Tim: Jog on, O2


O2 has taken some time out of its busy schedule to give families a bit more time in theirs, or at least that’s what it claims its new Joggler will do.

For those not in the know, the Joggler is a new digital photo frame which appears to be a little on the overweight side.

In fact its chunkiness, coupled with the wire trailing to the mains, gives the device a rather prehistoric feel, and not the trendy slick look everybody’s come to expect from lifestyle devices.

Coupled with the fact O2 has stripped all the useful features found in Openpeak’s original device such as VoIP (no prizes for guessing why they did this) and you really do start having to ask what’s the point.

According to O2, the point is the calendar. Using this, the Joggler (sorry but I can’t bring myself to use that name once more) can apparently help family members keep up with what each other is doing by sending out text messages.

So in other words if the Mum decides the whole family is going to go somewhere for dinner on Saturday she can add it to the calendar and everyone else gets sent a text so they know what they are doing.

Now this might sound a good idea to some but for me I can’t think of anything more hideous. Some might speculate this has more to do with my own commitment issues rather than anything to do with the device but I disagree.

Obviously I’m not exactly its target market but the thing I take issue with is this doesn’t save any time at all, actually just speaking to your family would take about the same time –and some might say would be a damn sight healthier than electronically scheduling their lives without consulting them.

Rather than a “time machine”, as one O2 staffer optimistically called it, it seems more like a tool of the control freak, desperately trying to keep tabs on -and shape the lives of- their own family.

And while it has been a while since I had any contact with teenagers myself, I can imagine just how well an automated text telling them they have to go to Aunt Edna’s on Saturday night might go down.

New ways of communicating are great, innovation is brilliant, but this is neither and if you really need this to keep control of your family, I feel sorry for you.