The unwieldy iPad: It just doesn’t fit in my life, either

Earlier this week on GigaOm, Kevin C. Tofel voiced a conclusion I reached last year, after I tried out an iPad for a month: Tablets are definitely not one-size-fits-all. I, too, expect my mobile devices to be truly mobile by being easily portable — and the size and weight of the iPad doesn’t work for me.

THE BEST TABLET IS THE ONE YOU HAVE WITH YOU

The Tab is roughly the same size as, but thicker than Amazon’s Kindle, which ironically I sold when I got my iPad. Prior to iPad ownership, my Kindle would go everywhere with me because of its small size, light weight, stellar battery life and integrated connectivity. And I do mean everywhere: the device would fit in my jacket pocket or could be thrown — figuratively, not literally — in the car or in a gear bag. The Galaxy Tab offers me that same level of portability, while the iPad doesn’t.

Read: Why I Just Dumped the iPad (Hint: Size Matters)

…What’s intriguing for me, since I blog for CNN Tech, is the overall civility and engagement expressed in the comments here. Yes, there are a few fanboys and flamers, but generally it’s pretty civil — and Tofel is participating constructively.

Meanwhile, on CNN, I’m sure that a post which critiqued such a popular product would have generated an immediate torrent of vicious personal slurs — toward the author, and toward other commenters. And if the author was female, the sexual innuendo and sexist comments would be out in force.

I’m not knocking CNN Tech. I’m just saying it’s interesting to see the cultural difference from one venue to another.

Hat tip to Steve Yelvington for pointing to the GigaOm article.

How mobile devices and social media changed Tunisia

WeMedia writes:

Before we get all Twittered about the events in Tunisia, let’s put the Jasmine Revolution in perspective. After decades of repression and economic turmoil, a citizen’s act of defiance sparked a people’s uprising that ousted an oppressive regime. Citizens demonstrated. Citizens were killed. Citizens changed their government. Let’s not trivialize them as gadgets or hashtags.

What is revealing about this revolution is the way in which citizens discovered it, how they informed one another, and how they mobilized around it. They used their mobile phones, now ubiquitous in North Africa, to communicate via text messaging and Twitter.

…Only Al Jazeera, the Arab-language news network based in Qatar, seemed to recognize the growing tempest in Tunisia and the implications for the rest of the Arab world. By reading the blogs, following the tweets and using its mobile phones, Al Jazeera found signs of political ferment both in Africa and in the Islamic world fed by economic distress, political repression, and young people with the tools — including mobile phones and Internet — to make changes.

“I am certain its (the revolution’s) success is entirely correlated to the ubiquity of the mobile phone and the Internet,” blogged Aly-Khan Saatchu, an investments banker based in Nairobi.

See: The revolution within the revolution: How mobile devices and social media changed Tunisia

Yet another reason to make your site mobile-friendly: disability access

I just wrote this post for the Knight Digital Media Center at USC:

Got accessibility? Mobile-friendly sites also help disabled users

It was sparked by a new Pew report on problems that people with disabilities have with accessing the net. I found a couple of interesting twists.

1st: US DOJ has proposed new ADA regs for web sites, including “public accommodations” (hm, could include news sites?)

2nd: Making a site mobile-friendly goes a long way toward making it more accessible.

This subject is near and dear to my heart since one of my best friends, who is mostly blind, has faced significant struggles in getting access to services, information, education, and opportunities online and elsewhere. That has definitely hurt not only his quality of life, but his health. And he’s fairly tech-savvy! This is a problem that needs to be solved, and going mobile-friendly is one main way to start.

Jan. 28: I’m speaking at the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conference, San Francisco

Heads up: On Jan. 28 I’ll be speaking on a panel at the 2011 Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Web conference, held at the Argonaut hotel in San Francisco. Here’s the session info:

Mobile apps: Yes, this is the year for you to launch your Ipad/Iphone/Droid app. Come hear about cheap ways to get your mobile app built, and possible ways to monetize quickly.

Panel: Joshua Errett (NOW), Amy Gahran (Contentious.com), Paul Wagner (Forkfly)

Well, actually there I’ll be representing Oakland Local, where I’ve been leading our mobile initiatives. And I’ll be making the case that for the vast majority of news/media outlets seeking to go mobile, and app is probably not where you want to start. It makes more sense to start with a mobile-friendly web site, and build out from that base.

AT&T: Way to spin a mobile data plan backstep! (OR: Why I’m going Android)

You may have heard that yesterday AT&T stopped offering unlimited mobile data plans.

Their spin, according to this press release: New Lower-Priced Wireless Data Plans to Make Mobile Internet More Affordable to More People

Hah! That’s smooth! But now, the real point: AT&T now offers only these pay-as-you-go data plan options for new or renewing mobile contracts:

  • 200 MB/month: $15/month, plus an extra $15 for each additional 200 MB
  • 2G/month: $25/month, plus an extra $10 for each additional 1G
  • Tethering service: $20 month

No more all you can eat. Which makes sense! AT&T’s network can’t really handle unlimited mobile broadband for a large swath of its smartphone and tablet users. No US mobile carrier can. That’s just begging for network congestion — which annoys everyone and is bad for business… Continue reading