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kottke.org posts about mobile phones

Call A Ball is an idea for

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 23, 2006

Call A Ball is an idea for a soccer ball vending machine where balls are dispensed via an SMS from a mobile phone. You can also issue a “challenge” for other players to meet you at the machine. And if you’d like to keep the ball, it’s charged to your phone bill.

Joe Malia’s privacy scarves provide mobile phone

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 22, 2006

Joe Malia’s privacy scarves provide mobile phone users and portable video game players with privacy, a light/glare-free texting/playing environment, and warm necks. “Users of the wearable mobile phone scarf can venture into public spaces confident that if the need to compose a private text message were to arise the object could be pulled over the face to create an isolated environment.” (via eyeteeth)

Marcello Mencarini and Barbara Seghezzi have shot

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 19, 2006

Marcello Mencarini and Barbara Seghezzi have shot a feature-length documentary entirely on a mobile phone.

Skiing videos

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 13, 2006

I did some skiing last week up in Vermont and took some videos with my phone on the slopes. The quality isn’t great, but hopefully you’ll get the gist.

A short clip of me skiing through the trees:

Riding the chair lift:

And one of me skiing behind Meg:

The motion in the last one reminds me of Quake…like I’m chasing after her with a railgun or something.

Cl1ff N0t3s for the

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 05, 2005

Cl1ff N0t3s for the millennials: mobile service will condense books into short text messages. “For example, Hamlet’s famous line: ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’ becomes ‘2b? Nt2b? ???’”.

Hugms connects to your mobile phone via

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 11, 2005

Hugms connects to your mobile phone via Bluetooth and then when you squeeze it, is sends a “hug” text message to the person of your choosing. See also sweethearting. (thx mike)

Sweethearting, part 2

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 05, 2005

Got quite a few emails in response to my post on sweethearting/pinging. Several people mentioned pranking[1] as a current implementation of this idea, a trick I remember using as a kid. You call someone and hang up after one ring…”prank me when you’re outside my apartment and I’ll come down”. Pranking is typically driven by economics…you don’t pay for a phone call that doesn’t connect.

Gen Kanai asks: “why can’t SMS do this?” It certainly can; if I were implementing sweethearting, I would piggyback it on SMS. But what I’m really concerned with (as usual) is the user experience. To send a blank text message to a specific recipient with my phone takes at least 6-10 keystrokes. I want to do it in two keystrokes and (in time) without looking.

[1] I received reports of pranking being used all over the world. It’s called one-belling (or pranking) in England, people send “toques” (roughly “touches”) or “sting” each other in Spain, Italians “fare uno squillo” (which Google translates as “to make one blast”), and in Finland it’s called “bombing”.

Update: In South Africa, they call it a “Scotch call”.

Mobile usage

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 08, 2005

Quite a few folks are pointing to the results of this survey (graph here) about what features people want on their most frequently used mobile devices. The results are interesting but also probably misleading in about 1000 different ways (text messaging didn’t even make the list). But it got me thinking about how I use my most frequently used digital device, my mobile phone. In order of a combination of most usage and importance, here’s what I use my phone for:

Stuff I don’t want on my phone:

What’s your most-used portable device and what do you use it for? Feel free to comment here or link to a post on your site.

This is odd…you need a mobile

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 25, 2005

This is odd…you need a mobile phone to sign up for Gmail (or get an invite from a current user). Well, I guess that’s not a whole lot more strange than needing an email address to sign up for an email account.

The Firefly is a cell phone for

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 18, 2005

The Firefly is a cell phone for kids. It doesn’t have a keypad, but it’s got dedicated buttons for calling mom and dad and accessing the parentally controlled address book.

Barcode tattoos + mobile phones with cameras = business

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 15, 2005

Barcode tattoos + mobile phones with cameras = business card (or, say, a list of your sexual preferences) on your arm.

Billboard is now tracking the top-selling ringtones.

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 12, 2005

Billboard is now tracking the top-selling ringtones. The list seems to track pretty close to the top singles list. Well, except for the Super Mario Bros theme song ringtone. (via rw)

How to use your cell phone anywhere in the world

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 20, 2005

How to use your cell phone anywhere in the world. Get a GSM phone, pay through the nose for roaming, or unlock your phone and use local pay-as-you-go SIM cards wherever you are.

Nokia.com comes up first in a

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 19, 2005

Nokia.com comes up first in a Google search for “motorola mobile phones”. I suspect it’s because Motorola’s site isn’t optimized for Google (lots of Flash, little text) and a difference in usage: it’s “cell phones” in the US versus “mobile phones” in Europe (where Nokia is from).

Get rid of cell phone reception dead

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 14, 2005

Get rid of cell phone reception dead spots by using cellular repeaters. They’re not cheap, but they work.

Walt Mossberg: wireless phone carriers exercise too

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 09, 2005

Walt Mossberg: wireless phone carriers exercise too much control over the technology their customers can use. “I once saw a sign at the offices of a big cellphone carrier that said, ‘It isn’t a phone until “Harry” says it’s a phone.’ But why should it be up to Harry (a real carrier employee whose name I have changed)? Why shouldn’t the market decide whether a device is a good phone?”

Indian man sends a record 182,689 text messages in a month

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 07, 2005

Indian man sends a record 182,689 text messages in a month. His cell phone bill was 1411 pages long.

Use Morse Texter on your cell phone

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 01, 2005

Use Morse Texter on your cell phone to tap out text messages using morse code.

Two Morse coders beat two text messengers on Leno

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 01, 2005

Two Morse coders beat two text messengers on Leno. That’s it…I want a phone with one big button with which to tap out messages.

How Sprint PCS loses customers

posted by Jason Kottke   May 03, 2005

How Sprint PCS loses customers. Sprint wanted Cam to sign a 2-year contract just to switch plans, even though he had been a customer of theirs for 7 years. He switched to T-Mobile and got a new phone in the process.