Imagine if at the beginning of the day, a clock started counting down the time until some fundamental part of you stopped functioning. The clock was in your field of vision most of the day, even though it almost never actually got to zero. I’m vastly exaggerating the stakes, but that’s very much the type of stress I feel every time I click on my phone and see the battery percentage at the top right corner, like the slowest lit fuse in the world. This information is designed to be helpful. It’s not. Instead, it’s enough to send us into tiny hysterias throughout the day: Do I need to top off my battery before heading out for the night? Have I used too much this morning? For me — and I’m sure I’m not alone — the stress kicks in before my battery ever gets low. It’s all in seeing the warning, not truly knowing what it means. At least when my battery actually starts to fade, I know what I need to do. Turning off the battery percentage is … [Read more...] about The constant stress of the battery meter
Data collection is a contentious issue. Over the past 12 months, the morality of data collection has been called into question time and time again, rarely to positive outcome. Personal user data harvested from Facebook was allegedly used to inform aggressively targeted political advertising aimed to subvert the democratic process. Elsewhere, customer profiling that used data which was unwillingly given away was used to target vulnerable individuals to the benefit of those selling loans with extortionate repayment plans. We have been giving our data away willingly for many years but often without giving thought to how it is being used. Only in the recent months has the ostensible potential of our data reached the front of our collective conscience. This mindset is a dangerous one: we must not let isolated examples of gross misconduct undermine the true value that data collection offers us. The healthcare industry might not immediately spring to mind when confronted with the … [Read more...] about Data collection: good for your health?
T-Mobile says it has added more new postpaid customers than its rivals each quarter for several years running, and to keep that momentum going, the company is again trying to squash negative perceptions about its network’s reliability and coverage. T-Mobile is now offering free trials of its service in Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; and Boston, Massachusetts. The company made no mention of this new program during today’s Uncarrier event. Unlike the nationwide Test Drive program that T-Mobile ran in 2014, where people could use an iPhone 5S that had T-Mobile service, this time, testers will get a portable Wi-Fi hot spot with a SIM inside. You’ll have to connect the device you’re testing to that to get a sense of T-Mobile’s network performance and scope of coverage. But you’re getting more flexibility in that you can use whatever phone you want with the hot spot, and you’re also getting more time. Test Drive was only a 7-day trial; this one … [Read more...] about T-Mobile quietly launches free 30-day trials of its network in three cities
T-Mobile announced its latest “Un-carrier” initiative today in a fresh attempt to gain new subscribers and lure customers away from rival providers. And it focuses on a crucial, but less flashy subject than the company’s past splashes: customer service. From a stage in Charleston, South Carolina — and after being escorted into the room by a marching band — CEO John Legere kicked off an event that led to the announcement of Team of Experts, a new approach to customer service that will give customers in different regions of the US their own dedicated “team” of customer care representatives. No robot voices and no confusing tree of push-button menus. Team of Experts launches today for T-Mobile’s postpaid customers. It can be accessed by dialing 611 or by messaging directly from the T-Mobile app or iMessage using Apple Business Chat. “The first thing when I did when I became CEO of this company is I spent every night sitting at home … [Read more...] about T-Mobile is completely overhauling how its customer service works
In today’s digital age, it sometimes feels like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives out devices. Button of the Month is a monthly look at what some of those buttons and switches are like on devices old and new, and aims to appreciate how we interact with our devices on a physical, tactile level. I’d like to say that I get where Samsung was going with the Bixby button. One of the more maligned parts of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9, the infamous Bixby Button lives on the left side of Samsung’s flagship phones, just under the volume controls and opposite of the power button. As a physical button, it — like Samsung’s other hardware keys — is excellent, with a crisp, snappy click like all of the S8 and S9’s buttons. And Samsung has nailed the placement. It’s at a perfectly natural location underneath the thumb or index finger, depending on which hand you’re holding your phone in. Conceptually, having a bespoke … [Read more...] about Samsung’s Bixby button shows the potential and pitfalls of dedicated buttons