Posts Tagged ‘mobile’

The Problem With Location Based Mobile Services

There’s a problem with today’s crop of location based mobile services, commonly referred to as LBMS; those little apps which sit on our smartphones and allow us to geotag status updates or photos, find relevant local place information or check-in at a place.

The problem isn’t one of privacy or tracking. Nor is the problem one of an LBMS dying and going away. The problem isn’t whether I can get a good location fix or whether the results I get are accurate or not. The problem isn’t even of the value of the data we, the customer, put into a service and whether we can get it back again.

The Internet Connection Appears To Be Offline

No, the problem is whether we can actually use the service from our smartphone at all.

It’s 2013 and I live in the suburbs of the capital of the United Kingdom and this happens all the time. Not in the uncharted wilds of the UK. Not in obscure regions of the world. But in my local neighbourhood and in the heart of London. And it’s not just a problem with Vodafone, my current cellular provider. Over the last few years I’ve been on T-Mobile, on Orange and on O2 and all the cellular carriers seem to have exactly the same problem; one which makes a mockery of their coverage maps. According to Vodafone’s map, I should be getting high or at least variable 3G data coverage where I live, but instead I get variable or no coverage at all when walking in my local neighbourhoods.

3G data coverage that drops in and out; that’s the problem with today’s location based mobile services.

I’m getting off of my soapbox now …

Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Revisiting SoLoMo in Istanbul

If any industry sector is uniquely poised to benefit from the triumvirate of social, local and mobile, it’s the classified listings industry. The last time I spoke about whether do embrace SoLoMo or just embrace social, local and mobile I cautioned against the tick in the box approach and against adopting new technologies just because you’re exhorted to.

But at first glance, a business running classified listings does seem to put all the right ticks in all the right boxes.

Firstly local. Classifieds are inherently local, offering a way for local businesses and individuals to offer … stuff … to other local people. Implementing a local strategy needs your mainstay offering to have a strong geolocation quotient and what could be more local or more geolocation than addresses and postal codes?

Then there’s mobile. Most classifieds businesses have either fully or partially transitioned from print to online and if you already have an online presence, you’re more than half way to having a mobile online presence.

Finally there’s social. Again, there’s a strong affinity with classifieds. Nothing spreads faster than word of mouth reputation and harnessing the power of social media to allow people to say “hey, I just found this really cool stuff” is a compelling case for social.

So when the International Classified Media Association, the ICMA, asked me to talk about SoLoMo at their Social, Local, Mobile: Classified Media Strategies conference in Instanbul last week it was an ideal opportunity to see whether my preconceptions to be skeptical about SoLoMo were borne out in practise or whether I’d just overdone the cynicism a bit too much.

As it turns out, I think it was round about a 50/50 ratio. Most of the classifieds people in Instanbul fundamentally got the basic precepts around each of SoLoMo’s constituent elements.

But there were two major flies in their respective ointments.

Firstly, as with most industry sectors, the classifieds businesses are experts in … classified. They’re not experts in social, local or mobile. They’re far too busy running their business to become experts in anything other than their business. Which means metaphorical toes are dipped in equally metaphorical waters without maybe understanding or appreciating what is meant to be achieved.

Secondly and closely linked with my first point, even if a social, local, mobile or SoLoMo strategy is put in place, it’s still not clear what’s going to be achieved or how to measure success or failure. Many of the classifieds players I spoke to openly acknowledged that whilst they have social media dashboard and metrics in place, it’s a major challenge to interpret a sea of figures and work out what this means in the context of their business area.

I’m still strongly of the belief that if applied sanely and in a way that makes sense for a business, there’s a lot to be gained from social, from mobile and from local.

I’m still equally strongly of the belief that SoLoMo, even if it does have a manifesto, is too vague and wooly to be understood by people trying hard to make their business succeed and needs the basic tenets broken out and explained in language the people SoLoMo is trying to help can understand.

As usual, the slides from my talk, which will be just a tad familiar to anyone who read my last SoLoMo post, are below and my deck notes follow after the break.

Read On…

SoLoMo, Or Just Social, Local And Mobile?

One of the many things I like about writing talks for a conference is that the talk often morphs during the writing process as I research the theme and try to make the narrative at least vaguely coherent. Of course, it also helps that when you’re asked to be a speaker at a conference, the organisers often want the title and abstract up to 3 months ahead of proceedings. 3 months is a long time in the tech industry and a lot can change.

Which brings me to the talk I gave a month ago at the Location Business Summit in Amsterdam and again today at the Click 6.0 Digital Marketing conference in Dubai.

I’d originally wanted to talk about the importance of digital maps in SoLoMo, the much touted convergence of social, local and mobile. The more I researched this, the more a feeling of déjà vu crept into my thinking. I was sure I’d seen a much talked about and much feted tech phenomenon turn out to be more hype than substance. Much as hyperlocal, which I approached from the point of view of a hopeful sceptic, turned out to be more hype than local, SoLoMo gave me the same feeling of unease.

For those of you who like this sort of thing (and I really need to check my web analytics sometime to see if anyone actually does like this sort of thing or whether I’m merely deluded; either one of these options is entirely plausible), the slide deck, with titles helpfully annotated into Arabic by one of my colleagues in Nokia’s Berlin office, plus notes are below.

Read On…

Now The Metropolitan Police Want Your Phone’s Data

As a relatively prolific user of social networks and social media I generate a fair amount of data. Whilst I’m wary of what the social networks do with the data I generate, I appreciate that there’s no such thing as a free lunch and the data I generate contributes towards the revenue that keeps these services alive. There’s an uneasy tension that exists between big data and my data. I applaud services which allow me to retain or get back the data I put into them; Facebook, I’m looking at you here. I frown in a disapproving manner at services that make it challenging to get my data back without recourse to some coding; Foursquare and Flickr, I’m looking at you here. I’m quietly furious, yet continue to use services which are valuable to me but make it downright impossible to get my data back; Twitter, I’m fixing you with my steely gaze here.

This is all data that I willingly generate and contribute. But I’m increasingly wary about data which is not willingly generated or contributed. The data that private corporations hold on me, such as credit ratings agencies and more and more, the data that my government and their agencies hold on me, that I either haven’t willingly consented to or that is generated or aggregated without my knowledge.

It now seems that I need to add the police force of the city in which I live to the growing list of government agencies I’m wary of. As the BBC reports

The Metropolitan Police has implemented a system to extract mobile phone data from suspects held in custody.

The data includes call history, texts and contacts, and the BBC has learned that it will be retained regardless of whether any charges are brought.

What? Seriously? Really?

I can accept that if a crime has been committed, there’s a strong argument for getting access to data on a mobile phone, if it’s done with the correct authorisation and if it’s needed in order to achieve a conviction. But keeping the data, regardless of whether charges are brought or not has to be a breach of privacy. That breach isn’t just of the individual concerned, but of all the contact information for individuals that are on a phone and for the company who employs the suspect, who now has their privacy breached. Whilst history of calls, texts and contacts are mentioned, I fully expect the information obtained to cover email, work and personal email, as well, which would be even more cause for concern for companies in this country.

I’m sure the standard nothing to hide, nothing to fear adage will be rolled out to mollify concerns over this and we’ll be told that we can trust our police force with this information that they hold. After all, our police officers would never illegally access information that they hold, just like our civil servants would never snoop on the private health and financial information that the government holdswould they?

Photo Credits: Steven Guzzardi on Flickr.
Written and posted from the British Airways First Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 5 (51.4702, -0.4882)

At The Airport, Not All QR Codes Are Created Equal

Another day, another flight, another addition to the ever growing and increasingly arcane number of steps that you need to go through in order to get through an airport and actually take off on a plane. I’ve written before on the world of airport security, be it having your bags X-Rayed or searched and on engaging flight-safe mode on your mobile phone/tablet/e-book reader/laptop.

Last week, flying from London Heathrow to Berlin’s Tegel airport I found a new addition to the increasingly detached-from-reality world of airline security … the electronic boarding pass. In principle, the electronic boarding pass is a great idea. First introduced in 1999 by Alaska Airways, checking into your flight online and putting a QR code on a graphic of your boarding pass cuts down queueing and waiting at the airport. Some airlines either send you the boarding pass as an SMS message, as an email attachment or as a time limited web URL. Some airlines provide an app on your phone; British Airways falls into this category and their app covers Windows Phone 7, iOS, Android and Blackberry.

With this in mind, consider the following electronic boarding pass, taken from last week’s flight.

Berlin Boarding Pass - Original

This boarding pass gets checked three times between the time I arrive at the airport and the time my posterior makes contact with seat 11C. The first time is at security when the QR code gets scanned; if the QR code is valid, I’m granted access to the airside part of the terminal at Heathrow, but my passport isn’t checked so as long as the QR code says it’s valid, I’m through. The second time is at the gate. Again, the QR code is scanned and this time it’s cross checked with my passport; so not only is the boarding pass valid, but I can prove that the name on my passport and the name on the boarding pass matches. The third and final time, is when I actually board the plane and the cabin crew visually check that the boarding pass is actually for that flight.

Now consider this version of the boarding pass. The QR code is able to be scanned and it contains exactly the same information as the previous one. It will get me through the first two boarding pass checks but apparently it won’t allow me onto the aircraft. Why? When boarding last week’s flight the member of the cabin crew who checked my boarding pass told me she needed to “scroll your phone” and “check that your boarding pass isn’t a photo“. the underlying assertion here being that if I wasn’t using a boarding pass on BA’s own mobile app, I couldn’t board the flight.

Berlin Boarding Pass - Copy

If your eyes are crossing from concentration at this point, you’re not alone. I still haven’t been able to comprehend what the difference is between a valid QR code, which is itself a graphic image, in BA’s mobile app and a screen shot of the QR code, which is, err, a graphic image. I have an even harder time comprehending how this makes the theatre of airline security any safer for me or for my fellow passengers.

Written and posted from Theresa Avenue, Campbell, California (37.2654, -121.9643)

Farewell Ovi Maps, Hello Nokia Maps (On iOS And Android Too)

In May of this year, Nokia announced the retirement of the Ovi brand and the observant map watchers amongst you may have noticed that pointing your browser of choice at maps.ovi.com now automagically redirects you to the new, shiny maps.nokia.com.

What you may not have noticed is that Nokia maps doesn’t just work on your desktop or laptop web browser or on Nokia smartphones, as Electric Pig nicely pointed out, Nokia has invaded the iPhone too. Point your iPhone or iPad at the Nokia Maps for Mobile Web at m.maps.nokia.com and you’ll see something like this …

Nokia Maps on iOS

… a fully featured version of Nokia Maps that does search, satellite views, GPS and location fixes, navigation, even public transport and, of course …

Nokia Places on iOS

… places. And it’s not just iOS devices that the new Mobile Web maps supports, Android users can have this too as can Blackberry users.

Nokia Maps on Android

That’s not just geo-tastic, it’s geo-egalitarian.

Written and posted from theRadisson Blu hotel, Berlin (52.519648, 13.40258)

Almost Losing Sight Of The Magic Of (Mobile) Maps

Often maligned and ignored, sometimes science fiction writers are bang on the mark. The cognoscenti of the high brow literary world often dismiss science fiction as being not proper writing or even worthy of the label of literature. But sci-fi authors are often as not as uniquely placed to think about today’s technology as they are to extrapolate on tomorrow’s.

Recently, Charles Stross, one of my favourite sci-fi authors, gave a keynote at USENIX 2011 on Network Security In The Medium Term, 2061 To 2561. Not the most obvious of keynote titles to talk about maps or magic. But as part of his keynote, which is well worth reading in its entirety, he talked about how far technology has come in just the last 50 years and where it might go before the next 50 …

… we’re currently raising the first generation of kids who won’t know what it means to be lost – everywhere they go, they have GPS service and a moving map that will helpfully show them how to get wherever they want to go. It’s not hard to envisage an app that goes a step beyond Google Maps on your smartphone, whereby it not only shows you how to get from point A to point B, but it can book transport to get you there – by taxi, ride-share, or plane – within your budgetary and other constraints. That’s not even far-fetched: it’s just what you get when you tie the mutant offspring of Hipmunk or Kayak into Google, and add Paypal … it’s magic: you have a little glowing box, and if you tell it “I want to visit my cousin Bill, wherever he is,” a taxi will pull up and take you to Bill’s house (if he lives nearby), or a Greyhound bus station, or the airport. (Better hope he’s not visiting Nepal; that could be expensive.)

In today’s full on rush to monetize, to not get caught up in a patent suit and to either spot or be the next big thing, it’s easy to lose sight of just how magical the technology we take for granted is.

Consider, just for a moment, how much computing power and connectivity today’s sensor packed smartphones have in them. As I’ve mentioned before, just one of my phones has more CPU power, more storage and more connectivity options than the first computer I ever used as part of my day job, with the added bonus that it fits in my pocket and doesn’t require it’s own dedicated power supply and air conditioned room, which would restrict mobility somewhat.

Add to all of that that I’m writing this post using the Blogsy app on my iPad while on holiday in Spain, which is connected to a web server somewhere in the United States (I’ve no real idea where) over a data connection running via one of my phones which is also acting as a mobile wifi hotspot and which also tells me the GPS coordinates, accurate to 4 metres, of where I am and which appear in the sort of geotag I put at the end of my posts.

When I was in my (much) younger years, I grew up with 3 terrestrial TV channels, no PC’s, mobile phones or web sites and when London still had an 01 dialling code and so, from where I’m sitting, there’s something distinctly magical about all of this and its oh so easy to lose sight of that.

Unless of course, you’re one of the generation who grew up with on demand movies, smartphones, bazillions of TV channels, chatting with your friends on Facebook and with GPS in your phone and can’t really see what the fuss is all about; in which case, just indulge me when I say that today’s technology is magical and tomorrow’s probably will be for you too.

Written and posted from Villa Stone, Javéa, Spain (38.7836, 0.1285)

Talking About A Sense Of Place

As a precursor to last week’s mashup* Digital Trends event, I chatted to Paul Squires of Imperica about my location trends in more detail than the mashup* format would have allowed for. The write-up from that interview is now up on Imperica’s web site and, thanks to them adopting a Creative Commons  license, I’m able to reproduce it here.

A Sense Of Place

It’s going to be mobile’s year.

In fact, it has been “mobile’s year” for many years. Analysts have predicted that the following year will be the golden year of mobile, ever since WAP started to become generally available on small, monochrome screens.

This year, it might just be mobile’s year. Widespread adoption of geolocation, tablet computing and apps are transforming mobile from simply a mobile telephony handset, to truly mobile, experiential, computing.

The handset vendor that has been part of “mobile’s year” ever since the early days of such predictions, is Nokia. The journey from small, blue phones with Snake to technologically complex, Ovi-enabled devices has been fast and, at times, tough. Leading this continued evolution from the point of view of location, is Gary Gale.

Gale, as Director of Ovi Places, is continuing a life-long fascination with maps. From a deep fascination with Harry Beck’s Tube map as a child, he now runs a business which aims to meet – and exceed – the consumer expectations of what mapping can offer to mobility. These expectations are both, from the consumer’s perspective, urgent and complex.

Currently, location is often externalised, as demonstrated by the “world of check-ins” offered by Foursquare, Facebook Places, and elsewhere. Gale feels that location will simply bed into a wider context over time, leading to less specifically location-based applications, but more apps with location features. “The applications that we have, will do a much better job at predicting the information that we need, and delivering it – so it becomes less of a case of ‘app fatigue’. Currently, if you want to find a piece of information, you go to one app. It shows where the information you want to find is, so you swap over to another app, but then you realise that you’ve forgotten the time that the place you want to go to opens, so you have to go back to the previous app to find out. You then go back to the map app, and you find that it has lost the context, so you have to go through it again. It’s an immensely boring experience. Combining those pieces of information into something of use, is the challenge.”

“Industry commentators have been excited about the number of apps downloaded through app stores. It’s a nice infographic, but how many of them are usable? How many of them are used and reused on a daily basis? The challenge is less about the 30 billion mark; it’s much more about making my life easier.”

While Gale acknowledges that location is important – it’s rich, timely, and vital – but the important piece to remember here it is context. Gale’s view, which might challenge some current startups, is that as location does not fundamentally make an app in itself, it should also not be a rationale for a business.

Smartphones continue to occupy a minority share of overall mobile ownership, although this is growing quickly. As more and more consumers exchange their old handsets for sophisticated, GPS-enabled devices, the way in which we understand and use geo-locative data will change. We are still scratching the surface.

Privacy Area

“Despite the meteoric rise of the check-in economy, a lot of people are very uncomfortable with the concept of sharing their current location with a company. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable premise, as a lot of the ways in which this is messaged, is ambiguous and unclear. My fear is that there will be a big tabloid media crash involving this technology; all of a sudden, this is brought to the public, and they will sit up and take notice. In a high-profile divorce between B-list celebrities, if one claims that they weren’t somewhere and the app says that they were, then the press would have a field day. It would be thrust into the public’s attention. The challenge for the location industry as a whole, is to make sure that that doesn’t happen.”

Gale points out the undercurrent of apps that, without the consumer knowing it, sends their location data back. While such references are often buried in a terms and conditions page that we all have the tendency to ignore until clicking Accept, the point is made that location information sharing is still oblique, with an insufficient level of clarity and understanding on the part of consumers.

This mismatch of delivery and experience extends to geotargeted advertising. As Gale’s history includes leading Yahoo’s UK Geotechnologies group – which developed the world’s first geotargeted advertising network. However, as he illustrates, geotargeting means, and results in, different outcomes in different environments. Different countries treat IP addresses in very different ways; regional IP allocation based on the Baby Bell network allows for reasonably precise targeting in the US, where many European countries make targeting more difficult, due to dynamic allocation. Such variations, and their impact on message delivery, are lessened with a greater degree of location information – although not without its dangers. “You have a trinity of mobile phone triangulation, GPS lock, and public wi-fi points, for information. They’re pretty accurate. Even without GPS, when someone is running a map application on an iPad even without GPS, just through just public wi-fi, you’re able to work out where you are. The key is to engage the customer, so that they think it’s a really handy feature, rather than “that’s creepy, how the hell did they know that?” – and that’s a big challenge.”

“People are happy with ads on mobile and the web, as they either consciously or unconsciously understand that there isn’t such a thing as a free lunch. What they’re less comfortable with, is the perception that there is someone watching them at that precise minute in time. That’s not the case; with the vast majority of information, apart from that which you sign on and participate in things, is utterly anonymised. You are just one point in a mass from which you can draw trends and plot nice graphs. There is a perception of ‘hell, how did I know that?’ and that’s very scary.”

More Than The Map

The other side of this coin, in terms of experience, is the quality of the information being presented. If your location can be pinpointed, then it means nothing unless there is good information – a good context to surround it. Gale makes the point that we are now at the point where it’s commonplace to use a GPS-enabled smartphone to find your way around a new place, where previously it used to be an A-Z, and latterly printouts of online maps. Neither are really seen in public any more, resulting in an expectation of not only “the now”, but “the what” and “why”. “We have had to go from the static, updated-twice-a-year view of the world, to a view where people have come to expect that the map which they are experiencing, is accurate, all of the time. If there’s a new housing development, footpath or a closed road, they get quite frustrated if they can see it with their own eyes, but the map doesn’t show that. There’s a fundamental change in the way in which we undertake mapping as a professional discipline.”

“The map’s not enough any more. You want a rich experience on the map, to avoid this disjointed app experience from earlier. You want the information represented on the map, to be available to you in a very easy-to-consume form which gives you the key facts that you need, and also to have it updated and be relevant. If you are looking for a place to get a cup of coffee, you want to know where those places are; you then need to know what time it opens; whether it serves food; whether there are nearby transport facilities. We expect that experience, no matter where we are. It’s a global marketplace, but everywhere in the world is local to somebody. It could be your local neighbourhood, or having got off the plane in a new city, you want to find somewhere to go out.”

You Are Here

“You expect that information to be made available in the same level of timeliness and freshness and accuracy as we do in your own local neighbourhood. That’s a significant swing from the two-editions-a-year, to a new place which has just opened up, and it should be on the map on my handset.”

Behind all of this, is place. “The spatial map still remains one of the best ways of visualising information. It’s visceral, visual, and the best way to impart this information. The map is not going anywhere, other than forward. People have predicted the death of the map, but it’s still the best way of representing that data.”

The point is strongly made that “hard data” – such a full address – is no longer enough, in terms of how to present location information. Our interaction with maps is similar to the historical use of search engines: based on hard syntax. “You have to know about informal places; you have to know about colloquial neighbourhoods, which don’t formally exist, but everyone knows where they are – like in London. Soho, Chinatown, the West End… are all ambiguously and vaguely defined, but everyone knows where they are. And you have to be able to understand that. But you also have to be able to understand in the same number of languages that there are in the world. People expect these services to respond to them in their mother tongue. You have to build internationalisation and localisation in, from the ground up. That’s a massive challenge for the industry. There’s still work to be done.”

As we finish, Gale makes the point that capability still needs information. While the UK and many other developed – and developing – countries have an abundance of mapping data to offer, this is not necessarily the case for every country. Essentially, this is about a quality, consistent experience – and for app developers, geotargeting-based businesses, and mapping agencies, to listen to consumers that pick holes in it. “They have the right to say that they were on location, and the experience was appalling. That will act as a significant nudge, in the direction of making the ability to have a complete map from different sources. People are coming to the conclusion that there needs to be a bit more sanity in this.”

Gary Gale is Director of Ovi Places at Nokia. Gary blogs at garygale.com, and he is @vicchi on Twitter.

Photo Credits: Mark Barkway and Isma Monfort on Flickr.
Written and posted from the Nokia gate5 office in Schönhauser Allee, Berlin (52.5308072, 13.4108176)

The BA Mobile Boarding Pass; So Right And Yet So Wrong

While boarding passes on your mobile handset have been around for a while in one form or another, I only came across them just over a year ago while flying on KLM from Amsterdam’s Schipol airport. The system was quick, easy and worked, even though some of the staff at Schipol seemed a bit confused by me whipping out my mobile when they asked for my boarding pass, rather than the conventional printed boarding pass. At the time, I wondered when British Airways would follow suit. Now more than a year later, they have. Now to be fair, this system may have been in place for a while, but if it was it escaped me. Maybe I missed an email or some junk mail about this, but the first I heard of it when when I saw that the BA app on my iPhone had a new version and after some poking around to see what was new I saw the option for a mobile boarding pass.

KLM Mobile Boarding Pass

I fly on British Airways almost every week. While they may be the self proclaimed World’s Favourite Airline, they’re not the best there is. But flying British Airways means I get to fly out of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, by far the best terminal at that airport. It means I get to use the BA lounges, thanks to BA’s frequent flyer program. It means I get to fly direct to most destinations rather than having to change flights. So I fly BA most of the time.

So I’m a fan of the BA mobile boarding pass. It’s quick, simple and like KLM’s version, it works. But just compare the two airline’s version of the mobile boarding pass experience.

KLM has taken a very low barrier to entry approach; their version works with pretty much any phone capable of either receiving an MMS text message or capable of receiving a URL to the boarding pass which can then be downloaded over the phone’s data connection. That’s it. If you’re flying KLM and have a smart phone you can use KLM’s mobile boarding pass. If you have a feature phone, you may still be able to use KLM’s mobile boarding pass as basic smartphone functionality gradually gets introduced to the feature phone market.

BA Mobile Boarding Pass

British Airways has taken a somewhat different approach. You can only use the mobile boarding pass on an iPhone or on a Blackberry (though an Android version is promised soon). If you have a handset from another manufacturer or another phone OS then you can’t use the service. Even if you have one of the approved handsets the service is still only available to passengers who are members of BA’s Executive Club frequent flyer program. If you don’t fly that often or don’t want the possibility for more junk mail through your mailbox, then you can’t use the service.

I’m still a fan of BA’s mobile boarding pass, even though it’s only available on short hail flights to Europe at the time of writing. BA may state that “the days of pockets full of paper are nearly over“, but only for a very small percentage of their passengers who have the right phone and who are Executive Club members … and that seems to be missing the whole point about why you’d actually want and use a mobile boarding pass, which is to reduce the amount of paper you need to carry and offer the service to the widest number of passengers you can.

Update: 17/11/10 – the Android version of the BA mobile app just updated itself on my Nexus One and now contains support for mobile boarding passes.

Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Flight Safe Mode; The Sequel

This is mercifully brief follow up to my previous post on British Airways proscriptions on enabling flight safe mode on your mobile phone and hails jointly from the departments of “be careful what you ask for, it might come true” and “they didn’t really mean to say that … did they?” …

On this morning’s flight from London Heathrow to Berlin’s Tegel the usual flight safety announcement was made, but with a couple of significant, if contradictory, changes.

Takeoff!

All electrical devices should be switched off during take off, landing and when the engines are running, some devices may be used after take off, please see High Life magazine for more information. If your mobile phone has a flight safe mode, it should be enabled now, before switching off the device and ensuring it is stowed in an overhead locker“.

We’ll leave aside for one moment that I’m pretty sure the engines are running during the flight so are we allowed to use flight safe enabled mobiles at all or not? But are we now not even trusted to have a switched off mobile phone in our pocket anymore and it has to be out of reach in the overhead locker?

Normal geo-related bloggage service will be resumed soon. Promise.

Written and posted from the Hotel Mercure An Der Charite in Berlin (52.530429, 13.381361)