Here’s another take on Suburban Mom Embraces the Surveillance Society. whocalled.us is a site where people can share comments about the identity of phone spammers. Get a call from an unrecognized number on your cell? Look it up to see who it was, where they are, and who else they called that didn’t like it. Here’s how to tag this interesting: antispam hacks, collective_intelligence, smartmobs, surveillance…. Not to mention another clever use for the vestigial .us domain!
Aside: Surj Patel, the program chair for our Emerging Telepony Conference, sent in this pointer. If you see any other interesting phone-related apps, be sure to let us know, as we’re starting to think about the program for next year’s conference now.
Digression: I’m fascinated by the stages of new technology. First it’s cool, then people start to realize some of the downsides, then people figure out how to harness some of those downsides and it’s cool again, at least with regard to these hacks. Eventually, everyone becomes inured to it, and it becomes boring, regardless of how important it is :-)
Going really far afield, I’m reminded of Tom Stoppard’s wonderful riff on the unicorn at the beginning of Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (image courtesy of a screen shot from Google Book Search — isn’t it a shame it has to be an image and not the actual text, for what is surely fair use):
I’ve loved that passage ever since my brother James and I used to riff on this play during high school. How true it is, and how well it describes the nature of progress.