Category Archives: Technology

Light-powered batteries and chargers

Charge your cell phone using light, courtesy SunCore

[SunCore’s] Novacell is an external charger that will power mobile devices via a USB connection. That’s the connection found on most cell phone chargers today.

That’s not all SunCore is working on.

The company also develops embedded light-powered batteries.

The only thing that would make this cooler would be the ability to charge a device screen-side up.

…or a kinetically charged battery like in those wristwatches.

Least frustrating system

stevenf.com:

I don’t consider myself blindly brand-loyal to the Mac.

I know, right? Co-founder of a indie Mac software company?

I find Mac OS X to be the least frustrating of the currently available options, but the buck certainly doesn’t stop there. We have miles and miles to go in terms of making computing better. I want my socks blown off, and I don’t care whether it’s Apple, Microsoft, Google, or the open source movement that does it, as long as someone does.

I hope that making it1 Someone Else’s Problem will work out for you. If you put your faith in Apple/Microsoft/Google, or even in the open source movement, you can expect what you get. Since at least I can participate in the open source movement, if it doesn’t blow off socks, I can say that’s my fault2.

  1. “total usability utopia”, for lack of a more all-encompassing word
  2. in part, of course :)

A new phone: Terrible timing?

So my AT&T contract is up this month and I’m considering all my options for my next PDA. My BlackBerry has been slowly dying on me, and I’ve not been happy with it.

Android

It’s probably no surprise that I’m a big fan of Android—it is produced by Google—so ideally I’d get an Android device next.

However, I’m not terribly inclined to switch to T-Mobile; their network is smaller and not as robust in all locations. And the G1 leaves a lot to be desired, so I’d rather wait for the next iteration. But how long will that be? Hard to say, though they may have a new, awesome device soon, so it may be worth waiting.

I had also mentioned that AT&T would likely be producing Android devices, but that dynamic seems to have changed somewhat: I suppose because of their ties with Apple and the iPhone, they’re not keen to produce any competing devices currently. And I can understand that, though it’s unfortunate.

It does seem like I’d be joining an active community though. :)

iPhone

An iPhone would be a solid choice, and I certainly think the devices deserves (most of) the acclaim it’s been getting, but I’m not switching from one proprietary mobile device to another. Even if it is Apple. I’m also not impressed with the inability to run background applications, and while jailbreaking the phone would open up a lot of extra functionality, I’m not inclined to do that. I don’t want to support Apple by buying their device if I don’t actually support how they design their software.

Other?

So my two choices feel like this: Get an iPhone (and possibly jailbreak it) or switch to T-Mobile if/when they release a second (slicker-than-G1) device.

Are there other choices? Which do you think I should do?

Users Don’t Like Change

Facebook’s Users Don’t Like Change – ReadWriteWeb

Users don’t like change, and as a product becomes more popular, users will grow ever more resistant to change.

The entire article (about Facebook’s contentious changes to their News Feed) distills to that one sentence. It’s not a Facebook thing1, it’s a people thing.

Really, I grow tired of all this resistance to change. While I’ve been there too—it’s easy to get habituated—it’s annoying to hear. Microsoft Office 20072, Firefox 3, Safari 4, BlackBerry, iPhone, etc. etc.

It would seem that if people had their way, interfaces would become static (at some unspecified point) and remain there. Rather than fixing quirks, users would simply habituate to them. And there would be little room for innovation.

I understand that designers/engineers don’t always get things right, but especially with computers, there is a lot of change from year to year, and that’s a good thing. An inclination to embrace change would go a long way to enjoying the dynamic world of technology. :)

  1. But I do understand that Facebook removed functionality in this update, and that is a problem. But a different problem.
  2. I hear complaints about the Ribbon all day at work, worst of all from my coworkers!

Verizon Is Up to It Again

Verizon Customers – Just Say No! – ReadWriteWeb

David Weinberger, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and the more recent Everything is Miscellaneous received a letter today from Verizon. A “legalistic pamphlet” that informed him he has 45 days to opt out of ‘agreeing’ to let Verizon share his personal information.

Weinberger, unlike the majority of us who rarely read the associated paraphernalia that arrives with bills and the like, noticed that Verizon’s modus operandi was to share Customer Proprietary Network Information – the data created as a result of your relationship with Verizon Wireless – unless you ask them to stop.

Yet another egregious misstep on Verizon’s part. This is the kind of thing that will keep me from willingly using them.

Davis closes with what I’ve said to people all along:

For a company that prides itself on operating the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and data network […] it clearly still has a way to go.