April 24, 2014

The Rise of the Mobile Addict

In May of 2013, KPCB’s Partner and world-renowned analyst Mary Meeker shared her latest Internet Trends Report. In that report, Ms. Meeker shared an interesting stat: “The average mobile consumer checks their device 150 times a day”.

Now Flurry Analytics in this report, has analysed the behavior of consumers that heavily use their smartphones or tablets, a segment they refer to as the “Mobile Addict”.

A relatively clear picture of a Mobile Addict is emerging. Teens, College Students (skewing females) and Middle Age Parents.

Read more.

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April 23, 2014

Mobile reading revolution' takes off in developing world

f000d0032a.jpg Unesco is pointing to a "mobile reading revolution" in developing countries after a year-long study found that adults and children are increasingly reading multiple books and stories on their phones. The Guardian reports.

quotemarksright.jpgNearly 5,000 people in seven countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Zimbabwe – took part in the research, the largest study of its kind to date, which found that 62% of respondents are reading more, now they can read on their mobile phones. One in three said they read to children from their mobile phones, and 90% of respondents said they would be spending more time reading on their mobile phones in the next year.

The study, says Unesco in its report, found that "people read more when they read on mobile devices, that they enjoy reading more, and that people commonly read books and stories to children from mobile devices.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Unesco Study (pdf)

April 18, 2014

Smuggled cellphone use a growing concern for U.S. prisons

15784_large_3596.jpeg Cellphones smuggled into prisons by corrupt guards, concealed in food containers or hurled over security fences are an increasing worry for law enforcement as prisoners use them to intimidate witnesses, direct drug deals and plan escapes. Reuters reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThere are no widely available reliable figures on how many cellphones are in the hands of the 2.3 million inmates in local, state and federal prisons in the United States, but statistics point to a swift rise of the problem.

In California, for instance, the number of contraband cellphones discovered by corrections staff jumped to more than 15,000 in 2011, more than 10 times the 1,400 seized in 2007.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

New Yorker Cartoonist Liam Walsh discusses one of his most popular cartoons - on cell phones

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In this Explain Yourself video, a series in which New Yorker writers, artists, and cartoonists reveal the inspiration or thought process behind their work, cartoonist Liam Walsh discusses one of his most popular cartoons - on cell phones (posted on textually a few days ago). Watch video.

For anyone who would like to share this cartoon on a social network or post it on their blog - or has done so already, the right way to do it is to go through Cartoonbank.com and pay a small fee (between $10 and $20 depending on your circulation), so the artist is paid royalties.

There isn't always a way to pay for what we take and share, but here there is.

emily | 5:47 PM | Fun | permalink


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April 15, 2014

Mark Cuban Wants To Take Over Texting

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 7.12.32 PM.png Mark Cuban's latest start-up, the messaging app Cyber Dust, is designed to give him (and all its users) complete control over one major chunk of daily communication: texting. Forbes reports

quotemarksright.jpgDescribed as WhatsApp meets Snapchat, texts sent via Cyber Dust automatically disappear 24 seconds after being read. Importantly, these messages cannot be traced and are not stored anywhere not even on Cyber Dust's servers assuring all users a high level of privacy and security.

Disappearing text apps, however, are not new to the app world, but Cuban plans to take Cyber Dust to the next level by introducing further functionalities that would enable users to erase their entire digital footprint over time.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:08 PM | Text Messaging Apps | permalink

April 14, 2014

Cell to Cell: How Smuggled Mobile Phones Are Rewiring Brazil's Prisons

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 6.43.37 PM.png According to Motherboard, last year, Brazilian authorities confiscated an estimated 35,000 phones from prisoners, yet Brazilian organized crime leaders continued to have widespread ability to make calls, receive calls, organize conference calls, and even hold virtual trials where gang leaders from different prisons are patched in to a central line to debate the fate of gang members accused of betraying the group’s ironclad rules.

quotemarksright.jpgThey [prisoners] organize executions over the phone. You never forget it when you hear the crime bosses voting one after another – ‘kill’, ‘kill’, ‘kill’...I have heard this type of conversation many times,” said Marcelo Cristino, a federal prosecutor in São Paulo, as he described a conference call among an estimated seven PCC leaders.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

April 13, 2014

April 9, 2014

French president bans mobile phones from cabinet meetings

imgres.jpg Keen to ensure his ministers are paying attention, the French president, François Hollande, has imposed a ban on mobile phones during cabinet sessions.

quotemarksright.jpg Ministers will now be forced to leave their portable devices at the door when they join the French government's weekly cabinet meeting, government spokesman Stéphane Le Foll told reporters. "To focus on what we must do, the president has decided that there will be no more mobile phones in cabinet," Le Foll said.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via The Guardian]

emily | 8:53 PM | SMS and Politics | permalink

April 7, 2014

New video aims to scare the bejesus out of texting drivers

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a disturbing new 30-second video aimed to inspire drivers to keep their phones in their pockets while behind the wheel. [via Yahoo News]

StoreDot promises to recharge your phone in just 30 seconds

8e240e_f5e2fafd2829ba02a44360ba61c5d771.jpg_srz_p_397_180_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.jpg Israeli technology company StoreDot has developped a special battery and charger that can supposedly cut re-juicing time down to around 30 seconds. TheNextWeb reports.

quotemarksright.jpg The prototype charging unit, designed for the Samsung Galaxy S4, was demoed for the first time at Microsoft’s Think Next conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, today – but most of the innovation comes in the battery pack itself, rather than the charger.

As special batteries are required, there’s no need to worry about the effect on the long-term life of your existing battery pack. In fact, the company says that in addition to charging faster, StoreDot batteries will “withstand thousands of charge/discharge cycles, prolonging battery life expectancy considerably”.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 3:52 PM | Technology | permalink

April 5, 2014

Text message ban could undermine Afghan vote

afghan-election.jpg The head of the European Union's Afghan election observer mission condemned the suspension of mobile text messaging services across the country on Saturday, saying it threatened the transparency of the poll. The Straits Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpgCellphone users were able to make calls but not send SMS messages in an apparent effort to prevent candidates transmitting campaign messages on polling day.

EU chief observer Thijs Berman wrote to election officials to warn the move would "seriously handicap" the work of candidates' agents, who monitor polling stations, and could even affect their safety.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image credit.

emily | 5:36 PM | SMS and Politics | permalink

April 3, 2014

EU Parliament votes to ban mobile roaming charges

Good news. Members of the European Parliament have voted to ban roaming charges from 15 December 2015, as part of its wide-ranging telecoms reforms. The Telegraph reports.

quotemarksright.jpg... For the past seven years the EU has been forcing prices down by placing a cap on the charges operators can impose and reducing that limit each year.

Although the removal of roaming charges could wipe 2 per cent off mobile operators’ revenues, the expected consolidation in the industry would allow greater economies of scale for the high costs of investing to build networks capable of handling ever-growing volumes of data.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Press release: Ensure open access for internet service suppliers and ban roaming fees, say MEPs

The ‘Tweet of Pigs’: US government used SMS to undermine Cuban government

1_241263_1_9.jpeg According to a new report, authorities within the US government created an SMS messaging service based on Twitter to undermine Raul Catro’s government and spread misinformation. Silicon Republic reports.

quotemarksright.jpg According to the Associated Press (AP), the service known as ZunZuneo, slang for hummingbird in Cuba, would let mobile phone users in the Communist state to receive messages 140 characters or fewer, just like Twitter, over a range of topics from sport, weather and entertainment.

...The US government, having funded the project, aimed to eventually send messages which would be critical of the Cuban government and its ruler Raul Castro, brother of legendary revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro.

The service became popular with Cuba’s young, tech-savvy population as aside from being a way of keeping up to date with the latest news, people could send messages between each other free of charge.

In the same way as Twitter, users could follow other users by sending messages to follow to their favourite ZunZeneo users.

At the height of its popularity, it had an estimated 40,000 daily users, however, no one was aware of its origins in the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which aims to spread democracy as one of its core goals.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Update White House denies 'Cuban Twitter' ZunZuneo programme was covert (The Guardian)

quotemarksright.jpgThe White House is claiming that a secret programme to build a carefully-disguised “Cuban Twitter”, in order to foment political opposition to the Castro regime, was “not covert” but rather a “discreet” form of humanitarian assistance.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Thursday that while in "non-permissive environments" it was necessary for USAid to be "discreet", the secret social-media initiative was “not a covert programme”.

“It was a development-assistance programme,” he said, adding: "I am not aware of individuals here in the White House who were involved.” He also said the programme was subject to congressional oversight.

Carney denied suggestions the programme was “under the table” or had “roped in” unsuspecting Cubans.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 6:47 PM | SMS and Politics | permalink

Pay with Your Fingerprint

imgres-1.jpg Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is the first smartphone that can use a fingerprint to authorize payments in stores and online. MIT Technology Review reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAnyone with an iPhone 5 can use its fingerprint reader to unlock the device and pay for apps or music in Apple’s iTunes store. Owners of Samsung’s latest flagship device, the Galaxy S5 smartphone, which launches on April 11, will be able to make much broader use of their fingerprints to pay for things. If they visit a website or app that accepts PayPal using the device, they can authorize payments by swiping a finger across the phone’s home button. And PayPal’s own mobile app can be used to pay for goods in some physical stores in the U.S.

Fingerprint payments are likely to be offered on many more smartphones in the near future. The Galaxy S5’s payments system is the first commercial deployment of a new protocol developed by the FIDO Alliance, a group founded by tech companies to end our reliance on insecure passwords. Indeed, fingerprint readers are expected to become commonplace on mobile devices over the next year or so.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:04 AM | Mobile Payments | permalink

Flone, The Flying (Drone) Phone

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 9.52.28 AM.png Flone is a drone which uses a smartphone as a flight controller and explores novel ways to "occupy" public space, in particular the air and claim the right to use it before legislation makes it illegal. [via we-make-money-not-art.com]

quotemarksright.jpgCreated by artist and computer engineer Lot Amorós, technical engineer Cristina Navarro, and industrial engineer Alexandre Oliver, Flone turns the mobile phone into a stand-alone flying apparatus which can go up to a height of 20 metres from the ground, come down, rotate and do the usual smartphone tasks, such as taking photographs or video recordings. It can also be remotely controlled by another smartphone with a wifi or 3G connection.

Its objective is to make air space accessible to everyone as a research platform, providing a range of applications for them to operate with a smartphone alone.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

April 2, 2014

Users spend 2 hours-plus a day toying with mobile apps

Time spent on the mobile Web declines, while app use rises with games, social networking, and messaging being US users’ biggest go-to categories. C/net reports.

quotemarksright.jpgNew data released by mobile analytics firm Flurry shows that average US users spend 2 hours and 42 minutes per day on their mobile devices -- 86 percent of that time is spent in apps and 14 percent on the mobile Web. While time in apps is increasing, mobile Web use is on the decline.

Users are spending more and more time on mobile apps, but the increase of time spent over last year has been relatively small. For 2013, Flurry reported users spent 2 hours and 38 minutes per day on their mobile devices -- that means just a four-minute increase to this year.

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Read more.

April 1, 2014

Florida law proposal: 30-year jail sentence for causing death while texting at the wheel

Texting behind the wheel in Florida could land a driver in prison for 30 years, if a new bill comes to pass. TCPalm reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThat's the punishment some Florida lawmakers are pushing through the Legislature if a driver kills someone while texting and driving.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Irv Slosberg, will go to a final vote in the state House of Representatives this week.

The bill would also punish typing anything into a phone. That includes social media, or punching in an address into a GPS. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

March 30, 2014

Apple Files Transparent Texting Patent To Help People Who Walk And Text

Apple has filed a patent for “transparent texting,” for people who walk and text at the same time.CTV News reports.

quotemarksright.jpg A user who is walking while participating in a text messaging session may inadvertently collide with or stumble over objects in his path because his attention was focused on his device's display instead of the path that he was traversing," according to the patent originally filed in September 2012.

The technology uses a smartphone's rear-facing camera to replace the text message's background with a live video feed of whatever’s in front of the user, thereby reducing the chances of stumbling over or bumping into an object while texting.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

There's an app for that too that's been around for a while : Type n Walk

March 28, 2014

Smartphone overuse may 'damage' eyes, say opticians

Opticians are warning overuse from phones and other devices like computers, tablets, and flat screen TVs can lead to long-term damage. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgIt comes as a survey of 2,000 people suggests under 25s check their phones thirty-two times a day.

Optician Andy Hepworth said: "Blue violet light is potentially hazardous and toxic to the back of your eyes. So over a long period of time it can potentially damage your eyes.

"When you're looking at a smart phone, the light peaking out of that is blue violet."

He says tests have found that over exposure to blue-violet light has the potential to put us at greater risk of macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

SMS gives a voice to Africa

_63701139_img_0527.jpeg Response rates for surveys via texting in developing regions typically are well above 20 percent; in the United States, 0.5 to 1 percent is considered good. Tech Page One reports.

quotemarksright.jpgWhen the World Bank surveyed the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2011, it used text messaging. ?A traditional survey would have cost $3.5 million, taken 18 months and reached 2,500 people,? recalls Steve Gutterman, president of GeoPoll, the organization that conducted ?DRC Speaks!?

The 10-question survey about conflict, security and development was GeoPoll?s first survey in the Congo using SMS and feature phones. ?We reached 100,000 people in a single day for a fraction of the cost,? Gutterman says.

Similar results are being repeated throughout the developing world. Although the specifics vary, organizations know that in regions with little infrastructure, virtually no cabled Internet and very real physical dangers, text messaging is the most effective and accurate way to hear from a meaningful cross section of people who often have little voice outside their own communities.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

March 26, 2014

A woman has been diagnosed with the first-ever case of 'WhatsAppitis'

The patient, a 34-year-old doctor, ironically enough, spent six hours on Christmas Eve sending WhatsApp messages to her friends and family. During that time, “she made continuous movements with both thumbs to send messages,” according to a report in The Lancet, one of the most well-respected medical journals in the world.

She woke up the next morning with pain in both wrists, which was diagnosed by a doctor as “WhatsAppitis”.

Read full article in Motherboard.

Text messages a potential life-saver in flood-prone parts of Africa

3.jpg Text messaging may be dying out as a means of communication in many parts of the advanced world, but it may yet prove to be a vital life-saver in flood-prone African villages. Sri Lanka's Sunday Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAn early-warning system that aims to capitalise on the explosive growth of mobile phone penetration in Africa could soon be in place to broadcast alerts to all users at risk from natural disasters such as flooding or hurricanes.

Millions of people in Africa have only limited access to television, radio or Internet but mobile phone ownership has grown exponentially, even in poor remote villages.

Now Spain’s Nvia, a mobile phone company, has developed the Gooard project, a technology based on geo-targeted alerts that sends text messages to a specific geographical area.

A network of satellites and weather stations will detect the threat and send a text to villagers within 15 minutes, hopefully allowing time for evacuation.

“The technology is able to identify all the active cellphones in a certain area, such as a shopping mall, a village, or a park, and send messages straight to the terminal without any previous subscription,” Alberto Perez, Nvia’s Africa manager, told AFP.

“With the same system, we can also send vital information to people about natural disasters that can save their lives and minimise damages”.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image credit.

March 25, 2014

Texting for long periods 'could lower life expectancy'

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 10.07.52 PM.png The United Chiropractic Association (UCA) warns that bad posture due to mobile phone use could shorten your life (!). The Telegraph reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe forward-leaning posture that many people adopt when texting, going online, sending emails or playing games on phones and other mobile devices increases the risk of an early death in elderly people, and there are fears that younger people could also be knocking time off their lives.

The UCA claims that poor posture is as big a health risk as obesity. Studies suggest a link between forward-leaning posture in older people and hyperkyphosis, which is associated with pulmonary disease and cardiovascular problems.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

United Chiropractic Media Statement Warning: Bad Posture Caused by Mobile Device Could Shorten Your Life (pdf)

China’s trillion dollar mobile payments industry is under attack

Chinabride.jpeg Things aren’t looking great for Chinese firms working in the world of mobile payments. The fast-growing trillion dollar industry—which includes online investment funds, virtual credit cards, and e-commerce–is facing new pressure from Chinese regulators and state-owned banks. Quartz reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThis week, China’s central bank said it is considering placing limits on how much cellphone users can spend via their smartphones. The regulator is also considering requiring online money market funds, like Alibaba’s Yu’e Bao, to begin holding minimum reserves on the deposits they collect.

Over the past few weeks, China’s top four banks, all of them state-owned, have set limits (paywall) on transfers to mobile financial products. And earlier this month, China halted the use of virtual credit cards and QR codes, used for online shopping.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Artist Secretly Takes Photos of People Texting While Driving and Puts Them on Billboards

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 7.52.07 AM.png

Brian Singer started TWIT (that’s texting while driving, for the uninitiated) after the he noticed how many people he saw staring at their screens during his commute.

quotemarksright.jpgThe San Francisco-based artist started posting his images to a website and now encourages users to send in shots they take while traveling.

The resulting pictures are rarely exciting in their composition, but it’s utterly terrifying to scroll and see person after person caught redhanded using a phone while operating a moving motor vehicle. Singer generally posts several photos per week, each with an appropriately snarky headline about the person’s unsafe behavior.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

March 24, 2014

The Text Message sent by Malaysia Airline to MH370 Families Today

Below is the text message that Malaysian Airlines sent to relatives of the passengers of missing flight MH370 today to inform them of the latest development in the search.

In the SMS, Malaysian Airlines tells families that it is now believed the plane went down in the Indian Ocean and that there are no survivors, reports The Journal.

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Why you need an SMS-enabled two-factor authentification system for passwords

logo_tyntec_rgb_xs.jpg New global research by the Ponemon Institute, sponsored by mobile interaction service provider tyntec, has revealed that on average almost 50% of One-Time Passwords(OTPs) fail to arrive due to invalid mobile numbers provided by end-users.

For the report titled ‘Unlocking the Security Potential: The Key to Effective Two-Factor Authentication’ the Ponemon Institute surveyed more than 1,800 IT and IT security practitioners around the world.

The research also revealed that 65% of respondents felt the traditional username and password approach was insecure. As a result, 90% of global IT managers say their organisations plan or consider the possibility to adopt SMS-enabled two-factor authentication (2FA) in 2014 in order to improve online security.

... Larry Ponemon, Chairman and Founder of the Ponemon Institute, added: “Enterprises and internet companies know that the traditional username and password is simply not enough anymore. However, companies deploying SMS-enabled two-factor authentication need to ensure that one-time passwords aren’t being sent to invalid mobile numbers. As a result, the research confirmed that 67% of respondents said customer experience improves when SMS-enabled two-factor authentication is combined with real-time verification of the receiver’s mobile number.”

Read full press release.

Link to White Paper: Unlocking the Security Potential: The Key to Effective Two-Factor Authentication

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.42.17 AM.png

Click on graphic for larger view.

March 21, 2014

Text messages as a weapon against sex trafficking

In Canada, anti-human trafficking and women’s groups say the use of the Internet as the primary way to sell sex has made it almost impossible for them to make initial face-to-face contact with women in the sex trade.

quotemarksright.jpgProject Backpage, a pilot program in Edmonton, Canada that started in 2012, is using FrontlineSMS software created to effect social change through text messaging.

The program sends text messages offering support and contact information to phone numbers scraped from ads on the Edmonton “adult” section of Backpage.com, an online classified advertising website similar to Craigslist.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via Thomson Reuters Foundation]

Banned in Turkey, Twitter offers SMS workaround via SMS

Twitter has been banned entirely in Turkey, according to a report from Istanbul-based media outlet Today’s Zaman. In response, Twitter’s official policy account offered Turkish users a workaround: SMS.

[via VentureBeat]

March 20, 2014

Ukraine is fundraising for its army via text messages

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 8.34.47 AM.pngUkraine's military has been on alert over the past weeks as Russia began to annex a portion of its land and widespread protests led to the ouster of its previous leader.

quotemarksright.jpgFor support, Ukraine has been running a fundraiser to bring in money for the military, and it's been attempting to do so over the phone: by texting or calling a number, Ukrainians have been able to automatically donate 5 UAH (about 49 cents USD) to the country's army. Its defense agency has been advertising the phone number on its website and Facebook, and so far, Ukraine reports that it's brought in over $375,000.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via TheVerge]

Malaysia Airlines to send out SMS blasts to families

masoneworld.jpg Malaysia Airlines will begin sending out SMS blasts with brief updates to the families of the passengers and crew onboard MH370.

The airline is also setting set up an e-mail address for family members as a means for them to communicate with the national carrier. Updates are also available via the MAS website.

[via The Star Online]

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