Why we hate video calls

Good piece in the New Scientist about why we’ve always hated video calls: When another New York Times reporter went to Pittsburgh in mid-1971, however, he found only 33 Picturephones in operation, with just 12 able to dial outside their own buildings. Aside from impracticalities such as cost, it seemed that, against all predictions, no …

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Jack’s Hit: Apple’s Missing Socket

There’s been a lot of talk about the removal of the iPhone’s audio jack, most of it knee-jerk, albeit sometimes amusing. A sampling:  Apple Plug Fill in your archaic headphone connector with beautiful aluminium and plug yourself into the future. Apple just demonstrated why people hate the tech industry Link bait, but does quote some experts as …

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A Tale of Three Asias

Source: GfK data I’ve just been playing around with some smartphone data from GfK, which collects its data by point-of-sale (POS) tracking in 90+ markets and estimates values based on unsubsidized retail pricing — meaning I guess that these are not the prices that folk may be paying for their phones exactly, but ultimately. The chart …

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From balloons to shrimp-filled shallows, the future is wireless

From balloons to shrimp-filled shallows, the future is wireless BY JEREMY WAGSTAFF (Reuters) – The Internet may feel like it’s everywhere, but large pockets of sky, swathes of land and most of the oceans are still beyond a signal’s reach. Three decades after the first cellphone went on sale – the $4,000 Motorola DynaTAC 8000X …

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Meshing and Stacking Away from Disaster

I’m often haunted by the folk in Wall-E, the movie where humans have abandoned Earth to trash, a small waste-collecting robot and a cockroach. That’s not the bit that scares me: it’s the space-bound humans who are ferried around on pods, their eyes permanently glued to a screen in front of them. Is this, I …

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WhatsApp: Silly Money or New Front in the Platform Wars?

It’s been a few days since Facebook announced to the world it had bought WhatsApp. And Rakuten bought Viber. You are forgiven if only one of those names rings a bell. so while I’m at it, let me throw in a few more: WeChat, LINE, KakaoTalk. Nimbuzz. Mig33. Fring. Telegram. Tango. OK, that’s enough names. …

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Taxi Dating Apps?

I’ve been meeting a better class of taxi driver lately. It’s been made possible by something called GrabTaxi, which I have begun to think of as a dating app for passengers and taxi drivers. Of course, it’s not really, that would be weird. But it kind of is. It’s just one of many apps and …

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Smartwatches: Coming Soon to a Cosmos Near You

This is a column I did for the BBC World Service, broadcast this week.  There’s been a lot of talk that the big boys — by which I mean Apple and Samsung — are about to launch so-called smart watches. But how smart does a watch have to be before we start strapping them to …

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Myanmar’s mobile revolution too slow for many

A piece I wrote from Yangon on the state of mobile communications in Myanmar Mobile revolution in Myanmar is on the cards, but too slow for many | Reuters: Myanmar is on the cusp of a mobile revolution. Only it’s happening way too slowly for many locals. Last week the government invited expressions of interest …

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