Beyond the touch screen

Since Apple’s introduction of the iPhone, it seems like everyone is excited at the possibility of implementing a touch screen, and why not? There are a lot of benefits to touch-screen interfaces: Extreme flexibility in visual and interaction design allows products and applications to be tailored for specific needs and audiences to target markets; less reliance on hardware controls means significant savings in mechanical cost; larger screens allow more opportunities for richness in states and animations; greater flexibility also means the possibility to reduce waste in the creation of longer-lasting devices with upgradable OS’s and software.

Cooper Journal: Beyond the touch screen


More on the universal Micro-USB phone charger

There are obvious stakeholders affected by this announcement, and then there are the street service providers. Beyond the network effects of consumers having many more charging options, and the environmental impact from not needing to ship a charger with every new phone the biggest consequence will be the ease of transferring data/content from street service provider to consumer, and consumer to consumer.

I missed it as well, perhaps in part because while I author content on my smartphone (photos primarily) I send them semi-autonomously to an online photo storage cloud. I never transfer data between myself and others nor do I presently use and services that would require a wired connection to my phone. Obviously, that’s not the case for everyone.
Lubing the Edges of the Internet – Jan Chipchase


Industry Pitching Cellphones as a Teaching Tool

Some critics already are denouncing the effort as a blatantly self-serving maneuver to break into the big educational market. But proponents of selling cellphones to schools counter that they are simply making the same kind of pitch that the computer industry has been profitably making to educators since the 1980s.
The only difference now between smartphones and laptops, they say, is that cellphones are smaller, cheaper and more coveted by students.

Smartphones could be a valuable tool for learning but like the PC before them they are not a panacea for all the problems in the classroom. I don’t want my kids to face all the drawbacks of these devices during their very limited time in school; they have a very real potential for distraction.
Continue at the NYTimes.com


Suede cell phone case (Nokia, HTC et al.)

cellphonepocket.jpg
I have had a hard time finding a suitable case to carry my Nokia Nseries. The local have lots of crap but nothing that offers simple protection for the glossy finger print prone screen. My Nokia is no iPhone but it still needs some protection. In comes this suede jacket case from Waterfield designs. From their product data:

This Ultrasuede™ slipcase prevents scratches on your cell phone. The elasticity of the pocket keeps it flat when empty and stretchy enough to hold your bluetooth or earbuds safely. Low profile slides easily into your shirt or jeans pocket. Comes in three sizes for a perfect fit on your Samsung Instinct, HTC Touch Diamond, HTC Touch Pro, LG Dare, BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Curve, Palm Pre or the Google Android G1.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a product photograph that might give you insight as to whether this is the pouch for you (and I haven’t ordered one yet). But based on Waterfield’s reputation, and the reasonable cost, it seems like a safe bet.
More info. here.


The Cellphone, Navigating Our Lives

Increasingly, phones will allow users to look at an image of what is around them. You could be surrounded by skyscrapers but have an immediate reference map showing your destination and features of the landscape, along with your progress in real time. Part of what drives the emergence of map-based services is the vast marketing potential of analyzing consumers’ travel patterns. For example, it is now possible for marketers to identify users who are shopping for cars because they have traveled to multiple car dealerships.

Read at the NYTimes.com


Mobile phone makers agree to standard charger

Leading mobile phone makers has some good news for consumers as they have agreed to make a standardised charger for the industry in a move set to save money for consumers and reduce waste. The leading mobile phone makers including Nokia, Samsung and Motorola said they would move towards adopting a small USB charger as the standard across all models. The new charger will also be more energy efficient than current offerings.
Yayyy!
More at Yahoo! News


Yahoo! launching new mobile starting point

Yahoo! has announced the upcoming launch of its new Yahoo! Mobile service. Yahoo! Mobile will be available on the mobile Web, as an app developed for the iPhone, and as an app developed for smartphones from Nokia, RIM, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Motorola as well as those powered by Windows Mobile. The service will bring together a number of separate products, such as OneSearch, OneConnected, and OnePlace, into a single more convenient package. The current web version of Yahoo! Mobile is one of my favorite sites to visit when I use my Nokia. Unfortunately their current offering for s60 hasn’t worked very well for me. Hopefully this new product roll out will improve upon this experience.
Yahoo! Mobile will initially be available through a managed beta program, with general availability expected in the 2nd quarter of 2009. More info here.


Blue is the color of creativity?

We learn from toddlerhood that red means danger — so should we use red ink for medication warnings? And if blue signals the freedom of open skies, how about brainstorming in a room painted blue?
Maybe so, says new research into how the brain reacts to colors: Red seems to improve attention to detail while blue sparks creativity.
“People are not aware of this effect at all,” marvels lead researcher Juliet Zhu of the University of British Columbia, who studies how environmental cues affect behavior.
“What color research shows is our behavior is driven by things we aren’t aware of, by things we see on a regular basis,” he said. “It’s important to know, so when one sees red one can maybe try to counteract the natural tendency to make mistakes and fail.”

Link.


Thai Airways specials

Thai Airways has listed some specifics to their Thailand Double Happiness promotion. Prices start at 130.00US return when two or more people are flying together to one of eleven destinations in Thailand. Departures are within Asia. Flying to Thailand just become a distinct possibility for March.
More information here


Glowing Cities Under a Nighttime Sky


I thought I shared this ages ago but I guess it had slipped, like many other things, in the vivacity of the Chinese New Year kids-vacation. The video is beautiful and the music appropriate. I would love to find more efforts like this.


10 tips for budget travel

Seeking solace amid the financial gloom? If you’re looking to save money on holiday, you could find the global economic crisis working in your favor.

10 ideas for saving money during this recession – this is shaping up to be the travel topic of the year. I’m not sure if all of sudden it has entered the travel writers consciousness that people need to be conscious of what they spend or if these are the articles that are easier to shop around.
In the Guardians’ list I’ve used #5, take a package, and #3, haggle for a hotel, numerous times (haven’t most people tried to get a good deal on a room?). Package deals are the most common way people travel here and you can find some great deals. I tend to just skip the itinerary and go off on my own.
Continue at The Guardian


Nine travel tactics

Travel and tourism, like almost all other industries is going to have a tough year. Booking rates are way down and the end may not be insight until some time next year.

The situation may create opportunities for both savings and outstanding trips, but it will bring with it some volatility — flights may be canceled, hotels may eliminate staff or even close, and prices may fluctuate wildly such that what looks like a bargain today may appear more like price-gouging tomorrow.
While you could get away with being a bit of a passive shopper and lazy traveler when things were good, now that things aren’t so good it’s more important than ever to use smart travel strategies. Here are my tips for the tactics that have been available to folks for a while, but were mostly ignored — and are now essential steps.

I’m hoping to take advantage of bargain prices to do some non-work related travel in the spring.
Continue reading.