Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is it Still A Phone

I've been talking lately like even the cell phone is headed for obsolescence. I certainly find that mine is far less valuable to me than it was a couple of years ago.

But in place of the cell phone, we've seen the emergence of a device we might at last accurately call the Palm Top.  Modern road warriors depend heavily upon a the presence of a personalized, conveniently palm-sized device that once served the primary purpose of allowing us to speak with others as if by telephone.

Does that seem an odd way to say it? Well the truth is that many conversations today take place over a variety of networks not originally designed to support telephony. And the systems that were designed for telephony are becoming irrelevant because of their over-specialized and calcified nature.

The demands of the marketplace move so quickly now that expensive infrastructure cannot be deployed and responsibly abandoned swiftly enough to keep up.

If you have an iPhone or an Android phone, think about the things you do with it and consider what percentage of that is actually what we might have called telephony.

Most recently, the emergence of NFC (Near Field Communication) allows your phone to replace your credit cards, and now even your car keys. (http://solsie.com/2011/06/smartphone-ditches-car-keys/)

In a gift box recently, I found a foam rubber replica of an avocado. Actually it was a half-avocado with the pit still in place. As I held it in my hand with the pit facing up, the fit was perfect, and I could imagine a future device (future as in next month) shaped like this to replace my new smartphone. The 'pit' could become a not-trackball that detected the gestures of my thumb, the side of the device could allow for chorded presses of my fingers to control the signals the device would send to the world around me.

Okay, so it's a pipe dream (or in this case a yummy food dream), but can anyone really predict what imaginative, innovative mutation the phone will take on next?

Can you?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Which Phone Do You Use?

It doesn't necessarily say anything about my age to admit remembering the days of the Long Distance Wars. (I mean, I could have read about it in history books.)

There was a time when the difference between long distance companies was very interesting to us. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in advertising to distinguish for us between the one that could hear a Pin Drop and the one that loved your Friends and Family.

As Long Distance gave way to the age of the cell phone, the names of the players changed, but some things remained the same.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Is Cligs Gone for Good?

...I wrote in a previous article about the use of Cligs as a URL shortener service. What I liked about it was the analysis of click-throughs that a Cligs shortened link receives. What I didn't like was the sluggish response time and the apparent cessation of development on the site.

If the activity on their blog is any indication, the service is running on ghost ship autopilot.

So, more from laziness than from anything else, I've found myself using bit.ly and is.gd.

I use bit.ly when I want to manage the name of the link and have access to the metrics for click-through and response.  I use is.gd when I'm working with TweetDeck because it's the default and I'm often in a hurry.

After looking at the is.gd ethics policy, I'm thinking I might opt for more vigorous use of that service. I appreciate the acknowledgement of responsible operation that their policy presents.

If you don't have the patience to read through all of the material that it would take to find the definitive "best of class," I think you could confidently settle on either of these services.

I'd love to hear about your preferences and experiences with URL shortener services.