5 Things - Week Ending 7/13/12

This is the 16th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.


Russell Brandom:

It works like this: as you arrive, each person places their phone facedown in the center of the table. (If you’re feeling theatrical, you can go for a stack like this one, but it’s not required.) As the meal goes on, you’ll hear various texts and emails arriving… and you’ll do absolutely nothing. You’ll face temptation—maybe even a few involuntary reaches toward the middle of the table—but you’ll be bound by the single, all-important rule of the phone stack. Whoever picks up their phone is footing the bill.

This is brilliant. Using your cell phone to talk or text during the middle of a meal is extremely rude to the people that you are with. This game allows you to be rude to your friends for a price. I challenge you to try this next time you are out with a group of friends and see what kind of reaction you get from people. I bet some people will balk immediately because they know they can't make it through a meal without checking their phones.

Gartner Says Worldwide PC Shipment Growth Was Flat in Second Quarter of 2012

Christy Pettey:

HP continued to lead the U.S. PC market, as it accounted for 25 percent of PC shipments in the second quarter of 2012. Among the top 5 vendors in the U.S. PC market, all but Apple experienced a decline in shipments (see Table 2).

2Q12-2Q11 Growth (%)
HP -12.7%
Dell -9.5%
Acer -14.1%
Toshiba -19.5%
Apple +4.3%.

These numbers included desktops, notebooks, and mini-notebooks but not media tablets like the iPad.

In my opinion, one of the major reasons that the PC industry is seeing their sales decline is because of the dominance of the iPad. The halo effect from the iPhone and iPad seems to be working well for Apple as they were the only major computer manufacturer to see growth from last year.

Mobile 3.0 arrives: How Qualcomm just showed us the future of the cell phone (and why iPhone sucks for this new contextual age)

Robert Scoble:

In the future my cell phone will know I ordered a pizza. Will know when I get in my car. Will know who is in the car with me. And will give me contextual data that will make my life better. For instance, on my todo list I might have put “pick up a hammer at the hardware store.” It will know that Round Table Pizza is near the hardware store. It will know I have an extra 15 minutes. It can use Waze to route me to the hardware store first, tell me to pick up my hammer, and then head to Round Table to pick up that pizza. All while measuring how many steps I took (Nike Fuel points!) and telling me who has crossed my path. Oh, Joseph Smarr, who works at Google, is also at the Round Table? Cool! (He lives in Half Moon Bay too so this could happen at any time).

I am all for technology helping to make our lives easier. I can think of numerous times that had my phone reminded me to do a certain thing at a certain time when I was near a certain place that it would have been extremely useful. We can do some of this now on our smart phones but it doesn't quite work perfectly.

The author takes a dig at Apple because they currently don't allow developers of apps have access to the bluetooth and wifi radios. I am sure that in the future Apple will relax these restrictions once they have come up with an acceptable solution that won't compromise privacy and battery life.

Some of the stuff our phones will be able to do in five years will blow our minds. I can't wait!

Disruptions: Life’s Too Short for So Much E-Mail

Nick Bilton:

Just thinking about my e-mail in-box makes me sad. This month alone, I received more than 6,000 e-mails. That doesn’t include spam, notifications or daily deals, either. With all those messages, I have no desire to respond to even a fraction of them. I can just picture my tombstone: Here lies Nick Bilton, who responded to thousands of e-mails a month. May he rest in peace.

Email is broken. Someone close to me had approximately 100 emails in their inbox after being away for a week and only five came from real people. What a joke!

If you are buried in lots of junk email check out a blog post I wrote a couple weeks ago for some advice. Clean Up Your Email Inbox


A couple weeks ago, I purchased an iPhone 4S and one of the first apps that I downloaded was Waze. Waze is a fun, community-based GPS traffic and navigation app for iOS and Android.

I have been using a TomTom that is a few years old and Waze blows it out of the water. The maps are way more accurate because they are constantly being updated and I love the fact that it can show me traffic jams, gas prices, accidents, and the locations of cops.

Waze is free and will continue to get better as more and more people use the app. I would highly encourage you to check Waze out if you have an iPhone, iPad (need 3G/4G connection), or Android smartphone..