Friday, July 31, 2009

Jamming cell phones in schools won't solve the problem

An article in the Des Moines Register says that the school board in Iowa is considering jamming cell phone signals in their schools.

Not that people are actually allowed to do that for a whole host of reasons, however there are still a lot of people that think its a good idea, citing the fact that they managed to get through school without using a cell phone.

However, most of them miss the point. The fact is that our culture is changing and mobile communication devices are becoming an extension of our daily lives. Blocking those devices from working is not solving any problem.

What the schools should be doing is teaching the kids how to get on in the world they live in, which includes proper etiquette on the use of mobile technology.

Think about it, its no different than talking in class when you are supposed to be listening. There are protocols that the teachers go through, there are reasonable rules for the students and there are consequences for ignoring them... so why would a cell phone be any different?

It seems to me that there are a lot of people who are unable to adjust to rapidly changing culture, as there has always been.

Maybe the educators need to be educated.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Internet Explorer 6 - FAIL!

Today I am once again attempting to work around one of IE6's many issues.

I started wondering just how much money Microsoft has cost the world by trying to reinvent web standards as they saw fit back in 2001. Now there is no way that I can know exact numbers, but let's give this a shot with some reasonable values.

  • IE6 has been around for about 8 years I think.
  • Assume 6 hours a month dealing with IE issues
  • Assume 6 million web/application developers (this number is likely much to small considering how many sites are up on the net)
  • Assume an average developer's time is worth $30/hour (the range will vary from somewhat lower to a lot higher).

6 hours * 12 month * 8 years * 6000000 devs * $30
= $103,680,000,000.00

In other words, Microsoft has cost the world ~$103.5 billion, just because they wanted to do things their own way.

Delenda est IE6!

... and now, back to sorting out yet another IE6 feature...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Invasion of my Pockets

This month, Amazon remotely deleted electronic books from their customers Kindels. They then apologized profusely, saying it would never happen again.

They are not the only one with that sort of power. Apple has the same ability to delete applications it doesn't like from your iPhone.

Now I don't know about you, but it looks to me as if many companies are putting in those same features that we demanded they not put in over the last several years. Only they are doing it in a way that already exists when you purchase the product. If any software company put such a feature in, we would call it an invasion of privacy.

Apple says they are unlikely to use the feature and Amazon has claimed that they will never do it again, so why dont they just remove the feature now and be done with it?

I think the real issue here is why are we allowing them to get away with putting it in, in the first place?

I think we can expect to see more and more of this sort of thing, until nobody knows there was a time when it was against the law in most countries.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A product worth playing with

Every once in a while, I find a product that grabs my attention.

The Game Crafter is one of those. I love the concept... not only is it something that might actually work as a "social product", but I can see it being something I can do with my children on a rainy afternoon.