The Talk Show returns

After a “two week” hiatus Dan Benjamin and John Gruber are back with a triple venti-sized episode of The Talk Show, one of my favourite podcasts.

Near the end of the ep (around the last 8 mins) Dan and John discuss the possibility of Apple customizing the iPhone for multiple carriers, especially with regards to Verizon. Dan sees Apple conceding a “Verizon settings” app and John says no way. I would have to agree with John that Apple would not separate the system software by carrier. Here are two pieces of evidence from Japan that I would like to submit regarding the monolithic character of Apple’s iOS:

1) Keitai email: When the iPhone was released Softbank had to bend over backwards (ie. building out a new mail server system) to figure out how to give the iPhone the mobile email capabilities left over from the fossilized Japanese “keitai mail” culture.

2) Emoji: Smileys are another requirement in the Japanese mobile market. The lack of emoji meant the iPhone couldn’t be a hit with the “highschool girl” crowd. Apple ended up licensing SoftBank’s set of 450 icons, distributed them globally, and actually caused a bit of an emoji revolution in North American mobile culture.

The first example is one of Apple not accommodating carriers. The second shows how if a feature is important enough, Apple will roll it into the OS itself, and distribute it worldwide.

Apple is a very US-centric company and I have long criticized it for not being sensitive to local conditions. If they won’t change the way they do things to fit local cultures and market conditions, I doubt they would do so just to get on with a certain mobile carrier.

ADDENDUM: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Apple pushing it’s own features on to carriers, eg. Visual Voicemail.

The Talk Show returns

Pray: To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Inspiring talk by Ethan Zuckerman. Excellent point on how unevenly distributed “global” online media is. It is something I have felt for a long time, being a non-American geek living as an expat in Asia. By the way, here is an early version of Alisa Miller’s news map mentioned in the talk.

Bridging the “flocks”, or rebuilding the infrastructures to allow for bridgers to do their work easier and better is the kind of problem I would like to tackle next year, when I start embarking on my Next Big Project.

Capturing Ideas in the Shower

This has long been a problem of mine. I looked in many toy stores to find a kid’s washable marker solution. I did not think of dive plates! From Cameron:

I written before about showering as an ideal model for creative pause—minimal distraction, mental freedom, and a change of scenery. … For the past few months, I’ve kept a dive slate in my shower. These are typically used by instructors during scuba training or to capture notes on a dive.

Capturing Ideas in the Shower