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San Francisco, USA

 

Mobile User Interface

I have recently commented that a bar code scanning phone can be a great user interface to click an offline hyperlink. Given mobile phones' ubiquity, many people see it as the new computation device that might even supplant personal computer. But an open issue remains, how can we input and output efficiently on such small device? The tiny display and the digit keypad still leave much to be desired. Below is several ideas I have come across over the years.

Voice Interface

Rather than using a keyboard, just talk to your phone and have it talk back! Having worked on interactive voice response systems and speech recognition technology like VoiceXML myself, we know that users hate voice menu. Speech recognition suppose to improve its usability. But is it good enough?

Rapid Serial Visual Presentation

Would you like to read an article with a cellphone? How about a book? If you think this is too much to fit in a tiny display you may be interested in a technique called Rapid Serial Visual Presentation. The words are flashed rapidly on the screen one at a time. It best to see it in action in this video demo from BuddyBuzz. For the impatient, the real action starts around 2:50 into the video.

Offline Hyperlink

This is the idea I have drawn out in the Searchblog's comment. An URL is encoded as bar code. It can be printed and displayed in any location. One can point a cellphone equipped with a bar code scanner to it and have the web page fetched on the phone. The entire experience should be intuitive and seamless. Another commenter has pointed out that a similar technology caller paperclick is already available form NeoMedia, possibly by the way of pattern recognition of images taken from a camera phone.

Miniature Laser Projectors

R2-D2 has one. A projector would be great for showing details not possible on a small display. This Miniature Laser Projectors from Light Blue Optics is touted to be made for cell phones and PDAs. At 3.78 cubic inches with power consumption of 1.4W it certainly has a lot of potential, if not ready for the smallest of smallest cellphone yet.

E Ink

Flexible paper thin roll up display like this one from Philips or these from E.INK? It would be really cool to use your cellphone to connect to Google map and have it displayed on a sheet the size of a map!

2006.02.18 [, ] - comments

 

Wireless San Francisco

The news of San Francisco building a city-wide wireless network is getting a lot of attention these days. Broadbandreports runs several stories on this. While broadbandreports itself is a proponent of municipal broadband, I am surprise that the news draw torrents of criticism from readers. Many reject this because it is a 'liberal' thing. Other took the line of incumbent telcos that existing access methods is preferable to a public project.

While I think many posting are nothing but political fervent, I am also disappointed that people do not see the potential of universal connectivity as a big step forward (a departure from the usually 'hypish' technology sector). I have posted my reaction, which I include here:


Reader's post

Disgusting

It is pathetic how the flaming Left in this country has confused the term "right" and "entitlement." Sure, everyone has a "right" to Wifi. There is nothing stopping you from working, earning some money and buying the needed tools yourself. Its no different than there being a right to free speech and free press. Does this mean the government is required to provide you with the means to exercise those rights? Of course not.

Some other posters here have mentioned guns. Under Mayor Newsom's reasoning, the right to gun ownership requires that the government give free guns out to everyone.

My response

There is nothing stopping you from working, earning some money and buying the needed tools yourself.

True. There is also nothing to stop private entities to build railroads and toll roads and then charge everyone a use fee either. Just like what the country did a century ago. Do you find it disgusting that the government took it upon themselves to build roads and offer it for free to people?

Look there are no lack of proposals from commercial companies to offer the service, apparently costing the city little. People get access in the parks and schools and cafe and hopefully all pocket of households that do not yet have access. I don't understand what the objection is. Do you have a better proposal?

3G, if it is available at all, would cost a bundle. Imagine now that there is universal wireless access. You go to a shop and look at an item. You'll pull your PDA or cellphone and do a search on the UNC code. Immediately it turns out a list of reviews, links to other outlets, and recommendation for alternatives or accessories you'll need. You'd IM your wife. Once she sees the picture she'd told you you got the wrong stuff again! That's new commerce that will be enabled by universal access! You'd bet Google is working on that already!

You'd think broadband report readers are a bunch of smart guys. But when it comes to public project all the anti-government ideology would just overcome their judgement. Guys I'm off to hack the next big thing for the future of universal connectivity. Go on with your anti-government bashing.

2005.10.04 [, , ] - comments

 

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