On of the most sickening trends in today’s world is depriving people of control over their lives. It’s very clear in mobile phone space. You can’t update operating system to a newer version, you got to buy a new phone. You can’t change carriers. You can only use software blessed by your phone manufacturer. You can’t get root access and so on.
There are workarounds with various levels of usefulness or legality but why do you have to fight such artificial limitations in first place?
Yesterday I stumbled upon Openmoko. It’s a family of smartphones with open source hardware and software, with strong emphasis on community development and support. It exists precisely to solve problems like the ones I mentioned.
I spent a few hours reading about the project and my impression is that it’s not ready for the prime time, there are still numerous hurdles that should be solved. Even the official wiki
states that. Therefore I’m not buying one yet…but it’s very likely that when I’ll decide to retire my phone, I will take a much closer look at Openmoko.
Somehow the world seems a better place now that I know there are customer-centric alternatives.
Today I wanted to get back to one shop, it had one book that I wanted for a good price. What I remembered about it?
First, that it had the book. Like hundreds of others.
Second, that the book was cheap. Useless, I can’t translate it to any term understood by a general purpose search engine.
Third, that the logo was green. I remembered the exact tone of this colour. But it too was useless.
It shows that there’s a big gap between how human memory works and how we communicate with search engines. There’s a huge potential for improvements. Search companies work on improving understanding of human language (and the awful way it works now made me leave google), but that’s not everything. Explaining tone of green with words is not natural. It would be better if I could tell my machine to show me some kind of colour picker. Or in some other cases – let me sketch site layout. And take into account the time when I saw it.
That’s when I’m returning to a site. This case is somewhat solved with bookmarks, but really you can’t bookmark any site that you may want to return to and after bookmarking many sites you have to search them too, so it’s nothing good.
BTW, I found the shop in my browsing history.