Posts tagged cell phones

Hanging up on someone is a physical act, a violent one even, one that produces its own pleasure by discharging acrimony. Like the model 500 [phone], the flip-phone supports hang ups because its form is capable of resisting them; because it can survive the force a hangup delivers. Just try to hang up your iPhone or your Samsung Galaxy. I don’t mean just ending a call, but hanging up for real, as if you meant it. For a moment you might consider throwing the handset against a wall before remembering that you shelled out three, four, five hundred dollars or more for the device, a thing you cradle in a cozy as if it were a kitten or a newborn.

Ian Bogost, The Atlantic. The End of the Hangup. 

Bogost suggests that cellular devices take the satisfaction out of hanging up — and not just because we can’t slam ‘em down without breaking them — but because we can no longer truly end a call.

He writes:

Today a true hangup — one you really meant to perform out of anger or frustration or exhaustion — is only temporary and one-sided even when it is successfully executed. Even during a heated exchange, your interlocutor will first assume something went wrong in the network, and you could easily pretend such a thing was true later if you wanted. Calls aren’t ever really under our control anymore, they “drop” intransitively. The signal can be lost, the device’s battery can deplete, the caller can accidentally bump the touch screen and end the call, the phone’s operating system can crash. The mobile hangup never signals itself as such, but remains shrouded in uncertainties.

Whether you’ve slammed down a model 500 phone or you’ve smashed your blackberry, the person on the other end of the line will only hear the “click” (or just silence) as the call ends. That considered, wasn’t the “original hangup” always one-sided and less dramatic for the hangup victim, anyway? Before cell phones, did people never assume that the person they were speaking to may have hung up on accident? Has saying a real goodbye on a cell phone become truly impossible? 

FJP: I missed out on the thrill of the model 500. I didn’t start violently hanging up on people (or even talking much on the phone) until I turned 16 in 2006, and by that time I had gotten a flip-phone. It may not have been the slickest hunk o’ plastic money could buy, but man, could that thing snap shut on an annoying phone call from my mother. I must say, now that I’m 23 and sporting an iPhone 5… it’s just not as satisfying to be rude to my mom.  Somehow, though, I think I’ll get through it. Doors still slam, you know.

It’s a shame that future tweens and teens won’t know the thrill of an authentic phone hang-up, snap, or slam, but it’s also no tragedy. Like any other technology that was popular 20+ years ago: younger generations won’t know about it, because they really don’t have to. I guess we have no choice but to leave them “shrouded in uncertainty.” — Krissy

Bonus: How Millennial are you? Behold: The Pew Research Center Millennial Quiz.

Books on the Train

Here’s an interesting library tech concept by students from the Miami Ad School. Lend library books to people who are riding the subway. Or, at least, the first 10 pages of them.

The idea is to use a technology called Near Field Communication that’s embedded in contemporary phones to swipe a bar code in a subway car to download a book sample. NFC is a low powered wireless communication system that allows devices to talk to and share information with each other.

Again, the idea is conceptual, but a fascinating innovation to introduce people to new books — and their local libraries — during the daily commute. When a person leaves the subway, they’re alerted to the nearest library branch that has the book so they can continue reading.

And it’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. The technology exists, and people are already shopping by cell phones and QR codes in South Korean subways.

A little fact checking moment on the above video though: public library use is increasing, not decreasing, according to a recent report from the Center for an Urban Future (PDF). Matter of fact, as the New York Times reports:

Over 40 million visits were paid to the New York, Brooklyn and Queens systems in the 2011 fiscal year, the center said, or more than the combined attendance at all the city’s professional sports games or major cultural institutions. The libraries circulated 69 million books and other materials and responded to 14.5 million reference questions.

But we’ll let that error slide. They are, after all, advertising — and not journalism — students.

Video: The Underground Subway, by Max Pilwat, Keri Tan and Ferdi Rodriguez.

Your teachers are onto you.
Via.

Your teachers are onto you.

Via.

Evolution of the Cell Phone
From the early 80s launch of the the Motorala DynaTAC 8000x, to the Samsung SPH-M100 Uproar’s introduction of a built in MP3 player to our next cool buzzword of the future.
Bonus points for visualizing our eventual disappointment with our latest and greatest gadgets.
Via 7itron (click through for biggie size)  

Evolution of the Cell Phone

From the early 80s launch of the the Motorala DynaTAC 8000x, to the Samsung SPH-M100 Uproar’s introduction of a built in MP3 player to our next cool buzzword of the future.

Bonus points for visualizing our eventual disappointment with our latest and greatest gadgets.

Via 7itron (click through for biggie size)  

German politician Malte Spitz went to court in order to obtain all information that his cell phone carrier Deutsche Telekom had about his activity. The results astonished him. Over the course of five months, they had tracked his geographical location and what he was doing with his phone 35,000 times.

Working with the German newspaper Die Zeit, an infographic was created that shows Spitz’s activity across an interactive timeline. This screencast shows two days from it.

Via Die Zeit:

Most people’s understanding of what can actually be done with the data provided by our mobile phones is theoretical; there were few real-world examples. That is why Malte Spitz from the German Green party decided to publish his own data collected from August 2009 to February 2010. However, to even access the information, he had to file a suit against telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom.

The data, which ZEIT ONLINE has made available for download and acts as the basis for our accompanying interactive map, were contained in a massive Excel document. Each of the 35.831 rows of the spreadsheet represents an instance when Spitz’s mobile phone transferred information over a half-year period. Seen individually, the pieces of data are mostly inconsequential and harmless. But taken together, they provide what investigators call a profile – a clear picture of a person’s habits and preferences, and indeed, of his or her life.

This profile reveals when Spitz walked down the street, when he took a train, when he was in an airplane. It shows where he was in the cities he visited. It shows when he worked and when he slept, when he could be reached by phone and when was unavailable. It shows when he preferred to talk on his phone and when he preferred to send a text message. It shows which beer gardens he liked to visit in his free time. All in all, it reveals an entire life.

The interactive can be viewed here.