Archives for April 2004

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April 30, 2004

Get mobile charged using ATM

Mangalore-based Corporation Bank has launched a new product called 'Corp Mobile Recharge', which enables the Bank's customers to recharge their 'prepaid mobiles' at any of the Bank's ATMs, according to The Times of India.

"An SMS from the mobile operator will confirm the recharge. Alternatively, the customer has an option to register for the SMS recharge facility at the ATM. Once the user registers, s/he can recharge the phone whenever the user wants, just by sending an SMS from the mobile to the service provider".

Similar services from around the world:

-- Mobile operator Orange in Switzerland introduced a new mobile phone recharging service through the country's post offices. cf Orange Switzerland ATM pre-paid recharging to replace scratch cards.

-- The Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest allow their customers to withdraw cash out of an ATM machine, as well as "top up" their mobile phones. cf Banks' cash machines to offer top-ups for mobiles.

This service is only sort of related, but it's so cool, I'm posting it again:

-- Indian IDBI Bank has come up with a new customer service application using MMS, where people can download ATM location maps on their mobile phones. cf Indian bank deploys MMS service for locating ATMs.

emily | 7:17 PM | permalink

Coachella Music Fest offers useful tips by SMS

The 2004 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, starting this weekend, has definitely got the message. They will be offering for the first time an SMS service to keep visitors updated on what is happening prior to and during the show, reports The Desert Sun.

Participants must register online to receive:

- Daily artist performance times for all stages

- Last-minute set time changes (if applicable)

- Traffic and weather updates

- Alternate parking directions (if applicable)

- Art exhibit performance times

Now that's a great and useful application of text messaging. A one time registration for a specific event.

emily | 6:33 PM | permalink

Lured to his death by SMS

This shocking headline is being picked up by the Australian press. My source is The Sunday Mail who reports that a text message cost the victim his life.

"Theirs was an illicit affair based on text.

Grant Errol Whitney, 33, and 15-year-old "T" regularly exchanged text messages, with her signing off, "love", and "xoxo" according to court documents.

On September 2, 2003 they had a "sexual encounter", but the messages turned sour when T's relatives found out.

Whitney's last text message was received from T's "Aunty Gill" who allegedly lured the truck driver and father-of-two to his death".

emily | 6:24 PM | permalink

EU Seeks Access For New Media In Olympic Bids

European Union regulators are asking Olympic Games broadcasters and organizers for assurances that mobile phone and Internet operators are treated fairly during the bidding process for rights to show live images from this summer's Athens sports events, according to the WSJ.

"The EU's tactics are part of a campaign to broaden access to popular programming -- from Hollywood films to championship soccer -- and to provide relatively newer media with premium content to compete against television broadcasts.

Olympics officials say demand for new-media rights was weak because the market is still immature. "There's no queue of companies wanting to get online," said IOC's marketing director Michael Payne. He also said "there isn't the bandwidth" for proper coverage of the games across mobile phone networks".

emily | 12:13 PM | permalink

April 29, 2004

Why phones are replacing cars

D1804SB1B.jpg The Economist has very interesting article on how "cellphones are now the dominant technology with which young people now define themselves and how in many respects, mobile phones are replacing cars".

"What sort of phone you carry and how you customise it says a great deal about you, just as the choice of car did for a previous generation.

In today's congested cities, you can no longer make a statement by pulling up outside a bar in a particular kind of car. Instead, you make a similar statement by displaying your mobile phone, with its carefully chosen ringtone, screen logo and slip cover.

Mobile phones, like cars, are fashion items: in both cases, people buy new ones far more often than is actually necessary. Both are social technologies that bring people together; for teenagers, both act as symbols of independence. And cars and phones alike promote freedom and mobility, with unexpected social consequences".

[...] "Less visibly, as the structure of the mobile-phone industry changes, it increasingly resembles that of the car industry (see article). Handset-makers, like carmakers, build some models themselves and outsource the design and manufacturing of others. Specialist firms supply particular sub-assemblies in both industries".

The Economist writer (the article is not signed) finishes off with a clever tie-up which I dare not publish as well, I've already gone way overboard in quoting so much. A must read.

emily | 9:11 PM | permalink

Vodacom Launches Mobile Developers Zone

Wireless operator Vodacom today launched the Vodafone Developer Zone, an Internet-based SMS and MMS application development platform, providing a unique environment for developers, entrepreneurs and businesses, according to Wireless Developer Network.

"Powered by global mobile messaging leader Clickatell, Vodafone will enable developers of mobile applications to use the site to register, connect, test and deploy their SMS application or service in real-time.

The site also aims to provide the creators of mobile applications with an environment to cater for all their development needs by offering easy access to documentation, information, software and support".

Clickatell has always believed that mobile messaging enablement is the key to the development and adoption of mobile data services, and it is important to enable Application Service Providers, schools, universities, developer communities and businesses with an intelligent front-end to local mobile operators," Says Pieter de Villiers, CEO of Clickatell".

emily | 9:01 PM | permalink

Global mobile phone market explodes in first quarter:

The global market for mobile telephones exploded in the first quarter of 2004, with sales up by an annual 40 percent to 153 million units according to a study published by Strategy Analytics. [AFP].

emily | 6:01 PM | permalink

An offical "American Idol" phone

TF1 producers of "Star Académie", the French version of "American Idol" TV show, never thought of this one: An official "American Idol" phone.

"The American Idol phone comes with all sorts of features like: text and voice messages from Simon and the contestans, pre-loaded theme song ringtone and exclusive pictures of contestants and judges. [Via Engadget]

emily | 5:49 PM | permalink

Cops are just SMS away

In India, the Chennai City Traffic Police introduced a new SMS service and a caution chalan system for those violating traffic rules, reports News India Today.

"Through the SMS service, the public can inform the traffic control room about traffic accidents, vehicle breakdown and traffic jams, he said.

Also, the public can get detailed information before buying a particular vehicle that might have violated traffic rules by just sending an SMS - R followed by the registration and engine number of the vehicle.

A new traffic website launched earlier, - www.cctp.org/home.asp enables people tolog on to get details about a vehicle violation pending against them.

emily | 5:26 PM | permalink

‘Africa's future is mobile'

aft04.gifAccording to ITU's latest publication, mobile subscriber numbers in Africa have increased by over 1 000% between 1998 and 2003, to stand at approximately 51.8 million at the end of 2003, according to ITWeb

"This is in stark contrast to the user numbers for fixed-line communications, which stood at 25.1 million at the end of 2003.

The report points to mobile technology as having the power to drive the uptake of Internet, particularly as the so-called second generation services such as WAP and SMS are gaining ground."

emily | 5:20 PM | permalink

«My Ultimate Pleasure» campaign

Ahem, a pleasure hunt where textual entries are part of the game.

Condom brand Mates has launched a nationwide hnt to find the UK's ultimate pleasure, according to Revolution Magazine.

"Entries received by SMS or email before September 30 will be judged on pleasure levels, imagination and individuality.

The site bolsters a campaign to promote three new lines of condoms among women aged 25 to 33, and follows on from last year's "I Shagged Here" campaign.

Visitors to my ultimate pleasure have the chance to win a competition allowing the winner's ultimate pleasure to come true.

emily | 5:14 PM | permalink

Asia puts faith in mobiles

Mobiles phones are not usually seen in the West as a way of keeping in touch with God. But the growing popularity of communication technologies is providing a way for people in Asia to express their faith, say researchers, according to the BBC.

"Dr Bell has spent the past two years travelling around Asia, looking at how people are using technology in their daily lives.

For her research, she visited 100 homes in seven countries such as diverse as India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Dr Bell says, in the West, the phone is considered an information and communication tool. But what is happening in Asia is a "re-imaging" of the role of the mobile.

She noticed that technology was being adapted to fit in with cultural habits, in particular when it came to local beliefs.

"One of the most popular services on China Mobile, which is one of the large mobile phone providers in China, has been the lunar almanac," Dr Bell told the BBC programme, Go Digital.

In her travels, she has come across people using mobile phones to show them the direction of Mecca or remind them of when it is time to pray".

For more on how different religions use cell phones and text messaging as a ways of reaching out to young people and spreading the good word, check out the SMS and Religion category as well as Textually's year-end roundup (2003), SMS, good for the soul.

emily | 5:05 PM | permalink

SMS Related Domain Names

Textually's new weekly listing of SMS related domain names that have come up for sale and are available to the public again.

- 160sms.com
- broadcast-sms.com
- itvsms.com
- naughtysms.com
- playbysms.com
- sms-centre.com
- sms-publisher.com
- sms-texto.com
- smsandyou.com
- smsblagues.com
- smsrace.com
- cellulartextmessage.com
- cellulartextmsg.com
- wirelesstextmsg.com

The above names are available for registration now if anyone is interested. Source of information: Netcollateral.com.

emily | 2:16 PM | permalink

April 28, 2004

London tubes do real-time travel info with Orange

Transport for London (TfL) has struck a deal with Orange to offer mobile services allowing consumers to see when service is disrupted on specific tube lines, reports Silicon.com.

"Passengers will be able to send a text message to a premium rate number - for example, TUBE CENTRAL to 60835 - to get a status update. There will also be a downloadable Java version of the famous London tube map for journey planning."

emily | 6:31 PM | permalink

Making cell phones hurts Gorillas

gorillaconco.jpg One of the (many) reasons given for the decimation of the habitat of the eastern lowland gorilla - cutting the apes' population by more than 70 percent in the past decade - is attributed to "the spread of small-scale mining for gold, precious stones and columbine tantalite, a mineral used to make cell phones and other high-tech gadgets", according to NYNewsday.com

emily | 6:25 PM | permalink

Will Cell Phones Have Hard Drives?

Recent research from analyst firm IDC says that the arrival of mobile phones incorporating hard drives will "require a number of further evolutionary steps" before such technology is good for consumers, according to PC World.

""The addition of [hard drive] storage will eventually address many of the limitations that have kept converged devices from reaching their full potential," says Alex Slawsby, senior research analyst in IDC's Mobile Devices service."

emily | 6:20 PM | permalink

Caller rudeness: Social fallout from cell phone use

Mark Lane for News.Journal Online writes an essay on telephone identity confusion (callers think he is his son) and on how people dive into telephone conversations wtihout any preamble or polite greeting - with caller ID, no need for introduction. Lane blames on mobile phones. "This tendency to plow into conversations without any preamble is another example of the bad social fallout from cell phone use".

"I was brought up believing it is rude to begin a phone call with anything remotely related to your actual reason for calling. Now, most callers have dispensed with a lot of preliminaries, the hellos, introductions and weather observations that used to preface telephone calls".

emily | 10:22 AM | permalink

UK: 1 in 4 primary school pupils own a cell phone

Primary school youngsters are becoming a Mini-me generation using mobile phones and body spray, reports The Mirror.

"A quarter of seven to 10-year-olds own a mobile, double the number in 2001".

emily | 10:13 AM | permalink

NTT DoCoMo to launch 3G roaming-in service for visitors to Japan

Good news! Visitors to Tokyo will now be able to rent cell phones at Narita International and Kansai International Airports.

NTT DoCoMo will launch an international roaming-in service to enable mobile subscribers of DoCoMo's 21 international partners in 19 countries and territories to use DoCoMo's 3G FOMA network while in Japan, according to Telecom Paper.

"The service starts 1 May. By using 3G roaming-in service compatible handsets that will be provided by DoCoMo, subscribers will be able to make and receive calls using their regular local number. Phones will be available at DoCoMo World Counters in Narita International Airport and Kansai International Airport. "

emily | 10:09 AM | permalink

Sexual harrassment and sex charges involving SMS

Two cases made the newspapers in the US, on sexual harrassment and sex charges involving SMS:

From the Home News Tribune. A hearing in the case of high school history teacher and former township Councilman Richard Walling, charged with harassing one of his female students through instant-text messaging, has been postponed and has yet to be rescheduled.

From the Washington Post. A physical education instructor at a Northeast middle school has been charged with having sex with a 14-year-old female student. The girl told D.C. investigators the relationship started March 22 when she began text messaging Mr. Jones on his cell phone.

emily | 9:31 AM | permalink

«Polyamore» fuled by SMS?

A concept that's fast gaining ground is 'polyamory', or 'loving more than one.' where couples accept that their partners indulge in sex - or thoughts of sex - outside the relationship, according to James Shahid Shaikh who ponders on what really is infidelity and how technoloy can "creates cracks" in a relationship. In an article for the Economic Times of India.

"Is it the beep of the SMS or the click of the mouse ? The rustle of the extra-marital sheet or mental chemistry that ruins a marriage? Or is it the big S—sex—that leads to shock, split and separation. It's a bit of everything or all of one thing. Clearly, there isn't a straight route to splitsville. Infidelity is all about degrees".

emily | 9:23 AM | permalink

SMS Games as a Marketing Tool

Monique Van Dusseldorp for E-Media Tidbits describes how Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia will offer readers an entertaining way to learn more about the Forum 2004 - by text messaging.

"Readers of La Vanguardia can participate in a daily SMS contest in which they have to answer questions about Forum 2004's artists, themes, and topics.

Many European broadcasters have been using SMS and premium SMS services for a while to build out their relations with viewers as well as their revenue streams. La Vanguardia is one of the few newspapers that have actively approached this medium".

emily | 9:04 AM | permalink

April 27, 2004

Exercice your thumbs for Muscular Dystrophy

To help raise funds for The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign “Muscles for Muscles Week” is encouraging people to exercise their thumbs, Mike Grenville reports on this new SMS fund raising campaign in 160characters.org.

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign director of corporate affairs Joe Korner said: “The idea of Muscles for Muscles Week is to use your muscles for those with less muscle power. So whether it's using your thumbs to make an SMS donation or winking at a stranger, we want to raise awareness of ways we can all help stick our tongues out at the barriers faced by those with muscular dystrophy.”

Using esendex SMS technology, donations can be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign by texting the word ‘muscle' to 80806.

Texts cost £1.50 ($ 2.70) and at least 85p ($1.50) goes to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign".

For more on fundraising by SMS, check out this category in Textually.org

emily | 6:19 PM | permalink

Schools to get tough on phones

The Queensland Government has issued tough new guidelines to control the growing use of mobile phones by school students, reports News.com.

The guidelines will be distributed to all state schools this week, recommending that:

-- Students should have their mobile phones switched off and out of sight during classes.

-- In-phone cameras are not to be used anywhere a normal camera would be considered inappropriate, such as change rooms or toilets.

-- Appropriate action should be taken against any student who photographs or films other individuals without their consent or sends harassing or threatening messages.

-- Disciplinary action should be taken against any student caught using a mobile phone to cheat in exams or assessments.

emily | 6:09 PM | permalink

SMS used in alibi and as evidence

SMS as an alibi

In Austrlia, a murder supect allegedly used mobile text messaging to create a false alibi - that he was with a prostitute while his family was being murdered, according to News.com.

SMS as evidence

And in another case reported by The Australian, two AFL players' cell phones are believed to have been seized by police, who are examining text messages sent before and after the alleged rape.

emily | 6:00 PM | permalink

Hold the Phone on Mobile Gambling 

mobilegame.jpg mCasino technology is intended to give casinos a way to keep customers happy -- read: playing and betting -- even when they're away from the tables, reports Daniel Terdiman for Wired.

mCasinom developed by Casino Phone Technologies has the know-how, "but there are some details in the way. Like laws".

"Nevada Gaming Control Board member Scott Scherer says wireless gaming technologies such as that proposed by Casino Phone Technologies fall under the federal Wire Act. That means, according to the Department of Justice, that interstate gambling transactions conducted via telephone or the Internet are illegal."

emily | 5:51 PM | permalink

Tracking your children by SMS in Legoland

The Legoland theme park in Denmark has launched a wi-fi based kid-tracking system - developed by wireless application firms Bluesoft and KidSpotter - allowing parents to track the location of their children while in the theme park, according to DMEurope.

"Park guests now have the opportunity to rent small AeroScout Wi-Fi Tags with a wristband that the children wear inside the park. If they become separated, parents simply send a text message (SMS) from their mobile phone, and receive an automated response telling them the location of their child. The parents can then find their child according to a map they are provided when renting the tags."

The Aalborg Zoo in Denmark was written up last year as being the world first theme park to launch a tracking system for children, called BlueTags. cf Parents track kids at Danish zoo .

emily | 5:40 PM | permalink

Turn On, Tune In, Text

radio.jpg Carlo Longino for TheFeature.com reports on an article in The Guardian, on UK listeners sending huge amounts of SMS to radio stations. The challenge stations now face is how to utilize the texts.

Excerpts from The Guardian article (you must now register to access - but stories are still free)

"It's instant feedback," says Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills. "Text really steers the whole direction of the show. People don't necessarily like to ring the station, and email is quite slow - with text messages, anyone can do it and you could be anywhere.

One of the catalysts for change has been the shifting demographic of texters. The medium is slowly moving from the realm of teenage texters into the more lucrative adult market. That is something radio executives hope they can harness.

Radio 1's Ten-Hour Takeover was a prime example of the remarkable progress that radio's relationship with text messaging has made in the past few years.. On Easter Monday, the station's listeners were invited to send in their song requests by text, with the day's playlist built out of their messages. There was a huge diversity of artists requested and 150,000 were messages sent in during the day.

Related articles on text messaging and radio stations

-- Texting and Pirate Radio - Pirate radio stations are using texting to maintain tight feedback loops with listeners

-- Name that tune - Music recognition technology lets listeners get more information about the songs they like on radio stations.

-- Radio SMS Text Clubs - Chrysalis Radio UK claims that it has been attracting over 10,000 new subscribers to its popular mobile databases each month...

-- Radio 4 is to broadcast a ghost story that reacts to listeners voting by text message - BBC's Radio 4 broadcasted a ghost story that reacts to listeners voting by text message.

emily | 10:37 AM | permalink

UK text messaging reaches 2.1 billion in March

UK text messaging figures for March 2004 reached 2.1 billion, an increase of nearly 80 million on February's total according to figures released by the Mobile Data Association (MDA). [Cellular News]

emily | 9:55 AM | permalink

Morse cellphone

morsephone.jpg A morse cellphone. Found on boingboing.

But it's just a "teaser for a Worth1000 photoshopping contest called "Vintage Products."

emily | 9:49 AM | permalink

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