November 22, 2006
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Agents and Mobile Sites

Dr. Leavitt has a new mobile variant of his weblog, optimized for viewing on mobile phones.

The vast majority of the world's population has limited or no access to computers, but they do have mobile phones which they use for text messaging.

This is the 21st-century version of Video Night in Katmandu : everyone knows someone who has a cell phone.

Tinderbox makes it easy to adapt a site -- even a rapidly-changing, volatile site like a weblog or news page -- for mobile phones. First, you create an agent that picks off the parts of your content you most want for mobile users. For example, phone screens are small; a blog wants fewer stories.

Query: #first(mainPage,3)
Sort: PublicationDate (reverse)

Then, you let the mobile agent use a streamlined export template, one that has a simple page design suited to the small processors and small screens of the mobile phone,

To access Jonathan's Coffeeblog Mobile Edition, I made use of Mozes, a startup website that enables fans to send a keyword via their mobile phones to get a text message back from their favorite band. The keyword is sent to M-O-Z-E-S on the phone's keypad, which translates to the number 66937. To get the URL to Jonathan's Coffeeblog Mobile Edition on your phone, you just write a text message with one word: coffeeblog, then send it to M-O-Z-E-S.You get a text message back in a few seconds. Scroll down to the URL (which happens to be http://doublesquids.net/coffeeblog/mobile.html), select it, and go. The sleek, readable text version of the Coffeeblog will download fast. Hopefully, within days, Coffeeblog fans living in the vicinity of Kathmandu and Timbuktu (Tombouctou) will be able to read the last Coffeeblog post without having to hike 15 miles to an internet cafe.