Tag Archives: mobile phones

Landline users are very different from mobile users

The politics of this is immaterial to us at the Interchange Project, but the findings are fascinating:

Political pollsters have been under pressure to make sure their samples include Americans who rely solely on cell phones—and the latest NBC News/Marist polls of Florida, Ohio and Virginia exhibit why.

As NBC’s First Read flags, Romney narrowly pulls ahead in Florida among voters who were polled over landlines—48 percent to 45 percent. But among cell phone respondents only, Obama has a major lead: 57 percent to 34 percent.


Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 will automatically update (and why all browsers and OSes should too)

Funeral IE6

Many Web developers and designers still design websites with Internet Explorer 6 in mind, despite the browser being 10 years old and lacking standards support or support for semi-modern features, all while being saddled with massive security issues (I do not still design for IE 6 personally).

The Web was launched in 1991. That’s only 20 years ago, and the Web is rapidly moving space. Despite this, Microsoft sat on IE 6 for years, not releasing IE 7 until more than five years later. It wasn’t until IE 8, however, that Microsoft put out a fairly competent browser. IE 9 looks to be by far the best version yet, and the best feature is that once people get on IE 9, they’ll automatically get new versions. A more secure Web browsing experience should follow, and Web standards should be supported much quicker.

We can make all the advances we want with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and other Web technologies, but as long as millions of computer users are using outdated Web browsers, often unknowingly, the Web will not advance quickly, affecting all of us. All Web browsers should support automatic updating by default (power users and system administrators should be able to turn this feature off).

Both Chrome and Firefox already support automatic updating, and this feature should help ensure that we don’t have a large percentage of Web users using an old browser. Geek.com has an article detailing some of the benefits:

Ryan Gavin, Microsoft’s senior director for Internet Explorer, pointed out several benefits. The overall security of the Windows user community will be improved as outdated browsers are replaced, developers can focus their attention on building sites using modern web code, and those who surf with IE will be able to enjoy the full Beauty of the Web.

Why don’t people update? Most people don’t know how to update, or they don’t know why they should update. If you’re in the middle of watching a video or writing a paper, do you really want to install updates and restart your computer? Of course not, and it’s silly that a pop-up message telling you that you have updates while you are in the middle of something important is considered a good idea from software companies.

While you’d be surprised at how many people click ignore when their computers or applications tell them that updates are available, it’s not that surprising when updating mechanisms have been so intrusive. In contrast, Chrome and Firefox update in the background. Users never know this is happening.

By making these updates automatic, these issues go away. This is more than just about getting more people with browsers that support the latest features; it’s really about making sure that people are surfing the Web securely. Your Web browser is by far the biggest vulnerability on your computer, and it’s much more important that you surf the Web with an up-to-date Web browser than it is for you to have the latest version of iPhoto.

If you’re computer, identity or bank accounts are comprised, there is a good possibility part of the reason was because you were using an old browser with security flaws that could be exploited or a browser that didn’t have automatic phishing detection or other security features.

My main browser is the latest version of Safari for Mac OS 10.7 without Flash installed (Flash is a major security vulnerability and performance decreaser). I wish Apple did automatic updating. Not for users like me who always update to the latest software immediately (sometimes too quickly) but for other people who never update their software.

While Mac OS 10.7 does download updates in the background, including to Safari, it doesn’t install them. This is a usability hurdle. If an update is critical, particularly for security and stability, it should automatically happen in the background. Windows 7 does support automatic updating, but it’s not on by default.

That’s backwards. The power users and system administrators who don’t want automatic updating know how to turn it off. The average computer user isn’t going to know to turn on this feature.

We’re making strides when it comes to usability with software updates. Mobile phones can update over the air, without needing to be tethered to a computer. More applications can updates themselves automatically. We’re getting there.

1/4th of Starbucks transactions are done with a card, including mobile

Update: This post has been updated to reflect the fact that Mashable got the story wrong. One in four transactions are not done with mobile. Instead, one in four transactions are done with Starbucks cards. A large and growing percentage of those card transactions are done via mobile (the mobile app functions like a Starbucks card that you can reload and set limits on).

Mashable is reporting that one in four Starbucks transactions are done with a card, including the  mobile app:

Less than a year after Starbucks launched an app that allows mobile payments, it has hosted 26 million such transactions on iOS, BlackBerry and Android, according to the chain. One in four Starbucks transactions is now executed via mobile.

We’re not too many years away from a day when it will be rare for people to carry around wallets. People will be able to pay with their phones for everything, and merchants will be able to use mobile phones and tablets to accept payments.

Near Field Communication (NFC) technology was supposed to the dominant way that people make mobile purchases, but the vast majority of mobile phones do not come with this technology. Companies such as Starbucks are finding end arounds to this limitation by creating apps that allow customers to make payments.

Forget going to a cashless society; we’re headed to a wallet-less society.

Source: Mashable.

Episode 1: The Beginning

Every story has a beginning. This is ours.

The first episode of the Interchange Project is rough around the edges. It’s lightly edited, at best. It doesn’t even have intro and outro music. It starts a bit slow, but we begin to find our groove once we get going.

This is a soft launch. We want your feedback. What do you like about this episode and concept? What don’t you like?

What the Interchange Project is today is far different than it will be even a month from now. We want this to be a show where you can get meaningful news and discussion around technology, media, information, usability, design and the social sciences.

Join your hosts Patrick Thornton and Jeremy Littau, as we look at how technology intersects with the liberal arts.

Below you’ll find the show notes, which are the topics we talked about, complete with links if applicable.

Listen to this week’s podcast

Download the MP3

Show notes: