J2ME on the Phone Networks

By on

Fascinating article on the limitations on running J2ME apps on the major US cell phone carriers. The bottom line:

  • Verizon makes J2ME impossible
  • T-Mobile makes standalone J2ME easy, but requires a signature from T-Mobile or a more expensive plan if you want to write a networked app
  • AT&T is the most open: apps that wish to use HTTP can use it. (Lots of other apps that also interact with handset data, like the address book, must be signed)
  • Sprint is similar to AT&T, though rumor has it that getting your app signed may be easier
  • Nextel (which is owned by Sprint, but is a different network) requires that the app either be on the Nextel portal, or that you download it through a cable.

Overall, this means that experimentation with the really interesting J2ME apps that are likely to change the world is difficult to do outside of companies that have marketing relationships with the phone companies. This approach to a closed platform seems likely to cramp creativity. Why not turn the platform loose, and let millions of apps develop, ala Facebook? (There are serious concerns here about security: the first phone virus to wipe out a carrier’s network is going to be intriguing. But: it seems important that we think carefully about how to provide sufficient security without sterilizing the platform.)


Monitoring Wikipedia Conflict

By on

We’ve been exploring the effects of conflict among the editors of Wikipedia pages. As part of that research, I’ve been looking for Wikipedia talk page activity surrounding conflict events. I find the discussion between editors and their motives (expressed or apparent) gives insight into how conflict events grow and affect the participants.

A rather interesting example that I followed for the last couple of days is a conflict over the inclusion of content in the article about COMET, a web architecture paradigm. This particular conflict can be characterized as “inclusionists vs. deletionists“. One side wants all possible information to be available; the other side wants all content that doesn’t fit the strictest standards to be removed. The two opposing views are characterized by their preferred versions of the article (inclusionistdeletionist).

One especially interesting characteristic of this particular conflict is the way that the request for comment was handled. A link to the diff between the inclusionist and deletionist versions of the page was submitted to reddit.com (a news aggregation site) where the link was promoted quickly to the front page. Whereas it is much more common to simply ask other Wikipedia members to get involved in the discussion, this approach brings in a wider audience and shows them the side of Wikipedia that, usually, only dedicated editors care to see.

If you have the energy, I recommend looking through the request for comment section of the talk page. This discussion is a fascinating example of how editors from around the world, that work for free, can hold a reasonable discussion about what does and does not belong in an encyclopedia.

Spamming the Blogosphere

By on

Scientific American has some fun examples of people who have been doing spamming the blogosphere. They create an identify that in some way conceals their ulterior motives, and then post blog comments or posts that push their agenda.