Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Presentation Prep: Mobile Technology 2

It’s time for another installment of presentation prep. Since I’m including little to no commentary in these posts (for now), I would love it if people weighed in with some thoughts. I don’t want to beg for comments but . . . . please please please.

Alright, enough kidding around, time to get serious now, here are some more quotes and numbers from another round of mobile articles, hope you enjoy.


8. Rheingold, Howard. “M-Learning 4 Generation Txt?” TheFeature. November 4, 2004.

Alexander prefers “mobile” to “wireless” or “ubiquitous” because “none of these terms really grasp one key feature of the new milieu: the modeling of subjects as creative, communicative participants rather than as passive, reception-only consumers. We lack a term for describing the world as a writeable and readable service, encompassing mobile phones forming communities, P2P handheld gaming, moblogging, and uploading to RFID chips. For now, and to retain the educational focus, I’ll use m-learning.”

. . .

Blogs and wikis were yesterday. Moblogging is today. Tomorrow, Alexander anticipates the arrival of sensor networks, digitally tagged objects and places, augmented reality, location-based knowledge, and something Alexander calls “swarm learning.”

“Perhaps we are beginning to see the emergence of learning swarms,” Alexander ventures: “We already know the precursors, in the form of interested learners who appear at campus libraries and museums, driven by an experience that excited them, such as a film, a book, or a conversation. Now the socializing powers of mobility and wirelessness could expand this drive into collaboration. An interested learner could ping a network or site for learning engagement: digital objects, digitally tagged materials, learning objects, instructors, other learners and instigators.

9. “South Korean Students Burned for SMS Cheating.” MobileMag. December 3, 2004.

After tracing SMS messages by phone numbers and matching them with test times, investigators were able to uncover evidence of over 350 South Korean students that were swapping answers back and forth on their mobiles last week. This may not be the end of it either, they suspect up to 600,000 students in total to be involved in this type of text-message cheating. Others are being questioned for paying college students to take exams in their place using fake identification.

Cord Cutting

10. “Home phones face uncertain future.” BBC News. October 22, 2004.

According to the study, more than 45 million people in the UK, Germany, US and South Korea now only use a mobile.

. . .

In the US and Germany many of those interviewed said they used the fixed phone because it was more reliable than a mobile handset and let them get access to the net at relatively high speeds.

Social/Cultural Implications

11. Ranger, Steve. “Mobile Backup Failure Puts Friendships in Peril.” Personal Computer World. February 22, 2005.

More than one in three UK mobile phone users worry that they would lose touch with friends and contacts if they lost their mobile phones, research has claimed.

Over half of mobile users do not have a separate address book, and one in five use their mobile as their only record of phone numbers, according to research commissioned by mobile network services company Intervoice.

But the study also claims that over half of mobile users have either lost or had a phone stolen within the past three years, and a quarter have lost two or more phones in the same period.

12. Lee, Carol E. “The New Social Etiquette: Friends Don’t Let Friends Dial Drunk.” The New York Times. January 30, 2005.

But unlike its predecessors, drunk dialing usually limits itself to times long after the close of business and beyond the daily commute. It is in those dark hours of late night and wee hours of early morn, when most people have retired their cellphones for overnight charging, that intoxicated revelers flip open their cellphones and dial into regret.

13. Naughton, John. “A Generation Lost in its Personal Space.” Guardian Unlimited. January 23, 2005.

And the interesting thing is that this student is typical of his generation. The proportion of young people who never venture out in public without first putting on headphones is astonishing. And yet one rarely sees anyone over 40 similarly equipped. This will change with the maturing of generations who have grown up with headphones welded to their ears. And as a result, our concept of social space will change. Imagine the future: a crowded urban street, filled not with people interacting with one another, but with atomised individuals cocooned in their personalised sound-bubbles, moving from one retail opportunity to another. The only sounds are the shuffling of feet and the rock muzak blaring from the doorways of specialised leisurewear chains.

. . .

We haven’t really begun to explore the social significance of mobile telephony, but already some things are becoming clear. The first is that the technology provides some people with an opportunity – perhaps even an imperative – to ignore the fact that they are in a public space. This is shown by the readiness with which they enter into phone conversations that in earlier days would be seen as requiring privacy.

February 25, 2005