Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

In and out of phones…

In Apple iCloud, Business & Finance, iPad, Literature, Random, Science Fiction, technology on February 1, 2014 at 8:59 am

It’s fairly interesting to watch google go in and out of the handset part of the business. First the g1, then the nexus, then buying Motorola. I’m sure by holding a bunch of the patents while selling off the design and manufacturing they end up as a handset patent troll. Or, there might be something more basic going on. While android has dominated the handset market for a couple of years as a software platform, this could mean that, yes, apple did win the phone wars with their integrated solution from a brand POV. And the other thing is that palpable is that google wants to be seen as a leader in wearable computing (google glass for example) locking up more patents before there is even a market.

That transition from handset to wearable technology may be where google sees the future. But from a user experience and branding POV, the 800lb gorilla, with the closed ecosystem, with throngs of acolytes and believers, Apple, has yet to enter the fray. Whatever apple does, it will not be clunky but cool technology (Like glass), it will not be open and have 73 version (like android), it will not be “and us too” like chrome books.

The sand in the ointment here is AppleTV. There seem to be a lot of them out there now but of all of apple’s products, it is the most like a google product. It never made the transition to ubiquitous use. Many people use it for getting to Netflix or mirroring their iPad or laptop screens. They use it as a technology rather than central hub. So I had an idea…a while ago…

In my scifi novel (which I wrote in 2007 and published in 2008) I speculated on a technology called a comm pad. It was a large wrist display somewhat like a handset or even a QBs Velcro wrist play book. When entering a room on a ship or in a building there was always a large display on the wall. The characters would often be talking to or tapping on their wrist display and looking up stuff in the field, but in a room their wrist display interacted with the large display on the wall. You could control the large display from your wrist as well as mirror what you saw on your wrist on the the wall. When you interacted with the large display directly, some relevant things would be sent to the wrist device. In some ways my idea was more like a microsoft’s windows 8 ui on the wall and on the wrist. Both devices knew about each other and the users use model and would work together

I think that’s ultimately how all these devices should work together. They act as an integrated experience, like one device that knows about you and puts the relevant information you’ve requested on the display most appropriate for you to consume it on. Look something up on your wrist, it’s a large map, the wall display shows it. Interact with your calendar on the wall, the wrist device reflects the change. For example…

Anyway, just musing over my Saturday morning coffee…

And 6 hours later with Glass…

In Random, Social Media, technology on December 1, 2013 at 3:01 am

In my earlier post today, it was before I went out with glass on my face. My wife and I did a quick trip to Costco at about 5pm today and I went in wearing Glass with the little mono ear bud dongle. For the most part people were politely trying not to stare at me (although I could tell that there were trying to figure out what that was on my head). I was wearing my typical winter getup, leather jacket and black fedora so it was only slightly disconcerting to the people. I walked around the store and did a few “OK Glass, Take a picture” of items and their prices. At a certain point, my wife and I had to back track to an end cap near the entrance to look at something on sale. When I turned around I noticed that the young guy trying to get customers to sign up for Amex was looking at me funny. Kinda had a smile on his face. He said, “Is that..” and I interrupted, “Google Glass”

He said, “That’s so cool, how is it working for you.” I gave the explanation above about the simple utility of taking a picture here and there, although I’d be seen as talking to myself. He chuckled. “I’ve never seen one.” I mentioned that one limitation was that although it was bt tethered to my iPhone, w/o internet access it was basically just a bt earpiece and camera and no more. He said that when he first saw me he was wondering if it was some weird earpiece (because of the dongle of course). A co-worker of his heard our conversation and tried to tell me to go and talk to the phone stand there because I could get a wi-fi hotspot from Verizon. I mentioned I could do that with my phone as is so getting another device wasn’t worth it at the moment.

Anyway, I continued to shop and snap off pictures of potential items we might buy. Then I had an “Avoid being a Glasshole moment. I had to visit the facilities, and immediately took Glass off and put it in its pouch and then into my pocket. It started to hit me that general walking around might be ok, but there are certain places where it wouldn’t be acceptable.

When I was done, I put it back on. of course on the drive to and back I did not have it on also, having something obscuring my 49-year-old eyesight at nightfall (even off) is like having a blind spot on your face.

Finally I came home. I’m coming to the conclusion that the glass is very similar to my Livescribe pen. As you know the Livescribe pens have audio recording capability that synchronizes with what you’re writing for later playback. both the glass and the Livescribe are great when doing research or listening to a public lecture, as a couple of examples. However because they are taking on a normal operation (looking or in the case of a Livescribe pen, taking notes) that are culturally perceived as mostly non-threatening, and then adding the ability to record a secondary track that may or may not be detectable to the people in the environment, you have an ethical privacy situation that you are creating.

Here’s the dilemma that both devices create. people see you doing one thing…and assume that there is an imperfect recording (in the observers brain…or even on paper) of the scene. However, with these devices, there is the possibility of a secondary recording (in this case video or pictures, in the case of the Livescribe an audio recording) that would necessarily need someone’s else’s approval to do (at least tacit).

The difference with holding up a phone and snapping off a picture is that the gesture of lifting the camera and addressing your target is very obvious and someone can ask you to stop. in the case of these extension of the human recording operation devices, one might not know that that is what you are doing.

I also went into the Costco wine/liquor shop for a moment and when I had gathered my purchase and went to the counter the rep was looking at me funny as I handed him my credit card. I said, “Yes, it’s a google glass.” His response was “Way cool, I’ve never seen one, how does it work for you?”

This is turning out to be the common question now 🙂

24 hrs with glass

In Random, Social Media, technology on November 30, 2013 at 9:09 pm

No I haven’t left the house yet with it.

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General observations:

  • Snapping off a quick picture of the family at the table for leftovers was easy.
  • Once I got Evernote hooked up, saving a quick note to myself is easy (speech to text).
  • Sending a short email was ok once I got a couple of contacts added to the glass contact list was predictable and easy.
  • Because I’m an iPhone user I don’t get text messaging/sms or directions which stinks.
  • Sharing a picture to any service, email, Evernote wasn’t too bad, although not having the ability to annotate the picture with text (using text to speech for a caption) seems like glaring dumbness…Or the ability to do so is so non-obvious that it’s a massive usability miss.
  • Googled a few things and it is ok.
  • I did figure out how to use glass to send a message via ifttt email to my wemo outlets. I’d have used sms to do this, but for the iPhone limitation. The truth is that I don’t need glass to do this, but it was fun for a demo. The time delay for email processing is significant though. I say “send a message to kitchen light…Hashtag kitchen off” and glass figures out I mean #kitchenoff and sends it. 30 second later, the wemo reacts to the command.
  • I haven’t yet figured out how to send a text tweet or a Facebook status update, even though I can share a picture.

Will keep experimenting…

2012 is almost done, 2013 is almost here…

In Random on December 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I think the Mayans were right. With 2012 closing, I get the feeling that the “Social Media” age, at least the bubble portion of it, is over. The consolidation of networks is almost complete, with Facebook at its acme now for social and LinkedIn for professionals. There are some upstarts and sites that are trying to add things, but its pretty much over. Twitter has sort of never gone beyond a technology and it seems more like a connector of other sites than a destination on its own (except during crises, then it seems becomes useful again to find links to other sites where the real news is). I’m still working on rebuilding my book website on Tumblr, but I never seem to have the time.

On the personal side, we’re in college application mode; the younger son is applying. The older son is in the middle of his 3rd year (of 5) in college. I’m proud of both of them. I’m down to my last class for my MBA, so if all goes well, we’ll have graduations from High School, Armenian Saturday School, Sunday school and Graduate School. And I’ll be retiring myself from Sunday School teaching also.

One interesting side effect of the Saturday School graduation is that my wife and I will not have the interesting excuse to visit Panera Bread each Saturday morning. Time for a new ritual I guess. Maybe we’ll go exercise.

I also had an operation this summer that kind of set me back on the keeping in shape front. It took a while for me to recover fully and there’s 5-7 lbs. I don’t usually do resolutions, I just set a goal and work at it, but this year, I’m going to undo the damage of last summer by the summer.

Just before that operation my wife and I went on a cruise to Bermuda out of Boston. OK so that added to the fitness issue, but I did try and exercise between the 14 meals a day. Bermuda was awesome, and I want to go again and leaving out of Boston was really convenient. Now I have this fantasy retirement dream where I fly to Bermuda and fly over everybody else driving to the cape 🙂

At work, things got real busy this year and the team under me doubled in size (actually just a little under that). I lead the development team that works on much (but not all) of the customer facing features of the email, survey and several add-on products for Constant Contact. One fun thing I did this year was visit customers in Arlington and learn how they used the product. And for those who have worked for me before, I wrote typically Armen-style reports to disseminate what I had learned back into engineering.

With on the job learning and the serendipitous timing of my marketing and human factors concentrations classes at Bentley, I was applying everything I was learning back and forth between the two experiences. As if that wasn’t enough learning, I also went to a 3 day and night seminar at Babson that my company offered to a bunch of us. As the lead instructor called it, it was an MBA overview in 3 days. After getting out of the class, I worked on a team that attached a corporate question, which was pretty cool as I got to work with people from across the company on the effort, not just in our immediate engineering team.

Technology-wise, I got an iPad, a new Sky Livescribe Pen, used Evernote more extensively for my school research than I ever did before. In the case of Evernote, I’m starting to put all kinds of other stuff in it that are not about school it is proving more and more useful. And when mobileme went away and took my Sunday School website with it, I moved all the content to Evernote which worked great for me. Dropbox and iCloud/IWork documents were also used and installed a windows 8 upgrade for my wife’s computer.

One of the newest things I’m playing with is “Paper” by 53, Inc. It’s like finger paint for adults, except it’s on my iPad. I guess the next area of investigation for me is whether I can draw ☺ And one thing I am anticipating greatly, the next generation of Apple TV.

Continuing the artistic slant here, I played guitar and sang at a family-friends rental down on the cape. It was pretty funny when kids in the next yard stuck their heads over the gate to hear the set and people walking along the street stopped to listen. Even my wife was impressed (although I probably have played all those songs too many times at home over the 22 years we have been married)

I also played 3 70’s songs at a fundraiser at my former employer for project bread. I’m playing the same set in a couple of weeks at an open mic; lets see how that goes. I just restrung my Taylor 12 string today in preparation, and I still have to restring my Martin 6 string before that event. My plan for an addition this year is to learn how to play “Limelight” by Rush on my Les Paul a little better than I muddle through it currently…and make sure I can remember all the words.

More on the fun side looking back, I went to 3 Glenlivet scotch tastings this year. The first was at Le Cordon Bleu where they showed us how to make beef tongue tacos and drink scotch at the same time. The second was a fun marketing event where we tried 4 different malts. The last was at the International Poster Company on Newbury Street. That last one was actually cooler than it sounds; I learned about how the posters were made way back when and saw some neat stuff. I know I’ll go back without the scotch at some point to pick out something.

Finally over the last 4 days we watched the extended version of the Lord of the Rings in Blu-ray. My ears are still ringing but we had a lot of fun watching it. It was a Christmas gift from the boys. They also took my wife and I to Les Miserables and that was a lot of fun. We tried to go see Lincoln and it was sold out and my older son is still trying to figure out how to get me to the Hobbit.

Anyway, a pastiche of what has been a great year and some of the things I’m looking forward to this year.

Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2013 to you all.

A week at home – technical analysis

In Random on September 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

So I had an operation earlier this week and under doctor’s orders I stayed home. In this case the doctor gave me worst case scenarios about what the recovery from a simple day surgery would be. It sounded like one of those drug commercials where they tell you everything that could go wrong. Well for the most part he was right, I felt like crap for a couple of days and still feel it when I try acting out my normal quick start and stop pace.

During that week, I did a bunch of sedentary things. For example, I continued to explore OSX lion user features on my Air, played angry birds on my iPhone, downloaded a couple of apps to both. I did homework for the classes that I had to skip assiduously taking notes with my new echo pen. I monitored our Friday release using our corp IM tool. I continued my love affair with reading on my Kindle DX. Most days it was my subscriptions to Reuters and Atlantic magazine. However, this week I also started to play with a thing called Instapaper, where I create my own set of reading gets loaded directly to the kindle from web pages that I tell it to copy down.

Oh yeah I also watch Zuckerberg try to be Jobs and I was underwhelmed by Timeline. Oooo you have every transaction I’ve done in a database and you’re going to allow me to go back based on time and see things rather than scrolling! Awesome, I might go give up my horse and drive a car too! The open graph stuff was somewhat interesting, but I yawn. And Serendipity is when you don’t expect something and it was lucky and pleasant, not stalk people looking for their music and play it. That’s just stalking.

I also read a book, yes a real book. A colleague gave me a book on my departure from Intuit called “The Art of Choosing”. The coincidence of taking my 2 marketing classes this semester (Strategic Marketing and Marketing Research) and a book about how humans make choices was interesting. By the way, thank you for the book, Depankar, it was excellent.

The one area that disappointed me this week was that I was supposed to get my new 27″ Thunderbolt display yesterday, but UPS informed me that there was “an exception”. My reaction was to want them to employ an exception handler and deliver my new display immediately, but they didn’t and now I have to wait for them to bring it at some time next week. Sigh. I was really looking forward to it. I bought a new desk and set up in a new place in the house that’s perfect for me to do work and hide the work in between study sessions. Of course the display would be showing, but I’d put up pictures on it so that it appeared to be a giant montage of my life (or something).

Anyway, in the process of sitting there, I wrote another episode in our ongoing story of the USS Washington. There’s time travel involved. And then this morning I suddenly figured out what had been eluding me for several weeks on book 2 of the Urtaru series. I had been taking the tack of a terrorist/freedom fighter route for the main character’s dilemma. But technology, the discovery this week of neutrinos that move faster than c (meaning possibly moving back and forth in time) and my own fascination with the possibilities of time travel all coalesced into “the secret” the that second of 3 would be telling the 3rd of three. It all suddenly made sense. How could the child know something about his father that he was bound to keep secret. I’m going to avoid the machine as enemy terminator stuff, and focus on the human psychology of getting a message from the past (or sending one to the future) that might change the course of events.

Anyway, that’s my week.

Drrrroidddd

In technology, web 2.0 on December 15, 2009 at 4:52 am

So I upgraded my old t-mobile htc g1 to a verizon motorola drrrroiddddd this past weekend.  It’s an awesome upgrade.  the G1 was dying under the weight of the software upgrades on 1.6 and the newer apps.  And t-mobile’s phone coverage was adequate but spotty.  Verizon’s phone coverage is much better.

Anyway the first thing i noticed was that battery life was way way way better than the year old G1.  This is expected from a year old phone battery, but the change was dramatic.  In fact i have yet to turn off 3g service, so they’ve figured out how to keep it up without me charging the battery once a day (that was the case with the G1 even in the early days).

All the other wireless settings (bluetooth, GPS and wifi) were setup the same, but seem for some reason to be more sensitive.  I can’t tell if that is true, but the setup for my wifi never misses…as soon as i enter the house, switch to wifi from 3g.  The G1 would do it intermittently.

Google maps with voice. awesome.  Used it already.

facebook app, (seems to have more features than on the G1), came up within a few clicks.

BAD Very BAD….yahoo email service is gone.   I’ve been all over the net and tried all the remedies, but it will not connect to yahoo.  I can go through the browser of course, but that means I can’t see email notifications.  I can pay yahoo $20 a year for pop service.  but why?   I also noticed that the yahoo browser program no longer is downloadable on the droid market.  C’mon guys, get along…

gmail works great and every time I get a message DRRROIDDDD…it is kinda funny.

I use Moxier mail to get my work email.  I can’t figure out Verizon.  They are SO NICKEL and DIME.  If I use their email program, I get charged for activesync like $30 a month or something.  But if I use my own program free…watch, they’ll cut me off now that I’ve talked about it.  I pay for unlimited internet so don’t touch it.  Don’t mess with me, I have followers of my blog, facebook, twitter and on YouTube you know.   And I play the guitar, so I’ll write a verizon nickel and dime ballad and sing it for the masses!

The phone has a 5mp camera.  I can’t imagine what the photos and videos are going to be like, but i can see doing more stuff.

One massive advantage for those of us luddites who like bluetooth, but still have wired full headgear with a boom mic, there’s an actual jack.  And not the usb appendage on the G1 that prevented you from charging and using a wired headset at the same time.

Oh did I say that QuickBase works great on the mini-chrome browser?  reports look pretty good and most forms come up in looking good.  On the G1 version of the browser (with the slightly smaller screen size) QuickBase forms seemed to go over the right edge of the screen a little bit if they were complicated.

On the suggestion of a friend, I loaded google sky maps.   it is awesome.  Now all I need is a clear sky app 🙂

With the deal/plan I got, I have visual voicemail.  Waiting for someone to leave me a voicemail 🙂

OK so the one thing that this cannot do is play my relatively vast iTunes library.    Oh well.   I’ll probably load imeem again or something to get the doobie brothers channel or something so that I can get some of my music.  I can put some on a card, or buy songs from amazon, but I just can’t see it.  not worth it.

One extremely awkward thing.  You can’t get to the dialer directly from the main screen like you could from the G1 button panel.  This proves to be rather annoying.  You have to (unless you have the bluetooth earpiece on) hit the home button and then select phone.   This is rather annoying.  C’mon google/motorola, some of us still call people from a phone…

All in all I’m pretty excited.  I need to get a mount to use it as my gps now and hand the nuvi to my wife for her car.  in the meantime its pretty cool.

As you know I love my mac, I’m intrigued by my AppleTV and thing the iPod Touch is an awesome thing and watch my iPhone friends browse effortlessly. I don’t get locked into anyone technology offering (heck I still use yahoo email)…..but this is a pretty damn nice smartphone.  Now if they could only get a kindle program for it 🙂  I mean, they have one for iPhone/Touch, they have a PC version and they have a Mac version now…

Physical stuff?  Screen is large and has great resolution.  keyboard is kinda strange.  It has a funny feel to it.  I didn’t care for the G1 keyboard (especially the fact that the button bar forced you to reach your right thumb over it to get to the right side of the keyboard.  But this keyboad is thinner and smaller in some ways.  It forces you to click less hard.  I’m still getting used to it, although after 3 days, it has trained me.

I’ll leave you with this final thought

Drrroidddd…

Me and the G1

In technology on December 16, 2008 at 6:47 am

OK so I’ve recently acquired a G1 to do some debug at work for our platforms.  For those of you who do not know, the G1 is the phone from Google, that might someday rival the iPhone.  It’s put out by T-Mobile.

The G1 has a lot of cool feature like excellent integration with the major google apps.  Gmail and Calendar are easy to use and once I dumped my address book on my mac to a csv and uploaded iphoto-19t into google contacts, voi la, the phone was populated.

One interesting thing is that google docs are only readable.  This sucks because I could see editing a spreadsheet (at least doing spreadsheet like calculations) and currently this is not a feature.  The thing is that in a few cases, I’ve done collaborative editting with others with the Google spreadsheet and it’d be nice to be able to do that from this device.

The form factor is kind of brick like.  It is NOT an iPhone and even though I hate my BlackBerry Pearl, it’s size is easier for the chest pocket.   Battery life seems ok.   3G service is much better than Edge on my BlackBerry, but when I am at home, 3G does not replace a wifi connection.

The thing gets pretty hot!  I had it on for a few minutes and when I held it in my hand, it was definitely not cooling.

The screen is very clear and youtube videos look great on it.

The Market app was nice and I was able to quickly find a twitter client, Twitli, that seems to work ok.  That it is free also makes up for being ok.

Oh yeah, and no flash player kind of makes it difficult on any site that has nice charts and stuff.  For example the wordpress blog dashboard works except for the charts, which are the interesting thing to drill down on to see what the traffic flow is.

Now the thing that really irks me.  When the G1 does not have the keyboard exposed, there is no way to do text input.   This is starting to drive me nuts.  Any time I need to type something in, turn the thing sideways and slide.  UGH!  I know the palm stylus is SOOOO 90’s but if you aren’t going to provide a rudimentary virtual keyboard, at least give me finger graffiti.

Anyway I’m going to continue playing…