Radar Changing the Face of Cycling
I'm not 100% sure about N.America, but in Europe at least, the vast majority of cyclists you see have driving licenses and even own a car, but are just choosing not to use it. Yes, there is a subset of cyclists who flaunt traffic laws, although, I've yet to see any statistics to say what sort of percentage actually do this. (It is probably far lower than people think)
On a daily basis driving (or cycling) around Toronto I see many cars passing through traffic lights at red, especially in the case of a left turn.
in London, UK, there was a study performed to work out why (as a percentage) female cyclists were involved in more accidents than male cyclists. One of the conclusions was the fact that a male cyclist was more likely to move off before the traffic signal turned green, jumping the red light. Although, I suspect that is not what you are referring too. An unnerving number of cyclists do just blow through a red light without any hesitation, which is not a smart thing to be doing.
I sympathise with your pedestrian anecdote, cyclists if they are riding on the footpath (legally or not) should always be courteous to pedestrians. Although, you should really not take offence at a cyclist ringing their bell at you. When riding my bike I am more than aware of the fact I am almost silent so ringing a bell from a sufficient distance does warn pedestrians you are approaching, it certainly should not be interpreted as an aggressive act on the part of the cyclists. Shouting and being aggressive though, if you don't appear to notice, is totally out of order. (for all the cyclists knows, you may be deaf)
(And yes, whilst my bike technically is legal to ride on the side walk in Toronto, I do not do it)
Radar Changing the Face of Cycling
Merging into a lane is a co-operative event, it is up to the road user wishing to move over to signal their intention and wait for a suitable space to move into. It matters nothing that the speeds are different, it is your responsibility as a following road user to be alert for other road users merging and adjust your speed accordingly, or move over to an adjacent lane (if one exists). Yes, if there isn't a safe space between you and the person in front and the person merging dives in (with or without signalling intent) then it is likely if an accident occurs they are at fault. This is no different no matter which type of road user is merging into traffic.
What happens a lot of the time is that people see a cyclist, bus, garbage truck, old person in a car signalling a merge and they speed up to close the gap. If there is a resultant collision it would at least partially be the fault of the road user who sped up in response to the signalling, as they have done the opposite to what is reasonable. If you are a Garbage Truck or a Bus, you pull over anyway (most of the time) as they are not intimidated, but others?
When I am riding in Toronto, I signal my intent to move to the left lane, to make a turn and I wait for a suitable gap in the traffic. You learn to judge the speed of the traffic and how far from the Intersection you need to make your lane change to do it safely and avoid annoying other road users unnecessarily. Yes, sometimes a vehicle will need to slow, but never in an abrupt fashion.
If we're going for the separate cycle lane approach, then the only way it can work safely is if cyclists heading straight on (in the cycle lane) have right of way over motorists making a turn. This is the case anyway, both with cyclists in the near side lane and pedestrians on a side walk. (Unless, in the case of the pedestrians, the cross walk is flashing before they step into road).
To solve the left turn is simple too, you show green to cyclists ahead of the regular traffic signal. They can then perform their left turn, whilst the traffic is held at red. This does mean the cyclists would have to wait for the appropriate phase in the cycle at the Intersection to make their left turn.
Cycling around cities in Denmark and Holland show that this infrastructure can be made to work (and retro-fitted to cities). Sadly, giving road space over to cyclists (at least in Toronto and I suspect a lot of other cities in the world) is politically unpalatable, even if it ultimately is the best for everyone.
The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'
Feature Phones are devices that were designed around a specific purpose or feature. Examples of the Feature Phone are: The Nokia 6800, its feature being fold out qwerty keyboard and email. The Nokia 5310, with music controls. Nokia 8800, style and quality over function. Realistically the original iPhone was a "Feature Phone" with its feature being touch-screen input.
The idea is that users buy a device based around the feature(s) they are most interested in. In the days before carrying touch-screen computers, it is a reasonable idea to target devices in this way. Compromise the general purpose of the device a little to accentuate other features. With a large touch-screen and more powerful processors such compromises aren't needed to be made as the UI is not limited to the standard 4x3 keypad with a small screen.
Jolla's First Phone Goes On Sale
An $85 + Tax (at 14%) plan in Ontario will get you pretty much unlimited nation wide calling and 1GB of Data (on an LTE Network) you will also get Voice Mail and Caller Id. That costs near enough $100. Plus, if you want to have a recent phone you will have to pony up at least $100 or more up front. In the UK (where I lived until last year) you were looking at perhaps $55 (including tax at 20%) for a similar contract.
You can go cheaper in Canada, the almost cartel-like companies that control the mobile industry in Canada have lower tier "Networks" that offer cheaper contracts (the $85 plan above can be found for $60) but you have to sacrifice not being able to have access to the latest handsets. Finally there are the third tier "Networks" that have next to no coverage, outside of city centres, where you can find a similar plan for about $40, without a device and no LTE.
None of these plans are generous in their allowances. Wind (a seller of the $40 plans) claims to provide "unlimited data" but realistically that is subject to a Fair Use Agreement which means anything over 6GB you are asked to pay more, or have your bandwidth reduced)
Canada is probably one of the most expensive places to own a mobile phone
SXSW: How Mobile Devices Are Changing Africa
I doubt Smartphones will make serious in-roads to the African market soon. Do not forget that most of the phones used in Africa are not new devices and have had several owners. Given most modern smartphones are rather fragile items and sensitive to moisture & dust, I doubt they will have that much longevity. (Think of how indestructible feature phones were a decade ago and mostly are today) Having a non-replaceable battery would rule out a lot of current smart phone devices too.
Also, the top "features" for a phone in Africa are Torch and Radio, neither of which are top on the list of smartphone features.
You are correct, power is a big problem with smartphones. "Power" comes from people who ride a bike (or walk) into a city and purchase a car battery that is charged. Or connect to the village's car battery connected to wind/solar electricity sources. The people peddling around with car batteries is also where top-up credit is purchased from.
Nokia's moniker for this market was "Internet for the Next Billion", trying to raise the level of device in use beyond basic GSM handsets. Nokia were well aware that the relationship with this market was one that was at arm's length. Perhaps a village could pool resources to purchase a phone (Nokia sell kits for longer range external antennas, solar/car battery charging points, etc) but that was about as direct a relationship Nokia had.
Nokia Dethroned As Top Phone Maker By Samsung
One of the key factors that tipped the decision to go with Microsoft is that is was popular with the Network Operators. They, like Nokia, feared the increasing influence Google was having over the mobile phone market. Android was becoming a household name. They were excited by the idea that Nokia would bring out Windows Phone devices. I suspect the deals to supply the North American Operators would have been impossible if Nokia had gone with Android.
I am sure Nokia probably could have made Meego work, especially considering they were pushing their massive feature phone market towards a binary compatible Eco-system with Qt. The sad fact is that it was taking too long. Meego and the Linux feature phone was bogged down with the same bureaucracy that effectively killed Symbian. Also the strategy would have provided probably strong sales in China, Europe (apart from the UK & Germany), India and Africa. It would have struggled like everything before it in the North American market which Nokia coveted so strongly. I am sure the sales of WIndows Phone in the N.American market is being trumpeted as a huge success internally given that they are selling better than any previous offering there.
One myth that probably should die is that this was brought about by Elop. The decisions were almost certainly made by the board of directors and they found the CEO that could deliver on the strategy. Which is why there is a Canadian (and former Microsoft man) at the top now rather than a Finnish or even a European. It is why it couldn't be someone from within Nokia either. (until Elop's appointment the company's ethos was very much that Microsoft was the enemy, ie the attitude that lead to the creation of Symbian in the 1990s.) There is no way in the time from his appointment to the burning plaform memo could he have forced such a change in direction, he just isn't that good a leader.
Google Nixes Some Calendar Features and Other Software Offerings
Turning off support for syncing Symbian/S60 devices will also cripple the non-Symbian devices that support Mail For Exchange; the N9, N900 and N950.
Apple Awarded Patent For iPhone Interface
Coming to the Mobile Phone game 15 years late means Apple's IP for mobile phones is exceedingly week. Other players (Motorola, Nokia, Broadcom, Qualcomm, Ericsson, etc) have a lot of IP in that area. I doubt anyone has called Apple on these patents yet. If Apple starts throwing its patents in their faces, Apple may well get more than they bargained for. It probably isn't possible to produce a phone that talks to GSM or UMTS without infringing on all the above player's IP. As with most patent disputes, the end result will be a cross licensing scheme. Meaning Apple's "innovations" will be used and improved upon by other players.
iPhone Likely Set to Launch in the UK Next Week
According to this article on The Register o2 are busy upgrading their network to EDGE. The Register's suggestion that this is linked to the iPhone is a compelling one.
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