Café Ice SilomPhoto from my table at Café Ice Silom in Bangkok
I don’t usually write ‘where have you been updates’ but thought it would be polite considering the email. Posts have been and will continue to be sporadic until mid May. I’ve been fighting a cold for 3 weeks which has meant many sleepless nights and am in the middle of a move to a new district. We are downsizing from a large house to a small apartment. The new neighbourhood is good but unfortunately the new place has all the panache of a mid 80’s Soviet apartment. Lots of work to add some colour.
As well I’m trying to manage my obsession with Chinese and iPhone dev. studies, will be traveling to Atlantic Canada via Tokyo and New York, and am alone with the kiddies while my wife travels to Hong Kong. Fun times but little time for what has become a hobby – more on that later.

Celine Attaché

Celine Attaché
This looks like it might make for a great looking case for one or two iPads for the ‘busy executive’ or bag conscious ‘fashionista’. I don’t know anything about the case because I found it on Tumblr where there is never any useful metadata or links to source, a practice that drives me nuts.

How do you parent the texting generation?

Rebecca Morean asks: “I don’t even understand Facebook and cellphones. So how do I make fair rules for my kids?” I guess the easy answer to this is, like any other. But perhaps I’ll revisit this opinion in 10 years when my children are the same age as hers. Which will also, in the spirit of fairness, mean that my phone will be kept away from the dinner table as well. That might be the bigger challenge.

My four children are evenly separated by age, exactly three and half years between each. They are also separated by gender: girl, boy, girl, boy. And by race: white Hispanic, white Hispanic, Korean and African-American. They are all united, however, by cellphones and Facebook.
My oldest daughter, Sarah, now 22, received a cellphone when she turned 17 — just five years ago. In that span of time all my kids (the youngest is 12) have had cellphones pressed into their palms and, I fear, their brains. I have little to say about this situation: Their father buys them and pays the plans. As a single mom parenting 26 days out of every month, I am left to deal not with bills but rules: recharge at night in the kitchen, no phone calls or texting during dinner, no texting when reading or watching anything with a storyline, and for the 12-year-old, no texting past 9 p.m. (bedtime) until you are older. Much older.
I give them rules of social etiquette, too. Don’t text when you’re mad. Don’t keep and reread something someone said when they were mad. Don’t become a gossip. Don’t text with lowercase “i, ur, r, thru,” or use numbers for words, because I am an English professor and I see all these cropping up in student papers.
I fear my children will develop AADD — Acquired Attention Deficit Disorder — and so I jabber on about politics, or a sunset I don’t want them to miss, or puppies being born, all while they are listening to music on their phone, texting a friend and searching for something on the Net. This multitasking is not good for the brain, I say. I tell them, repeatedly, how our brains were wired to pick berries and hunt mammoths. They roll their eyes, and I feel like a fossil.

Read full article here.

Moleskine’s iPhone App.

It’s a app. segment that is pretty well served but it’s a somewhat natural extension of the Moleskine brand•. Now if I could only get my hands on one of their cases for the iPhone 4 or iPod Touch.

Moleskine’s app–currently pending Apple’s approval and due out released later this week–is your standard digital note-taking space beckoning you to fill it with musings and rumination. But wait, how’s that different from Apple’s Notes app or something like Evernote? Why would you devote precious screen real estate to Moleskine’s nascent angle on the touchscreen world?
For starters, you’ll be able to abandon Apple’s harsh yellow pages for Moleskine’s easygoing cream-colored writing space. And you can join the ranks of the notebook’s historic lovers, Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso – proudly touted by the company in each journal they sell – who used their Moleskines as a sketchbook and doodle pad. [Via time techland]

Moleskine’s iPhone App. Via textually.
*I’m not a business guy so I always have a hard time understanding why companies with a successful product feel it necessary to expand their brand into areas beyond their focus and expertise.

How kids consume media

tv consumption

Kids are leading the world’s transition to digital media.
This is in part because kids aren’t afraid of technology, and in part because kids haven’t spent years getting use to anything else.
So if you want to get a sense of where the world’s media habits are headed, it makes sense to watch what kids are doing.
The Kaiser Family Foundation did just that in a comprehensive survey released last year. Kaiser surveyed more than 2,000 families, and turned up all sorts of interesting information about the media habits of 8-18 year olds.

Yes, data like this has a passing professional interest but I find articles like these astounding as they illustrate just how different our lives appear to be from many others. How does anyone find the time to watch four hours of television a day? Or even find fours of television worth watching in a week. And children? My kids don’t have the time either. TV in the bedroom – impossible. The bedroom is for sleeping, reading and other activities.
Perhaps this media consumption is an indication more of passive consumption vs. being engaged. The TV is always on, a sort of soother for adults and children, but it isn’t actually being payed attention to. I can’t do that anymore – I don’t even turn on a radio if I need to focus on something; like talking to my children or reading a book.
I’m not trying to be smug but am amazed how you can develop completely different attitudes towards media consumption when you live between cultures (expats in a foreign country) and are not subject to pressures from your peers.
The Amazing Media Habits Of 8-18 Year Olds

The WVIL Concept Camera

concept camera

Smart ideas. This would be a great niche for an Android based device.

The WVIL camera is a concept camera envisioned by Artefact’s award-winning design team. It answers the question: “what’s next for camera design?”
The patent-pending WVIL system takes the connectivity and application platform capabilities of today’s smart phones and wirelessly connects them with interchangeable full SLR-quality optics. It is the inevitable solution for photographers who expect the power of modern mobile devices but who also demand uncompromised quality.

More info. here

Brian Fling: A Brief History of Mobile

mobile design
Brian Fling’s book Mobile Design and Development is not available online for free via a nicely designed web view. I’ve read the ebook version and I still think much of what he has written is largely relevant today. The web view reads well on an iPhone and looks great on a tablet.
I always like to be reminded of where we have come from:

Thinking of mobile devices more as personal computers and less as telephones is a difficult shift in perception. The mobile industry of today has somewhat of a split personality–each side with its own conflicting interests: the first half being the telecom infrastructure and the people who run it, required for everything to work but only focused on the network; and the other consisting of the devices we carry, focused on how and when we interact with the network. And yet a third personality is the Web, the repository of the world’s knowledge that we seek to use in the context of our daily activities.

Even the Web is divided within mobile, consisting of the “regular” or desktop web and the mobile web. The desktop web is made up of the sites and web applications designed for a browser running on desktop or laptop computers. In other words, the desktop context involves information that we access typically while stationary and sitting at our desk. The mobile web contains the sites and web applications designed for mobile devices, or the mobile context, which we can access anywhere at any time.

Technically speaking, it is all one Web, at least in terms of the technology that we use to publish information and knowledge. But these two mediums are very different and offer different value to the end user, based on their context

A Brief History of Mobile

Mobile Design and Development: Practical Concepts and Techniques for Creating Mobile Sites and Web Apps

Information Overload, Then and Now

Information Overload, Then and Now
It’s important to remember that information overload is not unique to our time, lest we fall into doomsaying. At the same time, we need to proceed carefully in the transition to electronic media, lest we lose crucial methods of working that rely on and foster thoughtful decision making. Ann Blair, in support of her book Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age, offers some critical perspective on one of the oft discussed problems of the information age.

Feeling overwhelmed by too much information? What else is new? The amount of digital data available on the Web every day reaches records of mind-boggling proportions–now more than a zettabyte (1021 bytes) and presumably accumulating at an ever-increasing rate, estimated at 30-percent growth per year from 1999 to 2002.
But such figures–often presented as evidence of unprecedented and stress-inducing overload–don’t mean much. After all, it takes only one or two pages of Google hits to overwhelm the average reader. Does it really matter whether there are hundreds or thousands more pages after those?
More important, information overload was experienced long before the appearance of today’s digital gadgets. Complaints about “too many books” echo across the centuries, from when books were papyrus rolls, parchment manuscripts, or hand printed. The complaint is also common in other cultural traditions, like the Chinese, built on textual accumulation around a canon of classics.

Information Overload, Then and Now

Tech addiction symptoms rife among students

Young adults around the world experience distress when they try to unplug from technology for even one day, a research project has found. From the CBC:

“A clear majority” of almost 1,000 university students in 10 countries, including China, Chile, the U.K. and Uganda, were unable to voluntarily stay away from computers, televisions, cellphones and MP3 players for 24 hours, reported the International Center for Media at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., which led “The World Unplugged” project.
Many students also reported mental and physical symptoms of distress and “employed the rhetoric of addiction, dependency and depression,” when reporting their experiences of trying to go unplugged for a full day.
“Students talked about how scary it was, how addicted they were,” said Susan Moeller, the professor of media who led the project. “They expected the frustration. But they didn’t expect to have the psychological effects, to be lonely, to be panicked, the anxiety, literally heart palpitations.”


… the researchers noted that they are not health-care professionals and the study was not intended to assess students’ mental or physical well-being.

Similarities …

The study found few differences in the way students used and relied on digital technology in different countries, despite those countries’ huge differences in economic development, culture and political governance.
All students were particularly dependent on their mobile phones.

Read more.

How to beat technology addiction

I think I have an addiction to low cal. technology addiction reporting.
Has your BlackBerry taken over your life, or your iPhone? Academics are trying to find ways to help. Whether it’s an iPhone or a trilling landline or a pinging email, the latest technology interrupts us all the time. But if you’ve ever wondered exactly what effect the myriad interruptions have on your working day, research by academics at the University of Kent is a worthy interruption. Lucy Tobin for The Guardian reports:

The faculty of psychology at Kent set up a “reading laboratory” with an eyeball-tracking camera to monitor eye movements. It then linked up just over 100 testers and asked them to read a passage of text on a computer screen, before interrupting the participants with one-minute messages – like phone calls. They were then told to return to the original reading, while the eye-tracking camera analysed how they did so. The researchers, led by Ulrich Weger, a senior lecturer in psychology at Kent, found that participants re-read a substantial portion of text before reaching the point where they left the original task – so much so, that each interruption caused an average 17% increase in the total time it took to read the whole passage.
“The best way to overcome our addiction to new information is to learn to control yourself: you can do exercises to help … using thought-control exercises like concentrating on a simple imagined object for a few minutes every day,” he explains.

Read the rest here.

Journal Bandolier

Journal Bandolier
I’m thinking of buying one of these just to see if I use this to keep my pencils, iPhone and notebook in a tight carry-able pile. Brilliant name.
The Journal Bandolier is a handmade strap fitted with small loops for carrying pens, pencils, and other handy tools wrapped around a journal, planner, or other book.
An elegant reincarnation of the book straps our parents always told us they had to use when they walked barefoot in the snow for 6 hours to get to school.
Journal Bandolier. Via Uncrate.