Text Messages Saving Endangered Languages

Text Messages Saving Endangered Languages
For the vast majority of the world, the cellphone, not the Internet, is the coolest available technology. And they are using those phones to text rather than to talk. Though most of the world’s languages have no written form, people are beginning to transliterate their mother tongues into the alphabet of a national language and they are doing so via text messages on mobile phones.

For years, the Web’s lingua franca was English. Speakers of French, Hindi and Urdu, Arabic, Chinese and Russian chafed at the advantage the Internet gave not only American pop culture but also its language. For those who lived at the intersection of modern technology and traditional cultures, the problem was even worse. “For a long time, technology was the enemy,” says Inée Slaughter, executive director of the New Mexico-based Indigenous Language Institute, which teaches Native Americans and other indigenous peoples how to use digital technologies to keep their languages vital. Heritage languages were being killed off by increasing urbanization, the spread of formal education and the shift to cash crops, which ended the isolation of indigenous communities. Advances in technology seemed to intensify the decline. “Even in 1999 or 2000, people were saying technology killed their language,” Slaughter says. “Community elders worried about it. As television came into homes, English became pervasive 24/7. Mainstream culture infiltrated, and young kids want to be like that. It was a huge, huge problem, and it’s still there. But now we know ways technology can be helpful.”
For many tiny, endangered languages, digital technology has become a lifeline.

Everyone Speaks Text Message

Shadowstand for iPhone and iPad

Shadowstand for iPhone and iPad
Very cute and fun. Made for iPad, iPhone or other similar sized devices this stand appears to cast a shadow as it holds your device inlace for easier viewing. It’s always interesting to see the contrast between the coldness of devices like the iPhone and the warmth natural forms and materials. Despite being the best looking device available I always find myself drawn to accessories that add some kind of tactile or natural feeling; it’s less of a concern with other handsets and tablets, though as great as they are on the inside the exterior always feels like a cheap plastic toy. Cheap plastic toys don’t warrant much of an accessory market.
Shadowstand was developed by Japanese architecture firm and design studio Nendo for ELECOM.
Via designboom.

Merry Christmas from AppleGirl

Watching this makes my teeth hurt.
Merry Christmas from “AppleGirl” who got her start making music with multiple iPhones and sharing on YouTube. Though you wouldn’t know it by the number of times I have shared her efforts, I’m not a fan, but I do appreciate the progression of her music; well produced.

The Minimal Backpack

The Minimal Backpack
The Minimal Backpack
This bag has been shared on just about every second site I visit and I really like the concept, style and construction of the bag. But when I was asked which backpack you should take traveling and someone mentioned this one – I started laughing because a white bag like that wouldn’t stay white long and I prefer bags that blend. It’s an obvious success as they are sold out and taking preorders for an estimated Spring 2012 shipment.

The premise was simple; what was the simplest and lightest pack we could make that was still suitable for daily use? Nonwoven Dyneema is an insanely expensive material, even by Outlier standards. It’s also extremely difficult to sew, so producing a simple yet highly functional design is crucial to making this stuff work. Thankfully Mike St. Pierre of Hyperlite has been working with the material over the past few years and has even built a small factory in Biddeford Maine. By the time Outlier got involved most of the hard work was done. We met up with Mike out in Utah this past summer and swiftly came up with a plan to birth the Minimal Backpack. A roll top backpack, that’s waterproof and packs down to fit into a jacket pocket.

The Minimal Backpack

QR Code Carpet

qr carpet
qr carpet
Certainly an imaginative and unexpected usage, but I’m still thinking that QR codes are ugly. Can’t someone simply write an app to recognize url’s via the camera?

… utilizing Mannington’s unique ability to create both carpet and hard surface products, Mannington has created an 18×18 inch LVT tile that allows actual QR technology to be incorporated into the floor.
It integrates a fashion-forward, high performance carpet inspired by an abstracted QR pattern with a delivery system for wayfinding in airports or hospitals; educational content in schools or museums; enhanced entertainment in theaters, sports stadiums, amusement parks or other entertainment settings; product information in retail spaces; and more.

Manufactured by Mannington Commercial. Via Behance

U.S. Teens Triple Data Usage

Mobile usage in teens
Neilson reports on how teens mobile data use has surged while voice usage has declined.

Messaging remains the centerpiece of mobile teen behavior. The number of messages exchanged monthly (SMS and MMS) hit 3,417 per teen in Q3 2011, averaging seven messages per waking hour. Teen females are holding the messaging front, sending and receiving 3,952 messages per month versus 2,815 from males. Aside from messaging, data heavy activities such as mobile internet, social networking, email, app downloads, and app usage are the most popular mobile activities.

Teens prefer messaging due to it’s immediacy, ease of use and fun.
New Mobile Obsession: U.S. Teens Triple Data Usage

Traffic in Frenetic HCMC, Vietnam

Somehow from the chaos came order. It looks almost choreographed and somehow works. Driving a scooter in HCMC is some of the most exciting riding you will ever have.

Everyone who has visited Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam knows part of the magic (love it or hate it) is in the traffic. Ever since I first set foot in HCMC I have been captivated by the
cities energy. Saigon is a city on the move unlike anything I have experienced before which I wanted to capture and share.


Was left wanting more but this is a lovely slideshow of a Latvian tram ride, the soundtrack is of the ride on the tram itself.

Daugavpils is the second largest city in Latvia and It has tram witch connects various parts of the this city. Because of mass emigration of young people to abroad in order to look for better job opportunities there are only old people left in the trams. At the same time those young migrants have left their children in the care of their grandparents So one can see the very vidid contrast between generation whcih reflects broader trends in Latvia.

People spend more time on mobile devices than print media

According to digital measurement firm eMarketer, the time consumers spend on mobile devices has surpasses that of print media for the first time ever.

Time spent on mobile devices is now an average of 65 minutes a day, compared to 44 minutes a day for print (magazines and newspapers combined).
Time on the internet was 2 hours and 47 minutes (an increase of 12 minutes from 2010), but TV still dominates with an average of 4 hours and 34 minutes.
Most interesting from our point of view is the continued expansion of mobile engagement in general. Mobile saw both the biggest absolute and percentage jumps in time spent. That additional 15 minutes translates into a 30 percent increase, meaning roughly 10 percent of the average U.S. adult’s day is now spent on mobile, yet mobile only accounts for about 1 percent of advertising spending. Surprisingly, print still commands an outsized share of ad budgets, taking 25 percent of ad spending, despite dwindling to only 7 percent of time spent with all types of print media.

I picked up a newspaper for the first time this morning in years. Other than books (and even that is dissipating), the only thing I read in print is notices from my daughters school. Our focus tends to lie where we get the most value.
Report: Mobile Surpasses Print in terms of Time Spent, but Ad Dollars Aren’t Following

Emoji in iPhones Signals a Shot at Mainstream Success

The New York Times writes how Emoji, long popular among cellphone users in Asia, is enjoying some mainstream success.

… emoji, which are the more elaborate cousins of emoticons — those creative combinations of colons, parentheses and other punctuation that people use to drop a facial expression into a text message or e-mail.
But unlike emoticons, emoji don’t require tilting your head sideways to make sense of the image. They are a kind of pictorial alphabet stored on a phone that can be displayed in place of the regular keyboard, making it easy to tap out a visual message.
Outside their native Japan, emoji have been available to in-the-know smartphone owners for some time via add-on applications. But now they may be on the verge of going mainstream in the United States, thanks in part to Apple’s latest update to its iPhone software. The latest version, iOS 5, comes with an installed library of emoji that can be turned on as an “international keyboard” in the device’s settings.
“Text as a medium is particularly dull when it comes to expressing emotions,” Professor Sundar said. “Emoticons open the door a little, but emoji opens it even further. They play the role that nonverbal communication, like hand gestures, does in conversation but on a cellphone.”

Whimsical Texting Icons Get a Shot at Success

One Day on Two Wheels

‘One Day On Two Wheels’ is a photofilm exploring the love-hate relationship between London and bikes. It interweaves five stories taking place in one day during Summer 2010: flower delivery boy Julian Sayarer, fashion designer Amy Fleuriot, Olympic glory Don Shaul, City of London Police cycling squad and mechanic Tony Welsh.
Follow them into an extra-ordinary day featuring the live voices of the city – pubs, traffic, everyday thoughts and tales of a lifetime. Always strictly on two wheels.


“You’ll never be the same again”

When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

These are such wonderful words that even though you may have heard or read them before, they are worth seeing again. Jonathan Ive’s tribute is wonderful too. Via Brainpickings.

Turn off the options, and turn up the intimacy

Brian Eno in a 1999 issue of Wired:

The trouble begins with a design philosophy that equates “more options” with “greater freedom.” Designers struggle endlessly with a problem that is almost nonexistent for users: “How do we pack the maximum number of options into the minimum space and price?” In my experience, the instruments and tools that endure (because they are loved by their users) have limited options.
Software options proliferate extremely easily, too easily in fact, because too many options create tools that can’t ever be used intuitively. Intuitive actions confine the detail work to a dedicated part of the brain, leaving the rest of one’s mind free to respond with attention and sensitivity to the changing texture of the moment. With tools, we crave intimacy. This appetite for emotional resonance explains why users – when given a choice – prefer deep rapport over endless options. You can’t have a relationship with a device whose limits are unknown to you, because without limits it keeps becoming something else.
Indeed, familiarity breeds content. When you use familiar tools, you draw upon a long cultural conversation – a whole shared history of usage – as your backdrop, as the canvas to juxtapose your work. The deeper and more widely shared the conversation, the more subtle its

In many ways this an illustration of the differences between the different mobile platforms today. A good article with a great paragraph on music and traditional media including these choice quotes:

But now I’m struck by the insidious, computer-driven tendency to take things out of the domain of muscular activity and put them into the domain of mental activity. This transfer is not paying off. Sure, muscles are unreliable, but they represent several million years of accumulated finesse. Musicians enjoy drawing on that finesse (and audiences respond to its exercise), so when muscular activity is rendered useless, the creative process is frustrated.


This is the revenge of traditional media. Even the “weaknesses” or the limits of these tools become part of the vocabulary of culture. I’m thinking of such stuff as Marshall guitar amps and black-and-white film – what was once thought most undesirable about these tools became their cherished trademark.

The Revenge of the Intuitive