A digital telegram for your Monday

In the UK, Dixons have bought a company which sells mobile phones. The company is called Carphone Warehouse. If you’re younger than 40, you might be aware that mobile phones once looked like this: That’s the Motorola DynaTAC, with engineer Martin Cooper who made the first mobile phone call. The DynaTAC went on sale in 1984. Before that, there were even larger semi-mobile phones called carphones. They consisted of three parts: a handset, which generally looked like the DynaTAC; a control panel which was mounted into the car dashboard; and a box the size of a small suitcase which often went in the trunk of the car and contained the actual phone circuitry.

Amazing Week, Day 4: Mobile phones

Let me start out by saying that I’m not even going to talk about the fancy things modern phones do, like browse the web and recognize voice commands. I’m just going to talk about how amazing it is that you can wander anywhere in the industrialized world, someone can call your phone number, and somehow that call will find you wherever you happen to be, via a phone that can be as small as a packet of cigarettes.

Phone numbers

I’m in the process of migrating to using a cell phone as my only phone. I’m also cleaning up my address book. Here’s a tip to make life easier for me, and everyone else who might call you. Whether you’re listing your phone number on Facebook, in e-mail or on your web site, it makes my life a lot easier if I can just copy/paste or tap the number to call it, no matter where I happen to be.

Hell hath no fury like a phone company scorned

When I moved to the USA, one of the first things I did was get a cell phone. I was going to be living in a big city, rothko was working in a different part of town, we needed to coordinate things–it seemed to make sense. We went to Omnipoint, got a couple of phones, everything was good. A few years later, Omnipoint were purchased by Voicestream. We got a phone upgrade.

Echelon

Well, well. It seems that Echelon was used to catch Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Although he and his Al Qaeda friends used disposable mobile phones, Echelon managed to zero in on new phones when he used them (presumably using voice analysis and keyword search), and then pinpoint his location.