Cell Phone Etiquette – someone should really make some rules

Cell Phones are everywhere; nearly all of us have one. In fact during an earlier post on wordless Thursday, we did manage to look at the overall numbers of cell phones and usage statistics which were quite shocking. So, it is absolutely great right, everyone has a cell phone, loved ones are closer? Yes it is. But like everything good in this world when it comes to technology, there is a dark side. Cell phone etiquette.

People somehow do not really seem to know when is it acceptable and not acceptable to use a cell phone. Although I know some of you might think that it’s a free world and there are no written rules for cell phone usage, I still believe that some people should have. Mind you I am not talking about life safety here, like talking on the phone while driving, or using your phone during your wedding anniversary (ask me, it is life threatening), but generally using the phone, the when, where and how. Good cell phone etiquette involves following some simple guidelines of common courtesy when using a cell phone in public, designed to make those spaces enjoyable to all.

I want you to turn off your cell phone

All of us have been annoyed by the guys who talk like their voice would reach the other person even without the phone, the guys who think that technology is still in the late 80’s where we had to scream into the mouthpiece of a wired phone, inside a booth lovingly also known as the Standard Trunk Dial Booth (STD). Yes, we are told the issues that they have even if we don’t really want to hear about it. Be it Private conversations, arguments of details of meetings or even what they just are, things that don’t really want to know. Add to this inappropriate ringtones in places where they are not to be used.

People these days put up sign boards for people not to use their cell phones in certain places, like places of worship, government offices, meetings etc. But you do have the regular rings from the careless people. So people have actually got fed up and have started installing cell phone jammers in these places. These devices knock cell phone users off their lines and prevent a reconnection with the cell tower until the user wanders out of range. The rate at which jammers are selling speaks to the lack of manners among the chatters. If you’re wondering what you can do to contribute to a more polite society, cell phone etiquette can be boiled down to 7 simple guidelines according to me:

1. When a Private Conversation Isn’t Possible. Intimate public settings such as restaurants, public restrooms, waiting rooms, hallways, buses, subways or anywhere a private conversation is not possible is a bad place for a cell phone conversation. To practice good cell phone etiquette, put the ringer on vibrate or silent mode and let the call roll over to voice mail. If it’s an important call, step outside or to a secluded area to return the call. If that’s not possible and you must take the call, keep your voice low and the conversation brief. Let the caller know you’ll get back to them when you’re able.

2. Lights Out, Phone Off. Phones should be turned off in movie theaters, playhouses, observatories or any other public place that creates an atmosphere to transport the imagination of the audience. People pay good money to be entertained and a ringer breaks the illusion.

3. Modulate Your Voice. Cell phones have sensitive microphones that can pick up a very soft voice while blocking out ambient noise. Yelling into a cell phone is not necessary. When people are nearby, be considerate and keep your voice low, your tone unemotional and even, and your conversation private. Arguing or airing dirty laundry in public is very poor human behavior let alone cell phone etiquette.

4. Observe the 10-foot Proximity Rule. Maintain a distance of at least 10-feet (3 meters) from the nearest person when talking on a cell phone. No matter how quietly you speak, if standing too close to others they are forced to overhear your personal business.

5. Love the One you’re with. It’s rude to take a cell phone call on a date or during a social engagement with others. It’s also inconsiderate to take a call in the middle of a conversation. If the caller were present he or she would likely wait to politely interrupt at a more appropriate time. Let the call roll to voice mail and return it later.

6. Drive Now, Talk Later. Multitasking isn’t always a good thing. Some evidence shows that accidents are on the rise due to cell phone use. Most calls can wait until you’ve reached your destination, and if a call is upsetting or distracting pull over to have the conversation.

7. Use Common Sense. Turn off your phone before a job interview, presentation, or boardroom meeting. Leave it off at funerals, weddings, or anyplace a quiet atmosphere is mandated, such as a courthouse, library, museum, or place of worship.

Cell phone etiquette is just a matter of being considerate of others, which pays off for everyone; sooner or later.

 

Blackberry Gives in, What will TRA do now ?

Continuing on the hottest topic this week, Blackberry services are destined to be blocked in the UAE by the 11th of October 2010, and Etisalat and Du are coming up with attractive options for the users who are using the service at the moment, I tried to do my bit, when I wrote about the alternatives you can use in case the service does get blocked. But in a bizarre twist of events, Blackberry along with the lunch of their new device the Blackberry Pearl 9105 and the new OS, OS6 have also made another announcement. They have decided to allow government agencies to snoop into the email and messenger services.

Continue reading Blackberry Gives in, What will TRA do now ?

Blackberry and beyond – Alternatives

Just on the heals of the announcement of the TRA that the Blackberry services are going to be blocked by TRA and Etisalat and Du are going to follow the instructions given to them to do so. I would like to mention how bad the decision is in terms of trying to keep up with technology and an image in the middle east. Dubai has spent the better half of the last 10 years trying to make itself a global destination for everything from travel to business. So it would seem that a decision to block a key technology element would hamper that image. In fact like I have mentioned before, I think that this is a huge scam considering that the telecom providers were pushing the blackberry at discounted prices just a couple of months back. I find it highly unlikely that the telco companies did not know about the oncoming ban from TRA well in advance. Is it just me or does anyone else smell a conspiracy here ?

But wait, before the sun could rise on another day, solutions have started emerging with blackberry users in the UAE, to achieve close to the same functionality of the Blackberry services. All these software and apps have been trying to break into your Blackberry vying for your attention. But with Blackberry services being available it was difficult. Anyway, before I get into the Apps and where you can find them, I would like to share the response from Du regarding the Blockage from TRA. Check out the response as well as my two cents here below.

Continue reading Blackberry and beyond – Alternatives

Governments do not like BlackBerry

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of UAE today announced that they are looking to ban all blackberry services from the 11th of October. The services include BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry Mail and BlackBerry Web browsing services. It is strange to think that a country that is positioning itself to be the financial and cultural hub of the middle east should take up a stand of this nature. It has been issued as a warning earlier from the TRA that the suspension is a result of the failure of ongoing attempts, dating back to 2007, to bring BlackBerry services in the UAE in line with UAE telecommunications regulations. The TRA said that it was working with Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of the BlackBerry smartphones, to resolve “serious social, judicial and national security” issues with the popular devices.

Thinking about Serious Social, Judicial and National Security issues, well I think its a bit far fetched that the service provided by RIM would be a threat. To be honest, well there might be a misuse of the service by some people, but having said that there are a million, gazillion other forms of communication available online and most of those as well, the data is placed outside the U.A.E. Apparently its not just the U.A.E.

Continue reading Governments do not like BlackBerry

Nokia imagines technology in 2015

[tweetmeme] What does the future look like? Gadgets without keyboards, touchscreen devices, and phones that feature augmented reality, GPS, web browsing, and more. See for yourself in the video below.

Although clearly just concepts at this point, the devices shown in the animated video paint a picture of how we’ll be using devices and services. Connecting to TV, so we can share TV watching experiences with people on the other side of the world, or even using the mobile device as a projector. Contextual awareness plays a big part too, with the device working together with the cloud, both pulling information down to the device, and also sending information back.

Take the fisherman in India. Not only is he using his device to get the best prices for his fish, but he’s making extra money by selling his data to overseas universities who can tap into his and other fishermen’s information for their research.

It might not be a single device either. We saw an example of the user who’s main device is his mobile computer, acts as a satnav and a multimedia centre – much as our devices do today. However Mr 2015 also has a smaller, sub device which he can use for sport. With the same interface as his main device, and the addition of the cloud, means he can move seamlessly between the two.

Of course, this is all still conceptual, but we can see easily how the services and strategy being laid down today form the backbone of the lives we’ll be living tomorrow.

Nokia again with Self Charging Phones

[tweetmeme] A few days back I wrote about Nokia Research center working on a prototype technology that would allow cell phones to charge using the radio airwaves that so many radio  transmitters like wifi, radio and GSM use.

Nokia is a genuine game player when it comes to modernizing mobile communication. When just everything is being designed to run on alternative form of energy, it’s fitting that even the mobile phones are set on route. For this, the cellphone maker has filed a US patent application for a phone that can work continuously without requiring to be plugged into a wall socket for a recharge.

The patent is for a self charging phone, which would harvest energy from its owner’s motion. This will be possible courtesy built-in piezoelectric generators that would be placed to help generate electricity from kinetic energy. The phone will have all the heavier components, such as the radio transmitter circuit and battery, supported on a sturdy frame. The frame will be able to move along two sets of rails. Piezoelectric crystals sit on the end of each rail and generate a current whenever the cellphone is moved. So as the user walks, or otherwise moves the phone, electricity is generated to recharge the onboard battery.

A lot of people actually are these days talking about how Nokia is loosing its grip on the cellphone market and the high end innovation is no longer coming from Nokia. However, with technologies like these there seems to be a ray of hope for Nokia to walk back into the hearts of the skeptics. The fact that the iPhone and other high end phones still cost more than they do in the United States in most of the world will definitely give Nokia the time they need. What do you think ?

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Nokia charging phone with thin air …

[tweetmeme] We all have had Nokia Phones at some time, and we always have loved them for their robust nature along with their ease of use. A lot of people mention that with the new technologies in the world, Nokia has sort of lost its relevance. I think on the other hand Nokia is looking at different markets than the giant that it has become, iPhone and the Phone that aspires to be the Giant, the Motorola Droid, or the Google Nexus One.

As long as technology is moving on, so is the need for more juice in the batteries of the phones. More requirement for the power means that there will be more advancements required in batteries; or charging for the batteries. What if you dont really have to charge them at all, I mean physically. Ofcourse there are ways, like kinetic energy transformation, solar energy etc. But here’s another concept; Like Nokia I have always been wondering about how much energy is in the air all around us, I am not talking about the energy of people; but more to do with energy of wireless radio systems. Be it FM transmitting radio, GSM signals, Wi-Fi Signals or terrestrial radio systems. What if we could tap into that power to enable mobile phones to pick up the charging of the batteries from there. Completely wireless, and completely practical.

I guess what needs to be worked out is how long it will take to tap this power and how long can you charge the phone with this. Well Nokia is at it again, their innovation well not really aimed at high end phones but mostly innovation like these. Nokia Research center is working on a solution that will help the cause of wireless charging.

Nokia

A new prototype charging system from the company is able to power itself on nothing more than ambient radiowaves – the weak TV, radio and mobile phone signals that permanently surround us. The power harvested is small but it is almost enough to power a mobile in standby mode indefinitely without ever needing to plug it into the mains, according to one of the researchers who developed the device at the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge, UK. The concept is being worked upon by different fronts, old crystal radio sets and more recently modern radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, increasingly used in shipping and as antitheft devices, are powered purely by radiowaves.

The difference with Nokia’s prototype is that instead of harvesting tiny amounts of power (a few microwatts) from dedicated transmitters, Nokia claims it is able to scavenge relatively large amounts of power — around a thousand times as much — from signals coming from miles away. Individually the energy available in each of these signals is miniscule. But by harvesting radiowaves across a wide range of frequencies it all adds up. Such wireless transfer of energy was first demonstrated by Nikola Tesla in 1893, who was so taken with the idea he attempted to build an intercontinental transmission tower to send power wirelessly across the Atlantic. Nokia’s device is somewhat less ambitious and is made possible thanks to a wide-band antenna and two very simple circuits. The antenna and the receiver circuit are designed to pick up a wide range of frequencies — from 500 megahertz to 10 gigahertz — and convert the electromagnetic waves into an electrical current, while the second circuit is designed to feed this current to the battery to recharge it.

Wireless charging is not intended as a sole energy source, but rather to be used in conjunction with other energy harvesting technologies, such as handset casings embedded with solar cell materials. According to Technology Review magazine, the phone could be on the market in three to five years.

In the meantime, there are other companies who are working on similar concepts  for charging devices wirelessly using the ambient radio waves. At CES 2010, RCA introduced something even better that’s going to be available way sooner: a dongle that tops up your mobile device’s battery via WiFi signals. Notice I didn’t say that it only tops up your cell phone battery; according to RCA reps, this little fella will work with just about all of your mobile devices.

The attachment is efficient enough that it actually provides a noticeable boost to your battery, and given enough time it will charge it to the max. Other similar gizmos have provided only a weak top-up charge at best, so this is a huge improvement. And what’s even better is that the device will be available for around $40 in the summer of 2010. Soon, as long as you’re in an urban environment or around a WiFi router, worrying about your phone’s charge will be the last thing on your mind.

The future applications of the technology are exciting as well. In 2011, RCA expects to release batteries with the WiFi charging capability built right in. There’s no word yet on how much those will cost, but does it matter? The prospect of never having to plug your phone in again will probably be enough to have them flying off of the shelves. Video Included.

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Now your face is your Business Card

[tweetmeme] Interestingly, I wrote about the Augmented Reality Business Card a few days back talking about how Augmented Reality is getting into business cards in ways that makes them more interesting and really awesome. Check out the previous post on the same here. Well now, Polarrose has come up with a solution where one’s face can be used now as a Social Business Card along with TAT (The Astonishing Tribe).

The concept video from Polar Rose on You tube has received over 400,000 views so far as the “Augmented ID” combines Augmented Reality and with Face Recognition, to deliver the worlds first AR application that recognizes people seen by the mobile phone’s camera in realtime and displays icons around their heads with direct links to the person’s profiles on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Slideshare and others.

The technology is breakthrough because it will help designers now look to more than just the ugly black marks (sort of ugly) to pull up Augmented Information, if it can work with faces (Which are quite complex) they can be used with normal shapes such as brand logos, objects etc.

The first biggest step since the introduction of the Augmented Reality technological previews.