How to podcast using your mobile phone – The London Biker

Ex collegue of mine Matt Cashmore is about to blog motorbiking to Russia for charity, some of which he'll be doing as audio by phone – here's his handy guide to doing just that (the phone thing, not the motorbiking): "Sound simple doesn’t it. Just find a way of leaving a message on something like skype, then get it to encode your audio, upload it to the server and generate the XML." [link]

iPhone 2.0 — nightmare

I tried to upgrade to the new iPhone, I was up at 8am trying on the O2 store last week — it crashed, it was slow, and when I finally got to order there was absolutely no confirmation. Turns out I got a text yesterday saying that my order was received after stock ran out, and I’d get a new phone “soon”. Still, never mind I thought – the 2.0 software update will be something good.

All over the internet yesterday was talk of the Apps store, and the fact that you could download the 2.0 upgrade if you followed a link and did it manually. I held off until about noon today when the update was officially available to us in the UK — if anything went wrong I wanted to be able to follow the instructions exactly.

Plugging in, I selected “update” left the room, I knew I’d be nervous and it was best not to look.

The update failed with an “unknown error”. Then a restore failed. I know have a phone that says “emergency only” and shows to connect to iTunes.

I connect to iTunes and get a message that says :

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

“Could not complete your iTunes store request … error -9838”.

And that’s where I am.

I’ve had iPod or computer troubles before, you kind of get to live with them and look stuff up on the internet, or book an appointment at the “Genius Bar” and wait.

But this is not just my iPod, it’s my phone. And to a large part my business too.

Apple, O2, f-king EPIC FAIL.

A Flash Of Inspiration #2 Social Ethical Shopping

I’ve had this idea for a while, but want to get it down on ‘paper’ so people might be able to take the idea and sort it out. I could probably hack together the software side myself (not quickly, it’s a big job), but there’s a huge need for hardware and legal back-up to get it to work properly which I don’t have.

It combines three technologies, but aims to solve the problem of knowing how to be good. In short “should I buy this product”, “how does it sit with my values”. For example you may decide that you don’t want to buy any products from Heinz (as I don’t), but Heinz are a large company – it’s not always obvious in the supermarket which company ultimately owns which brand. Or despite the labeling, how can you really work out the food miles in some products?

In this system you can use your mobile phone to scan the barcode (already possible on the Nokia N95, but you could write an image processing app for most camera phones that are coming out onto the market now) and a small application on the phone interfaces with a website to give you the information as to whether the product sits in your ‘ethical space’.

You would have to sign up to the site and set ‘ethical sliders’ showing your views on different issues (animal welfare, economics, food miles, fair trade, local issues) and also your home area (for calculating some distance based ethics). You could then get a personalised yay or nay on each product you were unsure about.

Two potential problems here – collecting and updating all the information, which would hopefully be solved by using a very tight database and allowing users to add information on each product (if a barcode wasn’t in the database , you’d get some sort of message asking you to help populate the information). Luckily I think that a lot of this information is already collected by campaigners and if it was easy enough to add to the database on the site it could be filled up quite quickly. The other main problem is the litigious nature of major corporations, this product would have to have some very good PR and legal back-up, and be prepared for a long fight.

The project could self-finance in a number of ways, for a start there would be a wealth of accurate and self-entered data on shopping requirement that could be used for research (and sold perhaps, once de-personalised – the ethics research itself could act as a pressure on retailers and suppliers), the site woudl also be able to offer very tightly focused advertising online (even on the phone app itself, IN the supermarket, offering an alternative product that did fit in with the ethical map of the user).

It’s a social web-app, a wiki-database- and mobile technology. It’s very clever I think, technologically possible now and broadly speaking very 2.0. It just needs a cool name.