WWW207: Dan Appelquist on “Towards a mobileOK Web”

Note: These are rough notes from the WWW2007 conference.

On cost… the industry is moving towards flat rates.  Vodafone is going to be making announcements soon.  The costs are coming down.

The W3C Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group has been hard at work developing Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 document.   Thematic consistency is huge.  Its a big tenant of the oneWeb principle.

mobileOK is a set of conformance tests.  There are 2 levels, basic and pro.  There is also a machine-readable trust-mark.

In the future, they’re finishing up mobileOK or guidelines for more advanced devices (i.e. scripting, css.)

Mobile widgets is also the future.  The Apple iPhone is making this popular.  It’s desktop functionality on your phone.

MobEA V: Julia Kuck on “A Collaborative and Feature-based Approach to Context-Sensitive Service Discovery”

Note: These are notes from the MobEA V: Mobile Web in Developing Worlds Workshop, which is located with WWW2007.

We use mobile computing many different ways, getting info, navigational, entertainment, payment, or keys.  There is a high potential for understanding current use context.  They can be adaptive.

In the developing world, don’t need consistent electric power, they’re easily shareable, and don’t need a lot of technical support.

The devices could use Web services to provide functionality.  Computational power could be shared across countries.

The service is XML centric…written in WSDL.  There is message interaction to between the client and the service.  This is done in SOAP.

You can build complex web services.  It is highly flexible.  They’re not dependent on each other.  We can create new functionality.

How can we find adequate Web services?  There are yellow pages for Web services.  There are also search engines.

For a family vacation, you could have one service which delivers museums and one that delivers cultural activities.  You can add and take away different Web services.  The new ones would be available for discovery.

Right now they’re working on Web services composition.   Its like will two web services work nicely together. Their future work is on requesting new Web services composition.

Context information is used within the Web services.  It is handled in a lightweight XML format.  The full context is never submitted to the server.  Popularity and number of queries is also taken into consideration.

MobEA V: Michael O’Farrell from dotMobi

Note: These are notes from the MobEA V: Mobile Web in Developing Worlds Workshop, which is located with WWW2007.

dotMobi is a trade forum on how to use the .mobi domain. The domain is owned by investors. The expectation is to make made for mobile web sites.

Michael represents the advisory group. They talk with people in industry on best practices, policy issues, and how the mobile web gets used. The core values is to include everyone, integrate with others work, and others…

They have over 50 members from around the world.

The consumer needs to know where to go. Web sites are starting to be rolled out as myname.mobi. It’s a trust mark that this Web site works on a mobile phone.

There are tools and resources

  • dev.mobi
  • ready.mobi – full detailed report on how a site would work on a mobile phone
  • guides & white papers
  • certification program

The dotMobi Advisory Group is creating task forces and workgroups to take on issues and interface with other organizations. One issue they’re interested in taking on or collaborating on is the developing world.

MobEA V: Charles McCathieNevile on “Mobile Web in the Developing World @ Bangalore, 2006”

Note: These are notes from the MobEA V: Mobile Web in Developing Worlds Workshop, which is located with WWW2007.

There was a workshop on Mobile Web in the Developing World in Bangalore in 2006. One way the W3C kicks off ideas, is to do a workshop or two around the world.

Charles was at the workshop for Opera. They don’t have the answers to solve all the problems but they do have a great little browser, Opera Mini that runs on a 50% of phones being made.

One problem, if you don’t have a handset with mobile web access then you’re not getting the mobile web. There are some people working on SMS. Opera lives at a baseline where people have Web access.

There needs to be things that will work on SMS and for nothing but for billions of people.

There was a report that came out from the W3C. Their particular interest is in the Web not really SMS or voice. They’re looking at the upper half of the market.

At the workshop, there was a discussion on what the mobile was.

There was a goal of developing a community around people with an interest in this.

Currently there 150 million phones, which is growing at 5 million a month. A minority of these phones are web-enabled. Currently there are less then 50 million web-enabled computers.

Stephane is making a tour trying to talk to people in the developing world. There is a mailing list which has been pretty quiet. He is seeking some EU funding. The W3C also wants expand the number of voices they’re listening to.

MobEA V: Kirthi Ramamritham on “Information Access through Mobiles: Opportunities and Challenges”

Note: These are notes from the MobEA V: Mobile Web in Developing Worlds Workshop, which is located with WWW2007.

What is of interest? How do I get better prices to get better money? How do I deal with the current weather?

For you and I, we’d go directly to the Web. Most of the info is mono-lingual, of low relevance and precision, and assumes good connectivity.

How to do automated translation? How to do multi-lingual search? How do we design interfaces? How do we handle resource-constrained environments?

More and more this is happening through village kiosk services. You can get telephony, e-gov, pricing info, and much more.

The problem is content.

aAQUA (almost all questions answered) is a way that content can be created from the ground up. Its an online forum for asking questions to be answered by experts in the field with assistance. It is accessible by pc or mobile.


Kiosks are increasing in number but they’re not good enough yet.

They find what’s helpful is to provide users with previously answered questions. Users can use their camera phones if that helps to ask a question, like what is this mango tree disease.

Prices for crops are reported by users and made available for a certain locality.

Questions can be sent to aAQUA via SMS.

There are significant bandwidth restraints. You want to make the pages as light as possible. There needs to be cross-language retrieval. This is done through UNL. Often in the same sentance, there will be multiple languages.

From day one, collaboration with people in the developing world has to be assumed in order to be successful.

Twitter Launches a Mobile Phone Friendly Web Site

For a few months now, i’ve been using the desktop version of the Twitter from my mobile phone, using Pocket Internet Explorer, to update my account. It has always been pretty clunky but its cheaper then updating and getting alerts from Twitter via SMS text messages.

I’m thrilled to see that Twitter has just launched a mobile phone friendly version of the Web site.  It works great.  You can send updates and check your friends updates easily.

Check it out at: http://m.twitter.com

I believe this announcement to be part of the bigger trend towards mobile phones becoming more and more of a major player in how people consume information.

Boredom: A Factor in Mobile Web Usage

More and more I have been using the Mobile Web as one way that I retrieve information. I have developed a relationship with my Samsung Blackjack. There are many times that I need information on the spot, like finding the closest taco place, and I’m not in front of my computer. I can type a few keys on my phone and the answer is at my finger tips.

Although, the instances which I’m probably using the Mobile Web the most are when I’m bored. All too often I find myself sitting somewhere waiting for someone or something. I pull out my mobile phone and start reading something.

Yesterday, I was flying home from Indianapolis. I had just landed at Washington National Airport. One of the baggage carousels was broken so all the baggage from five flights was coming in on one carousel. I waited for an hour and a half for my luggage. Thank goodness I had my phone. I started surfing to my favorite sites… re-connecting up with the world.

Well, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “why on earth would I want to pay $45/month (Cingular) so that I can entertain myself while I’m bored?” But the thing is, by being connected all the time, I can take that down time of waiting for someone or something and turn it into productive time. I can take that hour and half of boredom while waiting for luggage and use it to add to myself rather than just sitting there.

Our time is precious. Why not use as much of it as efficiently as possible? The Mobile Web allows you to be consuming information wherever your at whenever its convenient.

Text Messages Take Priority Over E-mail

I have learned that for me, e-mail is broken. I may get an email that I need to respond to. Then right away I may get 60 or 70 other emails that will shove the important email below the scroll. It goes off my radar.

All of a sudden, I find that one important email falls between the cracks and I don’t end up getting back to a person. This is bad. I get too many emails where people expect me to read it right away and act right away.

The device which has really come through for me is my mobile phone and the ability to text message. Not too many people text message me; compared to my over abundance of email. Text messages come to me right away. (My Samsung Blackjack doesn’t have push email.) Text messages, by their nature, are quick and easy to respond to.

I’m able to give text messages a higher response priority then my email. I’ll respond right away.

It was interesting when Chris Wetherell on a recent episode of the Merlin Show and Justine Ezarik on a recent episode of MacBreak Weekly confirmed this communications phenomenon.

With Twitter, people can have the updates of their friends and family go right to their mobile phones via text messages. If people can constrain themselves to only follow their close friends (and not 1000 people) with Twitter, text messaging may help Twitter take off because it takes advantage of the high priority that people put on text messages.

dotMobi Mobile Web Developers Guide

The Mobile Web is the future. Good reliable resources are just starting to trickle in. Blue Flavor’s Brian Fling and the dotMobi crew have set the bar high with their dotMobi Mobile Web Developers Guide. Check it out. It is a great resource.

Do you use the Mobile Web? Do you develop for the Mobile Web? Any Mobile Web resources that you’d recommend?

SMS Text Messaging… the really killer app

Everyone wants to know what the killer and exciting application is that will change our lives in the years to come. Everyday I think more and more that it is right under our noses. It is our ability to send SMS text messages with our mobile phones.

Image of a cell phone with a text message

According to the MEX blog, a new statistic came out from the Portio Research group that 3.7 trillion text messages will be sent in 2012. Thats a lot of text messages.

I know I use it more and more. It is a great way to send quick messages to my friends. I can ask someone a quick question, let someone know I am thinking about them, or even flirt with that special lady. I know Google and other companies are working hard that allow me to utilize SMS as a way to get location-specific information like where a restaurant is or driving directions.

The question is… how can we use SMS text messaging to stay connected with each other and our communities in new and exciting ways? What does this new app look like?

Do you use text messaging? How many do you send a day?