Tag Archives: Uncategorized

Does voicemail cripple our social agility?

Think about how many people you email during a day. How many people do you telephone?

In the average workplace, especially the mobile-enabled workplace, your phone is likely to display the caller’s ID, name or telephone number. This lets you know whether your boss, wife, husband, daughter, or a salesperson is calling, and it lets you decide whether to answer it or not.

Think about what it was like before voicemail and caller ID. Think of old movies. A person would walk to the ringing telephone on the wall, and fix a dreamy smile into space as they answered “hello?”. There was no pre-cognition. The call could be the postal service, or news of a loved ones’ death, or a simple friendly chat from Aunt Bea. They had to be prepared for anything and deal with it to their best ability.

Today, we’re able to look at the caller ID, and get excited, or nervous, or angry, and decide how we’re going to conduct the conversation before we even pick it up.

We enter the conversation pre-disposed by our conception of what the caller might want or need. Not necessarily as a blank page, greeting the caller optimistically and without bias. 

Before, if you were in the middle of writing a letter, and someone called to chat, you would have to either talk with the person or use all your best social graces to guide the conversation toward a pleasant close.

Now, you don’t need to keep those graces sharp, because caller ID lets you pre-filter who you’re ready and willing to talk to, every time.

Try turning off caller ID, and see how more alert you have to become.


First thought on the iPhone 3G: Only for some


The new iPhone 3G was announced June 9, and it comes out July 11. The wow factor is not so great. The new phone does in fact use 3G, which means you can get near-wi-fi speed data almost anywhere you are on the AT&T 3G network. You can read some of Robert Scoble’s thoughts on it as well.

New and improved with 3G?
Sort of. If you watch a lot of YouTube or other Web videos on your phone, it will be cool. If you snap and send a lot of picture emails from your iPhone (rapid Flickr dumping), you could use it. But for basic email, or pulling up a Google search? Not a huge benefit.

New Case?
The iPhone 3G has a slightly thicker, but more contoured case, that “feels even better in your hand” according to Steve Jobs. It’s pretty cool looking in all-black plastic (or a white option for the 16GB version) with metal buttons. It also has a flush-mounted headphone jack – so you can use any headphones with it, or plug your iPhone into a stereo just like any other iPod without using a jack adapter.

Price Drop?
Be aware: this is a subsidized price drop – which means AT&T is paying for the part of the phone that you’re not paying for — and they’ll be getting the extra money out of you over time. Here’s how:

The current $399/$499 iPhone requires AT&T voice plan + $20 for unlimited email/data ($59.99/month minimum)

The new $199/$299 iPhone 3G requires AT&T voice plan + $30 for unlimited email/data.

You have to sign a new 2-year contract for the iPhone. So that extra $10 per month over 2 more years adds up to an extra $240 to AT&T. That means the $199/$299 price is really $439/$539 compared with the current phone + plan cost. If the plan price isn’t as important to you as the purchase price, well then, yes, you can tell yourself it’s cheaper.

Existing iPhone users will get the software 2.0 upgrade for free, with Exchange mail, games, the iPhone App Store, and the other improvements. 

Bottom line?
Yes, it’s cool. But if you don’t need 3G speed or a flush-mounted headphone jack, you won’t be saving money with the iPhone 3G. Except for 3G speed, all the software improvements to the iPhone are coming to the first generation as well.

Leaving the McMansion for the Small Life

Moving from a big house to smaller apartment-type accommodations might actually add to your quality of life. I realize that a large family does require more space but for the rest of us, small just might do. Here are some benefits to owning a smaller home…read more | digg story

iPhone JavaScript Interface with Digg API

This guy David has come up with a proof of concept for a Javascript Web version of the iPhone interface. Play with it and see what you think. The Digg navigation is lovely.read more | digg story

Thinking Bloggers R us

Thinking Blogger awardWow! Well that was cool! Laughing Giant has been nominated for a Thinking Blogger award! Thanks to Smug Puppies and all the other readers who follow the Giant Steps.

In the spirit of paying it forward, here are the 5 thinking blogs that keep me going and thinking:
Anil Dash: great thoughts on the power of blogging, linking, and the social Web we weave. He is truly a “witness” to Web 2.0.
Glass House: I don’t always agree with Frank, but he’s excellent at clearly laying out his point, and he always has one. Plus, he’s interesting.
Cabel’s Blog LOL: Cabel is just whacked, and that’s part of what makes him brilliant. He can write arias about Xbox bugs and still develop things like Coda.
Scobleizer: the geekiest hipster I know. I don’t know where this guy gets his exuberance or his energy.
Signal vs. Noise: The best blog about the stuff I like from the company that nevers ceases to amaze me.


Simplicity and quality

Tivoli Model One by Kenry KlossRecently, a friend of mine suggested I to think about what it is I want to accomplish in the next three years. I said I’d like to do what I can to make things simpler, easier, and more efficient in my life and work.

The things that attract me and get me going and keep me moving these days are those that are simple and beautiful. Make something good. Make it do what it should. Don’t clutter. Get rid of the rest. This is why I read Khoi Vinh.

We recently moved into a new house that’s quite a bit smaller than our last one, and older, but much higher quality. It’s got wood floors and paned windows. I like it better already. We had to get rid of a bunch of stuff in order to move, but some of it we replaced with things we liked better. I gave away two sets of big, wooden Pioneer speakers from my college days and a worn-out receiver, and now we use my little Henry Kloss radio from Tivoli. It looks great and it sounds great and it’s all we need.

More and more, I’m finding myself drawn to these things. Material things aren’t everything, but everyone needs a certain amount of them. Think about it: what material things in your life is exactly right, and what would you get rid of to make them right?

* There are hundreds of Mp3 players out there, but there’s only iPod.
* There are lots of pocket knives out there, but only one Swiss Army
* There are lots of computers you could buy, but only one Mac.

Etc. I ‘ve got my own lists. You’ve probably got yours too.

You don’t need more stuff. You just need the right stuff.

Geeking out with geeks at Web2Expo

.Robert Scoble, Thomas Hawk, Chris PirilloI’m sitting here in the panel discussion by Robert Scoble of Podtech, Thomas Hawk of Zooomr, and Chris Pirillo of LockerGnome all talking about podcasting, videoblogging, writing and more