Street Use


Phone Mining

Vagabond Jan Chipchase spends most of the year traveling around remote parts of the globe figuring out how people actually use technology — particularly phones. He has noticed a new behaivor among his native hosts. If they are young, they want to borrow his phone and mine if for goodies they can copy.  Here is Jan’s first experience in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

Wandering around UB and chance up disciples [monks] playing football in a temple complex. They invite me into the warmth for a reason – to mine the memory of my phone of all its value. Half a dozen files transferred from my device – particularly interested in obtaining photos of women from Japan.


Recently Jan was visiting Uzbekistan and noticed a similar trend:

Whilst taking breakfast in a roadside hut encounter a situation … where a local kid takes my phone, switches on Bluetooth and data-mines it for music and pictures.

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He adds as an aside:

[I] usually carry a pack of non-local gum to ease the way through customs and a myriad of social interactions. Its about time to create a decent travel pack of bluetoothable music and photos.

Not a bad idea.

Posted on December 19, 2007 at 5:08 pm | comments

Public Mobile Battery Charger

At the airport in Kumming, China I spied this battery charger in one of the halls. They offered adapters and voltages for almost any device you had. I was in a hurry to catch a plane otherwise I would have found out more about it.


Posted on May 16, 2007 at 6:53 am | comments

Smart Information-Rich Traffic Signals

I love these traffic lights I saw in Suzhou, China (near Shanghai). Rather than the simple three-bit information of red, yellow, green, you get the count-down time for green and red. So you know exactly how many seconds of “go” you have left, as well as how long that red light will last. Rather than causing people to game the system, it simply makes driving around much easer and less stressful. Really, why don’t we do that everywhere? I know that some European cities have count-down clocks on green lights, but I had never seen them on the red as well.


Posted on May 14, 2007 at 6:16 am | comments

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