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Cat is Reading Constant Touch

Constant Touch
by John Agar

If you know someone who is new to the mobile industry buy them this book. They will love you for it.
Constant Touch is the story of the mobile phone; how the major players came to be. It’s coloured with how both the Thatcher years and unification of GSM contributed to the success of the mobile.
It was published in 2003 however the historical anecdotes, like Ernie Wise making the first call on Vodafone don’t date. I read it when it first came out, dipped into it again for this review and was hooked. I re-read the whole book.


Going to the dogs


Graham Calvert is suing bookmaker William Hill for £2m. Calvert is a greyhound trainer who is hooked, often placing multiple bets a day of £30,000 each, on gambling. He says the bookies have failed in their duty to stop him.

There should be an organisation to protect people from themselves, and  companies need something similar. I had a boss who sent the office a postcard from Vegas saying  he hadn’t gambled next month’s payroll. Yet. He went broke. Then made millions by discovering the internet when 2400 baud was special.

Ultimately his high rolling wasn’t too bad. Only one person lost her job – me – and I didn’t mind much. I had no responsibilities and was never going to go short of food, mojitos or have trouble finding somewhere to sleep.

Usually people have others to care for. Then it’s wrong to play craps with lives.

When megacorp buys plucky startup the odds are the start-up will be run into the ground. Occasionally it works, Psion’s purchase of Teklogic saved Psion.

But in one case it never works:
When your  company is bought by Motorola.

In the last couple of years Motorola has bought Sendo, Symbol, Soundbuzz and Siemens lab in Denmark. That’s just the esses, there are many others.

It seems a great idea when Motorola looks at the technology.

It’s not so good when Motorola infects the small company with  ‘process is more important than results’. Highly qualified managers who know nothing about the business they are now running but care passionately set about trying to understand their new charge. Not by working there, by remote control: Summoning people to transatlantic meetings or with many hours of conference calls. The people who are supposed to be making the stuff for which Motorola bought the company have to stop doing to talk. Things slip, so more managers are installed to fix the problem. And have to be brought up to speed. So more people stop working to educate new managers which causes further slippage, a problem which is addressed with even more investigation of what’s going wrong. Eventually the company becomes paralysed by analysis of it’s problems.

The now useless company gets discarded like one of Mr Calvert’s failed betting slips while Motorola looks for the next cool technology to place a bet on in the hope it will be the big one to pay dividends. This week they announced the closure of the Sendo site.



No shit Sherlock: The post office says that 53% of people get very stressed if they leave their phone at home. Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact - and it's the plague of our 24/7 age.

Paramount games more interested on mobiles than consoles, because they are easier to do. Paramount gets in game .

China’s 3G ‘trial’ bigger than some country’s userbase. They want 8m people to test TD-SCDMA. China to begin trial 3G mobile phone service in April.

Faster EDGE from Nokia Siemens. Nokia has always been the handset manufacturer which is most pro-EDGE. It does have the political advantage of not needing any of that funny San Diego technology. Nokia Siemens Networks doubles EDGE data speed.

Finnished as Minister. Some people must learn that SMS is carried through the network as plain text. System Administrators can be very powerful people. Not that we know how it leaked. Finnish FM loses job over texts.

It’s not Pink. Apparently T-Mobile thinks it’s “Magenta” colour is so special no-one else is allowed to use it. And there was me thinking Magenta was a character from the Rocky Horror Show Deutsche Telekom / T-Mobile demands Engadget Mobile discontinue using the color magenta.

Kyocera Launches four GSM phones. Welcome back to the GSM fold the world’s best maker of knives. Kyocera is short for Kyoto Ceramics: the potato peeler is particularly good. The last time they made GSM phones was the SS66K, which was really an Iridium phone but those had to do GSM as well. E4600 E3500 E2500 S1600.


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