Post: The Refugee as a User Segment: Ideas for Mobile Services, by Rachel Hinman. Adaptive Path Blog, 1 June 2008.

Intriguing, particularly the bit about “products and services designed for emergency situations have proven boons for innovation because they approach the problem from a non-market-centric mindset.” Mobile connectivity is slowly but surely changing everything.

Related (and fascinating in its own right): Nokia researcher Jan Chipchase’s TED presentation, Our cell phones, ourselves.

Post: Is self-preservation a firing offense?, by Joel Martinsen. Danwei, 1 June 2008.

If running out of a classroom at the beginning of an earthquake and leaving your students behind is OK, asks Fan, then why is writing about it not? Maybe because saying things like “I’d save my daughter before I saved my mother, and I wouldn’t sacrifice myself for anyone else” makes you look like like a morally reprehensible bastard? There are probably quite a lot of us who would, in the situation Fan faced, do the same thing (it’s hard to predict how you’d react in an emergency until you’re in one) — but I hope we’d at least be able to eek out an apology.

May 13, 2008

I woke up this morning with a fistful of e-mails in my inbox asking if my wife and I were OK. It took me a few groggy, half-awake seconds to connect their concern with the earthquake yesterday in Sichuan.

Thankfully, yes, we’re fine. Apparently tall buildings in Shanghai swayed, but our office is short and squat and, with the construction going on around it, if I did feel anything I probably just chalked it up to heavy machinery. My wife’s office is in a high-rise, but only on the 7th floor, and she didn’t feel anything, either.

Our ayi is from roughly the same area in Sichuan that the earthquake struck, though, and as of last night she had been unable to get through to any of her relatives. We hope they made it through.

P.S.: Shanghaiist is doing an excellent job covering the earthquake.

Update: My ayi got a call from her sister this morning telling her that everyone was fine.