Posts Tagged: text

Mobile: What is the best / most beautiful / most innovative / most creative use of a mobile phone recently?

Eight years ago, I conducted a survey on the creative use of mobile devices by creative professionals, which became the research base for my Masters thesis: Moleskine to Mobile.

But that was 8 whole years ago, which in mobile or technology time was practically before the dawn of Mammals. In the last few years, it seems many people have settled into the mobile version of humdrum suburbia: iPhone photos uploaded to Instagram, sharing updates to Facebook, making a video of one’s favorite pet/child/drunkfriend and uploading it to YouTube, or just letting others do it while one watches, etc.

Much like any supposed boring suburbia, there has got to be something interesting going on behind the facade of your mobile’s casing…

People! What is the best and/or most interesting, innovative, beautiful, creative use of a mobile that you have done, seen, heard of, have a link to in the last few months or year? Even if what you think is not really that interesting, but you haven’t told anyone else you are doing it, let me know.

Yes, you, photographer, artist, DJ, musician, banker, teacher, couch potato, maker, creator, builder, I am talking to you. Don’t be shy. If it isn’t you, then tell me about your creative friend. If it is you, share what you have been up to with your mobile. Doesn’t matter if it is a smartphone, feature phone, or super basic phone…

2014 – Let me know. Post the link to your or someone you know of’s creative/innovative activity with there mobile phone. Comment here or tweet a link to me @msjen.


Nokia Connects has a fun program / award called MVC – Most Valued Connector (which really should be Most Valued Creative), wherein a group of us nominate folks who are doing cool and amazing things with their Nokia Lumia mobile phones or helping folks connect in some way thereof.

On top of wanting to see what y’all have been up to with any mobile phones, if you or a friend is doing some cool, creative stuffs with their Nokia Lumia phone, please send me the link so that I can recommend them for a nomination.

Y’all rock!

It is November 1st and it is NaBloPoMo again!

National Blog Posting Month

Yes, folks… depending on your persuasion November 1st could mean for you that it is rabbit rabbit rabbit time, All Saints Day, first day to start your mustache for Movember, or the start of National Blog Posting Month, or some other good thing.
Here at Black Phoebe, I am going to do my best to blog away happily and jump start my daily blogging practice again.
The nice BlogHer folk at NaBloPoMo have stated: “The theme for November’s NaBloPoMo is blogging for blogging’s sake.”
Yay! So here I am, blogging for blogging’s sake! Rather than tweeting for tweeting’s sake, of which I will do when I push publish on this post to encourage folks participate in NaBloPoMo.
Blogs away!

I Redesigned the Front Page of, Favoring Photos Front Page Redesign

Today, after much thought, I decided to experiment with redesigning the front page of Previous to today, it was a shorter variation of the Black Phoebe :: Ms. Jen blog theme, as of today, it is now one large background photo with a semi-transparent left sidebar with various navigation bits to get around.
I have been wanting for at least the last four years to find a way to feature my mobile phone photography without giving up the usual blog front page of chronological ordering of at least eight blog posts, as I like readers to see the choices available and not to pigeon hole Black Phoebe as only a photo blog. About four years ago, I solved the problem by making the entry page be the most recent post from this blog plus a set of the most important links to this blog, recent entries links, the about page, and my master’s thesis on Mobile.
Many photo blogs have one big photo with a few links to recent posts or possibly a short set of excerpts in the footer. I love this layout style, but I don’t want to prioritize image over text. This point of this blog since its inception in April of 2003 was to feature image and text equally. How to manage this goal structurally and visually?
I want to feature my passion for mobile phone & (D)SLR photography with at least one showcase for my favorite photo of the week or day or whatever. And I want to feature the text-based articles, reviews, and humorous pieces that I write. One of the things that I like about the Movable Type software is that the templating system is very robust and allows me to set up a template where just one post from a certain author with a certain tag is shown.
Today I changed around the templates for the entry page to have the most recent moblogged (mobile blogged) photo to this blog be the feature photo as the whole 100% of the page background photo. I also took out the blog post area, footer, and reduced the left hand sidebar down to the bare essentials.
I am going to try this out for awhile. I may also try adding a footer with a few recent entries summaries as well to balance out the big image, but for now I will try out image only.
Please let me know how it looks on your mobile or iPhone and if you are using an older version of IE, such as IE6, as my IE testing machine is currently out on loan.
Let me know what you think.
p.s. For the 100% background image, I tried a CSS only solution with no javascript for better cross-browser/cross-device rendering. Please do report how it works on your mobile and any older browser versions.

AT&T Feature Request : Web Based Text/SMS

The year I lived in Ireland, for grad school, I had an account with Vodafone IE.  The only thing that I really like about Vodafone IE, other than they had the best data coverage all around Ireland in 2005-2006, was the web based sms/text messaging.

Everyone who had a Vodafone account, be it a pay as you go or a monthly tariff, could log into the Vodafone IE website and send up to 300 texts a month from their web based account area free of charge.  This was a win-win for both Vodafone and for the customer.  A win for Vodafone in that their customers were logging into their web site daily, if not staying logged in the whole time they were at a computer.  And a big win for the customer, esp. the pay as you go folks, as they got 300 free sms/texts a month if they were logged in to their account on the Vodafone website.

I wish AT&T in the US would have this.  I hate texting.  Really, I do.  I hate sending texts and I hate receiving them.  I mostly hate receiving them as it means I am obligated to reply.  I am phone call and email kind-of-gal, but I have plenty of friends and family members whose first preference of communication is sms/text. 

If AT&T would give me 300 free texts to any mobile phone, and not just another AT&T subscriber, a month if I was logged into my account on, then as a person who is at her computer all day & most nights, I would send a lot more texts.  It would be convenient to send them from a full keyboard and I wouldn’t feel frustrated.  AT&T could have the win of having my eyes on their site more than the once a month log in that I do now to pay my bill.

How about AT&T?  Other than setting up the interface on the customer’s account front page and having a link to the sms gateway set up, it would give ou all a big payoff.  Plenty of us would run over our free 300 and then you would have another revenue stream. Right now you all have a half-assed send an SMS to only one another AT&T subscriber that is hidden in a menu, why not do it right, do it big, do it to any mobile phone?  Or even allow more than one recipient at a time?

Skype now has sms/text that I can send from my Mac’s desktop to any other mobile phone in the world for only 9ยข, so why don’t you?

Curse of Silence or a Fabulous Feature?

The Mobile Blogosphere is all a-flutter about the *supposedly* evil ‘Curse of Silence’ vulnerability in some Nokia S60 phones.
If you haven’t heard of it, a supposed malicious person or machine could send a bit of code that would stop all SMS/texts and MMSs from ever arriving to your cell phone. The only fix is doing a hard factory reset to the phone.
And this is a bad thing? Frankly, I think Nokia should offer The Curse (or Blessing) of Silence as a toggle on / toggle off feature!
I *hate*hate*hate* texts. Have I mentioned how much I hate texts/SMSs? If any saintly hacker out there would like to pass on the Blessing of Silence to me, I would bake you the cookies or a full dinner of your choice…
Then I could happily say to all the SMS-addicted folks I know, “No, really, I mean, REALLY, I did NOT receive your text message. I am so sorry. Why didn’t you call or send me an email?”

SpinVox, Let Me List All the Ways I Love You…

1) No more voicemail.
2) SpinVox converts all my voicemail messages into text form or as an email.
3) Did I mention no more listening to voicemail?
I won’t continue to tell you how excited I am that I have not had to listen to voicemail the last month… But I am excited and going to tell you about it. SpinVox, I love you.
Anyone who knows me spent a few years in the mid-2000s remembers being very frustrated with me, as I had my voicemail turned off completely. Yes, I flummoxed some poor defenseless AT&T Wireless employee by calling to request that my voicemail be completely turned off. It took about 15 minutes for me to convince him I was serious and that I wanted it completely deactivated. Turned off.
I happily lived from 2003 to 2006 with no voicemail on my mobile phone. I did have an answering machine at home that I would listen to when I was ready, which was usually at the end of the night & I would return calls the next day. And folks could text me on my mobile or send an email which I check multiple times a day from my computer & mobile. I have had an email enabled mobile since 2003.
Why did I do this? I really love asynchronous technologies and methods of communication. By asynchronous, I mean that the technology or communication that does not require instant response but allows the person receiving to read, process, and to return the communication when ready. Many have written about the stresses of always being on and plugged in, my way of dealing with the expectation that some folks have that one will always be available NOW is to set boundaries as to when I am available.
No, I will not pick up a phone call after 10pm or before 10am, unless it was prearranged. No, I don’t pick up the phone when I am in a store or in a meeting or when having dinner. Etc.
Thus voicemails pile up. Some of them are important communiques that one needs the info fairly immediately, some are just “Hi! Was thinking about you!”, some are long funny ramblings, and some are random who the heck are you. By the time one has dialed up the voicemail, listened to the messages, wrote down the important bits, deleted the rest, and hung up, I am frustrated by the inefficiency of the whole process.
Thus the genius of SpinVox. Our new best friends at SpinVox have a nice set of computers that record the voicemail from the caller when you can’t answer your calls, the nice computers then use voice recognition software to translate the voicemail to a text and/or email, and within 1-4 minutes a nice text arrives at one’s phone and a nice email comes down the pike as well.
One never has to listen to one’s voicemail ever again. Thank the deities of voice recognition software!
Example a client called me the other day, when I was trying to talk to the Auto folks at the Toyota service area and I could not pick up. Before I finished my conversation with the Toyota service rep, I already had a set of texts waiting for me with my client’s message. So, efficient. So nice.
Receiving texts and/or emails with the voicemails transcribed is particularly when folks are giving details that you would otherwise need to write down, like directions or phone numbers, as they arrive already written down.
I have chosen to receive both text to my mobile and emails to my gmail, I have been saving every voicemail to email for later reference. Why? Well, some of them are darned funny as the voice recognition does not get every detail right and does its best to compensate, its translations can be darned funny.
SpinVox does save all the actual voicemails for you if you want to listen to them or if it did not get all the important bits. The parts that the software can’t recognize and transcribe is rendered as ________ and SpinVox gives you a reference number for that message. A reference number? Yep, so rather than listening to every danged voicemail to get to the one you want, when you call in the SpinVox system will ask which message you want to listen to. Fabulous!
SpinVox also allows you to verbally blog to your website, as well as send messages and other services, but I am still so excited about SpinVox converting voicemails into text form that I have yet to explore their other services.
My only complaint about SpinVox is that it took me months to get signed up as when one goes to their website it appears from the front page that the service is only for the UK and folks who have UK based mobile carriers. I was under this impression until May of this year when James Whatley, SpinVox’s evangelist, corrected my error and let me know it was also for the US and many other countries. It is not until one clicks on the “SpinVox for You” menu item that one sees that one can choose a country other than the UK. The country options should be on the front page so that SpinVox does not lose business.
SpinVox, thanks for the great product and user experience. Y’all rock.

Why I Hate SMS (Texting)…

To start, I will let my Tweets from tonight speak:

“Ever since living in Ireland 2005-06, I have hated text messages. My hate grows worse here in SoCal. Don’t send 5 texts when you could call!”

“I won’t text back if folks are using it for extensive details rather than calling or email. Officially old & grumpy. Text is for short msgs”

“I wish one could opt out of receiving texts with one’s carrier. I would. I don’t see why I should be charged to be irritated. F*(ked up.”

More of an explanation:
When I went to grad school in Ireland, 2005-2006, it was really expensive to make calls on one’s mobile phone but comparatively cheap to text, thus everyone I knew in Dublin texted like mad and never called.
To help the average American understand, my monthly contract allowed for a multitude of texts but only 50 minutes of phone calls per month for approx. $74. The worst insult was that I could only get 6 mb of data a month for an extra $30. Every one, young and old, in Ireland texted.
In contrast, my contract with AT&T here in the States gives me 650 daytime minutes of calls a month, unlimited AT&T to AT&T customer anytime minutes, and free nights & weekends. All of this phone call bounty for $39.99 a month. I also have unlimited data and email on my mobile for $24.99 a month. But to send a text it costs me $0.15 a text and to receive it is $0.10 a text.
What this means is that I can send and receive unlimited emails from my phone for no extra charge, but each text – incoming or outgoing – costs.
Also, because it is more important for me to have the best camera available on my phone, I don’t have a mobile with a QWERTY keyboard. Thus, texting more than one short message is a pain in the thumb and a pain in the wallet.
I could join the Century of the Anchovy and get a big fat ‘ole text plan with 1000 messages or something, but then I would have to start actually texting back and forth to conduct a conversation.
What it boils down to is that for information beyond one idea or detail where one really does need to convey complexity and / or subtly, I will be be calling or emailing. Text (SMS) is my least favorite way to communicate.

The Big Switch Over, or Back to My Nokia N95

The WOM World folk let me keep one of the Urbanista Diaries N82’s through SXSW for better photo taking, but today I had to reset it back to factory settings & wipe the extra memory chip in anticipation of shipping it back to the UK and returning to the daily use of my Nokia N95.
To get my Nokia N95 back into daily use, I updated it to the most recent N95 update and optimized the files. Per usual, the update wiped all my settings and programs, so I had to reinstall ShoZu and Joiku, as well as redo my blog settings in Lifeblog. Only problem is that the 20.0.0.something update for the N95 has made Lifeblog incompatible with this install of Movable Type Open Source 4.1, or if not incompatible at least it won’t recognize the correct settings. The N95 12.0.0.something Lifeblog worked just fine with this MTOS 4.1 install, and so did the most recent update / OS version for the N82. I have run through the phone’s Lifeblog settings 7 times and reset them each time and it still can’t find this blog. Bah!
When I met up with Charlie in London a couple of weeks ago, he was surprised that Lifeblog was installed on the N82 and said that the N82 would most likely be the last phone that would have Lifeblog. Charlie unofficially confirmed what I had supposed for sometime now, that Nokia has left Lifeblog to die.
This will be a problem for me and my daily moblogging from my phone to this blog. I have tried for a few years now to convince various Movable Type perl developers to make a mobile blogging plugin that would work across a variety of mobile platforms to moblog photos and text to one’s MT 3.x or 4.x install, but to no avail. David Jacobs told me that his company, Apperceptive, has made such a plugin for paying customers and will be releasing a version to the public, but it has not happened yet.
Charlie is currently working with David on a blog for Nokia and hinted that one of the side projects would be a mobile blogging plugin for Nokia phones.
Please, please, please…