Phoning the Shark

by Robert Cooper

Chris has a minirant in the j.n Editor's blog today:

But I did remember a while back when Google rolled out Google Maps as a Java ME application, Google Maps Mobile, and I got excited. "Hey! Useful Java ME application! I should go check this out!"

Well, after trying all morning, I can't say I've gotten it to work. The page identified my Motorola V300 and the jar downloaded and installed (albeit with a warning about potentially limited functionality), but it can't seem to load the terms and conditions, which might mean that it has no network access, which kind of makes the whole exercise pointless.

So, my whole enthusiasm about ME from two paragraphs ago? Back in the "good ideas gone wrong" drawer. Thanks for playing.

He is totally right here, but I think the fault lies not within ourselves, but within our carriers.

If you buy a V300 or RAZR or whatever from any major carrier, it comes crippled. They only want you to use ringtones, wallpaper and --god forbid-- applications that they sell you. Lots of phones in the carrier specific versions are crippled beyond belief. I don't think the fault is J2ME's so much as the way we use cell phone networks.

I hate to bring the whole political aspect into this, but this is directly on point with the network neutrality debate and the Trusted Computing/Paladium issue: the hardware and the network should be there for what you want to use them for, not some highly managed, highly structured regime. One of the reasons I, personally, consider the NetNeutral intitiative important is I don't want my Cable Modem service to end up looking like the cell phone networks.

That said, and to respond to the poll, Yes, I have used non-game apps -- in fact, I almost never play J2ME games. But since I got my grubbies on the new Savaje phone from JavaOne, I am excited again. Once you have a phone that actually belongs to you, not that is on a "permanent license" from your carrier, the freedom it grants feels amazing.


Chris Adamson
2006-08-12 03:36:52
Feel free to bring the political aspect into it, if you believe that's what's crippling our technology. I've long wanted to do a net neutrality blog; it's just our new "silo" system for blogs doesn't support blogging on multiple topics.

Anyways, the argument that carrier-dominated internet service will soon resemble the carrier-dominated phone market is a good one. Is there also an analogy to the Sony PSP, Blu-Ray or the Reader, three more locked-down boxes of suck that are so much more capable than their stupid-greedy gatekeepers will let them be?

2006-08-13 01:44:36
Carriers even go so far as introduce transmission noise into http packets from domains that are not on their "friends list". If they detect potentially commercial files such as wallpapers/ringtones a bit of noise is added to the transmission.