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Sunday, July 08, 2007
Rethinking cellphones
On the heels of the article about our work that appeared the Mumbai edition of the Hindustan Times, I was reading a piece that echoes my thoughts about mobile phones. Oh, before that - in the picture is Gabe and myself sitting at the Bandra bandstand amphitheatre in Bombay.


(Interesting thought: if VoIP over wifi took off in a big way, there would only be mobile phones. The GSM cellphone would become extinct.) The following was an exhilerating read, my goodness - I'm on target so far. The text below is nothing short of fascinating, because THIS IS WHAT I'M DOING.

Over to The Telephone Repair Handbook by Mark Pesce with Angus Fraser:

Why is the mobile telephone so underutilized? Once again, we see the vestigial behavior of analog fixed-line telephony. Fixed-line telephones did nothing until the network sent a call to the handset, or until the user picked up the handset to make a call. The duty cycle for the fixed-line telephone was entirely driven by users, as the only actors within the network. This basic assumption drives the design of mobile telephones: the devices are essentially passive, waiting to be activated by the network or the user. But why should this be? There’s no essential purpose served by such passivity – far from it. But the mobile telephone has been cursed by its ancestry, and this curse has kept it from reaching its full potential. This is the most important thing we must unlearn, if we are to repair the telephone.The mobile telephone is only a passive device because we have designed it so.

We believe it a necessary precondition for telephone repair that we treat the mobile telephone as an entirely active device, a network terminal which has been designed from its outset to facilitate management of and communication with the social network of its owner-user. The mobile telephone is already the de facto device for digital social network management; voice calls and text messaging are arguably the most significant components of the electronic communication within our social networks. The ephemeral nature of synchronous voice communication and asynchronous text messages means that these informational transactions are not captured by existing digital social networks, which, in turn, means that we unconsciously underestimate their importance, because they are not counted (except on our monthly bills), and are not tracked, except within the mobile handset. If we transform the mobile telephone into an active device, and design it to be conscious of the electronic communication which takes place through it and around it, we have a device which can gather a wealth of data – a “data shadow” – from which we can build emergent models of a dynamic digital social network. The mobile telephone is the only device which is well-suited to the task of feeding our ever-hungry digital social networks; it is the only device capable of recording our lives as they are lived. The mobile telephone should be fully realized as an active device which takes note of our digital social interactions, using this information to assist us in improving the quality of these interactions.
1 Comments: Post a Comment
Blogger Werner said ..

Where can I find the full article of the Grey Matter image, for reading?

6:06 AM