Archives for October 2003
October 31, 2003
Hundreds of UK consumers are sending in text messages to a specially developed Mookia phone that Greenpeace will deliver to Sainsbury's supermarket to draw attention to dairy cows being fed Genetically Modified maize, reports Mike Grenville for 160characters.org. Greenpeace has coined this campaign There's something scary in the dairy.
"The phone has been set up to display messages sent in by consumers and is fitted with a content filter so that nothing too rude is displayed on the phone" said Greenpeace campaigner Nathan Argent.
emily | 6:08 PM | permalink | comment (0)
According to an article in Techworld, Microsoft and Vodafone have published a technical road map and a white paper as part of their effort to allow PC applications to take advantage of services offered on mobile networks.
I'm not a Microsoft fan and am only posting this because I strongly object to their using the term "Road Map" today (once again, not their concept! though it's just a term) when this is such a burning issue presently in the Middle East.
A new recommendation is added onto the list by Ohio's safety officials for kids "trick or treating" tonight, reports the Toledo Blade.
"Adults are urged to accompany their children to houses that have lit porch lights, to carry flashlights, to inspect the candy that should be wrapped, and to carry cell phones or two-way radios".
After speed dating, now silent dating is all the rage in Britain - where singles converse with new partners through e-mail, hand written notes and text messaging, according to an article in The Mirror.
"Silent parties" - are the latest dating trend for singletons. It might not sound like a bundle of laughs but, according to the organisers, it's one of the best ways of finding your Mr or Miss Right. And thousands of people are signing up for silent parties in bars and night-clubs across Britain after the idea crossed the Atlantic.
The guests are mostly career-minded professionals in their 20s and 30s, with jobs in law, medicine and media.
"You might put something in a text which you wouldn't dream of saying directly to someone's face".
Just as the $40 billion market for mobile-phone networks seems to be stabilizing, a new study says the industry may be facing a steep revenue decline because of the spread of cheap, more-efficient technology known as 3G, Thursday's Wall Street Journal reported. [Yahoo News]
"Global sales of networks will decline 3.5% next year and 1.1% in 2005, before descending into a steeper downward spiral between 2006 and 2010, according to a study by Morgan Stanley and PA Consulting Group of the United Kingdom."
Does any one know what's going on with favorite blog boingboing.net? Unaccessible for the last couple of days, today brings up a black page with a silver moon saying:
UPDATE boingboing is having a server problem but they can be reached at a temporary address: http://184.108.40.206.
The first scheme in the UK which allows drivers to pay for parking by mobile phone has been launched in Scotland, reports Ananova.
"The mPark facility introduced in Edinburgh aims to save drivers the inconvenience of digging around for loose change.
The scheme will apply across the city centre of the Scottish capital, where 266 solar-powered pay and display machines have been installed.
Once motorists have registered by phone or computer they can phone a central number to say which machine they are parked next to.
The parking charge is debited from the driver's credit card or bank account. Motorists can be sent a text message reminding them when their time is up".
If predictions hold true, millions of cell phones could wind up in landfills, leaking toxic metals and chemicals into the ground as soon as a new rule goes into affect, allowing users to change wireless companies without losing their phone numbers.
The new rule taking affect November 23 is expected to motivate as many as 30 million people to switch within the first year, reports Silicon Valley.com.
Though this would only be a temporary postponent and not solve the problem, maybe the new rule will not go into effect November 24. See yesterday's post Opposition to number portability pushed in the Senate.
A collection of photos on Sidetalkin make fun of the new way of talking sideways on Nokia phones and... on anything else.
The mobile games market will climb from $540 million this year to $1.93 billion in 2006, according to a new report from the Wireless World Forum, according to Wireless Week.
"The report said Japan and Korea currently represent 64 percent of the wireless games market. Brown said although the Japanese market has been growing rapidly, competition has been keeping profits down.
The forum said mobile games will grow rapidly in Europe and the United States in the next three years. The report said China and the United States will dominate the industry in 2006, surpassing even Japan".
October 30, 2003
More toons for cell phones. Sennari and Bullwinkle Studios have entered into a partnership to create character driven wireless content; games, screen savers and ringtones based on animation franchises such as Rocky & Bullwinkle, Boris & Natasha, Sherman & Peabody and Dudley Do-Right. [Cellular News]
"In addition, Sennari will create engaging wireless content based on Classic Media's vast library of fun properties, including Casper the Friendly Ghost, Underdog, The Lone Ranger, Mr. Magoo, Roger Ramjet and holiday favorites such as Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town, among others. "
More on cell phone etiquette basics, this time from Erica Hill for CNN. Of note, her report on an incident where a ringing phone in a movie theater actually led to violence, and a look at Yale University, extolling the virtues of students with cell phone manners:
Cell phone rudeness leads to violence
"Earlier this month, a Massachusetts man was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after he allegedly stabbed a fellow movie-goer in the foot. The other audience member reportedly asked the 27-year-old to turn off his ringing cell phone. The man has pleaded innocent to the charges".
At Yale University
The Yale Daily News recently published an article on proprer cell phone etiquette and "the new regulations of one of the school's residential colleges, Saybrook, prohibit the use of mobile phones in its library, and asks that students keep their phones on silent -- not vibrate. In the dining hall, students are asked to keep phones on silent or vibrate, and take any calls in a common room".
A new TV format in the UK takes the distinctly unorthodox approach of trying to persuade viewers to switch to different channels, according to The Guardian.
"The programme, Flipside TV, will feature an hour of chat and comment about TV between a presenter, three guests and viewers who can join in by phoning and texting the show.
"Two contributors will roam around channels and the other will focus entirely on one big programme each night. We will also have graphics rolling across the screen telling you what's on now on different channels and what's coming up later, so people can plan their evening's viewing," he said.
"It's part radio talk show, with people encouraged to phone in to talk about telly or rant about telly, and it's part fanzine," he added.
Flipside TV began broadcasting on Nation277 last night and will be broadcast each weekday evening from 7pm, with a repeat at 9.30pm".
An insightful article written by Raid Qusti in Al Jazeerah, deplores changes in the Saudi society under the influence of capitalist culture, particularly in the behavior and habits of people during Ramadan.
"A major change I noticed this year is that nobody wants to make the effort to pick up the phone and exchange Ramadan greetings which for decades was the norm in our society. Why make a phone call to your dear ones and blabber away causing your phone bill to skyrocket when you can send an SMS for only 30 halalas? "
Mobile users can subscribe to this free service by sending the text message "FSA" to number 078 664 28 260.
The opponents of wireless local number portability are apparently not giving up, reports RCR Wireless News
"An amendment is being pushed in the U.S. Senate to delay wireless local number portability until at least after the holiday shopping season".
Vodafone UK has announced the launch of the Communications Support Directory via its Find & Seek service. The directory has been designed with deaf and hard of hearing customers in mind, but is also essential for hearing customers with colleagues, friends or family who are deaf or hard of hearing, reports Cellular News.
"The new service is available to all Vodafone customers with WAP handset capability. Customers can now access local information and contact details for local BSL (British Sign Language) interpreters, lip-speakers, speech-to-text reporters, communication support workers and deaf-blind interpreters. The service is especially relevant to Vodafone business and corporate customers in a year when BSL has been recognised as an official language of the UK."
For more on services and features offered by operators around the globe, cf SMS for Deaf category in Textually.org.
A Belgian couple are to get married by SMS because text messaging has played such a big part in their relationship, reports Ananova.
"Ronald Bollen, 39, and Ingrid Peeters, 43, will exchange vows by SMS but then sign the registry in the traditional way to make sure the wedding is legal."
Wedding vows by SMS is a first I think. The closest thing I have heard of, related to text messaging and mariage, is of a Singapore company called Etact Solutions, which offers to send out wedding invitations by SMS and to handle the RSVPs. (cf Firm invites wedding RSVPs by text)
USA Today has an entertaining article on how some professors are dealing with cell phones on campus and their ringing interruptions in their classrooms.
-- Algebra instructor Raymond Moore spells it out in all capital letters, just below the title of his course on his syllabi:
TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES AND PAGERS. "If a phone goes off, I have the student leave for the remainder of that class session," he says. "If it persists, which it never has, I would drop the student."
-- Howard Hoyt, an associate professor at California's Mount San Jacinto College:
Anyone whose cell phone goes off will be marked as having an unexcused absence that day.
-- Psychology professor Joann Wright at Hofstra University in Long Island threatens to lower the student's grade by one letter every time it went off.
-- When that familiar ringing goes off in Maryland's Salisbury University history professor Kevin Birch's class, he picks up the offending phone.
"I usually say something funny or slightly embarrassing, then remind the students how disrespectful it is," Birch says. "It usually only happens once. The students tend to be mortified."
Some good news today! Analysts have raised their forecasts for worldwide cell phone sales in 2003, in another hopeful sign for the struggling industry, according to News.com.
"Research firm Strategy Analytics now expects 492 million cell phones to be sold worldwide this year, buoyed by strong third-quarter sales of camera phones and color screen handsets. That's an increase of 15 percent compared with the previous year. The analyst firm in August predicted worldwide sales of cell phones would top out at 455 million in 2003."
All telephone users with a regular fixed line can - as of yesterday - receive text messages from Vodafone Sweden's mobile customers. Messages are automatically delivered as a voicemail, according to Primezone.
How does it work?
"Vodafone is the first company in Sweden to offer this slightly different and entertaining communication service. To send an SMS message to the fixed network, customers follow exactly the same procedure as with mobile SMS, except you enter a fixed network number (including area code) instead of a mobile number prior to sending.
When customers receive an SMS via the fixed line, their telephones will ring in the same way as with a regular incoming call. When the customer answers the phone, a computerised voice automatically reads the message and specifies the sender's telephone number.
Text Messaging has been offered on landline phones in various countries (France, Switzerland, India)- but not I don't think - with a voice mail feature. Messages are read off the landline phone screen. cf previous posts - Texting from Landline Phones and SMS on landlines in India - and in Germany, MMS is offered on fixed-line phones, cf MMS comes to landline phones.
The number of text messages sent in the UK reached a record high last month, according to new figures, reported by Ananova.
The country's four GSM networks (Vodafone, T-Mobile, 02 and Orange) handled 1.73 billion messages throughout September, the Mobile Data Association (MDA) confirmed.
The previous record was 1.726 billion in March.
The average number of texts sent a day now stands at 58 million, compared to 48 million in September last year and 36 million for the same month in 2001.
October 29, 2003
Apparently, Americans surveyed find it less offensive to talk on their cell phone from the restroom than from a movie house.
One wonders what Miss Manners would have to say about Lets Talk's third annual survey of cell phone etiquette, which found that Americans frown on cell phones in movie theaters and cars, but tolerate calls taken in the restroom... [Wireless Week.]
Some 78% of college students had a cell phone last spring, according to a study by market-research company Student Monitor. Three years earlier that number was 34%, reports USAToday.
"As students have migrated to cell phones, colleges and universities face a problem. In the 2001-02 school year, for instance, Miami University logged about 130,000 fewer long-distance calls from on-campus land-line phones and 273,000 fewer long-distance calls from students off campus. It lost about $300,000 in phone revenues, which primarily paid for the land-line system.
Now, many schools are trying to cash in on the cell phone craze — negotiating service plans of their own as a way to meet student demand, save money and, perhaps, create a new revenue source."
As consumers will soon be allowed to keep their phone numbers when they change moible operators - the number portability rule goes into effect Nov. 24 - carriers and marketers are ramping up walkie-talkie features that can operate with a code rather than actual telephone numbers, according to Yahoo News.
Wireless carriers hope the Push-to-talk feature will be an attractive incentive to customers not to give up their cellular number.
Interesting, from the WSJ on how the size of the Chinese cell phone market, based on the government's study of sales of chip cards, is probably not as large as reported, as mobile users own several chips for the same phone.
Even with the lower figure, China still is the world's largest cellphone market. But this is really good news for makers of mobile phones as the potential for new phone sales is greater than previously expected.
Excerpts from the WSJ
"As his train pulled into Shanghai two years ago, UBS AG technology analyst Sean Debow caught an interesting sight: Passengers were switching the tiny chip cards in their mobile phones to access local services and save on roaming charges.
Mr. Debow knew that this practice could skew the Chinese government's widely cited research on its mobile-phone industry, which uses sales of chip cards to determine market size. On Tuesday, UBS told investors that several months of research into the Chinese mobile market had produced a startling discovery: It is only two-thirds the size most people think it is.
Instead of 257 million mobile users, a figure that UBS, the government and others previously cited in 2003 estimates, UBS thinks 174 million is more accurate."
A Connecticut resident deciding to put up a cellphone tower (as a paid service from the wireless phone company) that is about 10 stories tall in his backyard, irks neighbors, according to a story in the New York Times.
Probably not the last of feuding-neighbors-stories we will hear about, as according to Larry McDonnell, a spokesman for Sprint, as people increasingly expect to use mobile phones inside their homes, "the only way to do that is start to have radio antennas close to people's homes."
The Maltese government yesterday unveiled an m-Government service through which people can receive information over their mobile phone regarding the direct deposit of social services, reports The Independant.
"Launching the service, investment and IT minister Austin Gatt said that potentially all 27,000 who receive one form or another of the existing 46 social services can now receive this service".
Cingular Wireless released a statement late yesterday suggesting customers in Southern California limit calls to emergency/family contacts and use SMS to communicate to help free up the network for emergency workers, reports The Sector.
"Fires in the area affected about 5 percent of Cingular's cell sites in San Diego and 1 percent in the Los Angeles area. Service restoration efforts were under way in accessible areas".
"Cingular added that it is deploying backup generators to augment commercial power losses at cell sites, and it will deploy mobile cell sites, known as COWs, if needed. In addition, Cingular said it is working to donate approximately 1,100 phones to evacuation centers and the American Red Cross chapters in the region", according to RCR Wireless.