Archives for May 2004

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May 31, 2004

Bank transfers thanks to SMS passwords

The San Mateo County Times reports on various password security schemes, and one is related to SMS.

"In Singapore, bank customers wishing to designate new accounts for fund transfers must obtain a second password -- through a phone call, e-mail or mobile text messaging".

And unrelated to text messaging, this article mentions a website, BugMeNot.com which encourages users to share passwords for nonfinancial sites like newspapers (!).

emily | 6:51 PM | permalink

Wave Messaging

airtext.jpg From the company that pioneered text messaging, picture messaging and multimedia messaging, comes new innovation - Wave Messaging, or Light Messaging, according to a Nokia press release

By waving the Nokia 3220 camera phone from side to side, the LED lights of the Nokia Xpress-on FunShell light up to "write" a message that appears to float in mid-air.

Related articles on airtexting-type technologies:

-- In March 2003, the WSJ reported from CeBIT about a phone called Kurv, made by Kyocera Wireless Corp which featured airtexting: "The company believes airtexting will be one of it's most popular features, especialy in night clubs. To airtext, you type in a text like 'call me' then wave it back and forth in the air. As the phone moves, a row of blinking red lights along the top of the phone leaves the phrase trailing behind it."

-- A company called Wildseed actually tested airtexting with teenagers - which was a big hit. cf post in Textually on airtexting.

-- And an article from Wap.com (no longer online) several years ago, featured a California company called Neoku.com which developed a platform called haikuhaiku. The article described a form of mobile graffiti, using a cell phone as a paint spraycan, "by waving it into the air to form a word, the text would appear onto the screen of a person passing by". How cool is that?

emily | 2:01 PM | permalink

Cell phones are a hit at Coliseum

A free service lets sports fans use text messaging to answer baseball trivia questions at the home of the Oakland Athletics, according to the San Mateo County Times Online.

"It works like this: between innings, fans answer a multiple-choice baseball trivia question that appears on the scoreboard by typing in a letter on their cell phones that corresponds with an answer. Participants get a wireless coupon sent back to their cell phones for discounted tickets on future A's home games.

Fans who answer the question correctly are entered into a random drawing where the prize is free tickets to A's home games.

"We're getting a fantastic response. Better than we hoped," said NetInformer Chief Executive Officer Greg Pinter. Talks are under way to expand NetInformer's service to several other Major League ballparks

Related article: Angels Baseball Fans get Live Wireless Interactive Entertainment at Stadium.

emily | 1:45 PM | permalink

Pulling over with a cell phone before Nice airport

niceairport.jpg I was in Nice (France) yesterday, just for the day and on our way back to the airport, cars were lined up on the side of the freeway, right before the ramp leading to the arrival terminals.

According to our cab driver, they were all waiting to pick someone up from an incoming flight. Pasengers let drivers know by cell phone when they reach the sidewalk, thus allowing drivers to avoid the parking lot (though the first 30 minutes are free).

Obviously, security and cellular phones have changed the way the French pick people up at the airport too. cf Cell phone lots open at US airports.

emily | 11:13 AM | permalink

High End Mobile Handsets, a Potential Threat, said Mako Analysis

Devices such as the Nokia 6600, 3650, Sony Ericsson P900 etc could represent a serious threat to mobile operator revenue streams, reports Wi-Fi Technology News.

"UK based mobile consultancy Mako Analysis, are the first to publicly highlight this potential threat and state that devices that run on Symbian's Series 60 operating system could be a significant worry in the wrong hands".

This operating system functions in a similar fashion to a Microsoft Windows PC, the user can install new applications and pieces of software as well as uploading all manner of consumer content such as ringtones and java games. The crucial element of this scenario is the potential impact on the mobile operator community. From simple content such as ringtones to complete service offerings such as Mobile Music or Instant Messaging, an open operating system can bypass and therefore potentially eliminate any revenue from these services".

emily | 10:53 AM | permalink

Mobile phone held drug deal details

Australia's Border Mail reports on yet another case where text messaging has been used as evidence in court. In this case, a Rutherglen man was arrested on drug trafficking charges. Most of the 400 SMS stored on his cell phone were related to drug deals.

Other reported incidents from around the world, where text messages has been used as evidence in court cases:

-- In the US, Kobe Bryant's Attorneys File Motion to Access SMS Data

-- In Sweden, SMSes recovered from SIM in murder trial

-- In Australia, SMS used in alibi and as evidence

-- In England SMS Murder Trial

-- In Australia Jury is handed SMS evidence in murder trial

-- In the UK, a Murder predicted in text message.

-- In Norway, a rapist's messages led to conviction.

-- In Italy, text messaging is now commonly used as evidence in divorce suits. cf Cell phones exposing more cheating spouses.

emily | 8:48 AM | permalink

AT&T Wireless Sued in California Over Network

Two California women have sued AT&T Wireless Services, claiming the cellphone company got too big too fast and let the quality of its service slip, according to Reuters.

"Users complained of being unable to make or complete calls, of static and other sound quality problems, of calls being unexpectedly disconnected, and of AT&T's customer service center being inadequately staffed".

emily | 8:20 AM | permalink

Route Finder Software Uses Power of Latest Phones

image_top_3.jpg Privately-held Dutch firm Route66, one of Europe's biggest sellers of CD-ROM-based car navigation kits for use on personal computers, said it would sell road maps of an entire country and the necessary navigation software on a tiny memory card that can be inserted into the latest advanced phones, reports Reuters.

"It is the first time detailed maps for countries such as France or Britain are stored and used on a phone.

The software works on advanced phone models from Nokia, Samsung, Siemens and Sendo which cost between 400 and 500 euros before subsidies.

As part of the 399-euro package, which includes a satellite positioning module, users can opt to receive free traffic information, which the route finder can use to avoid busy areas.

Also on Friday, French mobile phone service provider Orange launched a $ 610.- (euro 499) route finder service. It sends directions of a specific journey to handsets over the air, and does not work with a map stored on the phone. Sweden's WayFinder has a similar package that does not use a specific mobile network".

emily | 8:16 AM | permalink

May 28, 2004

Orange UK launches «Find Nearest»

50581.jpg Orange UK has announced it has launched a "Find Nearest" service, which allows customers to use SMS messages to locate restaurants, businesses, taxis, or themselves if lost - according to DMeurope.

"Subscribers send a one-word request via SMS to the Orange short code 300, e.g., 'PUB', and the service returns the name of the nearest pub.

The Orange "Find Nearest" service also offers the subscribers the ability to locate themselves if lost. Upon texting 'ME' to 300, the service texts back the user's location".

emily | 5:40 PM | permalink

Push 2 Talk launched in India

Hutch, India's leading cellular service provider, has launched a Push to Talk service, reports Cellular News.

"push2talk,, the result of a partnership between Hutch and international technology partner Fastmobile, will be available to all Hutch and Orange users and is the first such service to be available nationally."

emily | 4:23 PM | permalink

E-books leader turns to cell phones

A year ago, Booktopia, Korea's leading e-book company by sales, used PDAs as its primary platform to serve readers. But when mobile phone manufacturers unrolled new models with advanced capabilities, the PDAs quickly lost favor and Booktopia had to refocus quickly, reports The Korea Herald.

"It's true that PDA is a better source to read e-books. It has bigger screens than that of cell phones. But there is no one buying PDAs. That is the problem," said You Youn-sun, public relations manager at Booktopia.

"SK Telecom Co. and KTF Co. added e-book content to their basic features. They felt books were better than games or other entertainment for promoting mobile phone services, especially to students.

Booktopia also got a lift from MBC's "Exclamation Point" television program. Since the program began recommending a book every week, about 50,000 more mobile phone downloads have been recorded each month.

The biggest problems for Booktopia are unlicensed Internet sites that offer free download of archives".

emily | 4:17 PM | permalink

Cell phone lots open at US airports

womanincar.jpg Tight security and cellular phones have changed the way Americans pick people up at the airport, reports USA Today in an eye-opening article.

It seems motorists, to avoid the hassle and expense of parking, "prowl the access roads looking for an out-of-the-way place to pull over and wait for a call from deplaning friends and relatives." driving traffic police crazy. So airports are starting to open "cell phone lots".

Here's where you can pull over and chat-while-you-wait:

-- Baltimore-Washington International Airport opened a 55-space "cell phone lot" where drivers can idle while they wait to be called to the terminal, which is a few minutes away by car.

-- San Diego International Airport opened a similar cell phone waiting lot Thursday.It can accomodate up to 50 drivers who can stay for up to an hour for free.

-- Birmingham International Airport in Alabama opened its first free lot for cell-phone equipped drivers on May 10.

-- Palm Beach International Airport in Florida added a 40-space cell-phone lot in December.

-- Chicago O'Hare International Airport added its "kiss and fly" lot almost a decade ago. Motorists there can wait for passengers at remote lots attached to the terminal by train.

emily | 4:06 PM | permalink

Put the tab on my mobile

In what looks like the first major blurring between telecommunications companies, credit card networks and banks, a conglomerate of mobile networks is launching a system that may take on credit cards as a way of paying for things, online and off, according to The Guardian.

"Simpay, founded by Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone, along with Telefónica Móviles of Spain, is launching a system that will allow customers to charge things directly to their mobile phone bill. That's not a new thing but, just as with Visa or Mastercard, with Simpay it will not matter who your bill is from, who the merchant is and who you are connecting through.

This is new: the Simpay network will, it promises, create an international payment system specifically designed for charging things to your mobile bill, whether they are bought online from your phone, on the internet or in a shop."

Previous posts on Simpay:

-- Will Simpay Be That Simple?

-- Simpay

emily | 1:13 PM | permalink

Texting time for absent pupils

Another school uses text messaging to inform parents of their child's absence, but in this case, a little more agressively than most.

"UK Summerville's Primary school's new Truancy Call technology, automatically contacts parents of a missing child if they have not called the school by a certain time. The system is activated to fire off a stream of phone calls, text messages and emails every hour until 8pm at night", according to according to the Salford Advertiser.

Related articles:

-- Texting time for absent pupils

-- in South Wales: Text messaging helps schools beat truancy

-- in South Australia: SMS text plan to combat truancy

-- in Australia and the UK: Schools text students, parents

-- in India: Parents and Teachers Communicate through SMS

-- in France and Ireland: Parents alerted by SMS when children skip school

emily | 12:30 PM | permalink

'Idol' Sets Texting Record

The third season of hit Fox television show American Idol brought in 13.5 million text votes, messages and sweepstake entries, up from 7.5 million last year, reports Wireless Week.

emily | 12:17 PM | permalink

Low-cost texts to tempt deaf users

A service for deaf and disabled people that simulates SMS texting, but at a fraction of the cost, has been launched by British company Chatterbox, reports the BBC.

"It reduces the typical cost of a text message from 8p to 0.8p - and some mobile contracts will even allow up to 3000 of these messages to be sent free of charge every month."

The system, MX Chat, works by converting a text message into data and sending it via the internet to the Chatterbox server. The receiving phone then converts it back so that it appears as a text message.

"It looks almost the same as sending and receiving an SMS," Chatterbox managing director, Ted Beagley, told BBC News Online.

The difference is that Chatterbox users can only exchange messages with other Chatterbox users - a bit like sending and receiving instant messages via Yahoo or MSN."

emily | 12:11 PM | permalink

Texting the French Prime Minister

raffarin.jpg On Tuesday June 1st, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin will answer questions online (at premier-ministre.gouv.fr, TF1, Wanadoo, www.e-1789.com and by SMS, via mobile community Freever's website, according to the UMP (in French).

Two year ago, before and during the presidential elections in France, candidates Jean-Pierre Chevènement, Alain Madelin, François Bayrou and extreme right wing Jean-Marie Lepen all participated in SMS chat sessions organized by (youth) mobile community Freever, with an astounding 250'000 questions logged in for Jean-Marie Le Pen. cf post in Textually.org.

emily | 12:01 PM | permalink

Cash For Questions

Cash prizes of $ 200 to $300 are on offer to TV viewers in Argentina who are able to reply back to questions sent to their mobile within 60 seconds, reports 160characters.org.

"Viewers join by sending the word FEAR to shortcode 7857 and then answering the questions in a maximum of 60 seconds. The game has six different categories of questions: Art and Spectacles; Social Sciences; Sports; General Culture; Natural Sciences, and Tongue and Literature".

emily | 11:30 AM | permalink

May 27, 2004

SMS Garbage Reminder

A new SMS service is offered by a Belgian community, to remind people to bring down their trash on garbage collection day, reports KanaalZ (in French).

This is actually not a first. The Canton of St Gall in Switzerland offered such a service in 2001 (I don't know what happened to it, it seems to have simply vanished - My guess is no one signed up! Swiss people don't forget their garbage.

emily | 6:05 PM | permalink

Bikini time is approaching

This is another story I found on my new favorite blog, we-make-money-not-art.com. Blog Editor Régine writes: "Warning! Portable communication can interfere with household electronics, including your digital scale. Just like in an airplane, do not use your mobile phone near the scale or it will look like you packed on 5 kilos overnight!"

emily | 5:47 PM | permalink

Simultaneous translation via the mobile phone

Spanish company Dualia has developed a system of simultaneous translation in thirty languages to and from Spanish via mobile telephone, according to a wonderful new blog- which I strongly recommend, it's filled with fresh cell phone stories - called we-make-money-not-art.com.

Read on to see how it works.

emily | 5:42 PM | permalink

Wanted: Young Voters' Cellphone Numbers

Voter registration campaigns are turning to a new weapon to combat low turnout among younger voters this November: the cellphone, according to the NY Times.

"Nonprofit groups have begun collecting the cell numbers of college-age voters as part of wider registration efforts. Their aim is to contact young people through wireless calls and text messaging to improve upon the turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds, which the Census Bureau reported was 32 percent in 2000".

[...] One organization, the New Voters Project, plans to offer the numbers it is now gathering to political marketers to increase access to younger voters, raising privacy issued.

[...] Rock the Vote is pushing its own wireless initiative: Rock the Vote Mobile (www.rtvmo), a service sponsored by Motorola that offers text-message polls and voter alerts.

Related articles:

-- Actress Rachel Bilson Encourages Young Voters to Dial Into Rock the Vote Mobile

-- Cell Phones to Democracy's Rescue

-- USA : «Rock the Mobile Vote»

emily | 1:51 PM | permalink

Australia introduces bill to access SMS

Australia's ABC News Online reports that the Police could get access to stored voicemails, emails and SMS messages under a Bill introduced to federal Parliament today.

"Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says police have had trouble getting access to stored messages because of the laws preventing them intercepting phone calls.

Mr Ruddock has ordered a review of the interception laws, and in the meantime, his new bill will allow police access to stored phone messages and emails, either by consent or with a warrant."

emily | 1:40 PM | permalink

May 26, 2004

Wrong Test Score SMS Leads To Student Suicide

Yesterday Mike Masnick posted the story in Techdirt on the teenage Indian girl who committed suicide after receiving an SMS saying (incorrectly) that she had failed her exams, and in reply to this post, one of Techdirt's readers suggested in the comment section, that this was probably just an urban legend (obviously someone who doesn't realize the kind of pressure these students are under).

But what is really interesting is Techdirt's reply, by Derek Kerton - with facts from the World Health Organization and his own research and comments:

"Over 95,000 Indians killed themselves in 1997, equal to one suicide every six minutes. One in every three was in the 15-29 year age group. [...] India has no national policy or program for suicide prevention and for a population of a billion there are only 3,500 psychiatrists."

It turns out that this IS the time of year that Indian students are issued the results from their Class XII exams, which are extremely important for college qualification. For example, I got this quote from an Indian article, "Kanchan Mehndiratta of Civil Lines said her daughter Sonam's result was more important than even her marriage. Reason: 'The result will decide Sonam's career. And if Sonam has a good job, her would-be in laws won't demand too much dowry."

Related articles

-- Students must double check SMS results

-- Wrong SMS leads to suicide

emily | 10:16 PM | permalink

Dodgeball expands to 5 new cities

Dodgeball.com - "friendster for mobile phones" - just launched in 5 new cities: Austin, Chicago, Portland, Seattle and Washington DC.

Related article: About Dodgeball.com.

emily | 6:15 PM | permalink

UrbanWorld Wireless Party Alerts by SMS

orange.jpg UrbanWorld Wireless announces the launch of the first mobile content and information portal specifically geared to the urban market, catering to young, hip, mobile phone users, according to a company press release.

Starting today, users can go to urbanworldwireless.com and download the latest ringtones, wallpapers and video games directly to their mobile phones.

In addition to content, UrbanWorld Wireless users can subscribe to receive exclusive 'Party Alertz,' a premium SMS sent directly to their mobile phones, whenever an urban party or event is scheduled in the selected city.

At launch, Party Alerts are available for Chicago, Los Angeles and New York for AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless and Cingular subscribers. As a premium SMS, subscribers will be charged $0.30 by their wireless carrier for each Party Alertz received.

emily | 4:40 PM | permalink

Monthly spend on mobiles rises

People in the UK are spending more on their mobiles than they are on their gas and electricity bills, according to the BBC.

"Customers are paying up to $ 81.- (£45) a month for voice, text and other phone services finds a survey conducted by market research firm JD Power and Associates.

It represents an increase of 14% compared to 2003 figures.

Those with camera phones are spending even more, racking up bills of $ 98.- (£54) a month.

"There are not many industries growing by 14% per annum," said Gunda Lapski, director of European telecommunications and utilities services at J.D. Power and Associates.

emily | 4:33 PM | permalink

Bryant's Attorneys File Motion to Access SMS Data

kobe.jpg According to a new development in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case, The defense reportedly may try to use the accuser's own cell phone messages-- to get the case dismissed, reports abc7.com.

"At issue-- text messages, which are saved on a phone company computer. Bryant's defense wants messages sent by the accuser released-- suggesting those messages could help Bryant's case.

With text messaging, there is distinct information tapped in by the caller. According to producers of Celebrity Justice, Kobe Bryant's attorneys are filing a motion to access all the data.

Legal Analyst Shawn Chapman says depending on the content, expect arguments on the messages authenticity".

Other reported incidents from around the world, where text messages has been used as evidence in court cases:

-- SMSes recovered from SIM in murder trial

-- SMS used in alibi and as evidence

-- SMS Murder Trial

-- Jury is handed SMS evidence in murder trial

-- In Norway, a Murder predicted in text message.

-- In Norway, a rapist's messages led to conviction.

-- In Italy, text messaging is now commonly used as evidence in divorce suits. cf Cell phones exposing more cheating spouses.

emily | 1:31 PM | permalink

I just text messaged to say ILU

Blog star Xeni Jardin is interviewed by Fox News on text-messaging and romance. She says via Unwired.cc:

"Bottom line in my book of digital dating manners for well-bred nerds: hot-n-heavy haiku, fone-flirting, and pickup lines by text are all hot. Breaking up by SMS is not -- but it's also not entirely uncommon, particularly among late teens and twentysomethings".

emily | 1:20 PM | permalink

FCUK looks to build online community via mobile phone

Retail brand FCUK (French Connection UK) is planning on building an online community via mobile phone, in "a first trans-atlantic SMS promotion" according to PMN and Brand Republic.

"The campaign allows customers to interact with the brand via text messaging and French Connection's new digital radio station FCUK FM, broadcasting on the web and in FCUK stores.

Mobile users have the chance to win prizes including gift certificates and T-shirts as well as SMS alerts about the radio's programming schedule. Downloads such as wallpapers, ringtones and tips are available.

In a sign of the growing popularity of text messaging in North America, the campaign will also run in the US, where FCUK has 23 stores".

emily | 1:15 PM | permalink

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