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


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.


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. :)


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.


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.