Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kajeet test

The Sanyo Katana II mobile phone enhances the spirit of the original Katana with a sleeker shape, a radiant new pink fascination finish, and a host of kid-friendly features. This flip phone also features a 21 MB memory for storing downloadable ringtones and games, a VGA camera, Bluetooth connectivity for handsfree devices, voice dialing capabilities, and up to 3.5 hours of talk time. It works perfectly with Kajeet's kid-friendly pay-as-you-go service and it's GPS-capable, which provides compatibility with Kajeet's GPS Phone Locator Service as well as enable it to provide location information to a capable emergency service provider.

The Katana II offers Bluetooth connectivity for handsfree devices, a VGA camera, and a lustrously shiny pink color.

About Kajeet

Kajeet was founded by three three dads figuring out how technology, kids and parents work best ("Kajeet" is an anagram of the first letters of the names of the company's founders' children). Kajeet's entire philosophy springs from a simple core idea: kids are smart. And they should be agile with technology, empowered and safe, and be able to respond with confidence to what's happening in their world.

Because having a cell phone is not just fun, it's a responsibility--a shared responsibility, Kajeet wants parents and guardians to be involved too. Thus, Kajeet is designed to incorporate a full suite of tools to help families customize and manage every aspect of their Kajeet experience. For more on Kajeet's pay-as-you-go charges and monthly voice and text plans, see the Kajeet Service section below.

Phone Features

Measuring just 0.6 inches thin, the Katana II sports a bright 2-inch internal LCD that offers a 240 x 320-pixel resolution and 262K colors, which also features IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology for wide-angle viewing with superior brightness and contrast. It's supplemented by an exterior TFT LCD (80 x 80 pixels, 65K colors), which enables quick viewing of the time, caller ID, and more.

This phone enables you to store up to 300 contact entries with 500 total phone numbers, 600 email and 300 Web addresses. It has a call history of 20 outgoing calls, 20 incoming calls, 20 missed calls, 60 recent calls. A built-in speakerphone makes it easy to talk without having the phone to your ear, and advanced voice activated dialing makes calling your friends, family, and associates easy (up to 30 entries). Simply say the name or number of the person you want to call and the number is dialed automatically without using the keypad. It also offers PIM organization applications (calendar, to-do list, world clock, calculator, and stopwatch), 4 distinct vibrating alerts, 72-chord polyphonic ringtones, and a 2.5 mm stereo headset jack.

The VGA resolution digital camera can capture still at 640 x 480 pixels (sized for sending via email or uploading to the Internet), and it includes self timer, night mode, brightness, and white balance control features. Thanks to the built-in Bluetooth wireless connectivity (version 2.0), you can enjoy hands-free communication via optional headsets. Enjoy easy, hands free communication with a speakerphone that lets you hear callers loud and clear.

This phone has all the bases covered when it comes to messaging and Internet connectivity. Use the phone's built-in picture messaging capability to send text, graphics, and pictures to your friends. The phone features support for instant messaging applications, and there's a built-in WAP 2.0 Web browser for downloads and mobile Web browsing. T9 text entry, a technology that makes it easier for people to enter words and text on handsets, is built into the unit--a plus for mobile email and text messaging users.

Other features include:

  • Voice dialing for 30 entries lets you call a friend without even having to dial a number
  • Identify callers instantly by downloading ringers and assigning them to each number in your phone book.
  • Picture Caller ID: Identify callers at a glance by linking downloaded photos and other images to your phone book.
  • Call screening feature lets you listen to a caller while a message is being left on your phone
  • Voice memos up to 3 minutes each for up to 300 notes for yourself
  • Personal organizer tools include a calendar, ToDo list, a calculator, scheduler, stop watch and world clock

Vital Statistics

The Katana II weighs 3.1 ounces and measures 3.7 x 1.9 x 0.6 inches. Its 1000 mAh lithium-ion battery is rated at up to 3.5 hours of talk time. It runs on the CDMA 850/CDMA 1900 frequencies for voice.

Kajeet Service

The Kajeet pay-as-you-go service delivers a full range of customizable voice, text, instant messaging and data services that enable kids to stay connected with family and friends. While kids will love the phones offered by Kajeet, parents will love the affordability of the Kajeet pay-as-you-go service with no long-term contracts, no activation or termination fees, and no roaming or extra long distance fees.

Choose pay-as-you-go flexibility, or select a Talk or Text Pak monthly plan.

With the GPS Locator plan, parents can get automatic location checks at specific times of the day.

Check out Kajeet's nationwide coverage with this larger version of the map above.

The exclusive Kajeet Configurator offers easy-to-use tools for both kids and parents, with such budget and usage management features like WalletManager, TimeManager, ContactManager and FeatureManager that enable tweens and their families to tailor the service to meet their specific needs. Wireless network coverage for Kajeet is provided by Sprint on its CDMA-based Nationwide Sprint PCS Network (check out the nationwide coverage map).

Kajeet's GPS Phone Locator service helps both kids and parents find the kajeet phone. It uses satellite technology to help find your child's phone and gives subscribing families easy-to-use information regarding the location of their kajeet phone via Web-based maps. Parents can schedule automatic location checks at specific times of the day, so they know where their kid's kajeet phone is at any given time--whether the phone is in their child's backpack on the school bus or in their sports bag at soccer practice. Kids can also use the service to help find their phone. The GPS Phone Locator service is is $9.99 per month.

With Kajeet, the money in your Kajeet wallet--paid in either as pay-as-you-go or as part of a monthly plan--can be used for whatever you want: texting, talking, games, ringtones and more. Plus, at no extra cost you get voicemail, caller ID, and some of the lowest talking and texting rates around. You can choose pure pay-as-you-go flexibility, and refill your wallet either online or using Kajeet refill cards (available at select retailers). You might also want to consider the value of a Talk and Text Pak plan. Each is good for one month, and if your kid uses it up before that, you can just pick up a new Pak and start fresh.

Voice Calls
(local, domestic, long distance,      

and toll-free numbers)
10¢ per minute

Talk Pak plans (includes 1 month of Daily Access Charges)

  • $19.99 for 150 minutes
  • $29.99 for 300 minutes
  • $39.99 for 450 minutes

Text Messages 10¢ per message (send or receive)

Text Pak plans

  • $4.99 for 200 messages
  • $9.99 for 1000 messages
  • $19.99 for unlimited messages

Picture Messages 10¢ per picture/per person (send or receive)

Unlimited Mobile AIM
(AOL Instant Messenger)
$6.99 per month (first month free)

Directory Assistance $1.50 connect fee plus 10¢ per minute

Daily Access Charge* 32¢ every day

* Kajeet charges a service fee of 32 cents per day, which amounts to about $10 per month. This access charge guarantees you low rates for voice and messaging, and gives you access to the Kajeet Navigator (which provides downloadable ringtones, wallpaper, games and apps) and to the Kajeet Configurator (which enables you to personalize your kajeet service to match your specific needs).

Friday, April 25, 2008

My New (Sort Of) Blog Playground

I've been blogging for the Amazon Electronics store for a good long while now (since late 2006), and this week it got a new name (End User), snazzy, refreshed design where it's broken out of the Amazon site (it's now powered by TypePad), and given some Web 2.0 love. One post that I submitted a little while back never made it up because of the transition work going on (I can now publish directly, which makes me gleeful and probably makes my editors at Amazon a little nervous), so I offer it to you here:


A couple of months back, I stood rather aghast in the checkout line of my local grocery store as a woman continued chattering on her phone rather loudly during her entire transaction, acknowledging the mere existence of the check-out person just enough to grab her receipt and whirl away to finish the conversation. But rather than being witness to a mannerless boob, it turns out I was watching a sociological revue play itself out, at least according to one of the collection of articles in this week's Economist magazine (happily available to nonsubscribers) about the way that wireless communication is changing the way that people interact with one another.
Richard Ling, a sociologist at Telenor, the largest Norwegian telephone company, and author of New Tech, New Ties: How Mobile Communication Is Reshaping Social Cohesion, was standing on his porch in Oslo one day, saying farewell to a few guests, when a plumber walked around the corner, talking on his mobile phone to what appeared to be his wife. Mr Ling, who had a leak in the kitchen, was expecting him. But the plumber took Mr Ling and his guests aback by walking right past them and into the house, where he took off his shoes and headed for the kitchen, chattering into his handset all the while.

It was the sort of thing that perhaps excites only sociologists. Here was an example of two big tensions in nomadic society. First, mobile technology pitted the plumber's interaction with a stranger (Mr Ling) against that with his own wife on the phone. The plumber, to use the technical term, had a "weak tie" to Mr Ling but a "strong tie" to his wife which easily prevailed over the weak one, leaving a few Norwegians feeling temporarily awkward and pondering the fate of their society.

Second, the plumber gave precedence to what Mr Ling calls the "mediated" interaction with the person at the other end of the phone, at the expense of his "co-present" communication with Mr Ling who was standing right next to him. In other words, the person who was physically more distant was nonetheless psychologically closer. So out went social norms and rituals (handshakes, greetings) that Norway and other societies accumulated during a past of exclusively co-present interactions. The plumber's only nod to ritual was to take off his shoes.

As a once budding sociologist (for a few semesters back in college, before one of my many major changes), the collection of special report articles at The Economist about the "new nomadism" of our wireless ways is a great read, and reminds me that the way I work today is so much different than I did even 5 years ago. I now conduct business via email and Twitter on my iPhone as I push my toddler son's jogging stroller. There's still a lot of work to do on my laptop, but assignments, review of documents, and conversation of direction can be made completely untethered from my PC.

Sociologically related, the New York Times Magazine from last Sunday (NYTimes membership required) featured an article that focused on Jan Chipchase, a man whose job I'm envious of. He works for Nokia as a "human-behavior researcher," also sometimes referred to as a "user anthropologist," he travels the globe "to peer into the lives of other people, accumulating as much knowledge as possible about human behavior so that he can feed helpful bits of information back to the company -- to the squads of designers and technologists and marketing people who may never have set foot in a Vietnamese barbershop but who would appreciate it greatly if that barber someday were to buy a Nokia."

The article is a great reminder that the cell phone isn't just a communication convenience and knowledge worker accoutrement in the industrial world, but is also a technological key to how the cell phone will shape micro- and macroeconomics in the developing world over the next decade.
During a 2006 field study in Uganda, Chipchase and his colleagues stumbled upon an innovative use of the shared village phone, a practice called sente. Ugandans are using prepaid airtime as a way of transferring money from place to place, something that’s especially important to those who do not use banks. Someone working in Kampala, for instance, who wishes to send the equivalent of $5 back to his mother in a village will buy a $5 prepaid airtime card, but rather than entering the code into his own phone, he will call the village phone operator ("phone ladies" often run their businesses from small kiosks) and read the code to her. She then uses the airtime for her phone and completes the transaction by giving the man’s mother the money, minus a small commission. "It’s a rather ingenious practice," Chipchase says, "an example of grass-roots innovation, in which people create new uses for technology based on need."

Maybe in a century or so, someone will write a Kurlansky-esque book on how the cell phone changed the world. Of course, the way Moore's Law seems to accelerate the pace of technological change, we might get that book within my lifetime.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Testing Out New Flickr Video

With user badge:

And without:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Recent Reviews at Amazon

I'm pretty happy with this review of the Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth headset, as I got to throw in a snarky reference to a peripheral character in Empire Strike Back:

I also got to review the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 webcam, in which I got to insert a couple of self portraits that I captured with the cam -- including one Lobot-ized one:

Friday, August 10, 2007

My iTunes Widget

Apple released a new Web 2.0 widget to show the world what kinda music you're buying lately. I was having trouble getting the widget to properly render on this blog, but thanks to some very responsive emailing from Apple (thanks, Camille!), I got to the bottom of it. Short story is, it's fixed (but for more detail, see below). So, here are my recent purchases:

And my paltry reviews (need to write some more!):

You can also check in with our pal Jeff Carlson to see what he's been buying lately.

BTW, I'm loving the new Josh Rouse album a lot.


OK, here's where the geekery comes in. This blog (and my other pop culture-related blog, One Egg, Any Style) uses the Rounders blog template, and it seems to include an offending bit of CSS code:

.main .widget {
margin-top: 4px;
width: 468px;
padding: 0 13px;

By taking that out of my template, the rendering of the width of the My iTunes widget is as expected. Previously, instead of the 300-pixel width, I was getting a spilled over 468 pixel width). Now, why should you care? If you don't use the Rounders blog template, you'll be happy clappy. But if you do use Rounders, you'll need to go in and get rid of that CSS code.

Two more tips:

DO NOT paste the embed code in the Compose mode of Blogger. And if you switch from Edit HTML to Compose, the embed code gets horked.

If you're grabbing the code from the My iTunes in Firefox and you're using the Flashblock add-on, you'll need to select both the outlined flash of the preview module as well as an outlined block of flash at the bottom of the page (which doesn't render anything visible, but includes the code that gets sent to your clipboard when you click the Copy Code button).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Recent Amazon Electronics Blog Posts

I've been rededicating myself to doing blog posts for the Amazon Currents blog, which is run by a couple of the staff editors for the CE store.
And don't forget, every Friday I do a Bites from the Apple compendium, collecting the week that was in Apple-y goodness (i.e., rumors, news, tips, cool software, something to pass the time on a Friday afternoon, etc.).