Here comes the mobile phone ad disaster

Today's trickle of mobile advertising is about to turn into a tidal wave. It's worse than you think.

I recently visited the Greek island of Santorini. The island is best known as a sunny destination for jet-setting holiday makers who lounge in idyllic hotel rooms perched on the sides of steep and majestic cliffs. But historians, geologists and archaeologists know Santorini as the site of one of the most horrible disasters in human history.

In 1967, archaeologists began excavating a site on the island, a small town called Akrotiri which had been buried in volcanic ash long ago. The site revealed an advanced Minoan civilization that had flourished on the island between 3,000 BC and around 1600 BC.

Scientists found frescoes showing life on Santorini - happy people lounging in the bay on shaded pleasure boats, fisherman, boxers and, most famously, barefoot maidens gathering saffron in the fields. Homes in the town uncovered had, incredibly, hot and cold running water, indoor bathrooms and frescoes showing a magnificent city on the island, now lost.

Santorini, it appears, was a kind of paradise, until something utterly catastrophic happened. The island was shaped at that time like the letter "C," with a little island in the middle. That little island was formed by a "hole" in the Earth's crust, which served as something of a relief valve for the tectonic pressures that build up between the African and Eurasian plates.

Sometime around 1600 BC, a very strong earthquake rocked the island, wrecking homes. Then the volcano blew rocks the size of cars into the air, some of which came crashing down on the island's towns and villages. Most or all of the survivors, at least in Akrotiri, fled in boats.

After they left, the volcano erupted in one of the most catastrophic events of the past 5,000 years. The eruptions, and the toxic layers of ash that fell, dozens of meters deep, killed all life on the island. Silt and ash unloaded into the atmosphere, creating a global "nuclear winter," which caused massive crop failure and famine as far away as China. Scientists can still see the effects of the eruptions in polar ice cores and 4,000 year-old bristle cone pine trees in California.

The residents probably headed for either Crete, the other major Minoan island, or Egypt, with which the Santorinians had extensive ties. Regardless, they probably didn't make it. Tidal waves and earthquakes wiped out most of the buildings on nearby Crete, and destroyed most or all of the boats there, ushering in the beginning of the end of the Minoan civilization. Any boats in the water would have been washed away by tidal waves. Santorini was destroyed and forgotten for 3,600 years. Crete quickly slipped into a permanent dark age. The great Minoan civilization was gone forever.

Which reminds me of mobile phone advertising.

Coming to a phone near you

Life is good in the mobile phone universe, with plentiful choice, data access getting faster and cheaper, and great new technologies like GPS and better cameras being built in all the time.

Unfortunately, the "paradise" of using a mobile phone may soon be destroyed by a tidal wave of advertising. You may be shocked by what the advertising, handset, search, software and other industries are planning for your phone.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mike Elgan

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?