Among the most revolutionary devices in terms of telecommunications is, without a doubt, the telegraph. By allowing people in different parts of the planet to communicate in near real time for the first time, it is considered to have been a key to globalization and a precursor to the methods we use today, such as the telephone, mobile phones and the Internet.

However, to get to that point, the telegraph, which first appeared in 1774, had several versions. And they weren’t always so practical. Before Samuel Morse created his famous Morse Code in 1837, the telegraph had 26 wires, one for each letter. It was thanks to this “alphabet” that it could be reduced to a single line, which facilitated the transmission of messages xnxx.

Morse was not a scientist, but rather a painter. However, after belatedly receiving the letter announcing the death of his wife, he decided to create a telegraph that would have a national reach. With the help of Leonard Gale, a professor of science at New York University, they achieved their goal between 1832 and 1837.

Since then, Morse code, based on a system of dots and dashes to represent each letter, has been used in official communications for more than 150 years. Although it is no longer the main means of communication, it is still used in certain areas such as Boy-Scouts, radio amateurs (until 2005 it was mandatory to pass a Morse test to get a license) and instrumental aviation.

Likewise, the International Morse Preservation Society is an organization with thousands of members that is in charge of keeping this means of communication alive. If you’re curious about how to read Morse code, keep reading.



The telegraph

As we mentioned earlier, Morse code is a binary system that uses two symbols to represent each letter: the dot and the dash. For example, E is represented by a point and it is the simplest letter. However, others have up to four symbols like the Y, which is dash, point, dash, dash.

To convey a message in Morse, time is key. The point is transmitted with a minimum pulse. For its part, the line must be three times longer than a point. Likewise, spaces are key to being able to emit a readable message. Between letter and letter a time equivalent to three points must be left, while between word and word it is three lines.

Without a doubt, learning Morse code is not just anything. But there are some tricks that can help make the task easier. One of the most used in the world consists of associating a keyword with each letter or number and this will give us its equivalent in Morse. An example is the word “tree” for A. And it is used like this:

  • The initial of the keyword is the corresponding letter.
  • The number of vowels that the keyword contains indicates the number of digits in Morse code.
  • If the vowel is an O, it is replaced by a dash (—). While if it is any other vowel it is replaced by a point (·).
  • When substituting, only dots and dashes obtained up to the full length in Morse code will be taken into account.
  • Thus, the word “tree” has two vowels: a and o, which would be a point and a dash respectively. That means that the “a” in Morse code is represented by a dot and a dash.




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During the pandemic, Zoom has become the tool of choice for students, teachers, and professionals. However, its limitations in the free version gave rise to the appearance and proliferation of other options with more benefits.

One of them was Google Meets, whose platform had a better loading speed and did not limit the duration of its users’ calls. At least, until today.

Having proven its power and convenience, Google Meets is ready to monetize with a Premium version, limiting the options of its free users. However, this change does not come alone. It comes backed with various new features that make it attractive compared to other platforms on the market.



Before we talk about benefits, let’s clearly define what Google Meets is. If you are an Android user, you will surely remember something called “DUO”. The tool simulated much of what we’ve already seen in video calling apps like Facetime.

Recently, Google made the decision to merge Duo and Google Meet, to create an integrated experience with many more features.

The new “Google Meet” will have the basic features for free. They are between them:

  • Scheduling and creating meetings.
  • Virtual backgrounds.
  • Automatic subtitles.



Among the functions that Google Meet takes from Zoom, is the tool through which the administrator of the call can mute other users without their authorization. Google claims that it is due to a measure to maintain order and amenity in meetings where some participants forget to turn off their microphones porno français.

However, not everything is beneficial for users. Just like Zoom, they will start limiting their free users’ calls to 1 hour when more than two people are on it.


The new system will be designed for the room having passed the 60 minutes, giving a prior warning 5 minutes before. After that time has passed, the link will also stop working.

Luckily for lovers and recruiters, this limitation will not apply to meetings where only two participants join. In these cases, video calls can be made for up to 24 consecutive hours, without any interruption to the platform.



The compensation that Google Meet offers us in exchange for that limitation of time in collective meetings seems sufficient when you put it in the balance against its other benefits.

Collaborative functions between the members of a video call, such as the use of Spotify or YouTube collectively, are expected to be incorporated soon. Other tools will also be integrated, such as:

  • Kahoot!
  • Heads Up!
  • One Mobile

The new Duo-Google Meets hybrid will also offer the possibility of integrating its Drive, Photos and Gmail application into meetings, with all the operational collaborative functions, in addition to a VPN available for Android and iOS.

To be sure, even with the bad news, this new Google experiment promises to dethrone Zoom with its new array of features. Do you think that soon Google Meet will be more used than any other video call application?



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Phone Nokia ( Pexel)

Have you ever noticed how quickly people change? Yourself. Even when we stay true to our nature, the human being changes rapidly in short periods of time. If you don’t see it, think about how you used to be, I don’t know, two years ago. Five years.

Now, imagine that multiplied by the number of humans on the planet. With this metaphorical approach, perhaps you can understand how our society changes. Throughout these changes, there are many great brands that manage to reinvent themselves to adapt. Meanwhile, others see their period of glory slowly fading into oblivion.

That is the theme that brings us together here today. Take a walk through time and remember 3 iconic brands that once led the market, while now they are sadly forgotten in the graveyard of dead campaigns. Do you want to know what they are? Keep reading.






We started this list talking about mobile telephony because, as many of you may have noticed, today these types of devices are the ones with the shortest Prime Time on the market.

However, in a world where cell phone models are depreciated approximately every 6 months, we remember the first great giant as a legend: Nokia.

This company of Finnish origin revolutionized the mobile phone market between the end of the 20th century and the 2000s with models so resistant that they are remembered today porno.

However, with the advent of smartphones, their policy of staying true to their principles eventually dethroned them, making them too late in the race for innovation in the smartphone niche. In addition, its alliance with Windows in response to the appearance of iPhone and Android did not give the best results either.



The phrase “Give me your pin” marked a fairly long and marked period in the lives of many in Latin America and the United States. After the fall of Nokia in the market, this brand took its place and positioned itself above others thanks to its technological proposals that challenged current schemes.

Among its innovations, he highlighted above all the 3G connection and its QWERTY keyboard. These two elements were more than enough to make their mobile phone lines dominate the market during the 2000s.

Sadly though, what goes up must come down, and in the end, Blackberry tried to be so true to its original design that it failed to adapt to new technology and consumer patterns. It was surpassed by the proposals of Android and Apple, who found in WhatsApp a more inclusive substitute for the “BB PIN”.



Surely you remember it, because almost everyone at some point had one of their televisions at home.
Panasonic entered the market in 1918, with a wide variety of technological offerings. His first big success was his televisions, which stood out from the competition for their innovation, durability and unmatched reliability.

Later, they knew how to modernize and expand their offer with DVD players and sound equipment, accessories that complemented their already successful televisions.

Today it is not exactly dead, but its leading position was ceded to Samsung, which currently leads the screen market in all formats: mobile devices, televisions, tablets, monitors, portable consoles, etc. Its strongest income is in the manufacture of resources and industrial machinery, in addition to providing batteries to Tesla.

And you, what other company do you remember with nostalgia?


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Poems about friendship and special relationships

I’m scared, what is happening to us? I have never loved as I have loved you. I have never felt love as I felt from you. We were so happy and so in love, why do I feel that things are changing for us? We live so far apart, yet the love we shared was so strong, and so real.

I’m scared now, sometimes it seems so differeant. We live far apart yet there was no distance between us, now for the first time I am feeling the distance. You have your life there and I have mine here, we both face each day with normal everyday stress. You have your problems and I also have mine, but a part of loving each other comes the sharing of each others fears. Don’t we share each others hopes and fears? I know I have told you all of mine, you may think it is inscurities, I say I’m just scared.

Do you wonder why I am scared? Let me tell you. We met online so long ago and feel in love. We shared moments together which meant everything to me, but it seems that you have less and less time for me. A day would not go by when I did not hear your voice each morning, now there are days xxx that go by and I do not hear from you until you email me at the end of your day.

I’m scared because there has been so many nights that I forced myself to stay awake and wait for an email from you saying that you were home. It was so wonderful how we would talk on the phone when you got home, now when we call each other at the end of the day, there is only silence on the phone. I try so hard to have a conversation with you, but so often you do not even respond to what I say. Why, can you please tell me why?

I’m scared because communication is a very important part of every relationship, it is even more important when you are involved in a long distance relationship. What has happen to our communication? I’m scared even though you say that I am your only one, you seem to push me away from you so much of the time. We need to be there forre each other during our difficult times. I’m scared because the past few weeks were my most difficult and you seemed you did not understand that or you chose to ignore it, it really scared me. I needed you more now than ever, why is te communication so poor?

To the friends we have lost in cyberspace;
Whatever the reason was for you leaving, I want you to always know that
despite the fact that I was hurt by you I pray that there will always be Angels there to protect you. Some lost friends may have suddenly disappeared without a word, leaving us wondering why, others might lie about themselves and fear you might learn the truth and they just vanish without a trace. It is sad when we turn on our screens never to hear from them again. But remember they did leave us with memories and the memories are very special.
I believe there are Angels out there watching
those we have lost to cyberspace, guiding and protecting them. I know this is true because I believe in Angels!

Some of us will never know why some choose
to go away and we are left with a void and a
broken heart. Yet, in our hearts we have learned
a little something from each one of these
lost cyber friends. Some of them might just be
wondering how we are too, and some may not
think twice about the friends they have left
behind. I believe that no matter how they choose
to be there are still Angels besides them,
guiding them, protecting them from all harm.

To all of our friends out there in
cyberspace, we may never speak again, nor
will I know what has happen to you. But I
believe in Angels, and I know that they
will always be with you too, the Angels
in cyberspace.

For those friends we have loved
and lost to the mysteries of

Management Models with the Most Potential

Examples to be considered include:
Small to medium sized towns whose water departments/boards/associations operate their own systems (i.e. employ their own staff or hire a local company to carry out routine operations), and either individually or collectively obtain professional support.

Large towns or aggregated medium sized towns whose water departments/boards/associations individually or collectively contract operators who can operate the system and have most of the specialized skills needed to resolve problems and improve operational efficiency and financial management. Examples include more comprehensive services such as Design/Build/Lease, Build/Own/Transfer, and Build/Own/Operate arrangements.

Multi-village/town schemes representing a special case for which there may be a need to separate bulk water supply from village/town distribution systems.

Some of the management models already documented by the WSP and the RWSTG are introduced below.

Local government/community management with professional support

The autonomy and single raison d’être of Autonomous Municipal Water Boards and Water User Associations overcome many of the problems associated with Municipal Water Departments and Public Water Utilities. They are self-regulating to the extent that: revenues can be retained for reinvestment in the system, accountability to users is direct, oversight of planning and operations is strong, service matches acceptable tariff levels, and operational decisions are based on the needs of the water supply system rather than other political considerations. Financing is largely through federal government transfers, with the community contributing a predetermined percentage of the capital costs. The WSP and the RWSTG are focusing on case studies where the community manages the system through water boards/associations, where operators are accountable to the water board/association (sometimes as employees but preferably as contracted private operators), and where professional support services have proved effective.

There is growing consensus that smaller systems under local government/community management require professional support. Locally based operators can perform routine operations well, but what is missing is the professional support needed to maintain good service at a reasonable cost and to expand facilities to meet demand. For example, professional technical and financial skills are required for (i) planning, design and construction management of new/rehabilitated systems and planned expansions; (ii) ongoing strategic planning to reduce unaccounted-for-water and increase sales through distribution extensions, new connections and tariff management; (iii) advice on maintaining treated water quality, reducing operating costs and resolving operational problems; and (iv) advice and oversight on accounting, financing and external auditing.

One of the professional support models under porno gratis review by RWSTG/WSP is franchising. Under a franchise arrangement the franchisor develops an operating plan and procedures under a brand name or logo which becomes synonymous with high quality service, and commits to ongoing support and guidance to small-scale private operators in critical areas of management and operation and maintenance, in exchange for a share of the revenue. Although composed of many independent units with relatively small revenue bases, a franchise network has the power and resources of a much larger enterprise. By introducing an individual with entrepreneurial flair as the operator/franchisee, there is also a built-in incentive to operate the water supply efficiently and in a business-like way. Franchising also best leverages the skills of the limited number of experienced water managers and operators found in most countries.

Full service management models
Several full service management models are being implemented / piloted by the World Bank. These include Design-Build-Lease (DBL) contracts, and Build-Own-Operate contracts. Under a typical DBL contract the municipality arranges the lease agreements, and a private company designs, constructs and manages operation and maintenance. The lease agreement for operation and maintenance may be for a group of towns over a 10 to 15 year period. If the lease fee covers debt service, then full-cost recovery is possible. One of the main challenges to BOT type contracts is how to ensure coverage of the smallest, poorest towns whose revenue base is too small to attract the private sector, for example $20,000 per year for a community of 5,000 (20 liters per capita per day at $0.50/m3).

BOO contracts are less well documented than most of the other full service contracts, but represent a dynamic and potentially sustainable model based on private sector financing. Under a BOO contract the investor is committing to cost recovery through connection fees and the water tariff. Investors will only take this risk under the right kind of market conditions and incentives, possibly including different types of direct subsidies to attract initial interest in smaller towns.

Creating a unique blend: total rewards at Starbucks

Starbucks’ impressive results and plans for growth are built on a foundation of inclusiveness and equality. Chet Kuchinad, SVP of Total Pay, explains how the company’s reward strategy embraces both these philosophies.
Starbucks is the world’s largest specialty coffee retailer and this year aims to open 1,300 stores worldwide, hire around 200 people per day and grow US revenues by 25 to 30 percent on top of US$4.1 billion in revenues from the previous fiscal year. Its employee turnover rate is one of the lowest in the industry and, in all areas of its business, is trending downwards. So what’s behind this impressive success?
“From the very beginning,” says Chet Kuchinad, SVP of Total Pay, “our firm belief has been that if you take care of people, people will take care of customers and be engaged in their work.” There are two key elements that he believes separate Starbucks from the competition when it comes to its employee offering.
The company offers comprehensive healthcare coverage to all eligible full and part-time partners. It also offers stock options and discount stock purchases to all eligible partners. With the stock option and discount stock purchase programs, Starbucks reinforces the concept of its people being “partners” in the company.
An inclusive environment The Starbucks pay and reward package is branded ‘Your Special Blend’ (see sidebox, below). Core elements such as healthcare coverage and the stock programs are delivered consistently to eligible partners in all levels and business sectors of the company.
“We build the Starbucks experience by delivering pay elements to our partners that drive financial rewards in the success of the company in a meaningful way.” says Kuchinad. “For example, last year the Bean Stock program awards of company stock options were granted at 14 percent of eligible partners’ pay, whether they worked in our roasting plant, a store, or in our support centers. It connects us all together with the success of the company.” Last year, over 39,000 partners were eligible – this is unique to the industry and has been key to driving partners’ engagement.
Focus on healthcare The culture of partnership is continued in healthcare provision – the company chairman receives the same level of health coverage as an eligible barista. “Most companies offer family and medical leave after a year of employment,” points out Kuchinad. “At Starbucks it’s after 90 days. We have a highly diverse workforce who find great value in this benefit.”
The company’s annual Partner View survey measures satisfaction and engagement. Last year it showed that, behind work environment and the sense of making a contribution, healthcare provision is the third most important reason why US retail partners join Starbucks.
“As a result we’ve taken a very comprehensive look at our healthcare strategy and how, in an environment where companies are shifting increasing costs onto employees, we can continue to deliver value to our partners.”
Taking a proactive approach A program called Partner Connection is a key part of efforts to help the workforce with health and fitness. It links employees with shared interests and hobbies and is funded through revenue from the sale of Starbucks logo merchandise to partners. All the money goes back to partners to fund things like soccer, cycling, running and even alpine climbing clubs.
“Also, if three or more partners approach us and say, for example, that they want to stop smoking,” says Kuchinad, “we will help expenses associated with their efforts. This is always partner driven and we’re helping with a broad spectrum of things from weight management programs to fitness clubs. It’s about encouraging a pro-active approach to health.”
Creating community spirit “For me Starbucks is truly a community whether you work in a store or in a support role,” says Kuchinad. “When [Chairman] Howard Schultz says ‘leave no-one behind’ that is reflected in all of our programs.”
The CUP (caring unites partners) Fund is a financial assistance program that helps Starbucks partners who experience a financial crisis. Partners voluntarily contribute money to a fund that helps other partners during crises such as illness, the death of a family member, being a victim of natural disaster or other extreme circumstances. All Starbucks partners are eligible to apply for xxx video assistance.
Other elements that are unique, especially in the retail environment, are the employee assistance program for all partners, financial assistance when children of partners are mildly ill and need daycare, and financial assistance to partners who have chosen to adopt. “These are not big things, but they are big for partners and very meaningful,” says Kuchinad.
A culture of recognition Beyond pay and benefits, the company has a group of people who are dedicated to building and delivering recognition programs. These range from the Bravo award where partners receive a certificate and pin when they achieve a high level of service, sales or cost savings, to the Spirit of Starbucks award which recognizes people for living and contributing to the guiding principles.
Flexibility in the Total Pay package also allows discretionary spot bonuses for both retail and non-retail partners. “Again, relative to the total amount that we spend in dollars this is not a significant portion,” says Kuchinad. “But they have a very powerful impact on partners. It’s what makes our team special.”
Feedback and measuring impact As well as the Partner View survey, Starbucks has a program called Mission Review – a way for employees to communicate their thoughts and feelings to management and receive answers to their questions. “For example,” says Kuchinad “if a partner has a question about Total Pay then it will be passed to me or someone on my team and we address it within 10 business days. It’s another avenue to get partner insight.”
Although low employee turnover is due in part to local and national economies and changes in the labor market, employee feedback demonstrates that Total Pay is one of the key drivers behind employee engagement and retention.
Staying ahead of the competition So how does the company make sure its employee value proposition is always one step ahead of its competitors’? The company examines the offerings of 17 QSR (quick service restaurant) and consumer product competitor companies in the US, selected on both financial and non-financial criteria such as people practices and brand awareness.
“But we go one step further than matching the competition,” says Kuchinad. “For example, looking at healthcare – if I were to just compare our offering to the competitor group we wouldn’t have the package that we have. We differentiate ourselves by creating our own unique blend and adding the Starbucks touch. These are principles that we apply globally.
“However, pay alone will not attract people. Our Total Pay philosophy and our culture of teamwork and community are all key parts of why people join and stay with Starbucks.”

Critique of doors

I know, it sounds dull. I will keep it short and sweet. This is also a sort of overdone topic ever since The Psychology/Design of Everyday Things.

The basic idea here is that the use of doors should never enter consciousness. We should not do any “thinking” at all about them.
However, this is a difficult premise because people commit errors when using poorly-designed doors. Usually it is in pushing when they should pull or trying to open a locked door. It is the case that most of us don’t want to perform a complex cognitive task to open a door. Does that sound unreasonable?

Below is a picture of some of the worst doors in Northwest Ohio. They are of the entrance of the The Toledo Museum of Art.

Do you push or pull?

These doors have identical pullbars on both sides.

There is no cue of hinges because they aren’t visible. If you look closely at the top, you will see ambiguous knobby projections. These are odd internal pivots that act as hinges for the doors.
And yes, the doors open only out, but because they are identical on both sides, visitors do not have any clue before they try to open them.

Some designer must have thought that it was beautiful to hide the hinge-pivots inside the door. Perhaps that designer just hated museum visitors.

Although I am no expert on the aesthetics of the doors, it seems to be that doors have a single main use–they are meant to be opened. If they don’t do this well, they are not good doors. There is plenty of style inside the museum that does not cause visitor distress. Door style should come second to door function.

Beyond the designs that cause user errors, another issue exists… public restroom doors!

Q. What is a common problem of public restroom door design?

A. They open IN!

This is a terrible thing for restroom doors to do. Washing my hands is the last thing people do in the restroom (at least ideally people actually wash their hands). Many restroom designers have realized that people do not want to touch the same handles, faucets, and towel dispensers that everyone with dirty hands touches. That is why many new public restrooms include hand-sensing automatic faucets other such gadgetry that eliminate unneeded hand-to-object contact.

It is sad that after putting in that much consideration toward my pure and clean hands, the overall design of the restroom fails to leave them clean because upon leaving the restroom I have to open the door inward, therefore ensuring that my hands must touch the same dirty pull bar as every poor slob before me.
Opening the door with a paper towel makes sense, and sometimes people can even “three-point shot” the paper towel into the trash from the doorway. Unfortunately, this does not help in restrooms that have only hot air blower-style hand dryers or restrooms that run out of paper towels.

Anyone who would design a restroom without cleanliness in mind has odd priorities. This is especially true for places where clean hands are essential, like restaurants and medical buildings.

One positive note: I have heard that the value of opening doors outward is now being enforced by new building code. It is not for clean hands, but so people (especially the disabled) can move out of the restroom faster in case of an emergency.

Now if people would admit that doors can not only be physical obstacles, but mental obstacles as well.

*Update 9/11/04* The Clean-Escape is an example of good design that overcomes the inward-opening bathroom door problem. It is a simple bracket that is mounted to the bottom of the door. It that allows a person to use his/her foot to open the door.

PDA (Personal Digital Assistants) Use Study

For over six months, a background application tracked every use I made of my Sony CLIE SJ-22 PDA (PalmOS 4.1, grayscale 320×320 resolution, 16MB internal & 128MB expansion memory). I do not represent an average user, but rather an enthusiast user who tried as broad a spectrum of programs as possible. The PDA was accessible (in pocket) at almost all times every day, was hotsynced daily, and internal and external memory was always kept within 10% of capacity. Like any good enthusiast, I used a lot of third party (enhanced from the default) applications.

Study Results

Overall number of uses: 9539. Overall time of uses: 173 hours. All numbers in the table are estimates. Table ordering is retained in the histograms.
The combined calendar and address book program was used most frequently–it accounted for 43% of total uses and 25% of the total time. It is a good sign a program (or programs) that performs these functions ships standard on all PDAs.
Overall, functions that were performed by programs that shipped with this PDA (address book, calendar, memo pad, calculator, to do list, email) accounted for 64% of the total uses and 35% of total time. Even though this is a large amount of use, this still leaves the majority of time and a very significant percentage of uses in the hands of third-party developers–and distributed across a lot of programs. There is obviously a lot of use that PDA manufacturers do not make available by default to users. The use analysis still leaves important questions about PDA usage unanswered: Are there advantages of PDAs that most users are missing? Are these advantages usable by non-enthusiast users? If so, could PDA manufacturers take advantage of these to make their products more useful (and desirable) to users? The following section addresses some of these issues by categorizing and explaining types of use.

A major application was not included in this analysis is the English-language dictionary (it was not recorded by the use logger). This is only a guess, but I think that I probably spent at least as many uses on it as I did on the memopad. The hotsync application, though logged, was not included in the analysis because it reflects computer interface time–not human use.

How can PDA uses be categorized? Can these uses be performed in a paper-based format?

Because analysis of usage data alone cannot give the reason why programs are useful, I categorized PDA programs into three categories based upon the cognitive advantage they offer to users. Besides a cognitive and physical justification for these categories, I analyzed the possible cognitive advantages PDAs have over traditional paper alternatives in these areas:

1) Offloading long-term and short-term memory
Long-term memory is aided by programs (e.g. datebook, address book, memopad) that provide representations of thoughts that are normally expected to be committed to either internal human memory or an external memory agent (like paper). This represents the bulk of my PDA use, and these are the programs that are most likely to be included by default on PDAs. This can also be accomplished well with paper, though it might involve a somewhat hefty planner/organizer.
Short-term memory is aided by programs that provide representations of things that people normally have to commit to human memory. My favorite is Diddlebug–an elegant and simple open-source program. It allows the user to scribble on the PDA screen and then set an alarm to sound after a prescribed time period. The scribble can be anything from text to a picture–thus, any visual short-term memory can be offloaded and forgotten about. When the time comes to remember, the PDA beeps and the scribble is displayed. Certainly, paper cannot function as a time-based reminder–unless that paper is associated with something that keeps track of time.

2) Enabling the use of massive amounts of data
Programs (e.g. Hypertext references, books, newspapers, medical references) can enable users to reference or query large databases of information. Most of my references involved task-specific encyclopedia or dictionary material (e.g. “Who was in that movie?,” “How old is that person?,” or “What is that word in Spanish?”), but there were some non-task-oriented data references as well (books, newspapers). Though massive reference material can be referenced via paper-based tomes, these are being displaced by searchable electronic formats. This advantage is not being exploited as well as it could be most PDA users and even simple dictionaries are not included by default on PDAs.

3) Enabling the use of complex interactive reference tools
Programs (e.g. calculators, unit converters, electronics and astronomical references) can enable users to make use of interactive reference tools. While some (not all) of these functions can be accomplished by operating with paper-based tables, the complexity of use is an issue.

4) Interactive entertainment
Some uses had no purpose but pure entertainment (though I usually turned to the newspaper first for entertainment). The PDA allows for many choices in terms of interactive entertainment (the only entertainment program I used was a “vintage” interactive fiction game I remember playing on an Apple IIe as a child). This offers great advantages over paper, where interactivity is impossible (or at least very limited).

How can this use be applied to the world of PDA manufacturers? An assumption being made here is that PDA manufacturers want PDAs to be used more, with the logic being that increased use will lead to increased sales. I have gone from a non-consumer of PDAs to a consumer of PDAs because I cannot imagine myself getting rid of the item in my life–as long as I have the choice to carry it, I will. It truly is valuable to everyday life. Isn’t it a luxury? Yes. But given the choice, I will make sacrifices to carry a PDA. That, and I associate my mindset to incorporate the item–much like I could live without a phone, I will include its use in my foreseeable life. Many other users have not made this transition when it comes to PDAs–they find them to be of little value and though they may have owned one once, they are not in the market for a new one. If the PDA could have been made a valuable part of their lives, they would have continued to use and buy them.
Making an item so valuable to to one’s life as to be almost indispensable is not a new concept. Many people (myself included) have elected to marry themselves to other conveniences–for instance we consider cars to be nearly indispensable transportation tools (most people have plans to always own one) and mobile phones to be almost indispensable communication tools (most people make sacrifices to always carry one). Along these same lines, I have also chosen to marry myself to my Swiss Army Knife (I am using this term generically–I actually own a Leatherman Micra) because it has valuable physical advantages. I use it enough to personally justify carrying it everywhere. [In addition to utility, a host of physical (size and weight), financial (cost), and social (style and legality) factors influence whether a person consider an item to be worthwhile enough to carry on his body.]

The PDA as a mentally valuable item. Many people carry a Swiss Army Knife because it has a lot of physical uses, but virtually nobody carries the individual component devices of a Swiss Army Knife because they would have a limited scope of uses. The PDA has to be a mental Swiss Army Knife before people will carry it. Although PDAs have a few “killer apps” included by default, PDA software has to be heavily modified to enable other uses. Why do PDA manufacturers only include one or two mental tools in their products? This is the equivalent of Victorinox including a great blade on its Swiss Army Knives but then leaving metal stubs for users to change into whatever else they might want–“simply file the stub into a bottleopener, screwdriver, or file”! Of course, most people would not buy the knife in the first place and only a small percentage of purchasers would actually invest the time to make the modifications. Thus, the knife would sit on the shelf for a great majority of purchasers. By not being carried, the utility of the knife is nil. It is only when people start carrying the knife that it will become a truly indispensable item. There are two principles in play here:

1. Realizable (not potential) utility creates use. Swiss Army Knifes are most likely to be useful when they present the greatest chance of everyday use. Thus, Swiss Army Knives include most tools that are “everyday useful.” This sounds stupidly simple, but it requires a focus on utility that Victorinox has but PDA manufacturers do not. PDAs only have the potential to present great everyday utility, and thus are only potentially very useful. Currently, the potential is only met by users investing resources into including the mental tools (i.e. programs) that they consider useful to their lives. If the PDA reaches a threshold where it is “useful enough to always carry” then the individual user will reach the second principle, that of making the item available at all times. Of course, there are some consumers for whom the usefulness of the default programs alone is considerable, and they don’t modify the software. I can only imagine that this group would grow if the default program base grew as well.
2. Realized utility will cycle into more use as the user considers the PDA to be mentally valuable. PDAs have to be made useful enough to warrant being carried in all situations. Who would want to carry a tool in all situations unless that tool can be used in all situations? This is why most electronic items are not touched until the user anticipates a specific use. PDAs are only truly powerful when they reverse this trend–that is, when they are carried universally–even before the user has a specific use in mind.

What is the take-home message from this case study interpretation? The case study data show that PDA use can offer a diversity of mental advantages to users. By fulfilling the category needs that are outlined above (by installing software), users can find their PDAs to be more useful than they currently do. If individual users find PDAs extremely useful, they will begin to consider them to be indispensably-valuable mental tools. Thus, an effective step that PDA manufacturers can take to reach new users and retain old users is to consider ways they can expose customers to the mental advantages that PDAs offer. This is likely to mean that manufacturers should include (by default) software that allows users to do this.

Problems in implementing this interpretation. One assumption that has been made throughout the above argument is that useful software could be made available to PDA users. Obviously, if programs are very difficult for most consumers to use then then they would not make PDAs more useful–in fact, they could make the device more frustrating and video porno italiani less appealing. PDAs offer a unique interface when compared to most other computing devices, so the process of creating useful software may require a substantial investment into researching the user experience.

Notes on the personal side of PDA use

Up to this point, I have written about the behavior that I engaged in with a PDA–the numbers and reasons. Another important aspect about PDA use is emotional in nature. I use my PDA no fewer than 5 times a day, and I consider the useful of its data to have been life-changing.

It feels good to know. People need references when they are in the everyday world. I often like to read at coffeeshops. When I would read a word I did not know the definition for, I would consider the work I would have to put in to get the definition (write it down, look it up when I get home) to not be worth the trouble, especially considering that the utility of the definition was small (I had already read past that point in the book by the time I left the coffeeshop). However, the work it takes to look up a definition in the PDA is minimal (it is always faster than a paper-based reference for me) and the results are immediate. Thus, the number of words I look up has increased substantially when I compare my life to the time when I had to rely on paper-based references.

The PDA is never nagged. Social requests for information are bound by social etiquette. No one likes being asked for boring information or being asked many times. In contrast, the PDA is not inconvenienced when I ask it for boring information–even if I have to ask for a third time. PDAs are uniquely able to fill this social role because of speed-of-use and because it is present in social situations.

The joy of geekdom. Yes, there is an emotional satisfaction that one gets using a PDA to uncover an obscure bit of information. It is not quite the same as the satisfaction that one gets from recalling information mentally, but it is satisfying nonetheless. A friend of mine has a similar PDA and similar programs. When situations arise socially where we need information, we see whose system is best able to produce the useful information. It is usually through these situations that we come to know about new programs and share them with each other. PDAs certainly have social characteristics.

My mindset changed over time of ownership. The questions I asked about the PDA took this course:

What can it do? (Then I discovered useful programs.)
What do I want it to do? (Then I got experience using in everyday life.)
What can it assist me with?

These questions apply well to PDAs because PDAs have changeable software tools. However, my mindset has also changed over the time of owning a Swiss Army Knife. It has certain things it can do (prescribed functions), which perhaps can be changed to become what I want it to do (e.g. the leather punch makes a great mini-screwdriver), but (eventually) it just assists. Obviously, a knife is less flexible than a PDA, but the logic still applies to some degree.
The PDA is a powerful form of distributed cognition. Popular culture has been influenced by a school of thought that tries to address a physical merger of the human body with technology. This school of thought has produced images of artificial electronic limbs, computing devices implanted into the brain, and the like. To apply the philosophy I write about in Brain Machine Interfaces, the human system is able to accept a variety of these devices right now. The only “letdown” is that instead of having artificial limbs and computers internally integrated with the human body, these items have to be made available externally. In other words, a Swiss Army Knife has to be held in the hand and not become part of the physical hand. Likewise, that also means that the mentally-assisting device has to be made available in the form of a handheld PDA. My personal conceptualization of distributed thinking involves a gray line between the internal and external mental systems anyway–so the future is now. The two main areas for the future are device improvements (networking, hardware, and software) and interface improvements (wearability, viewability, and input).


June 16.04
I went to see Don Norman speak about his latest book, Emotional Design, last night. It was a pretty good talk–I was surprised at how different his examples were from a similar speech he gave last year. I enjoy the emphasis on emotional design in general, but I saw two minor potential problems that may arise from emotional design.

May 19.04
After much fiddling and revising, I am finally done with the PDA use study. I did a case study of my PDA use over a six-month time period. The article summarizes the data and I analyze the reasons why PDAs are used and what can be done to improve them. In other news, summer means a lot of reading and a lot of dissertation writing.

Apr. 29.04
The semester is coming to an end and I have collected what I anticipate to be all (or most) of my dissertation data. I will finally be able to finalize some of the articles that I have been working on and post them here. Until then, I changed my article on the Maytag Skybox, partially due to the fact that the previous version of the article was hastily-written and partially because I have been influenced by reading the book Emotional Design. Also, I am almost ready to post an article on PDA use that includes a case study.

I am committing to updating this website more often, even though this site has competition from a million other things in my life, including a time-intensive dissertation. The latest Alertbox ( has an informal review of an interesting social study “Why mobile phones are annoying.” Although the study does not answer all of the questions that it raises, it is useful nonetheless. Nielsen ranted about the difference between face-to-face and mobile phone conversations in terms of noticability, intrusiveness, and annoyance. However he ignored the story of the data he posted (some of which appeared to be reported incorrectly, but that is another story), and strongly interpreted it:
“What is certain is that the research documents the fact that mobile phones are annoying […]”
However, people rated mobile phone conversations as less annoying and less intrusive than neutral in terms of both having had an “annoying” volume of conversation and as being “intrusive.” The mean rating was barely above this neutral mark in terms of being “noticeable.” In other words, people hardly thought the mobile phone conversations were annoying at all–just less non-annoying than face-to-face conversations. Regardless of the interpretation issue, the original study brings up good queries: Are mobile conversations annoying for casual eavedroppers (because half of the conversation is inaudible)? How can social protocol and mobile phone design be changed to provide a better “bystander” experience?