I bought a @Fairphone #wearefairphone


I knew I was about due the end of my contract with Three, and I’ve had days where I’ve loved my Samsung S3, and days when I haven’t, but I’m guessing no phone is perfect. Was getting excited about the idea of the Samsung S5 as apparently they’d improved loads of things on it, particularly the battery life! However, last year I became vaguely aware of the @Fairphone, and as I often make mention of how to behave ethically/morally online, it’s made me think a lot more about what I own in the electronics sphere (to be honest, don’t own a great deal of other “stuff” of any value), so I started to think about it. Then at #TDC14 the other week, there was a speaker talking about the wars in the Congo – and that most of them are down to fighting over the minerals in mobile phones – so people are dying for our technology.

I need a really good phone as so much of my job is reliant upon digital, so I was nervous about going to such a small brand, but a few more tech-savvy friends (I’m more of the ‘Can I do this with it? Great! Can you do it?’ school when it comes to digital – although there’s an increasing number of tools that are easy to use, and those I work with too) about the spec, and it was said to be at least as good as the S3, probably better – and it’s dual-SIM – maybe I can get an extra SIM card and then have a mobile number to give out for work – I like to impose boundaries on at least some of my tech. Walking into the Three store – one of their staff hadn’t heard of it – looked it up – and said it was a good spec – so now moved to a SIM only deal. Financially, this will work out about £200 cheaper overall once I’ve used the Fairphone for a couple of years … and it appears my “old” phone is still worth about £100 on ebay! I have asked around on Twitter/Facebook quite a lot recently – and people who have them all seem really pleased with them … so an even bigger number of us appear to be diving in this year …  There are 35,000 phones being manufactured ready for July 2014 – right now 13,034 have been sold. 

Ethical Superstore has written a piece on this, ending:

Buying electronics should be no different to buying coffee or tea. If we want to see a fairer world, we need to support the companies that are working to make that happen. Through our purchasing decisions we provide the demand that allows these companies to grow. As consumers we can vote with our wallets…we just need to make sure we vote for the change we want to see.

and Rankabrand defines it as the most environmentally sustainable phone… and most of its sales seems to be on word-of-mouth. Am committed now, so…

Smartphones… Can you really get away from it all?

There should by rights be a team of holiday police who wrestle your tech from your grasp as you pass through customs. At the very least there should be an amnesty box, in which you can deposit your phone and/or personal organiser for the duration of your trip. But alas, there is none of these things. And so a combination of modern communication infrastructure and weak will have allowed the tentacles of work to extend well beyond the walls of my place of employment.

When I finally get round to unpacking I find that I have forgotten my charger. This is perhaps the act of a desperate subconscious trying to save me from myself. The battery will not last the week and so the phone gets switched off. But still I find myself sneaking away from the dinner table every now and then, powering the thing up to see if there are any messages, all the while trying to avoid discovery by my family. I feel like a wireless operator for the French Resistance. Except, well, what exactly am I resisting? The chance to spend proper time with my family, the opportunity to take time out from work, the undeniable need to recharge my own batteries?

Read full story by Kevin Fong.

Research intelligence: Smart(phone) moves

Zoë Corbyn reports from Washington DC on journal publishers’ plans to get a piece of the mobile action

Imagine being on the bus with a smartphone browsing your favourite journal, or at home, downloading papers to an e-reader for a spot of bedtime reading.

Journal publishers in science, technology and medicine are hoping that this could soon be normal behaviour as they strive to improve their offerings to readers with mobile devices.

Their eagerness to embrace this brave new world was on display last week at an annual conference in Washington DC, when delegates gathered to share information on emerging trends in scholarly publishing, evolving technologies and business models.

The conference, organised by the publishing services company Allen Press, was titled Scholarly Publishing: Boldly Going Where No Journal Has Gone Before.

“The internet, as we all know, has brought about profound changes in every stage of the scholarly communication process, greatly accelerating the pace of change,” the conference blurb says. “For (science, technology and medicine) journal publishers, this means new opportunities, new markets and new business models. It also means that familiar paradigms are disappearing. Those who cannot adapt to the new ones may not survive.”

Read full story in the Times Higher Education.