On U.S. election day last year, November 4th, I co-organized with Katrin Verclas of MobileActive a Barcamp style event we called “Mobile Tech 4 Social Change” focusing on the increasing role mobile technology is having in social activism, grass-roots organization, social development, and in the developing world. It’s possible we started a movement because MobileActive has gone on to run two more camps since then, in New York and Washington DC. Now Mobile Tech 4 Social Change is coming to London. I’ll be hosting this event on May 23rd in at Vodafone’s offices in London. For all the details and to register, go to MobileActive.org’s page on the event. If you’re interesting in helping to build a bridge between the mobile industry and the social activism / social development space then I encourage you to attend!

I’m here at SXSW in Austin this week-end working on getting the word out on mobile widgets and mobile Web and talking about mobile web in the developing world on a panel on Tuesday. Meanwhile I’m using Qik to cover the conference and have some conversations with people here about mobile and other topics. Follow me on Qik or on Twitter to get updates and if you’re here in Austin, come by the Driskill hotel tonight at 5 for Betavine Beers West.

I’ve been following with some interest the press surrounding the 100th anniversary of the Model T, the original “people’s car” that is credited with creating the automative industry as we now know it. The Model T is famous for a number of reasons, but one thing I hadn’t quite appreciated was how versitile and extensible (to use a modern word) the car was. A whole after-market industry grew up around the T, letting people transform it into sports car, a truck, a tractor, a harvester – whatever task required motive power. This factor of openness and extensibility, combined with mass-production and low cost, helped to make the car a success story and created a new industry. The slightly more modern equivelent might be the IBM PC. But this left me wondering: what is the mobile computing equivelent to the Model T? What is the Model T of the mobile Web? Though I love it, I have to say the iPhone ain’t it. It fails on both the low cost and the extensibility criteria. The OLPC device fails on mass-market grounds. What we need is for someone to come along and deliver a mass-market, low-cost device that is extensible and open but which has enough ease and simplicity of use that it is embraced by the great public and enough oomph to be a mobile Web workhorse. There is a gigantic vacuum in the mobile industry right now with this exact shape. Candidates include Google’s Android, Limo devices, next-generation Nokia devices based on the new Symbian Foundation and …

What will be the Model T of the Mobile Web? Read more »

So what does WordPress’s application for iPhone give you that sets it apart from just blogging through the browser?First and foremost, it allows you to blog while off-line. I’m writing this while sitting in the Tube, under the streets of London where network signals are not in abundance. Having the option to compose offline and then seamlessly publish could be a boon to people like me who often find themselves offline. The mobile app also let’s you take photos, a feature that I am testing in this post, so more on how well that works later. [Update: there was an error sending the picture so some bugs still need to be worked out.] On the downside, the app doesn’t have any spelling tools (actually a problem with all iPhone apps). The auto-correction software built into the iphobe can be both a blessing and a curse in this regard, both fixing up obvious mistakes and introducing insidious errors you don’t catch until it’s too late. (iPhone 2.0 has started to auto-correct ‘its’ as ‘it’s’ which can be particularly problematic). One wish-list item for me would be geo-tagging of posts using the Skyhook-supplied location platform demonstrated at this month’s Mobile Monday London (and built in to the iPhone). I doubt even Skyhook, though, could locate me 200 feet below Tottenham Court Road. One more note on location: all iPhone apps now prompt the user for permission when they try to locate you. I believe this is a function of the underlying software – and if that’s the case …

Offline Blogging and Location Read more »

I’m writing this post from the new (free) WordPress iPhone application. Is it the holy grail of mobile blogging? That remains to be seen, but it certainly was easy to install and get up and running (with my own installation of WordPress 2.6 that I have running on Torgo.com). The text creation capability is the same as email and like email there is no way to turn the unit on its aide to get a bigger keyboard. The new 2.0 keyboard seems more accurate and swift than the previous rev though. More on the iPhone update in a later post. Ta Ta for now.

W3C are producing an online training course for mobile Web developers: “An Introduction to W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices” which will run from May 26 to June 20 2008. This will be a great chance to get more information on mobile Web development practices from the experts — highly recommended for any Web developers out there who are interested in getting into mobile. W3C is organizing an online course to introduce Web developers and designers to W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices. In this course you will: * learn about the specific promises and challenges of the mobile platform * learn how to use W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices to design mobile-friendly Web content and to mobilize existing content * discover the relevant W3C resources for mobile Web design Participants will have access to lectures and assignments providing hands-on practical experience with using W3C’s mobile Web Best Practices. They will have direct access to W3C experts on this topic who are the instructors for this course. Participants will also be able to discuss and share experiences with their peers who are faced with the challenges of mobile Web design. More information at http://www.w3.org/2008/03/MobiWeb101/Overview.html Register now at http://www.3gwebtrain.com/moodle/