Happy Thanksgiving

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I’m afraid my plate was bare yesterday (we are ahead by 12 hours or so). I did get lucky at about 9:30pm or so with a large plate full of turkey, weird tasting potatoes, corn, and cake. Very appreciated. Canadians abroad have the advantage of celebrating Thanksgiving twice as the holiday comes in October for us but is largely celebrated abroad to coincide with the American version. I’m leaving this weekend for Bangkok to see how people there live their mobile lives. Best wishes and if you partake happy black friday shopping.
Chris Ware’s Thanksgiving Covers for The New Yorker.


CuteCircuit’s Hug Shirt

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Written about in numerous webblogs and nominated by Time as one of the Best Inventions of 2006, CuteCircuit’s Hug Shirt is embedded with sensors and electronics that allow you to feel a sense of touch, skin warmth and heart rate of the sender – a simulation of physical closeness – bringing the sensation of a hug from a distant loved one.

The Hug Shirt is a Bluetooth accessory for Java enabled mobile phones. Hug shirts don’t have any assigned phone number, all the data goes from the sensors Bluetooth to your mobile phone and your mobile phone delivers the hug data to your friend’s phone and it is seamlessly transmitted Bluetooth to his or her shirt!
Sending hugs is as easy as sending an SMS and you will be able to send hugs while you are on the move, in the same way and to the same places you are able to make phone calls (Rome to Tokyo, New York to Paris).

Send a sms get a hug. Could get expensive!
More on their site. Via Craftzine.


Windows Live Messenger comes to Taiwanese cellphones

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Far Eastone Telecommunications has begun offering MSN/Windows Live Messenger to users of i-mode mobile phones, one of just a handful of companies offering the service globally.
The launch of the service also makes Far Eastone the first company in Taiwan to offer MSN/Windows Live Messenger, the Taiwanese company said Wednesday. Users will be able to send instant messages over their mobile phones via the service.

Digital World Tokyo


Return of the ebook

“The market for downloadable books will grow by 400 percent in each of the next two years, to over $25 billion by 2008,” predicted the keynote speaker at the 2001 Women’s National Book Association meeting. “Within a few years after the end of this decade, e-books will be the preponderant delivery format for book content.”
Whoops.
The great e-book fantasy burst shortly after that speech, along with the rest of the dot-com bubble. In 2003, Barnes & Noble shut its e-book store, Palm sold its e-book business to a Web site and most people left the whole idea for dead.
Not everybody, however. …

Trying Again To Make Books Obsolete – New York Times


Mobile phone audio tours

In my investigations of handheld and mobile technology applications in libraries, I have came across a number of companies that have worked with museums and cultural landmarks to create tours, guides, and more that are accessible via a cell phone. You’re probably familiar with how many museums will have a two or three digit number next to a piece of artwork, and you rent a player at a museum and type in the number of the item in front of you to hear a short audio clip with more information. You can follow the numerical sequnce for a specific tour, or do a self-guided tour in any order you choose. Well, instead of requiring people to rent the special machines, and requiring museums to manage the rentals and equipment, the latest trend is to make this audio content available through a mobile phone. Users dial a special phone number on their own mobile phone, and use the phone keypad to select the number of what they want to learn more about.

The Handheld Librarian: mobile phone audio tours


Mobile Phone Audio – Lessons Learned from Games and the Web

Producing audio for mobile devices today is like doing game audio in the 80’s and Web audio in the 90’s. The similarities are striking – severe bandwidth constraints, cross-platform incompatibilities, arcane technical limitations, a plethora of file formats. What have we learned from these past experiences that might help the mobile audio industry in the future?
The Mobile Phone Audio group discussed questions such as: “If I knew then what I know now, what might I have done differently?” “What recommendations might we have for the mobile audio industry on how to make content providers’ lives easier and more profitable, based on similar experiences developing game/web audio systems?” “How can we help mobile audio producers avoid some of the pitfalls and problems game/web audio producers have faced in similar situations?”

Project Bar-B-Q, 2004, report, section 4


Apple ready to rock the phone world

Allot of pundits are going to be disappointed if these rumours don’t pan out.

Renewed reports that Apple is to launch its long awaited iPhone in the first half of next year may prompt a lot of people to delay the purchase of their next phone or music player until then, if only because there is no point in buying two devices when one will do. Whether the latest report – that Apple has ordered 12m units from Foxconn of Taiwan, complete with 2-megapixel camera, – is true, is beside the point. The interesting thing is that Apple’s entry could give mobile phone operators the big kick they badly need.

Victor Keegan: Apple ready to rock the phone world | Technology | Guardian Unlimited Technology


Gigabyte unveils GSmart i120 PDA phone


Though the “wisetalk” feature seems useful the key input layout does not. Looks like it would take far too much getting used to.

Gigabyte Communications on November 22 unveiled its GSmart i120, a PDA phone featuring Windows Mobile 5.0 AKU 3.0. In terms of product design, the GSmart i120 highlights a modern retro accent with a metallic silver frame, introducing a modern art deco accent to the luxury design concept of a PDA mobile phone, according to Gigabyte.
The GSmart i120 has a recommended retail price of US$650 and is currently available in Southeast Asia and will be launched in other regions worldwide, including Europe and the Middle East, according to Gigabyte.

Gigabyte Communications unveils GSmart i120 PDA phone


EVA Air moves flights to new Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport

I get to experience the new terminal this weekend.

EVA Air has moved all of its Bangkok flights to brand new Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport since September 28, 2006, providing passengers with vastly improved airport facilities.
Customers will experience wider, more convenient check-in, smoother transition through the airport and a new stylish executive lounge.
The slick new Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport or “golden land”, named by His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand, will replace Don Muang as Bangkok’s major international hub.
The new, expansive departure lounge will have 10 check-in islands. EVA will occupy 16 check-in counters on the eighth island in zones Q & R adjacent to immigration, giving passengers the easiest possible route through the airport.


Bluetooth, infrared, wireless – what’s the difference?

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Don’t make the mistake of confusing IrDA and Bluetooth with “WiFi” or “wireless networking” which is a wireless networking system. WiFi has a long range (up to 100 metres) and higher speeds. WiFi is used to network computers in an office or home without using cable.
While proximity communications cannot be used to network a whole office, they have many applications.
Connecting your phone to your computer, PDA, or other phones is easier than ever thanks to Bluetooth or infrared connections.

Nokia – Connection confusion


Seoul simply rocks

Straight away I knew this culture that I was about to experience (once again) very seriously believed in both itself and its technology. Seoulites also accommodate this technology seamlessly into the fabric of their daily lives. The sense of ‘being (very) digital’ was omnipresent here. These digital video players and 3G phones were used on planes, subways, buses and in cars – everywhere – to view and experience rich digital content. I’m still getting over the talking rice-cookers, the keyless doors and people watching their favourite TV show on their 3G phones whilst happily gobbling down some dumplings at a market.

One Plus One Equals Three: One Plus Seoul


Talkonaut

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If you don’t mind using your mobile to chat – I can hardly manage texting- then this could be a very handy way to keep in touch or perhaps pretend to still be at your desk when you are actually out having coffee. Talkonaut is a great looking mobile application that can be used with any Jabber account, including Google Talk. The best part is that while using Google talk all of your conversations are still archived for later viewing in your chats folder in Gmail. Talkonaut is a free download but requires a J2ME compliant device and a GPRS data plan.


Toffee Leather MacBook Sleeve

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Another excellent product found via the Rushfaster catalogue. Why spend large amounts of money on a high end laptop only to wrap in your pillow case or some chintzy neoprene sleeve? While there are some great sleeves out there, I can’t recommend enough Tom Bihn’s, there is nothing better than the feel of high quality leather. Other than looking and feeling great leather has the added and often forgotten benefit of lasting far longer than many synthetic alternatives. Leather looks better with age. Also, a leather sleeve is easy to grip – an important point when grabbing a sleeve carrying such an important investment. This sleeve from Toffee is made specifically to fit the Apple MacBook Pro 15 perfectly and comes with a one year warranty. $90.00AUS from Rushfaster. Photo via Rushfaster.


The Cup Communicator

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Wonderful concept and form from Duncan Wilson.

Tug the cord to activate, squeeze to talk and hold to the mouth and ear.
The design of the Cup Communicator is focused around a series of physical actions and gestures that create a poetic etiquette of use and a tactile intimacy between user and object.
By designing a communication device focused on the gesture of use, the relationship between the users and between the user and object I aim to explore the potential of the product as a medium for interaction and reassess the way we use technology.
The form and function of the Cup Communicator refer to the ‘two-cans and string’ children’s toy and the physical factors involved with that device. This typology and its associations remind us of the magic and playful intrigue of our first communication devices that has been lost by the desire for more efficient forms of telecommunication.

More images. Via Swissmiss.