It's the golden rule of crowded escalators: Stand on one side, walk on the other. But passengers taking the escalator in one of London's busiest tube stations were recently confronted with a weird rule: Everyone must stand. Officials claim it will make stations run more efficiently. But how?
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The London Underground secured a place in the pantheon of good graphic design with engineer Harry Beck's topologic Tube Map from 1933. In addition to that icon, however, the transit system has a pretty substantial history of bringing top-notch visuals to the subterranean masses; posters promoting everything from the Underground's pleasant temperature control — cooler on hot days and warmer when it's foggy! — to motor shows to the Regent's Park Zoo have adorned station walls (and delighted passengers) for decades.
Do you see that retro-looking device above? That's a cathode ray tube amusement device, one of the one of the first interactive video games ever made. You can tell by the circular green display that this missile simulator game was inspired by the radar displays of World War II. It was created and patented by Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr. and Estle Ray Mann in the late 1940's.
Passengers on the London Tube barely escaped with their lives when a defective train with no driver broke away and sped through six stations without stopping. Circle around and hear the harrowing tale of London's ghost train of death.
After Nokia set its first touchscreen phone, the 5800 XpressMusic, into the wild, one executive teased that they will be launching a new touchscreen smart phone for the N-series, wedged neatly between the iPhone and Blackberry Storm. "We will have a lot of touch screen phones coming up, including an N-series device very soon," Nokia India's Marketing Director Devinder Kishore said. Although official details and release dates have yet to be announced, the new touchscreen is rumoured to hit the markets early 2009.
Thanks to about a million tips, I've been forced to sit through the new Britney Spears music video for "Womanizer" because the flashy Nokia 5800 XpressMusic 'Tube' makes an appearance. The phone is used to take a picture of a ridiculously be-wigged Britney before she violently attacks the photographer and slams his face into a photocopier, sending the poor phone flying. But that's not the end of the technology in the video!
Just like the iPhone, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic 'Tube' won't have 3G or Wi-Fi enabled when it makes its way to China, which pretty much negates any reasons that customers might have to want one. The 3G exclusion can at least be blamed on China's lack of coverage, but disabling Wi-Fi on every new phone just doesn't make sense. All China's regular internet traffic is filtered anyway, so regulators either have a crucial misunderstanding of what Wi-Fi is or a serious problem with people enjoying things.
It looks as though the highly anticipated Nokia 5800 XpressMusic (aka 'Tube') will not make its way to the US in time for the Xmas season. Instead, Nokia seems to be content with focusing on emerging markets like India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russia and Spain before setting their sites on developed markets like the US. Analysts seem to think the move makes sense from a business perspective, but customers waiting patiently for Nokia's first touchscreen Symbian S60 phone may feel otherwise.
Our hands-on with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic 'Tube' was pretty conclusive: the 5800 is a solid, capable but somewhat underwhelming music phone. For a first attempt at a full touch interface, though, the adapted S60 operating system is actually pretty good. Slashphone has unearthed a mountain of demo footage displaying the different functions of the OS, so you can make your own judgment, but as with our hands-on video, you'll just have to try to ignore the damning, repeatedly unregistered touches that keep happening whenever the screen isn't pre-rendered.