Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mobile Self-Help Service

My Mobile Guru
Welcome to the 'My Mobile Guru', a unique mobile phone service which offers immediate help discreetly and conveniently by way of voice recordings downloaded straight to your mobile/PC/landline.

This unique site provides each visitor guidance with regards to problems in the many areas of life that we all experience, such as relationships, health and work.

Top ten Mobile Guru therapy recordings

Friday, September 19, 2008

A convergence of thought streams...

Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect Little Switch / Big Switch

I check into Jan Chipchase’s excellent blog on a regular basis and this week he had a post on two themes I have been thinking & blogging about. The first being mentions of the phone as watch:
Every new feature that is added changes patterns of use which in turn changes what it means to be a ‘phone’. Is there a natural limit to convergence? And, staring out from the back seat of a fast moving consumer goods vehicle, are we there yet? Some of you are old enough to remember the humble wrist watch as your primary tool through which to know what time it is but today knowledge of the current time is a commodity - there are so many free and readily available alternative sources of this information. (Yes, wrist watches are still relevant but mostly as lifestyle statements).As with the wrist watch there was an era before the mobile phone as we know it and will be an era after.

His essay is an exploration of the deeper implications of the iPhone’s Airplane Mode and what it means to be disconnected. He goes on to explain in four paragraphs, four major trends that will affect the ability and choice to disconnect. Here are the entries (please read the entire essay for clarity on these ideas):
four trends will ensure the practice and willingness to disconnect evolves.

(1) The first is that there will be an increased willingness to carry secondary, tertiary, quaternary and even quinary+ communication focused devices.

(2) never equate ownership of a connected device with use of its primary function particularly when use of the primary function costs money.

(3) Advances in miniaturisation, materials and manufacturing techniques will enable radically new and highly focused form factors.

(4) Lastly, our understanding of what is required to make stuff more social will have matured to the point where it is, by most people’s perspective, reasonably social.

In time the design, language and social norms for connecting, dis-connecting and re-connecting will have reached the point where switch becomes the primary interface to our digital selves.

So, now I have logged the choice to disconnect as potentially non-conformist, as priviledge, as device driven, as miniaturization influenced, and as a future social norm. I think these ideas about disconnecting are of keen interest to me. I would be grateful for reference to other sources that discuss “disconnecting” from the mobile.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Disconnecting as priviledge rather than non-conformist?

Rachel Hinman has been pondering similar thoughts on the role of disconnecting from the cellular/wifi grid. She makes an excellent point:
I think the future will be about choosing level of connectedness - and controlling personal data and information. Status won’t be about connecting. Privileged and status will be shown through the ability to disconnect completely from communication channels. What a strange inversion.

90 Mobiles in 90 Days - Blog Archive - The Luxury of Disconnecting…

Friday, September 12, 2008

First Mobile Misuse?

Another quote from Constant Touch points toward SMS as being the first major misuse of the mobile phone:

Text messaging was an accident. No one expected it. When the first text message was sent, in 1993 by new Nokia engineering student Riku Pihkonen, the telecommunications companies thought it was not important. SMS – Short Message Service – was not considered a major part of GSM. Like most technologies, the power of text – indeed the power of the phone – was discovered by users. In the case of text messaging, the users were the young are poor in the West and East.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Excuse me, Your Pocket Watch is Ringing..

In Constant Touch: a global history of the mobile phone, Jon Agar makes the case for the similarities between the development of the pocket watch and fixed international time zones with the development of cell phones and the ability to roam.

While it might have felt like liberation from tradition, the owner was caught anew in a more modern rationality, for, despite the fact that the pocket watch gave the owner personal access to exact time, accuracy depended on being-part of a system. If the owner was unwilling personally to make regular astronomical observations, the pocket watch would still have to be reset every ‘now‘ and then from the town clock.

In this quote he points out that taking on this new device (the watch) brought with it duties, responsibilities, and tasks that you didn’t have before. One of the aspects of technology that really interests me is the lack of awareness of repercussions we have when we take on these devices. I have met many people in my lifetime (both before and after the cell phone) that consciously chose not to wear a wrist watch because of the demands it put on their psyche. The conscious denial of time, unloading the burden of knowing the exact time, casting off the shackles of the clock - it all signified to me that the person was a free thinker, a non-conformist, someone who refused to take on all the orderly requirements of a schedule. Now you really don’t need to wear a wrist watch because the cell phone has become our new pocket watch. Will we be told by our non-conformist friends, that they don’t carry a cell phone because of the pressure it puts on their freedom?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Projector Phone

Projector Phone - Tri-Band GSM/GPRS Touchscreen Cell Phone - From China

What makes the CVSL-112 even more unique is the projector feature. Simply switch on the external display option and project your movies or data on a wall. Perfect for fun or for meetings.

Endgadget Article

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


While reading Jon Agar’s Constant Touch this summer, I was struck by the following passage on page 13:

Tantalum, in the form of columbite-tantalite (‘Coltan’ for short), can also be found in the anarchic north-east regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 10,000 civilians have died and 200,000 have been displaced since June 1999 in a civil war, fought partly over strategic mineral rights, between supporters of the deceased despot Laurent. Kabila and Ugandan and Rwandan rebels. As the price of tantalum increased, the civil war intensified, funded by the profits of coltan export. However, the mobile phone manufacturers are distanced from the conflict. Firms such as Nokia, and Motorola buy capacitors from separate manufacturers, which in turn, buy raw material from intermediaries. On each exchange, the source of tantalum becomes more deniable.*

It seemed to me that this must be a lesser known fact amongst the majority of mobile phone users (even though there was a “No blood on my cell phone” campaign in Europe for a time) and thought this might be an area ripe for creative exploration (not by me, but by someone.) As I was researching the art history of the cell phone, I came across this recent piece that was shown at Manifesta 7:

Tantalum Memorial – Residue , 2008, Graham Harwood, Richard Wright, and Matsuko Yokokoji

Tantalum Memorial - Residue, by England-based Graham Harwood, Richard Wright, and Matsuko Yokokoji, is a telephony-based memorial to the people who have died as a result of the tantalum wars in the Congo. The installation is constructed out of an old electro-mechanical 1938 Strowger telephone exchange, discovered amongst the remains of the Alumix factory. The switches are reanimated by tracking the phone calls from Telephone Trottoire - a social telephony network designed by the artists in collaboration with the Congolese radio program Nostalgie Ya Mboka in London. The TT network calls Congolese listeners, plays them a phone message and invites them to record a comment and pass it on to a friend by entering their phone number. This builds on the traditional Congolese practice of “radio trottoire” or “pavement radio”, the passing around of news and gossip on street corners in order to avoid state censorship.

It appears to be a clever incorporation of old technology and new technology. The guts of the old telephone switchers are a strong visual counterpoint to the microchip, electrical and cellular signal. How can vapor be made flesh? It’s hard to tell (from what information I can find on the project) what level of success the work is having in terms of the social networking and political aspects of the piece, but if blog coverage is any measure, it has struck a chord with viewers in the art & technology world. This will be an interesting body of work to follow.

More on the Tantalum Wars