cell phone

Ubiquitous Facebook

Facebook’s plan to find its next billion users: convince them the internet and Facebook are the same

This is the story of Facebook’s rapidly unfolding plan to take over the world, or at least the world wide web. It’s a tale that’s been hiding in plain sight for years, and it begins with an explanation of how Facebook has reached almost a billion users. It continues with a roadmap for how the seeds of Facebook’s future growth – to two billion and beyond – have already been planted. In both cases, what matters is emerging markets in Asia, Africa, and Latin America: the striving, proto-middle class “next billion” whose first impression of the internet is often that it seems to consist entirely of a site called Facebook.

I’ve always thought Facebook would come out with a device (phone or communicator) that only ran Facebook but in fact, Facebook for SIM, Facebook Zero and various Facebook apps are better and more generic gateways to the Facebook community. Had AOL done this type of thing in the old days they might have lived a bit longer.

Through a series of canny partnerships, acquisitions, and roll-outs, Facebook has made its service usable for anyone, whether they’re using the latest iPhone or a five year old gray-market Nokia with a black and white screen. In many cases, users don’t even have to have a data plan.

And the key to Facebook’s strategy is that no matter where users start on the ladder of mobile technology, from the most basic device to the newest smartphone, Facebook becomes better and more fun to use as they upgrade. And this is also why carriers are so eager to partner with Facebook, because the next billion to come onto the internet will do it through a mobile device, on which every megabyte that they use in connecting with their friends can be measured and billed.

This piece is worth reading carefully and while I’m no fan of Facebook, this is a brilliant idea.

[via The Verge]

Technology Leads More Park Visitors Into Trouble

The national parks’ history is full of examples of misguided visitors feeding bears, putting children on buffalos for photos and dipping into geysers despite signs warning of scalding temperatures.

But today, as an ever more wired and interconnected public visits the parks in rising numbers — July was a record month for visitors at Yellowstone — rangers say that technology often figures into such mishaps.

People with cellphones call rangers from mountaintops to request refreshments or a guide; in Jackson Hole, Wyo., one lost hiker even asked for hot chocolate.

I used to subscribe to and read Accidents in North American Mountaineering which in places was just as humorous as this article. Add technology to the mix and you have even more brazen people going into the wilderness thinking cell service is everywhere and that they can call for a ranger for any reason.

This story overlaps with kids (escorted by adults) climbing Mt. Everest or sailing around the world (unescorted).

I have no problem with people going off into the wilderness and doing challenging things; I have serious problems with a small number of those people who are unprepared and assume they can be rescued if they get into trouble. It costs thousands of dollars an hour to fly a helicopter with a rescue team to a remote area to do a rescue and in this country few hikers, climbers, or sailors pay for this. They should, or, if they’re 14 their parents should.

We need insurance companies to offer policies that will pay for expensive rescues and then, in order to climb Grand Teton a group needs to have such a policy and sign a waver saying they will not ask for a rescue if one of them gets a blister. Insurance will help pay for rescues but unfortunately it might also give people a false sense of protection.

We all have to start somewhere and the first time I went camping I took a space blanket and a few candy bars. After one uncomfortable night in Lassen Park we walked out and took the bus home with our tails between our legs. Had cell phones been around then I doubt we’d have used one to call for help.

When I go out on a 7 mile day hike in summer (like two days ago) I carry enough gear to spend the night in the woods if I have to: flashlight/headlamp, extra clothing and a raincoat, extra food and water and a first aid kit. Yes, I do carry an iPhone although coverage is spotty in the places we hike. My candy bars (Clif bars) are better too.

AT&T Sucks (I guess I’m late to find out)

Let me preface this by saying I’m in no huge rush for a new iPhone. I can wait, no problem.

I pre-ordered an iPhone at our local, New Milford AT&T store the very first day it was possible. I was told I’d have a phone the day they went on sale. That day has come and gone and each day that store gets new phones in and they say my phone is not in yet. Each day at 7 am there are people lined up outside the store who did not pre-order a phone and AT&T is selling them phones.

Maybe I’m just dim but it would seem to me that they’d fill pre-orders first, then sell what’s left to walk-ins but in fact, they’re being greedy: they already have my money and they’re selling the new stock to walk-ins keeping me on hold.

I just called them and they said they have no idea when “my phone” will be in but I didn’t know ordering a phone meant Apple was custom building one for me (they are not) or that they were ordering a phone through Apple’s ordering system for me (they are not).

This is the worst possible way to build customer loyalty and while I’m not absolutely sure Apple wouldn’t do this too, I’m quite sure I’d have had a phone days ago had I simply ordered it direct from Apple the first day they were available.

AT&T sucks.