Tuesday, March 10, 2009

TED Talks...in your pocket

A friend recently told me she had no interest in an iPhone. She just doesn't want one.

But I think she'll come around.

Perhaps when we think about internet on our phones, we still think functional - checking our gmail, searching Google for a phone number or finding other byte-size bits of information. But this really is changing.

The other weekend, as I walked to the local pub to watch the rugby, I listened to Bill Gates talk about ways to stop malaria. I was listening to him on the TED Talks application I downloaded. The app was free. The talk by Bill Gates was free. It was actually a video of Mr Gates talking, but as the iPhone was in my pocket, technically I was listening to it, not watching. But the video quality was great. (I live in the city centre, with 3G coverage.) Bill himself was pretty impressive.

And I couldn't help but think how interesting this is all going to get. Sure, TED is not for everybody. But the internet is perfect for niche interests or hobbies of every kind.

If you use the internet on your computer, you'd like the iPhone. Disclaimer, disclaimer....I sell iPhones. Or more accurately, I advertise them for O2. But my point is less about the iPhone, but rather my ramblings of optimism and enthusiasm for all the new phones on the way that let us have the real internet with us all the time.

If you're still not convinced, have a read of an earlier post 'Free books. And lots of them'.


Lisa said...

I got was given (loaned?) an iphone to experiment with applications for autism. I have a non-verbal daughter with severe autism who is 9.
I was able to load on a Picture Exchange Communication Cdrom, using photo albums on my pc (at the time) and then added to the pictograms as needed with actual photographs.
My daughter uses this function independently to ask for new foods; For example. She usually likes the purple cadbury snack, but spied the yellow one on a shelf behind the counter.
She clicks on the "shop" album, then selects the picture of chocolate, then goes back out to albums and selects colors, she clicks on Yellow, then purple . We say the word she points to and she repeats it but her articulation isnt great- so the picture confirms what she wants.
She holds the phone and manipulates all the functions independently, handing it to us when she finishes.
She got the yellow cadbury snack and ate it happily, pausing for me to photograph it with the iphone.

Next time she will go straight to picture albums and find the photograph.

When I get around to it I can file the new photo in the shop album, but my girl has a huge visual memory and has no trouble scrolling through the 200 odd photos I might have in the camera album waiting to be downloaded and filed.

We are also using the Youtube clips to reward, entertain and transition my Girl from one activity to another. She really likes Oswald the Octopus and Bear Potty Time. You can guess what we are rewarding with the Bear!

ALL of the tutors in her ABA class want one as it is much handier than carrying around a mini dvd player, and since the youtube clips are short they could get many more repeats of a desired behaviour from each clip.

I also love the iphone , I can discreetly check emails and follow up quickly. I don't get lost on the northside anymore, thanks to the google maps and AND, I use the timer each morning to get Boo, my son who is also autistic, to get dressed and in the car. He hates the alarm sound and will come down stairs faster to try and turn it off.

and while it is intended to be on loan for me to come up with these options, I often think that if they want it back eventually they will have to snatch it out of my cold dead hand.

Yes, I too have a connection to o2 in that they sponsor Irish Autism, and have done so for almost 4 years.


Anonymous said...

I have long been a fan of TED Talks as well Paul.
They are utterly brilliant in every way. TED manages to obtain an excellent array of speakers holding forth on a wide variety of fascinating topics. It is clearly one of the very best sites on the internet.

Your point though about the Iphone is worth repeating. It is more than a phone. It represents a quantum leap in how we can use the internet whilst away from the laptop or deskbound pc. It is an elegant device that is a complete triumph of form and function.

Being able to access the entire knowledge of humanity in your hands is a paradigm shift of such magnitude that we haven't fully realised this yet.

Paul Dervan said...

@lisa - I suspect your phone is safe for the moment. Your story about your daughter is really amazing. More people should hear about it. Have you tried to contact Apple and tell them?

@thanks Will. You're right. form and function.