Category: opinions

What happened to “camera phones”?

My father in law wants to upgrade his mobile phone (he has a simple and cheap Nokia phone which is a few years old).

He went to an electronics store, and they sold him a 150 Euros Samsung smart phone.

Of course, he got home and had no clue whatsoever on how to use it, connect it to his Mac to download photos (or even answer a phone call).

So he came visiting with pizzas and beer, and I tried to figure it out. I could not.

I will admit that it was my first time with Android, and it probably was a pretty old version of Android but… what an utterly piece of crap!

The UI is totally confusing, and the very poor Italian localisation doesn’t help. I had to google (on my iPhone) to find even the simplest commands (for example: why is USB configuration in the “Networking” panel?). And even after one hour, I could not get it to download photos when connected with the USB cable (iPhoto would “see” the phone, but there were no images to download).

And once configured with the gmail account, suddenly there were notifications in three different apps: email, gmail and social hub. Why?

For his sanity (and mine), I convinced him to take it back and ask for his money back.

Of course, now I have to find a simple phone with three features: calls, SMS and a decent camera. The less smart, the better. Nokia used to make phones with pretty good cameras, but now good cameras only seem to be available on the Lumia series.

Any recommendations?

People don’t read (but they watch TV)

Yes, it’s what everybody is talking about: people don’t read long articles, long email, books. In this era of easy to generate content, we have all had enough.

Even one liners seem too long to read sometimes. In the short registration form of State of the Net conference there was one simple question: “Is this the first time you will come to Trieste?”. Well, 21 people from Trieste checked “yes”.

At the same time I’m quite impressed with the analytics of the conference’s keynotes videos that we have posted last week: an average of 20% of users get to the end of them, with peaks of 40% for some.

While I do understand that watching a video requires much less engagement, I still find these number significant (and somehow depressing).

Little boxes indeed

Euan writes:

I have been writing text in little boxes on the interwebs for twenty years. Used to be called usenet, then bulletin boards, then blogs, now social. Still little boxes.

The tools we use to write have been pretty much the same for a very long time. Sometime in early 1984 my dad came home with the first Mac 128. It came with two floppy disks, each with the whole operating system and an application on it: one for MacPaint, one for MacWrite.

MacPaint was my favorite, but I remember MacWrite well, here’s what it looked like:

Now, what I find odd is that some 28 years later I’m still writing in a box which pretty much offers the very same features (actually I have lost tabulation).

Why haven’t writing tools evolved? Why are not relevant content from the interwebs popping up while I write this, helping me finding more information in real-time? Why isn’t this post appearing in real time on Euan’s screen, while I’m writing it, allowing us to develop a conversation? Why aren’t previous rants I wrote about how technology has not evolved enough for me automatically linked to this post?

There are ways to do all this, but they are far from being mainstream.

PS: true, there are outlines.

Let the people play

Euan Semple:

Let people waste time with social tools. Don’t ban them or bury them in rules. Encourage people to play and discover how they work.

When they get bored they’ll start to do real work in a way you never imagined possible.

Don’t be stupid

Euan Semple about the Olympic communication team social networks restrictions:

Trying to control use of the social web in this way in this day and age is impractical. It makes the organisers look stupid.

They are not alone. Most people running our institutions don’t understand what is happening and don’t know what to do about it. They pay agencies to do it for them and the agencies themselves don’t understand what is going on, or find it challenging and try to retain their own form of control.

I see this every day, and even if it isn’t rocket science, it’s so distant from current corporate culture that I’m afraid that until every single member of this generation will be out of the game, we won’t see real change.

Meanwhile we should get at work figuring out new kinds of organizations.


MG Siegler:

I hate Android for the same reason that Severus Snape hates Harry Potter — the very sight reminds me of something so beautiful, that was taken. Except it’s worse. It’s as if Harry Potter has grown up to become Voldemort.