Tag Archives: camera phones

Android ethics Google iphone listserv mailing list Microsoft Nexus One online-journalism Online News photo-sharing Photography RSS XML

Five Reasons To Get A Nexus One

Nexus One phone with the Android OS I’ve had a Nexus One for a few weeks and I can finally talk about it. It’s really nice – I’ve had a Palm Treo, an iPhone, and a G1 and this is definitely the best mobile device I’ve ever owned.

If you’re like me you’re probably tired of hearing about how every new phone is or is not an “iPhone killer.” To be honest, I really like the iPhone — I used to have one and my wife has one now. I’m not on the Android team, but I doubt they’re trying to “kill” any other devices – most Googlers like any mobile device with a full-fledged web browser.

That said, if you’re wondering which phone to buy, I think the Nexus One has the edge. Here are five reasons why:

1. The screen is really, really nice. This might sound a bit superficial, but the truth is I spend much more time surfing the web and reading than I do actually making phone calls. In my experience the higher the resolution, the less eyestrain. I also often use my phone to show people photos, and the Nexus One screen really does the photos justice.

I remember getting my iPhone and being amazed by the 480 x 320 pixel screen at 163 ppi. The Nexus One has a slightly larger screen, but much higher resolution, 800 x 480.

2. Voice input is awesome. Every time you need to type something, whether it’s an email, text message, or blog post, you always have the option of saying it. Today I texted my wife to let her know I was running late as I walked down the stairs from work – no need to look at the phone or spend time tapping out the message. That’s a pretty trivial example, but I find myself using it more and more in lots of situations just like that.

3. The video is actually adequate. This is the mobile phone I’ve seen that produces video that’s good enough to share with others. Here’s an example, and note that the lighting wasn’t exactly optimal:

We have a Canon video camera that we almost never use because it’s yet another device to lug around and getting videos off of it is a huge pain. I always have my Nexus One on me, and I can upload the videos directly to YouTube right after I take them. This means I’m getting a ton more video of my 1-year-old daughter and sharing it with family all around the country.

4. The photo gallery is nice, with great Picasa integration. I mentioned that showing off photos is a big use case for me, and the photo gallery is easy to navigate, fast, and looks cool too. It’s pushing me to use Picasa more even though I still prefer Flickr.

5. Multitasking is more useful than I thought. When the iPhone came out, I dismissed a lot of the criticism that it didn’t allow multitasking. How many different things do you expect to do at the same time on a small device? But as time went on, little task-switching annoyances started to add up.

I won’t run through all the possibilities, but my friend Wysz has a pretty good demonstration – he was able to get turn-by-turn GPS directions while listening to MP3s and streaming live video to the web. All on one phone. That’s pretty amazing.

Anything else? The Android Market is really starting to fill with cool apps, though it’s not quite as extensive as the iTunes App Store. I expect that to change as more people get Android phones. I wish I could write more about how developer-friendly the Android OS is, but I’m a bit ashamed to admit I haven’t made time to write a single line of code.

So, if you’re looking for a new phone, I completely recommend the Nexus One. If you really prefer a physical keyboard, take a look at the Droid, which has comparable specs to the Nexus One in a lot of ways. And honestly iPhones are still pretty cool, too, and I wouldn’t mind playing around the Palm Pre for a bit. This is the great thing about competition – right now we have a bunch of great mobile devices and mobile operating systems to chose from, and each is pushing the others to do better. If only we could say the same thing about the carriers.

If you have any Nexus One or Android questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.

Weekly listserv journal – RSS, ethics for online media, and camera phones

As part of a class project I’ve been reading the Online-News mailing list and responding to some of the issues and discussion brought up there.

I went ahead and looked up some info on RSS.  It seems pretty interesting-details can be found at http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss.  RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, a common format for content you want others to be able to pick up through their news sites, blogs, and web applications.  It’s a flavor of XML, which allows you to set up different channels and different items within the channel, with some other standard tags like creator and description.  It’s nice because it’s an open format, and it seems to be getting pretty big.  Like so many other things, there’s a set of dueling specifications for it, though some are backwards compatible with each other which is nice.  If more sites keep using it, I’m sure Microsoft will ad their own proprietary version to Office any day now.

One thing that’s interesting about this list is that people use it to announce papers, books, and projects.  For example, there’s “The current status and potential development of online news consumption: A structural approach” by An Nguyen at http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_9/nguyen/index.html, which makes the bland assertion that more news web sites are going up and more people are getting their news from the web.  That one was mentioned by someone who had read it; other times the writers themselves make announcements like Robert Berkman, who co-wrote Digital Dilemmas: Ethical Issues for Online Media Professionals.  This book likes kind of interesting, just because I’ve read a few journalism ethics books and they usually don’t have much on online journalism.  There are some important issues which are particularly pressing online as opposed to print–like reader privacy.

In other threads, some people have been discussing a poster called “JOE BIALEK” who seems to have appeared out of nowhere to write huge diatribes.  The name looked familiar to me and some of the other posters confirmed my suspicion-he’s a troll from Usenet and other forums who tries to start fights.  There was an interesting meta-thread about how these sorts of things happen.  Another thread was about the use of mobile phone cameras by reporters.  The first poster talked about how great it could be, but others quickly added there could be ethical concerns.  It might not be a great idea to let your reporter (who’s not a trained news photographer) take insensitive pictures of victims and post them without going through an editor first.