN or Access Point Number. "airtelnet.es" in my case. (Extracted from Vodafone support)
3) Log into Windows XP
4) Nokia D211 says "Searching for Network" then "Ready for GPRS Activation"
5) Go to (again, this is at least true in Spain) network connections and you will find that Nokia has installed a "GPRS" dialup settings entry. Go in there and change the "*99#" to a "*99***1#" Also, if this is your first time, put in an id/password that you get from Vodafone support or from a friend.
6) Turn off anything that conflicts with your serial port for your Nokia Card. (My blue space program hogs serial ports and conflicted, so "see you later blue space...")
7) Open the Nokia D211 Manager program and click on Activate.
8) The familiar dialup connection dialog box opens. Click dial. It should dial, log in, and you should be online.
9) The manager program is very cool. It graphs GPRS strength and Data Rate.

I have found that Even with a GRPS Strength at 100% I can only get to a max of 30% of the data rate with an average data rate of less than 10kbits/s. So maybe it is the IP Network and not the GPRS network that is to blame...

Also, all of the settings that I talked about configuring in the computer have to be set in the AT commands on a phone that does the talking for you like the other Nokia phones. So, for instance, to set up a Nokia phone for talking on the Spanish Vodafone network, you would tell it something like:
t+cgdcont=1,"IP","airtelnet.es","",00
Also, you will have to set DNS manually, which is 212.73.32.3 and 212.73.32.67

Something like that... ;-p

council.jpg

fomacard.jpg
Foma pcmcia card. A 3G data card that does 64K

so504.jpg
My new SO504i

Today we had an i-mode council meeting. The i-mode council is a group of advisors for the i-mode group at NTT Docomo. It's an interesting meeting because we get to hear what NTT Docomo is thinking and the discussion is always very interesting.

I tried connect to the DDI Pocket 64K PHS Data network, but suprise suprise, I couldn't connect from the NTT Docomo meeting room. I complained and they lent me a new Foma 3G data card. It's much faster even though it is also only 64K because it doesn't have to go through the switch like the PHS card. It is much more expensive than the PHS network, but this one is Docomo's. On wonder how long I can keep it. ;-)

They also upgraded my SO503i to the new SO504i. The new i-mode phone goes 28.8K which feels MUCH faster than the old 9600 bps 503. The Java i-apli's run much faster and they can run in waiting mode and have news and weather pushed to them. We saw a demo of some old Nintendo games ported to the phone and they basically run as fast as the old game machines and the displays have more pixel depth!

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