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’ »

How to Rip People Off Like Disney World

If you’ve ever visited Disney World, or some other overpriced resorts (last year I visited Warwick Castle and Legoland in the UK, both appallingly people-traps) you’ll have done what I did: vow never to come back. Of course, the companies running these places both know that and don’t care — which is why they are …

Continue reading ‘How to Rip People Off Like Disney World’ »

The Sleazy Practice of Internal Linking

It’s a small bugbear but I find it increasingly irritating, and I think it reflects a cynical intent to mislead on the part of the people who do it, so I’m going to vent my spleen on it: websites which turn links in their content, not to the site itself, but to another page on …

Continue reading ‘The Sleazy Practice of Internal Linking’ »

The Connections Our Buttons Make

Once we create all that attention data, think of the whacky things we can do with it. I’ve been banging on about attention data for a while now, and I apologise. (For an explanation and a bit of background, go here.) But I can’t help seeing stuff through that prism nowadays. Like this camera called …

Continue reading ‘The Connections Our Buttons Make’ »

Mossberg

Ken Auletta writes about Walt Mossberg in the New Yorker: clipped from www.newyorker.com Eric Schmidt suggests that, while the Internet may yield enormous amounts of information, it is easy to drown in it. So consumers, Schmidt says, “go to brands they trust.” He adds, “Walt is a brand.”

Clock Shock

For those of you who can’t get out of bed in the morning, the alarm clock that outwits you is finally here. I mentioned Clocky in a WSJ column more than a year ago in talking about the problems of ignored alarms: Efforts to overcome this problem have been inventive, but rarely successful, says Gauri …

Continue reading ‘Clock Shock’ »

Traffic Part II: Rules That Don’t Work

Traffic is all about rules. But which rules work, and which don’t? A smart planner will always be observing rules and seeing how they might work better. Lifts, for example, have never been optimized for how people organise themselves inside the lift. Buildings will often arrange lines for getting into a lift, but not for what …

Continue reading ‘Traffic Part II: Rules That Don’t Work’ »

How to Poison Someone on the Cheap

Intrigued and disturbed by reports that the former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko may have been killed by radiation poisoning, I couldn’t help wondering how something like that was done? How easy would it be to get your hands on Polonium-210, the chemical element? Quite easy, it turns out. If you’re in the U.S., or have someone with …

Continue reading ‘How to Poison Someone on the Cheap’ »

Your Watch Is Ringing

Jiji Press of Japan is reporting (can’t find any link for this) that Seiko Instruments “has developed a prototype of a wristwatch that alerts the wearer to mobile phone calls.” The watch uses Bluetooth to monitor a cell phone and vibrates or sounds an alarm when a call comes in. Useful, I guess, if you …

Continue reading ‘Your Watch Is Ringing’ »