The Paradox of “kicking smartphone addictions”.

It’s amusing that people think of “kicking smartphone addictions”. We now have a decade of experience in the current social media landscape. We have a decade of using smartphones rather than feature phones. In effect we have had a decade to adapt our lives to the age of the ubiquitous smartphone. We can ignore the Blackberry and Nokia ages where phones were for phone calls, playing snake and business rather than pleasure.

Those that see social media as a disease usually have partners.
Those that see social media as a disease usually have partners.

People who see smartphones or social media as addictive usually have one thing in common. They have a “partner”. They spend their free time with a specific individual. “It’s about finding balance. I became conscious of what matters to me, in my life. My smartphone is still a part of it, but it’s no longer the boss.” I have never been addicted to the device as such. My passions lie with what I can do with the device. I was passionate about Twitter when it was a social network. I was passionate about facebook when it was a way of keeping up with friends.

If Twitter and facebook become ego-networks for marketers and public relations professionals then the “addictive” aspect of smartphones vanishes. As social media goes from a conversation to a broadcast and a monologue it delivers another opportunity. It gives us the chance to go back to reading books. As we no longer “socialise” with smartphones the “addiction” is gone. We loose nothing by spending time “offline”.

You don’t need to give up the smartphone or any apps. If you’re like me you can pick up an e-book reader and replace Facebook and twitter with reading. If you’re going to passively read an e-book reader is an interesting alternative.


Strava now has rock climbing, hiking and more

Strava now has rock climbing, hiking and many more sports. Sports tracker, movescount and other applications already allowed you to do this but it is nice to see one more network provide us with this option.

Strava expanded the number of sports you can track
Strava expanded the number of sports you can track

Up until now I had to make sure to go for a bike ride or three per week to keep people updated on what I did. During week days I am likely to go for bike rides. On two to three evenings per week I may go climbing and on the weekend I may go hiking or for a walk. As a result I can track the diversity of my activities.

Strava has updated the list of sports
Strava has updated the list of sports

With rock climbing I would like them to add two or three more fields. I would like them to add an option to add the grade of the climb we did. This would need to use the European and the American systems. It would help us track our progress and even track how hard we worked if we’re wearing a heart monitor as we climb. In effect it could provide us with a way of seeing who else is climbing and whether we match their skill level. In the long run this could contribute to new groups. I have created a group for Swiss Via Ferrata in anticipation of via ferrata practitioners joining the network and sharing their climbs.

Until recently I would only track cycling and running. Now that walking, hiking and climbing have been added I can track a number of new sports. It should result in people using the app more frequently.  It could be fun to see climbing and hiking heat maps. We will see how they adapt the input section to match the sports.


A chevreuil in 4K

Yesterday I went for a walk around the foot of the Jura and there is an enclosure where deer are kept waiting to be slaughtered for meat. As the Chasse season is coming up this park might not be as busy.

This video was shot using the Sony Xperia Z3 compact. The image is a little blue for my liking.

I look forward to testing the Xperia Z5 compact with it’s improved sensor and new image stabilisation technology.

I have no 4K monitors on which to assess image quality at the moment.

Sony and Crosscall Mobile phone advertising

The Sony Xperia Z5 compact is for women who blog about fashion and the Sony Xperia M5 is for baristas who dream of owning a sports car but can’t quite pay for it yet. These adverts will never hook me in to wanting their products. I’m the type of person who lives in the countryside and spends his weekends in the mountains on adventures.

I want the Sony Xperia Z5 because of it’s fast autofocus, it’s new technology and it’s 4k recording technology and new image sensor. The geek press gave me information about the device and that’s what woke up my interest. Marketing to geeks is all about the specs and the technology. Marketing to normal people is about “This is the lifestyle you have and this device will survive it”. In the land of Sony people live in cities. Now to contrast with crosscall.


Crosscall make rugged strong mobile phones and their advertising is more in line with my own lifestyle.In the space of one month I shattered three screens on two phones. Two of those screen shatters were as a result of playing Ingress. In one case I stood up and the phone slipped from my lap on to the floor, bounced and then fell down again. It fell about two metres and the screen became unresponsive. In the second case I tripped on a step and fell with my hand rotated so that the screen took the impact rather than my wrist. I was so disgusted with myself for the incident that I was tempted by the Crosscall Odyssey+. The phone is rugged and would probably survive such a fall. It has excellent battery life but it’s data connection leaves to be desired especially when playing location based games like Ingress.

Crosscall advertise their devices as rugged, for the adventurous among us. They use runners, surfers, climbers and snowboarders as brand ambassadors. It’s through one of Xavier De La Rue’s posts on Facebook that I learned of the brand and that my curiousity was peaked. The Crosscall Odyssey+ is a niche device. The Trekker X1 has a better chance of appealing to a broader audience.


I love that devices by Sony and Crosscall are being advertised as weatherproof now. As an iphone user I liked that Lifeproof provided me with weatherproofing. I appreciate that brands are making their devices weatherproof by default. Soon it will be possible to throw people in to pools without warning once again… once autumn and winter have left place for next summer, of course.

TomTom Go and the diminishing cost of live traffic data when driving

Today with Tomtom Go you pay 20CHF per year for the maps and traffic information. When I first bought the TomTom Europe apps for iOS and Android they cost about 170CHF an operating system. If my memory serves me well traffic information would cost an additional 100 CHF per year.

As a result of the high cost for traffic information I was in the habit of using Waze. As long as you have a data connection you get maps and traffic information for free. It would save you 270 CHF initially.

When you live in the french speaking part of Switzerland you are just minutes from France and within hours you can be in Germany, Austria and Italy. As a result having maps pre-loaded in to your navigation is useful. That’s where Tomtom at 20CHF per year becomes interesting. The maps available are for individual countries, for Western, Europe, Eastern Europe, the whole of Europe, The Caribbean, North America and South America. Each of these maps can be downloaded ahead of a trip and used.

This means that once you’ve paid your 20 CHF you have maps for the world, not just for your daily commute.

I am so convinced by Tomtom’s new philosophy that I have uninstalled Waze and will now use Tomtom primarily and Google maps as a backup.

Social conversations and the social media

If you read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” you see how important it is to take notice of other people, to be positive and to be interested in what they are doing. That can be a challenge for everyone. We all have different priorities so putting other people first is a challenge.

The World Wide Web is a place where we can listen and talk at the same time. We listen to a conversation and then we comment. We can start our own conversation and wait for others to see it and respond. As a result we are both engaging with others and letting others engage with us. There is a bilateral trade which leaves both parties feeling good.

Social media, today a misnomer, was a conversation place. Everyone talked with everyone and everyone became familiar with everyone else. The Global Village that Marshall McLuhan wrote about looked like it would become a reality.

At the time when this reality looked the most feasible was the time before mobile phones and proper data plans. At this time we used computers from a fixed location, either at home, an office, university or other places. With Wifi we had some freedom but nowhere the freedom that smart phones and data plans have provided us with.

That’s why people’s feeling that mobile phones are disconnecting people is such a ridiculous notion. In my vision of the world, in the adoption cycle that I observe the mobile phone is the great connector. We meet people online, we appreciate them, we meet them in person. Seesmic and the early days of twitter were very good tools for this lifestyle.

As data plans included more and more data so it would follow that social media websites would be about individual to individual conversation. It would logically follow that people would feel more at ease conversing online as their friends adopt the technology and have chats. Facebook, twitter and Google Plus should be social web forums where people are interested in the people they follow.

What I see, as data plans and smartphone adoption rises is the opposite. People share links and promote rather than converse. Social media should be rebranded as Ego Media, brand media or advertising media. The platforms that should have made us conversational have been overtaken by advertising.

It’s a good time to continue blogging. It’s a monologue until you contribute a comment. The World Wide Web is a de-centralised conversation tool and we move from platform to platform looking for the places where the personal connections are strongest. As the social media days fade in to history now is the time for each of us to blog, to write about what we feel passionate about.

Lebara Spain

If you visit spain and get a lebara spain sim you need to set up two access point names. One is for internet access and the other is for MMS. I only point this out because dozens of sites tell you what the configuration requirements are but non indicate that you are setting up two access points.

APN 1:
Name: lebara internet
username: wap
apn type: default, supl

APN 2:
name: lebara MMS
mms proxy:
MMS port: 80

Ingress and the Sony Xperia Z3

Ingress is a game that requires a data connection, GPS data and the screen to be on. As a result of this battery consumption is high. Earlier today I took the Sony Xperia Z3 out in the rain and played for two solid hours non stop walking from portal to portal and the battery was at 50 percent. This is excellent compared to other devices.

Screenshot_2014-12-14-16-25-59 Screenshot_2014-12-13-20-16-29


The phone is also waterproof to a depth of one meter therefore the rain we had this afternoon was no hindrance to game play. Every so often I had to wipe the screen as the touch screen stopped functioning as well as it should due to the signals it was getting from the rain.


Ingress First Saturday


Saturday I went to Lausanne to play Ingress with over 100 individuals. The purpose of this meetup was to level up lower level players. I would have preferred a more strategic game as we were so many players. I need to find people who want to play strategically.

Ingress is a virtual game played in the physical world where the more of a walker you are the more you will achieve. Every statue and monument in a city becomes a portal. Link two or more portals and you create fields within a fence. You can find more information on youtube.