Category Archives: Mobile

one forwards, two back

For every degree of separation that technology has connected in the digital world, I’m starting to think that many of us are stepping one further away from those we know in the real one.

The six degrees of separation theory was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929, then some decades later (hard to find an actual date from the reports freely available) sociologists proved a theory that if you spoke to enough people you were really only three degrees separated. The first degree is physical, the second emotional and the third spiritual.

So if the only thing that depicts the first degree is physicality, then arguably in our digitally connected, socially ‘always on’ world we could all be within two degrees of each other. That sounds quite nice in theory, the prospect of seeking, finding and establishing a new connection with people all over the world.

As someone who spends a lot of time in front of a screen because of my work, I make an effort to not look at my phone when I’m out and about and look up at what’s going on around me. From what I observe, as a society we have become latent in our socialising skills, too many of us are better at being who we are online that who we are in the real world.

Yesterday I overheard a conversation on the train; two girls, one had just dumped her boyfriend, the other was asking her how he’d taken it, she replied ‘I don’t think he knows, I just posted it on Facebook.’ I felt more sorry for her then I did for him, he dodged a bullet there whoever he is…

I’d love to be able to work out the ratio of degrees closer in the digital world v degrees further apart in the real one. Facebook published an article back in 2011 that outlined 4.74 degrees just on their platform and that’s old news now.

For all the time we spend looking down rather than up, what opportunities do we miss to connect to someone properly, physically? Not just your eyes across a crowded room malarkey, but getting to know the guy at the paper stand you pass every day and pick up your copy of Wired from, the couple who take their dog to the park when you do, the lady wearing that really nice dress you’d like to know where to buy.

Forget the rise of the robots, in this smartphone zombie era we’re turning into autobots ourselves.

smartphone_zombies_by_dodo91-d81pgac

Image by dodo91 found on deviantart.com – thank you!

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PULS v Samsung Gear S

I’m not sure that ‘next generation’ of wearables is the right phrase for this as we’ve seen a constant stream of evolution in this area recently, but the two that I’m stuck between are Will.i.am’s ‘PULS’ and the Samsung Gear S.

The PULS can be partnered with a jacket that powers it, a backpack to play your beats and shoes that prompt you not to chomp on too many doughnuts (it measures your weight and has a built in pedometer). It also comes with an O2 sim in the UK, which is where it starts to cross into Gear S territory for me…

The Gear S is one of the reasons I’m holding back from getting the iPhone 6, that’s a big (bendy) phone going on right there, not a good look stuck in the pocket of my skinny jeans… whereas the Gear S is just as sleek as Will.i.am’s fashion led creation, also able to put me off doughnuts and seemingly comes with better connectivity through 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth, with the simple touchscreen interface and good ol’ QWERTY keyboard making life simpler still.

Maybe if Will.i.am can stream his amazing tunes as a service that would swing it…

will.iam.s' new smartwatch

Samsung Gear-S

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Goggley Eyes

I was trying to explain to someone new to search engines (yes these people do, apparently, still exist) how the various tools across Google work; predictive search, social, geo-targeted and so on.

This led into chats about Google Goggles at which point, his eyes glazed over and he seemed to stare through me. This reaction led me to believe it would be a great topic for my fellow geek readers.

Google Goggles is a downloadable image recognition application meaning through us, Google has eyes in every orifice and intimate corner we search for and from.

Snap happy researchers using the app send a collectively huge bank of images to a series of backend engines coordinated by Google’s Superroot Server which, identifies the source as either; text, geographic location, QR codes, corporate identities, products… you get the idea. All similar images are tagged and confidence scored* for future use.

As the database of images builds so will the use and accuracy of the app, making it easier to search for things that are difficult to summarise in text through traditional keyword search (wow, keyword search has been around so long now it feels normal to call it traditional- in web life anyway).

So the next time you’re out and about and you take a picture of a restaurant you want to dine in, you’ll know what happens behind the scenes to serve you the results that appear.

Simple really, thanks Google!

*Confidence scoring considers various weighted validation parameters such as quality and source, to determine the accuracy of the data held in the image.

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Spending money is now even more fun!

All you need is an iPhone, the iOS credit card reader and your finger.

The idea behind making the transactions mobile and easy is to open up the payment system for small businesses. This means they will be able take a payment anywhere without the stinging cost traditional card readers incur at the moment. As business owners you won’t need to set up a merchant account and pay any annual fee, this process is clear and transparent.

To the user it’s also quick and easy as the lengthy process of dialling through a land line is redundant too.

If this catches on, queues and impatience will be a thing of the past so I for one, am on board from both sides of the fence.

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