Your Phone Should be Your Butler

18. October, 2017

A lot of people share private details with the world without being aware of it. For example, they take nude pictures with their phones (NSA keeps a copy, just in case) or they sell the phone without wiping it properly, allowing the next owner to get a good idea who you are, or they install apps like the one from Facebook which ask “can I do whatever I want with anything I find on your phone?” and people happily click the “Yeah, whatever” button (a.k.a “Accept”).

When people use modern technology, they have a mental model. That model tells them what to expect when they do something (“press here and the screen will turn on”). It also contains other expectations that are rooted in social behavior. Like “I take good care of my phone and it will take good care of me (and my data)”.

That, when you think about it, is nonsense.

A phone is not a butler. In essence, a phone is a personal data collecting device with additional communication capabilities. But the main goal is to learn about you and then manipulate you to buy stuff. It’s about money. Companies want it, you have it, they want you to give it to them. Anything else only exists to facilitate this process. If pain would increase revenue, we’d be living in hell.

Case in point: Speech based input. When you click on a page, that doesn’t tell much about you. When you use your finger, the phone can at least feel when you’re trembling. Are you angry or enthusiastic? We’re getting there. But your voice is rich with detail about your emotional state. More data to milk to make you perfect offers which you simply don’t want to refuse.

A butler, on the other hand, has your interests in mind. They keep private information private instead of selling it to the highest bidder. They look out for you.

The source of the difference? You pay a butler. (S)he is literally working for you. On the phone, a lot of people expect the same service to happen magically and for free. Wrong planet, pals.

Wouldn’t it be great if phones were like butlers? Trustworthy, discreet and helpful instead of just trying to be helpful?

I hope we’ll see more technology like the app Nude (which hides sensitive photos on your phone).

Related:


Jazoon 2011, Day 1 – Cross-Platform Mobile Development with Eclipse – Heiko Behrens and Peter Friese

26. June, 2011

Cross-Platform Mobile Development with Eclipse – Heiko Behrens and Peter Friese

The duo showed a nice example how a DSL (created with Xtext, of course) can be used to generate code for an iPhone app, an Android app, a standard Java web app and an app for the Google App Engine from the same source.

The point here is not to emulate all features on each platform but to fall back to sensible replacements if a platform doesn’t support something.

It also showed the blazing speed of the new Xtext 2 code generator.

Links:


So Nokia’s Dead, Too

16. February, 2011

Nokia finally submitted to the dark side. My guess is that the managers at Nokia and Microsoft fail to understand two things:

  1. People don’t get paid to use smartphones.
  2. A phone should “just work.”

At work, I get paid (a lot) to use the stuff that Microsoft shells out. That helps to ease the pain. This isn’t true for my own mobile phone. The iPhone blew all the “competition” away is because of a single fact: It’s mind-bogglingly easy to use. A lot of time and effort went into making it a pleasurable experience. When did you feel pleasure last time using something from Microsoft (the software company, not the sex shop)? Or from Nokia?

On the run, I don’t want to think how I can beat my phone into submission. I just want it to do what I have in mind without me having to tell it. Nokia didn’t care, so they have a problem. Microsoft doesn’t care; who cares for such petty details when you rake in one buck for every two you spend?

Being able to install Windows 7 on hundreds of millions of mobile devices doesn’t solve any of the inherited problems. There is a reason why Microsoft failed with their mobile OSs for years. Nokia knows how to build great hardware; only the user experience was always just the top of the reeking pile. When Apple suddenly started with something that didn’t stink, no one wanted to suffer the old crap anymore.

Especially not in two years when the first new phones will come out.