Showing posts with label telephone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label telephone. Show all posts

Monday, August 22, 2011

Libyan liberation gift

If the following story (from the BBC) is true, it's wonderful.

This morning, freedom fighters storming into Tripoli made sure that the people of the city had Internet access. Besides, having taken over two state-controlled mobile phone companies, they gave every subscriber a credit of 50 Libyan dinars (roughly 30 euros).

People now consider that the possibility of communicating freely and efficiently has become a basic human right.

One day soon, instead of scattering pamphlets from airplanes flying over besieged territories, drones will drop mobile phones.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Robotic phone message

Readers who've seen Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey will recall that the AI [artificial intelligence] creature named Hal—who looked physically like a red lamp on a firetruck—often took the initiative of speaking to the human crewman Dave.

This afternoon, I feel a little like Dave, in that I've just succeeded in coaxing the Google Android telephone to send me this text message asking if everything's OK at Gamone:

It's a small step for telephony, but a giant step for my mastery of the Google Android SDK [software development kit] and the Java programming language. What you must understand is that this telephone doesn't exist yet in flesh and blood [if I can be allowed to speak that way about a future cellphone]. So, the phone call in question was actually emulated on my MacBook, on a virtual cellphone. But that's neither here nor there, for anything that works correctly in an emulated software environment should be perfectly operational when it's transposed onto a real piece of electronic equipment.

In my article entitled iPhoney gadget, a couple of months ago [display], I illustrated the possibility of using a software gadget to see what such-and-such a website would looked like when displayed on an iPhone. In the case of my Google Android phone demo, the big difference is that the virtual phone is not merely displaying something I created on the web, but actually behaving in accordance with my precise programmed instructions. In a Kubrick setting, you might say that, not only did I receive a message from Hal, but I actually programmed Hal to send me this message.

Skeptics might be tempted to ask: "How do we know that William really programmed a virtual Google Android cellphone to display this message? Maybe he simply used Photoshop to paste this line of text into an existing image." That's a problem with emulation. I can't really prove that what I show you is authentic. But I cross my heart that I'm not cheating. On the other hand, I must admit that this demo is basically an elementary tutorial thing supplied with the Google Android documentation. But I'm thrilled to find that I could get it to work. Now I'll be able to start work on my real cellphone software project, which will be a much bigger thing...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Visual telecom

Today is my daughter's birthday. She phoned me up this morning and suggested that we should get in contact through the free visual telecom system called Skype. I was rather surprised to find that it was so easy to use. Since my son François had dropped in at Emmanuelle's flat, I talked with both of them.

For anybody who's interested, my Skype name (that's to say, the address for linking up to me) is skyvington. It's preferable to contact me beforehand, by phone or email, to let me know the time at which I should activate the Skype system on my Macintosh.

My children provided me with a real-time visit of Emmanuelle's residence in Paris, which I had never seen before. At my end of the line, the tiny built-in camera on my Macintosh points in the direction of my bed, at the back of where I'm sitting. François commented upon the fact that, when they phoned me, around noon, I hadn't yet made my bed. This is likely to be the case quite often. If it were easy to do so, I would change the position of my desk so that the camera points out through a window in the direction of the mountains, which never look unmade.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Apple's iPhone will be Orange in France

There has not yet been any official announcement on this question, but it is becoming increasingly probable that Apple's iPhone will be handled in France by the national operator Orange, subsidiary of France Telecom.

I take this opportunity of pointing out, once again, that Orange happens to be the French ISP [Internet service provider] that has been blacklisted for over a year now [quasi-systematic refusal to deliver French emails from Orange] by the Internet idiots at BigPond in Australia.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Why do we talk so much?

I've just heard that it's coming soon in the USA, on 29 June 2007: Apple's revolutionary iPhone! [Click here or on the image to visit their excellent website.] Up until now, I've been a total phone philistine, maybe because I don't live in an urban environment where lots of friends are calling me continually to invite me around for a drink or dinner, or to talk about going out somewhere. Gamone has never been that kind of world. Even my dog Sophia rarely gets phone calls. Like me, I assume she prefers the Internet. Well, on the iPhone, we'll have both. So, I have a feeling that my phone world might change radically for me—and lots of other folk—when this little Apple gadget is released. Between now and then, I'll have to look into the idea of maybe extending my list of people who might be prepared to talk to me. [Poor lonely soul!]

I've always been amused by the words of an unnamed critic, back in the days of the Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell, who took out a patent on the telephone in 1876. "That gadget won't last for long. People will soon run out of things to say to one another."

It's a bit the same with blogs. This will be my 257th post. Now, six months ago, if somebody had asked me whether I would be capable of publishing an article a day, to ramble on about anything and everything, I would have replied: "No way. I'm simply not that talkative." It's true that I prefer to write about a precise theme, in a well-specified context. Here, that's not at all the case. From one day to the next, I have no idea whatsoever of what I'm going to write about. And above all, apart from a handful of personal contacts, I don't even know who's reading my stuff. So, I guess I have to admit that I might even be a naturally talkative fellow. Add that to the fact that I speak in such a loud voice (I've always been slightly hard of hearing) that I'm capable of waking up the neighbors of my aunt and uncle in Sydney, and you'll gather that I'm definitely not the kind of guy to invite home... which is probably why nobody phones me on my portable.

I've observed the frenetic way in which today's adolescents use and abuse the portable telephone. In Sydney's suburban trains and buses, the situation was even worse still. "Hi. It's me. I'm on the way home. See you soon. Bye."

Why do people do so much talking on phones, on blogs, etc? It's time for another plug concerning the fabulous book by Susan Blackmore, The Meme Machine. [Click here to see my article of 4 March 2007 on this subject, entitled Imitation.] Let me just repeat the gist of the subject. Darwinian evolution transformed us into big-brained naked apes, of whom one of the earliest and dearest specimens was our Mitochondrial Eve, celebrated in yesterday's article. But this style of progress is henceforth—as they say in French—a little has-been. We need something bigger, better, faster and more modern in a human sense than old-fashioned genetic evolution. The new stuff is called memetics. And, if you read Susan Blackmore's book, you'll see that we humans talk a lot (well, at least those of the talkative kind do) for the simple reason that we're constantly transmitting and receiving memes.

I hope I've talked you into reading this great ground-breaking book.