Posted: May 31st, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Podcasts | Tags: AT&T, attention, battery life, cell phones, college students, data plans, email, iCloud, iOS, landline phones, polling, push notifications, Siri, time | No Comments »
We discuss the value, or lack there of, of push notifications.
Are push notifications making us more and less productive? Do we need better ways to manage push notifications?
We also discuss political polling and the difference between polling landline and cell phone users.
I apologize for Jeremy’s audio quality. I blame his Internet connection (although it could be mine, but don’t tell him).
Listen to this week’s show:
Download the MP3
Posted: December 30th, 2011 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: cell phones, satellite phones, Syria | No Comments »
The Wall Street Journal reports on one man’s quest to document the truth in Syria, armed with only a satellite phone:
The role of activists such as Mr. Yousef is one reason the Syrian government has warned that owning a satellite phone is a crime. Mr. Yousef uses a Thuraya satellite phone from Turkey. He says he doesn’t know who provided it.
Today, Mr. Yousef—who is known locally as Alaa—tours the Idlib area with his satellite phone and records the dead on video, uploading his footage and accounts to Skype chat rooms and the Web. He says he has a network of 12 to 15 fellow activists who tell him about events in towns he can’t get to.
Source: The Wall Street Journal.
Posted: August 17th, 2011 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: Brian Krebs, cell phones, malware, smartphones | No Comments »
“We’d been talking about how dangerous these charging stations could be. Most smartphones are configured to just connect and dump off data,” Markus said. “Anyone who had an inclination to could put a system inside of one of these kiosks that when someone connects their phone can suck down all of the photos and data, or write malware to the device.”
Brian Krebs outlines the security risk of using cellphone recharging kiosks. Smartphones have so much data on them, much of it personal. If you have to use a charging kiosk, powering it off first may be the safest route.
This is yet another reason that I consider battery life such an important factor in a smartphone.
Posted: July 31st, 2011 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Main | Tags: cell phones, landlines, phone service, Skype, voip | No Comments »
Landline phones in college dorm rooms are quickly becoming one of those moments in time that will be featured in period films decades from now.
Being a freshmen in 2011 is a much different experience than 1952. Back then writing letters and the occasional phone call (most likely on a shared phone within your dorm) were your main forms of contact with the outside world. Now almost all college freshmen have cell phones, Skype and other phone services that allow them to call anyone at anytime.
There was a time when students had to line up to make calls via landline phones if they wanted to talk to family or significant others back home. In later years, freshmen were greeted with a landline phone and a phone call calling card when they came to campus. Just 10 years ago that was the primary way many students contacted their families back home.
But today landlines don’t make sense for most people, especially wired college freshmen. A landline phone is significantly worse from a usability experience, and that’s the primary reason that people are getting rid of them (and who needs two numbers and two bills anyway?). Try to imagine a time when your phone wasn’t something that was always on you, but rather someone that was tethered to a wall in your home.
Students can use cell phones, voip services such as Skype and other options. Better options. Cheaper, better, more usable. That’s the march of technology.
But that’s not the primary reason schools are getting rid of them. Why spends thousands or more on something that non one uses?
Landlines cost schools a lot of money, and hopefully this money can be put towards better uses. Case Western Reserve University, a small university of under 4,500 undergraduates, will be saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by getting rid of landlines in dorms. Bigger schools could be saving into the millions by cutting landlines. $18 dollars a line can add up quickly(and that doesn’t include setup costs and other IT costs):
It cost CWRU $18 per phone line per month, so discontinuing service saves roughly $280,000 a year, said Alma Sealine, director of housing.
I would question why a school hasn’t made this switch yet. Why would you keep offering a landline?
$280,000 a year is something that could be put towards improving other aspect of colleges IT. Most colleges still have email systems that are significantly worse than Gmail (how about Google Apps for all?). Maybe better online learning systems. Maybe just pocket the savings.
What do you think colleges and universities should do with these savings?