• Reading Through the Funny Pages
    "So what have you been reading," my erudite friend asks. I know already how I am supposed to answer this question. I have fallen in with a bad intellectual crowd in recent years, and it threatens to erode my pop culture street cred. This gang of NPR-listening, left-leaning, grad-schooled, crossword puzzle-solvers still reads newspapers, for God's sake! I know that I am supposed to rhapsodize on Colum McCann or Jonathan Lethem's latest fictional tributes to New York living. After all, eggheads in my neighborhood like to think that northern Delaware is actually a bedroom suburb of Manhattan. I could try …
  • Rich Media For All
    MMS continues to be one of the missed opportunities of mobile marketing in the U.S. Now that MMS has become a reflex for most Americans, the basic habit and distribution mechanism needed for penetrating a large share of the market with multimedia is here technically if not always practically. I am hoping this changes in 2010, because there is a massive set of non-smart phones that are capable of accepting rich media and new kinds of direct-to-consumer relationships that the MMS medium makes possible.
  • Eleventh-Hour Mobile Santa
    When I reach into my gift bag of Christmas media memories, the holiday issue of Playboy and its Eleventh-Hour Santa feature always comes to mind. Hef was the original gadget geek, and his mag's final outpouring of gift ideas was filled with next-gen wizardry of the sort that has now become de rigeur online and on TV. In the mobile arena, there is still a kind of gee-whiz innovation, but now it is on a small scale and occurring in the app stores for Apple and Android devices. So let's look into 2010 through the lens of some of the …
  • Enter the App Age?
    "Who the hell ordered 'Turkish Hits' for their iPhone?" "I was curious," my daughter answers, as if I should be proud of her experimental spirit rather than scold her for wasting $1.99 on an app she really didn't want anyway. Now that she is armed with her SIM-less iPhone and going a little app-crazy, the regular receipts I get from Apple are a laundry list of weird downloads. And as much as I bemoan the cluttered state of mobile app markets now, the silver lining to all of this may be that distribution and discovery start fragmenting to …
  • Warming Up The Mobile TV Tubes
    I think down the road video is one more instance when mobile can right the wrongs of the Web. It's still astonishing to me that there isn't a bigger pool of Web-friendly pre-roll creative that can be repurposed for mobile. The video ad experience really can be better on mobile than it has been online, and in some cases it already is.
  • The Return of the Ranting Grinch: The Dropped Calls Of 2009
    Enough of the holiday cheeriness. Last week I called out some of my favorite things about mobile, from the renewal of the gaming sector on handsets to the emergence of real localized utility. Bah! Humbug! This is what I get from watching too many holiday specials. I find myself sidetracked from my usual grumpiness. Look at the calendar. Only two weeks left in December for gratuitous editorial list-making. So much to whine about -- so little time. To wit: my wish list for things that still need fixing in mobile
  • A Few Of My Favorite Mobile Things
    "You have no Christmas spirit," my partner says for the tenth time during this dash through the local mall. "You are a Grinch... a Scrooge... the Burgermeister Meisterberger." "Ever wonder why we have to invent so many holiday villains?" I ask. "Did you ever think that they are onto something about how many of us resist being dragged into merriment on a strict schedule?" In fact, there is some holiday cheer to be found on my mobile phone this year. As we wind our way towards 2010, I am heartened by some shards of creativity. To wit...
  • Google Goggles And Their Goo-Goo-Goo-Ga-ly Eyes
    I think I broke Google. If any of you are having trouble accessing the service at all today, especially the mobile piece -- my bad. As we speak, the new visual search tool it launched yesterday, Google Goggles, is scanning and rescanning a vitamin bottle I am trying to search. A blue scanning bar seems to be stuck re-reading the product. And from the looks of the results on the last dozen searches I performed upon loading the app onto my DROID, I must have broken something.
  • EReaders: Birthing a Middle-Child Gadget
    "Wouldn't you like one of those GPS thingies for your car instead of having to use your iPhone?" my 72-year-old mother asked me over the phone the other day. Mind you, this is a woman who has never opened an email. Her blood pressure rises so much when I try to introduce her to a PC mouse that I have asked her to stay away from computers for health reasons. My mother, a busy family therapist, is far from doddering or inept. She just decided years ago to forgo advanced technology. Fine, but where does she get off trying to …
  • Learning (Again) From Porn
    While major media have been scrambling to make their mobile apps and Web sites look presentable, the same adult content industry that paved the way for so many online models is trying to do the same on handsets. Whether porn will have quite the same power on mobile it once had on the Web is anyone's guess, but the year-end search stats from Yahoo suggest that the taste for titillation is here in some measure.
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