Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category

Does Google Determine Where You Physically Are?

There’s no shortage of fuel for the Google / privacy fire. But then again, why not toss on another log?

Does Google tell you how to get from point A to point B? Does any device provide you with directions for your driving, biking walking or public transit routes? I’m personally a Google Maps fan.

In the wake of the latest location-based privacy expose’, I started thinking beyond the fact that gadget-makers like Apple and Google are recording our current coordinates. Carrying GPS-enabled devices around as our personal Atlas / destination calculator, we expose much more interesting data than that. Here’s a situation where your mobile map provider could actually know physical scenarios that you’ll be presented with before you do.

What Magellan blazed the trail for has explosive potential as networked portable computing goes mainstream.

Think about it. With our portable device in hand, we’re usually within 3 or 4 taps of a freshly published map from our current location to virtually anywhere. Should we choose to follow the device’s path, we could potentially be “checking in” with the map continuously, confirming we are on course. What lies ahead of us are 1s and 0s.

Which begs the question, would your mapping service provider consider routing you by a commercial business or two that was willing to pay for some cool location-based marketing? Would they be willing to pay a premium if it was 6 p.m. and they sold delicious bass? It sure wouldn’t be the first time some really smart web marketing geeks got off on “driving traffic.”

Next time your route brings you some extended windshield time, ponder this: Is it an invasion of your privacy if you don’t even know it yet?

Gotta go. I’m a mile from my destination.


Sensible Rules for Kids with Cell Phones

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Over the summer, our 10-year-old daughter lost her cell phone. Not lost as in: I can’t find it. But lost as in: You screwed up now you don’t have your cell phone for a month.

We collectively decided that before school started, we would all agree to a written set up rules for cell phone usage. Summer vacation crept to a close this week, and it was time to put my words to action. Before long, I had crafted multiple pages of restrictions. After all, I monitor cell phone (and Internet) usage very closely. I know how to write a Service Level Agreement. And I went overboard on my rules doc.

After careful thought, I trashed my work and asked my (now) 11-year-old daughter to write up her own rules. It took her less than five minutes. Here they are, word for word:


  • I will not text or call after 9 p.m.
  • I will not delete my texts.
  • I will keep my texts and calls to a minimum.
  • I will not text someone if they are right next to me.

    (I usually keep my phone @ home anyways when we are going on errands or to a restraunt or a get-together or aunt Ellen’s and places like that, so I got that covered : )

  • I will answer calls when mom & dad call. If I don’t, I will call right back.

With that, we now have cell phone rules posted and in force. We’ll continue to sit down together every month when our billing cycle closes and go through her text and voice usage, updating any new numbers in our address book that happen to show up. And now, we’ll draw the line on time limits.

How do you manage your kids’ cell phone usage?

Fun With Historical Data Trends on Smartphones Aside…

Humans + technology produce an insatiable appetite for live communication. From smoke signals to the Long Lines Department at AT&T, people have historically been driven to connect in newer, better, faster, cooler ways.

That’s about all there really is to say about historical usage.

Next week Steve Jobs will fire up a live mobile video call as he unveils and demos the next gen iPhone. In other news, Skype’s iPhone app supporting voice is here. And this Monday, AT&T moves to metered wireless data and discontinues all-you-can-eat for new subscribers. If you think something spooky is going on at the amusement park, pull off the zombie’s mask, Shaggy.

I noticed that AT&T recently made it easier to find historical data usage using your online account manager. The official line from T is that today 65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average. And none of that matters. Period.

Charts and graphs are fun, but my February field test with Skype in Haiti gave me a very real idea about how easy it is to break a network when we push for the next communications breakthrough.

You can bet that AT&T wants you to look back at the past six months to baseline your data plan needs. But wait before you jump to save that five bucks. How you use data is subject to change.

Say what you want about them not having their network ready for smartphones. AT&T called this whole video thing way before anybody else. I’m just guessing that more people will buy iPhone 4Gs in the first 5 seconds than ever heard of the 1970s Picturephone(TM) service.

Millions of handheld phones capable of streaming live voice and video is why metered wireless data plans are here to stay.