Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
| News and views on everything wireless and mobile, from WiFi and WiMAX to 3G and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).


Cell Phone Waiting Lanes at Airports

October 31, 2006

The use of cell phones has changed society yet again. This time, the change took place at Detroit Metro Airport, where officials noticed that the pickup/dropoff lane for the L.C. Smith Terminal was getting crowded when vehicles idled at the curb waiting for passengers who were still in the airport somewhere.

To reduce the congestion, the airport created a “cell phone waiting lane” where cars can wait while the driver calls the person being picked up, arranges the exact pickup time, and then pulls up to the regular pickup/dropoff lane once the person is actually there and ready to hop into the vehicle.

Touchscreen Controls for Next Gen of iPods?

October 30, 2006

Rumors have been flying around the past few days that Apple’s next generation of iPods will use touchscreen based navigation instead of its iconic scroll-wheel.

The rumors are based on Apple’s Oct. 26 filing for a patent (20060238517) to protect an “Electronic Device Having Display and Surrounding Touch Sensitive Bezel for User Interface and Control.”

TG Daily blogger Mark Raby noted in an Oct. 27 post that this patent bears some similarities to another one (20060242114, “Method and apparatus for configuring a computer”) filed recently by Apple, apparently related to a possible tablet computer. But, the electronic device patent seems more geared to an iPod.

Local Weather Forecast for Dummies

October 27, 2006

If you find it too difficult to check the weather by using a website like, you could always look out the window. Or, even easier, you could simply glance at your Brookstone 5-Day Wireless Weather Forecaster, which displays weather data obtained by radio signal from AccuWeather.

Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated in any way with Brookstone or AccuWeather. I just think this is a cool gadget.

Happy Fifth Birthday, iPod! (And Many More?)

October 24, 2006

On Monday, the iPod celebrated its fifth birthday. To celebrate this momentous event,analysts and commentators over the past day or so have been opining about the success of Apple’s MP3 player.

A common theme among the iPod birthday stories I’ve been perusing this morning seems to be analysis of just exactly how and why Apple came to dominate the MP3 player market in such a relatively short amount of time. Lots of people, not least manufacturers like Microsoft (which plans to release its Zune MP3 player in time for Christmas) of competing products would love to crack the winning code.

Laser Application for Inputting Data into Mobile Devices

September 28, 2006

On a quest to discover the latest new and cool wireless technologies coming down the pike, yesterday I made a quick scan of exhibitors at the upcoming Wired NEXTFEST. Most didn’t seem related to wireless/mobility per se, but one product that did catch my eye is a new laser-based user interface application developed by three Japanese engineers.

Titled “Smart Laser Scanner for Human-Computer Interface,” the new technology is designed to address the challenge of inputting information into electronic devices as those devices become smaller and smaller. The approach taken by the Japanese developers is to use a “a simple active tracking system using a laser diode (visible or invisible light), steering mirrors, and a single non-imaging photodetector, which is capable of acquiring three dimensional coordinates in real time without the need of any image processing at all.”

Wow, pretty technical stuff!

The engineers who developed this technology further describe it as “a smart rangefinder scanner that instead of continuously scanning over the full field of view, restricts its scanning area, on the basis of a real-time analysis of the backscattered signal, to a very narrow window precisely the size of the target.”

The demo pages for this new technology are pretty technical, but the images are cool.

What’s in a Name? Geek vs. Consumer

September 25, 2006

I was chatting recently with Art Rosenberg, author of the Unified View column, and he mentioned—as he often has before—that the adoption of new technology could be aided if only those developing said technology could come up with a single term to describe it. Art’s point was that end-users (whether they be enterprises or individuals) tend to get confused when people use several different terms to describe the same technology.

For example: Is it "unified communications" or "unified messaging"? Is it "Voice Over IP," VoIP (abbreviation that takes on its own life), or "Internet telephony"?

Thermometer-in-a-Pill for Football Players

September 25, 2006

The latest issue of Wired arrived in my mailbox on Saturday. Typically I flip through the entire magazine to locate the articles I want to read first. One item that stopped me in my tracks for a few minutes was a piece (“Less Pain, More Gain,” October 2006) about different ways National Football League teams use technology to help players perform at their best.

Among the items covered in the article are jaw-saving helmets, anti-concussion mouthguards, “air conditioner” shoulder pads, and a thermometer-in-a-pill manufactured by HQ, Inc. (under its CorTemp brand). This final item, according to Wired, has been adopted by some NFL teams because often football players are not aware when they start to overheat.

A blog post on BoingBoing by David Pescovitz from January of this year explains that the thermometer, which is about the size of a multivitamin, is swallowed by players a couple of hours before game-time—giving it time to reach the small intestine.