The Siri Thing

I was asked to pen a few lines for a Guardian journalist on why I thought Siri was male  in the U.S. and female in the UK. My quote was taken a tad out of context and so offended some folk who either didn’t know I was a technology columnist who makes a living out …

Continue reading ‘The Siri Thing’ »

Media’s Future: Retail

(This is a copy of my weekly newspaper column, distributed by Loose Wire Service) By Jeremy Wagstaff As you no doubt know, Rupert Murdoch has decided to put up a front door on the The Times’ website, demanding a modest toll for reading the online content. Needless to say this has prompted laughter among those …

Continue reading ‘Media’s Future: Retail’ »

Google’s Suicide Watch

I don’t really know what to make of this, but I occasionally trawl Google Search Trends/Insights to see what people are looking for, and whether they’re changing much over the past few years. This seems to me to be as good an indicator of things as anything else. I did it back in 2005 with …

Continue reading ‘Google’s Suicide Watch’ »

The Alarm Clock is Dead, Long Live the Cellphone

Gadgets, like software and services, often end up being used in ways the creator didn’t intend. But how many companies make the most of this opportunity? Take the cellphone. More than a third of Brits use their mobile phone as an alarm clock, according to a survey by British hotel chain Travelodge (thanks textually.org): Budget …

Continue reading ‘The Alarm Clock is Dead, Long Live the Cellphone’ »

The Rise of the “How To” Movie

Screencasting goes commercial? I’m a huge fan of screencasting — short “movies”, most often of what you’re doing on your PC as a easier way of explaining how to use a piece of software — and I think it has huge potential. (Here’s a loose wire directory of screencasting stuff.) So it’s not much of …

Continue reading ‘The Rise of the “How To” Movie’ »

What Can’t Be Automated

Here’s why it’s important to have smart humans at some point in the chain. I just received this email from FlowersDirect, a UK online flower delivery service, which I use quite a bit. Too much, as it turns out: Many thanks for your recent order. However, there appears to be two very similar orders on …

Continue reading ‘What Can’t Be Automated’ »

Why Can’t Brits Dial The Right Number?

Exactly a month after my first one, I just got another SkypeIn miscall to my UK number. The guy was very apologetic, but what is it with us Brits that we can’t dial the right number? It also made me realise there’s no way to mute the call or divert it to voicemail on Skype. …

Continue reading ‘Why Can’t Brits Dial The Right Number?’ »

Bluetooth And The Art Of Sex

Is Bluetooth helping Brits meet each other and have sex? Apparently, according to WIRED, which reports on a new craze called ‘toothing’ (couldn’t they have come up with something sexier?). Toothing involves using the Bluetooth feature in a cellphone — used to transfer data between one Bluetooth device and another, without wires — to send …

Continue reading ‘Bluetooth And The Art Of Sex’ »

SMS Turns Brits Into Sneaky Sleazeballs Shock

It looks like SMS is turning us into nasty people. Or is it? Freever, a European SMS content provider (and, incidentally, a candidate for world’s most graphic-heavy website) has just released a survey (PDF file) that shows Brits in a pretty poor light: cowardly, careless and sneaky. Here are some of the results: 51% of …

Continue reading ‘SMS Turns Brits Into Sneaky Sleazeballs Shock’ »

News: Cambodia’s Boiler Room Scammers

Cambodia has repatriated 20 foreigners arrested last week for their involvement in the country’s first telecom scam, CNET reports. They comprised 14 Britons, two Americans and several Australian, New Zealand, Thai and Philippine nationals. Operating out of Cambodia, the group had cold-called people all over the world using cheap Internet phone connections to lure them …

Continue reading ‘News: Cambodia’s Boiler Room Scammers’ »