Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Data Smog: Email Stats

I just read this Slate article on the 1997 book 'Data Smog' and was amused by the following passage from its author, David Shenk:
Ten years and about 50,000 inbox e-mails later, it's pretty obvious to me that smart filters have a vital role to play.

Hah. I just checked my email inbox. It goes back to February 7, 2007 -- 168 days. It contains no spam, and almost no newsletter type email -- I delete all that stuff. I have 14,145 items in there, an average of 84 per day.

Startup life.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I caved in and bought an iPhone. I am not, I repeat not, an early adopter. I bought my last cell phone in 2004, and that was the first time I'd ever had a phone that could do anything besides make calls.

At the time, I was working on a big project about the future of mobile for NTT, and I thought, "time to give this stuff a try". So I bought the Nokia 6600 'Pandaphone' from T-Mobile with the unlimited data plan. Bluetooth, color screen, cameraphone, web browser, email... yeah baby.

I actually got the bluetooth modem trick to work, a few times. Slow as molasses. I never, ever figured out how to email a photo from the cameraphone, despite hours and hours spent online and on the phone with their tech support. As for web browsing? Give me a break.

So it turned into a phone for... making phone calls. And I stayed stuck in the 90s.

Then came the iPhone.

You know the drill. You know the hype. Well, my friend Jason Zien bought one, standing in line on the weekend to get it. On Sunday, he came up to Redwood City to show it off.

Jason and Andrea

Jason's iPhone was a revelation. The touch screen, as everyone says, is magical. No other word for it. The screen resolution and sharpness is amazing. It's gorgeous and clear. It... just... works. I instantly fell in love - not because it's an object of desire, but simply because it is... useful.

I took a picture of him and Andrea. And emailed it to myself. It showed up.

Hey, T-Mobile and Nokia! Are you listening?

So I decided to buy one. This, you recall, after the "They didn't sell out, nothing to see here, move along" weekend.

Well, actually, in Northern California, they did sell out. On Monday at lunchtime, none to be had at the Burlingame store -- and none had arrived that day. Monday night, I checked the 'locator' on Sigh. None were going to arrive on Tuesday. Now, I am not the kind who has to have things Right Now -- but what i hate is the incremental process of getting something. If I could have just ordered one to show up in two weeks, that would have been fine, but this Chinese water torture approach was not going to work. So I checked the locator for Columbus Ohio, where lo and behold, there were plenty of iPhones. I got my friend Craig to buy me one at 9am the next morning. Which he did (thanks Craig!!) with no muss, no fuss, no line.

His critical addendum to the iPhone,you can see in the photo yourself -- click for detail.


I love it. It's still not entirely set up, and I love it. I've only found one problem, which I will note here in detail.

Apple, you are morons for how you handle wifi passwords.
Maybe this is in a manual somewhere -- but the device is so damn easy to use, I haven't cracked the manual, and I don't want to. If you have a hex or ASCII WEP password to your wifi hub (doesn't everyone?), you have to go into Settings and change the settings (under wifi, other, security) to "WEP hex or ASCII". Then, when you enter said password, if it's hex, you have to precede the hex with a $ sign like this: $4B42C7 and if it's ASCII you need to put it in quotes like this: "password". Otherwise it Will Not Work. Aargh. Jason bailed me out on this -- thanks Jason !! -- I'm not sure if it was due to his PhD in computer science or his slavish fanboy devotion to Apple :-) -- it *couldn't* have been that he RTFM, nah -- but he saved me in the one pinch I've had thus far.

Tomorrow, life will go on more or less as before.

Today, well, cool.