Misconnected: A Personal History of Voicemail

I once played phone tag with a heartbroken stranger. She had the wrong number. She'd call late at night while I was sleeping, I'd miss the call, and she'd be greeted by the grandmotherly voice of AT&T's Pat Fleet, who I let be my generic voicemail message. The woman would leave long messages. I'd try to call back,… » 12/09/14 4:12pm 12/09/14 4:12pm

We Need to Ban In-Flight Phone Calls Before It's Too Late

News recently broke that the Department of Transportation is revving up to try to officially ban in-flight phone calls. That's right; the singular, obscene act of yelling into your hand while careening through the air in a metal tube full of strangers could soon be verboten. Good. It should. It's time to kill the… » 8/05/14 12:38pm 8/05/14 12:38pm

Bad Cell Phone Calls Could Actually Be Tracked to Detect Rainfall

Despite the many wonders of our modern cell phones, using them to call a real live human can kind of suck. The sound is fuzzy, the calls drop randomly, and a simple rainstorm can make it all even worse. But there is surprising upside to all this: we can monitor the quality of cell phone calls to track rain and floods… » 7/25/14 3:23pm 7/25/14 3:23pm

I Wouldn't Be Here Without the 1982 World's Fair

On a recent trip home to Knoxville, Tennessee, I had a flashback. Not an acid flashback (I don't think). We were weaving through the hilly streets of downtown in the shadow of the Sunsphere, a discoball of a monument built for the 1982 World's Fair, and suddenly I was there in the crowd, staring at the future. » 4/18/14 12:25pm 4/18/14 12:25pm

Deepsea Minerals Are Coming Soon To A Cell Phone Near You

Rocks mined from the seafloor have been confirmed as a viable source for rare earth metals, and thus a tiny piece of the ocean might soon find its way into a cell phone or computer chipboard near you. The finding, published in the April 2014 issue of Applied Geochemistry, all but guarantees a new round of focus on… » 4/18/14 12:00pm 4/18/14 12:00pm

What Will We Find On Passengers' Cell Phones From Flight MH370?

Bearing in mind that CNN is the same network that suggested Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might have flown into a black hole, it was nonetheless interesting to hear the network speculate that the cell phones of the flight's passengers might hold an archive of unsent emails, texts, photos, and videos of whatever… » 4/13/14 1:00pm 4/13/14 1:00pm

Report: Google Wants to Become a Wireless Carrier

Google bosses are dreaming about adding wireless service to the search giant's menu of offerings. A couple of unnamed sources "who have discussed the matter with Google" told Amir Efrati at The Information that it would roll out the service in the same areas where Google Fiber is offered. In other words, Google wants… » 4/03/14 11:56am 4/03/14 11:56am