Posts Tagged ‘Mobile’

Is George Lucas banking on Verizon’s Droid?

November 3rd, 2009 2 comments

Verizon-DROID-TrademarkHave you noticed the small print that appears on the Verizon-Droid iDon’t ads? “DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license.”

On that someone once said “there is only one thing better than a good name, a trademarked good name”.

btw, Less than 5 years ago George Lucas partnered with Cingular. Now he is going to profit from Verizon who has gotten exclusivity on the new Motorola Droid.

Live from OMMA Hollywood

March 17th, 2008 1 comment

I am attending OMMA Hollywood today. Snap has a booth ad the exhibit floor and I am spending my time meeting people at the booth, and listening to sessions & worskshops.

The exhibit floor is pretty compact with about 50 companies that have a presence here. Once cool product has caught my attention so far. It is called Snaptell (no connection to and it offers image recognition based mobile marketing.

One of their offering is called Mobile Movie Explorer, which is a very impressive mashup of mobile & web technologies. Snaptell utilized Amazon’s web services and their image recognition technology to provide movie reviews sent back to the phone. Try it – simply take a picture of the cover any DVD movie with your camera phone, send it to, and check your email.

Apple in Israel

November 26th, 2007 4 comments

A few weeks ago, a new company bought the license to sell Apple product in Israel. Today, I read an interview with Eran Tor, the GM of that company, iDigital, and one of his quotes caught my attention:

אין משרד פרסום שלא פנה אלינו, כי כולם מבינים מה הולך להיות פה.

My own translation: There is not a single advertising agency that has not spoken to us, because everybody understand what is going to happen here…"

Yes, the advertising agencies understand that plenty of $$$ are going to be spent, but what about the consumers? Who is going to care of their needs and make sure Apple products are full localized to Hebrew? and how about allocating some of these marketing $$$ in order to buy or making sure the iDigital site works properly on Safari for Windows and does not break(see below)?! brakes on Safari

And what about the language used on the site? The English & Hebrew mishmash sounds really bad. Couple of examples:

  • What does this mean in Hebrew?
    Mac transaltion sounds



  • How should it be called? Mac or מק or מקינטוש

At least, iPodHE, the utility that adds Hebrew support to iPod (but not iPhone) is finally free.

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October 15th, 2007 No comments optimized for the iPhone using the iWPhone WordPress Plug-inI am happy to announce that the experience for my readers who use iPhone or iPod Touch to read this blog has been upgraded.

I installed the iWPhone WordPress Plug-in on my blog. This plug-in automatically reformats the blog content for optimized viewing on an iPhone and iPod Touch.



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Hacked and upgraded my iPhone

September 3rd, 2007 3 comments

My hacked iPhone with the Dock and Light Off applications Last night I decided to extend my iPhone’s functionality with a few goodies.

The first thing was to hack the iPhone.

Then I added Hebrew fonts to Safari & the built in RSS reader. The lack of Hebrew support was one of my biggest pains with the iPhone and with the ability to read a few Hebrew web sites (not all sites render properly) things are a little better, although I am still waiting for the full native Hebrew support.

The next thing was to add several applications and personalize the device with a custom ringtone. I installed iBrickr on my computer and use it to manage my iPhones apps, ringtones etc. 

Among the applications that are currently installed on my iPhone you can find:


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The upcoming GPhone makes me wonder…

August 28th, 2007 No comments


During the years of my professional career, as I move to a new company or a new role, I usually don’t spend too much time thinking about the past. I try to do my own post mortem analysis shortly after I leave, and summarize to myself what worked and what did not, as well as what were the lessons learned. Then I try to quickly disconnect and ‘clear my brain’ in order to make room for what’s coming next. Later on, when I come across a company name, product, former colleague or former partner that I had worked for/on/with, usually only the good memories come up.

Lately, I find myself thinking more and more about Galleo, a company I worked for back in the first bubble days (2000-2001) and touched on in the past. Galleo had a very innovative approach of how a mobile multimedia communicator should work and what type of applications and features it needs to contain. The company invested a lot in technology & intellectual property but clearly did do enough to protect it. To be more accurate – we began the process of filing several patent applications and registering numerous trademarks but as the company run out of cash and went out of business this process was never completed. With everything that is going on around the iPhone and the (upcoming) GPhone, some of those patents & trademarks could have been really valuable assets. Entrepreneurs – learn your lesson, always save some cash to cover future IP related fees. 

But wait, there is a good part for this post as well. As I was reading the July 2001 Linux Journal article about the Galleo, I came across a quote made by Daniel Benenstein (Galleo’s Dir of Engineering). If you slightly modify his quite, and since both the iPhone and the GPhone use Unix/Linux, it turns out that Daniel’s prophecy is today’s reality…

Mass production is ahead for wireless, embedded Linux multimedia communicators that will contribute even more to make Linux, without a doubt, the OS for the Internet.”

Too bad Galleo did not survive the bubble burst. It could have been a really big company with really big product, and maybe even something Fred Wilson would consider as his dream phone.

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Apple iPhone is almost one month old – It’s time for my on personal review

July 25th, 2007 7 comments

Earlier today Apple released their Q2 ’07 numbers and announced that 270,000 iPhones were sold in the first 30 hours (!). As we approach the one month since the iPhone debut, I thought it would be a good time to post my own personal feedback based on the extensive usage I have had with this great device.

Overall, I am very pleased with my new 8GB iPhone. I find it to be a true next generation mobile multimedia device. The user interface is gorgeous and the operation is brilliant yet extremely intuitive (you should see how my 3.5 years old son zooms in/out or slips between photos).

BTW, the presence of the iPhone in my hands made me think of some the fascinating work I did together with a small group of Israeli geeks on the Galleo mobile-multimedia-communicator in the years 2000-2001 (back then there was no such thing as Blackberry or Trio). Similar to the iPhone, the Galleo was a Unix/Linux operated device with a wide variety of applications including a fully functional web browser (Opera), MP3 player, Camera, Email, Instant Messenger (Jabber) and more. The zooming application though was not as slick as the iPhone’s…anyway, enough with the nostalgia and back to the review.

As I use the iPhone I try to take notes (using the built in Notes application of course) of any missing/broken/limited feature I come across. Here?s the current state of that list. Hopefully someone at Apple will read this post and add the items below to their product roadmap:

  • Phone
    • Voice-activated dialing (even my old Nokia 6102i supports this)
    • Ring tones & Video tones – turn the first 5-30 seconds of an MP3 file to a ring tone, turn recorded video clip (see Video below) to a video tone
    • Call log
      • Delete selected numbers from call logs (missed, made, received). The current functionality lets me delete all the records at once. This is too aggressive
      • Improve call time resolution. Currently calls made/received/missed get a week day resolution if they happened prior to today (Yesterday, Sunday, Friday, Thursday?). Only today?s calls show the exact time. So for example, if someone calls me at 10pm I will see ?Yesterday? if I look at the call look after midnight
      • Missed calls are colored in Red but there is no visual indicator to differentiate between calls made and received
  • Contacts ? Add keyword search (with RAT – Refine As you Type)
  • Camera ? Digital zoom, night mode, size & quality options
  • Video– Capture video clips, make video conference calls if/when on a fast connection (Wi-Fi)
  • Keyboard ? Improve the predictive text application (Apple should take a look at T9)
  • Spell checker? Add to applications like SMS, email & notes
  • Clipboard ? Add Copy, Cut and Paste capabilities (at least for text)
  • MS Exchange support
    • Contacts and Calendar sync
    • Inbox sync – It?s a real waist of time to delete emails twice ? first on the iPhone and then on Outlook. Unfortunately, I have been doing that a lot lately
    • Push mail – Currently I have my iPhone set to auto-check every 15 minutes and this wastes the battery. Pushing mail only when there is a new message will help preserve the battery
  • Photos
    • Create photo albums
    • Select multiple photos and email then together
  • Games – Imagine playing Snake using your fingers
  • Maps
    • Voice recognition & Text to speech – Both are key features to improve safety while driving. This functionality is pretty standard in GPS systems built into cars. I should be able to instruct the iPhone for new destinations. I should also be able to hear the directions instead of pressing on the little arrows that appear at the top of the Maps application and trying to read the little text
    • Add Highways/Avoid Highways modes
    • Add GPS – use Multilateration to estimate phone location based on signals received from cell towers
  • Instant messaging? Web based IM applications such as eBuddy or Beejive developed special versions for the iPhone form factor and I would rate their experience as less than OK. However, it is essential to have a native Jabber/Trillian type of application fully integrated with other applications like Contacts, ring tones, camera and more. This way I could be constantly online even when my iPhone is in standby mode
  • Hebrew support? This is one of the most critical problem for me. I read a lot of websites in Hebrew, I receive emails written in Hebrew and have a large library of songs with Hebrew ID3 tags. iPhone’s lack of Hebrew support prevents me from reading those websites and emails and forces me to go back to my PC to do that. Also, I can not imaging editing ID3 tags for my entire Hebrew iTunes library just to get them onto my iPhone (for my iPod I solved this using iPodHeb but they do not support iPhones). This is a real pain!

And the last one,

  • Configuration via PC ? The activation process Apple & AT&T came up with is a true revolution from my perspective. It completely changes the way people buy and activate cell phones. When I bought my pervious Cingular phone over 3 years ago, I spent over an hour at the store filling paperwork, waiting for the sales rep to call the support center to activate my number and more. Getting the iPhone to work took me less than 10 minutes (3 minutes buying the device at the Apple store and another 5 minutes in front of my PC going through the simple activation wizard). Now, if iTunes is the place to setup, activate & synchronize the iPhone, why not make it also the place to configure it? After all, it would be much easier to configure email accounts or type Wi-Fi networks password using a regular keyboard…

That’s all for now, I will keep taking notes as I use the iPhone.

I will end with a good news and a bad one. The bad news ? there is no software update yet. The good news ? all of the above (and more) can be fixed via a software update. I look forward to it.

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Starting my migration to Jaiku but not leaving Twitter yet

May 22nd, 2007 1 comment

I received today an invitation to join Jaiku from Jason. Considering Twitter’s latest outages I though I’d give a try despite the pain in setting up a new online-mobile friends’ network. So, I began the sign up process & immediately liked it:

  • First, Jaiku comes out of Finland, a pioneer in mobile technologies and services and the homeland of Nokia, my favorite handset manufacture
  • The UI of the signup process is very clean and minimalist
  • Super simple account setup process built as a 3 step wizard

But then I received the txt message with the activation code and was surprised to see that it came from the number 011467374940501. I then realized that Jaiku currently offers a short code that works only in Finland (17273). Users from all other countries would have to use an international SMS number (cost would be about $0.20 per message). To me this is a major adoption barrier. True, Jaiku offers a J2ME version for Nokia Series 60 phones that uses data plans and not SMS, but how many users have these types of phones?
Beyond the signup process, the Jaiku web site has a few neat features and overall I find the Jaiku product offering much more complete than Twitter. Two things that I like most:

  • The ability to add different feeds (RSS feed of your blog, flickr page, video, bookmarks and more) under you account. Once you do that your contacts will automatically receive notification whenever a new item is being posted to any of those feeds, meaning that activity level on the site compared to Twitter is much higher. This feature could get improved if Jaiku would integrate with TinyURL to automatically convert long URLS of any of these feeds to TinyURL ones and send those out. When they will do that this would turn from a good feature to a killer one.
  • The power of Previews – being able to preview the latest message sent by people just by rolling over their thumbnail. Did someone say Snap Shots!

Bottom line – A good looking product with some strong features but a pricey way to broadcast status from mobile & no built-in ability to use an IM client to broadcast status (to do that I would have to use a 3rd party product like Anothr or IMified).

Until Jaiku would offer a US short code I do not see this becoming my main status notification service (and probably this would prevent them from becoming a serious competitor to Twitter in the north-american market), which means I would still have to keep seeing the cat making thingz better.

Or maybe I should use both and monitor them together using Twitku.

Twitter’s numbers inflated but still impressive

May 8th, 2007 No comments

What seems to be THE fastest growing services in the history of the internet is now (only) one of the fastest growing services.

Another source posted a very interesting graph with # of daily Twitter messages. I wonder if these numbers are accurate, and if so what led to yesterday’s spike? I have a feeling it is related to Paris (option A, option B)

Twitterverse – The Twitter Zeitgeist

April 24th, 2007 No comments

Ideacodes (Emily Chang) released a new project called Twitterverse. It lets you explore what people twitter about in a time frame (1, 5, 10, 24 hours) and display a tag cloud of the most interesting words. Once you see the list you could zoom in and see the full context inside the messages and the members who sent them.

Twitter is an amazing social phenomenon. It is also a business that I can not really figure out (how are they planning to make money if they have to buy huge amounts of bulk text messages?).

I find the Twitterverse mashup interesting as it provides a unique point of view on the lives of those who use the service especially on thier language:

  • Vocabulary is fairly limited. Only 1049 words were used by the community in the last 24 hours. One caveat – not all words sent are added to the index.
  • “Twitter”, “Going” and “Work” were the most popular in the last 24 hours. Does it mean people twitter a lot when they are going to work?!
  • Twitter is more than just a site/product/brand. It is at the point that it turned to a verb (embody verb potential) and have spawned words like: tweet, tweets, twit, twitter, twittering, twitterrific, twitters, twittervision

I am sure one day someone will make this the topic of his Linguistic thesis.