Archives for July 2004

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July 31, 2004

Al Jazeera launches mobile service in Jordan

Jordan will launch Al Jazeera mobile service with two local telecom operators, reports menafn.com.

"According to an Al Jazeera Mobile newsletter, a copy of which was forwarded to The Peninsula yesterday, Al Jazeera Mobile will soon be going global over the summer, providing customers a new way to subscribe through pre-paid scratch cards.

Al Jazeera Mobile has plans to work with operators in Palestine, Yemen and Mauritania. In Qatar, new services launched include business and financial news, sports alert and motor racing, the periodical said. "

Related articles:

-- Qtel ties up with Al Jazeera to offer mobile news service

-- Al jazeera Launches SMS News Alerts

emily | 11:00 AM | permalink

Fight the TXT Tax!

glokia.jpg Pressure from various sectors continues to mount on Malacanang and Congress following earlier proposals made by President Arroyo and her finance and budget secretaries to include tax on text messaging among the administration's revenue measures, reports QC IMC.

"With the increases in prices of basic goods, fare hikes and impending increases in electricity and water rates, Filipino consumers could not bear to be oppressed further by new taxes," the petition says.

TXTPower challenges the Macapagal-Arroyo government to curb corruption, stop unproductive spending, improve revenue collection, prosecute tax evaders, seize properties of tax evaders, impose taxes on luxury purchases of the elite and cut down billions of pesos worth of tax perks offered to big companies."

Related articles:

-- Philippine gov't revives plan to tax text messaging

-- President Arroyo open to text tax

-- Philippine Senators to oppose texting tax

-- Have mercy on the people!" said the archbishop

-- Philippine leader backs away from SMS tax after popular criticism

emily | 10:47 AM | permalink

Death threats by SMS

Kids are not the only ones who are subject to SMS bullying and harassement. In Malaysia, Road Transport Department enforcement director Solah Mat Hassan has received three threats on his life via SMS, according to the Star.

"The contents of the messages, which were in Bahasa Malaysia, were about being shot, death and bullets." 

And in another related article, the Star reports that a Brazilian football coach coach, Mirandinha, received a death threat from a disgruntled fan by text message, telling him to leave the country immediately (Malaysia) or his Brazilian wife would be murdered. 

emily | 10:40 AM | permalink

Rock concert to raise funds for renal patients

lifecycle.jpg The Life Cycle organisation, which raises funds for renal patients, especially through its showcase annual long-distance cyclist event, is this year organising a rock concert to raise more funds for these patients, reports the Malta Independent Waily Website.

People can help this worthy cause by visiting the website www.lifecyclechallenge.com, or by sending a blank SMS to one of three short codes: to 5061-8073 for a Maltese Lira 2 ($5.66) donation, 5081-8915 for a Maltese Lira 3 ($8.50) donation and 5961-9208 for a Maltese Lira 5 ($14) donation.

In all of the stories I've run into on fund raising by SMS, this is the first time I've read of an event which gives three options to donate by text messaging. Clever! and painless as it comes right off the donators phone bill.

emily | 10:36 AM | permalink

Pastor jailed for murderous text messages

In a court case which has fascinated Sweden with its intoxicating mix of sex, death and the workings of an obscure religious sect, a Swedish pastor has been jailed for life for faking text messages from God to get his nanny-lover to murder his wife and try to kill the husband of a second mistress. via Reuters.

Interesting and I wonder how this is done: "A technology company traced erased messages on her phone to Fossmo, who admitted sending them but said they were intended only to guide the nanny in her faith."

emily | 10:19 AM | permalink

July 30, 2004

mail2speak.com

banner2.jpg

mail2speak offers a quick and relatively easy way to dictate an e-mail and send it to as many as 25 people, who can click on a button and listen to your voice message — over and over again if they so desire. The messages can be archived forever, unlike with most traditional voice mail systems, reports the IHT

To hear the message (in your actual voice) the recipients will only have to click on the link. No software download is required.

In their own words - It works like this:

Tell us your e-mail address, phone number and the e-mail addresses where we will send your message. Your number will not be displayed to message recipients.

Press "CALL ME NOW" and we'll call you within seconds.

When prompted, say your message and hang up.

Your message will be sent and you will receive a copy.

emily | 4:53 PM | permalink

Text sex queries scheme a success

A groundbreaking project that allows young people to text sexual health queries to a counsellor has been hailed a success, reports the UK Evening Times.

"Text 4 U, which was devised by NHS Greater Glasgow, allows teenagers to discuss health concerns anonymously by texting a key word to trained advisors.

The most common texts sent were about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.

Recent research in Glasgow reported fewer than 25% of young people were aware of sexual health services but new figures show the number of young people contracting chlamydia in the UK has tripled.

NHS Greater Glasgow now plans to roll out the service across the city."

emily | 4:50 PM | permalink

Cellpop, The First Cell Phone Drama That is not for your Mama!

tn_cellpop.jpg Cellpop is a humorous look at the dark side of the music industry. It follows the lives of the people who make the hit music we listen to. Each day a new episode is delivered straight to your phone. Website doesn't say though whether they send out a video clip or just plain text messaging. via The Red Ferret Journal

Related articles on mobile Soap Operas:

-- MMS Soap on Spanish Telefónica Móviles - Móviles has launched FanTESStic, an interactive series with real actors created exclusively for MMS

-- -- Launched on the Internet and closed in the late nineties, the Internet's first Soap, «The Spot» is back - on (Sprint) mobile phone.

-- «InYrShoes» - The plot of a UK soap called «InYrShoes» is not decided by scriptwriters, but by viewers sending text messages at the end of each episode, featuring a cliffhanger or dilemma.

-- Jong-Zuid: First picture soap opera for mobile phones The Netherlands came up with the first Picture Soap, Jong-Zuid, starring famous soap opera actors.

emily | 4:20 PM | permalink

Home-Grown Mobile Internet Platform to Be Mandated Next Year

According to the Korea Times, South Korean mobile handset manufacturers will be required to use a homegrown wireless Internet platform for every cell phone shipped locally as of April 2005.

"The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) said Friday it revised regulations to mandate the wireless Internet platform for interoperability (WIPI) from early next year.

Under the new law, handset makers can equip their gadgets with any platform or platforms as long as they include the open-source WIPI."

emily | 3:55 PM | permalink

Text petition for African women

logoau2.gif Mobile phone users in Africa are being encouraged to send text messages in support of a women's rights petition, reports the BBC.

"Campaign groups are pressing leaders to ratify the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women.

A year after being adopted by the AU, just three countries have ratified the protocol. At least 15 signatures are needed for it become legally binding.

Africa has many more mobile phone users than e-mail users. It is estimated that there are currently 52 million mobile phone users in Africa. The continent is set to reach 67 million mobile phone users by the end of the year. "

emily | 2:35 PM | permalink

Teen gets PM's mobile phone calls

Norway's system of recycling mobile phone numbers has been called into question after a 16-year-old girl complained that she keeps getting calls for the Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, reports The Inquirer.

"Camilla Reiersrud, from Hokksund, was given the phone for Christmas. What she didn't know was that phone number that came with her NetCom subscription used to belong to the Prime Minister.

The calls Camille received were mostly from hacks who failed to update their contact books and were quite surprised to find themselves talking to a young woman instead.

Call number recycling is touted as a method solving the problem of phone numbers running out, or area-code exhaustion. It is not used in many countries for the above reason."

In a related cell-phone-recycling story in the US, a senior citizen in Michigan was stuck with a huge bill because whoever ended up with his donated phone managed to rack up over a thousand dollars worth of charges. cf Donate a used cellphone, get a bill for $1,200

emily | 2:22 PM | permalink

July 29, 2004

Boy accidentally kills himself over cellphone

Engadget reports on a terrible trajedy which occured in England, involving a cell phone.

"A boy of 12 accidentally hanged himself with his school tie after his parents refused to buy him a new mobile phone, an inquest heard yesterday.

The boy had argued with his parents that he wanted a mobile phone “just like his dad's” and was told to save up for one. Sent to his room to calm down, in a fit of temper, the boy put one end of the tie loosely round his neck and the other around the top rail on his bunk bed"

emily | 10:10 PM | permalink

Cell phone market growing again, but Nokia, Motorola losing share

Worldwide sales of cell phones showed strong growth in the second quarter, but the top two vendors, Nokia and Motorola lost market share to up-and-comers such as Samsung Electronics, International Data Corp reported [via the Mercury News]

emily | 10:04 PM | permalink

drunk driving reported by cell phones

pei.cbc.ca reports that the island of P.E.I. in Canada, where drunk driving charges have always benn the highest, there were more charges last year, than ever before - thanks to cell phones.

"RCMP Sgt. Mike Murphy believes the increase is linked to the number of people reporting drunk drivers.

We find that with the increased access to cell phones now that we're getting a lot more calls from people who are actually on the highway and see signs of an alcohol-related offense, or an impaired driver," says Murphy"

emily | 9:57 PM | permalink

Asiana Airlines to Launch SMS Service

Asiana Airlines, the nation's second- largest carrier announced that passengers on board would be able to send simple text message to cell phones or e-mails of people on the land, reports Telecoms Korea.

"Asiana plans to launch the service in five B777 flights to Western America such as Seattle and LA.

The fee would be US$ 1.5 per message, much lower than that of satellite phone, which costs about US$ 10 per minute.

cf related articles on other airlines offering cell phone calling/texting in Textually.org.

emily | 9:47 PM | permalink

Cell phone dummies

thumb.ny85807281933.techbits_ny858.jpg A poorly dressed plastic dummy with a liquid-filled cranium and cell phone strapped to his hand is much like millions of other mobile phone users across the country: He is trying to get better reception, reports the Associated Press.

"Magnolia Broadband has been driving the life-sized dummy, "Bob," around New York and Kansas City, Kan., to determine how its new wireless technology called "antenna diversity"fares in different environments.

The company is researching chipsets that incorporate a second, internal antenna into wireless phones. By combining two signals, users get stronger reception and faster data rates.

"With two ears, you can hear better," said John Moon, Magnolia's senior vice president of corporate development. "

emily | 2:56 PM | permalink

Cell phones, hot movies pump up profits at Sony

dollars.jpg Cell phones are ringing up big bucks for Sony, according to the New York Daily News.

Profits surged at the world's second biggest electronics giant, thanks to strong sales at its cell phone biz and hot box office for its summer movies like the blockbuster "Spider-Man 2."

Sony also hit a high note yesterday when the Federal Trade Commission approved the merger of the music businesses of Sony and Bertelsmann, forming Sony BMG."

emily | 2:36 PM | permalink

A wrong step in Hong Kong can be costly

Min Lee, for The Associated Press warns mobile users walking along the border of China, to watch their cell phone, as a wrong step can be costly.

Just a few strides toward the mainland can turn a 10-cent call into one that runs to $5 -- a 50-fold increase, as calls can accidently be routed by a mainland China carrier -- even if the caller remains physically in Hong Kong.

Making matters worse, it's difficult to keep track of exactly how close to China you need to get before the screen on your phone indicates the call has become "international."

Hong Kong's telecom regulator says some mainland Chinese have their calls picked up by Hong Kong phone companies, and it noted similar problems have cropped up elsewhere, including along the U.S.-Canadian border."

emily | 2:30 PM | permalink

Hospital mobile phone laws relax

surgeon.jpg Hospital could lift bans on mobile phone use following updated guidance by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, reports the BBC.

"It previously cautioned against use in some settings because of the potential to interfere with medical equipment, triggering bans in some hospitals.

Its new report says hospitals should consider designating areas where staff and visitors can use mobile phones safely.

Doctors have repeatedly called for bans to be lifted.

The MHRA said the new advice was necessary to take account of developments in mobile technology and the growing communication needs of patients, visitors and hospital staff. "

Related articles:

-- Hospital to permit cell phone usage - Fukuoka's Kyushu University Hospital says that it has started permitting patients to use their cellphones while in hospital.

-- Cell phones carry germs in hospitals - cell phones used by healthcare personnel in hospitals can spread dangerous infectious agents, according to researchers in Israel.

emily | 1:54 PM | permalink

New Computer Chip Poised to Combat Cell Phone Background Noise

UNLIKE SounderCover, an "alibi application" that allows a user to add background sounds to phone calls so that one can pretend to be somewhere else, scientists at the University of Toronto are working on a (serious) way of minimizing background noise, according to Scientific American.

"Their novel dual microphone system--which highlights a speaker's voice and removes extraneous sounds--could be miniaturized within two years, they say, making it less noisy to reach out and touch someone.

“In typical environments there is background noise and reverberations that make it hard to carry on a cell phone conversation,” Aarabi says. “This system employs two microphones that, just like the two human ears, focus on the speaker's voice and filter out other noises.”

emily | 1:25 PM | permalink

SMS to record livestock numbers

ewe.jpg In Ireland, Puca, a leading provider of mobile data solutions and wireless operator Vodafone have joined forces to provide the Department of Agriculture with a mobile application solution to record livestock numbers, reports ENN.

"By using the solution, livestock inspectors are able to use their mobile phones to send reports on livestock figures from anywhere in the country directly to the Department of Agriculture and Food's computers. This makes for more immediate and efficient reporting of figures, Puca claims. Previously inspectors had to manually enter the figures when they returned to their offices.

The solution by Puca, called Ewe Premium, is a customised application which features a series of drop-down menus on inspectors' mobile phones. The inspectors can enter all data relating to specific herds into the phone while out and about and send it to the department, almost like a text message. The messages pass through Puca's secure managed mobile platform and are subsequently delivered to the department's systems."

Related articles:

-- Free text service brings you prices - A new text messaging service has been launched which allows Welsh farmers to receive a guide market price for their animals by mobile phone.

-- Mobile phone campaign helps employ crop pickers - Mobile phones are coming to the rescue of fruit and vegetable growers in Australia looking for help to pick their crops.

-- Texting feed help for Ulster farmers - Thanks to text messaging, Belfast-based United Feeds is keeping them abreast of costs during the most intensive feeding period of the year.

-- Out of Africa - An SMS service enables Kenyan farmers to inquire about current prices of maize, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages and onions, reports.

emily | 10:54 AM | permalink

Phones For Young and Old in South Korea

Korean Carriers have started to sell phones designed for the most overlooked demographics: the very young and the very old. Eric Lin reports for TheFeature.com.

Phones targeted at elementary school kids aren't so much for the children's benefit, but for the parents' piece of mind and for the older generation, South Korean carrier, LG Telecom offers handsets with large buttons and a high contrast monochrome LCD display."

See related articles on phones for the elderly:

-- «The Elderphone» - Click Senior-Tel is a full-blown GSM phone for the elderly and confused - with just three buttons.

-- Start-up launches easy-to-use mobile phone - Mobi-Click is generating excitement with its new range of phones that work using just three button.

-- Seniors to be offered S`911-only' cell phones - Cell phones that dial only 911 will be given free to seniors in unincorporated Palm Beach County.

-- Finding the Right Handset For Older Cellphone Users - Currently, seniors make up about 15% of overall cellphone users".

-- Simplified Phones for the Elderly - Mobile telematics company Benefon launches a new cell phone called «Benefon Seraph», it's meant to be a "guardian angel" phone. Ultra simplified with only 3 buttons, it allows for direct dialing to predefined numbers.

-- Verilocation - A mobile phone tracker, Verilocation pinpoints a cell user's wherabouts. It is also expected to be of interest to domestic users; anyone who needs to locate someone such as an elderly relative travelling away from home, small children out on their own...

-- Donated phones can help seniors - Senior centers in Michigan are asking the community for phone donations to better arm elderly people during an emergency.

emily | 10:30 AM | permalink

July 28, 2004

Report: Mobiles on the move in 2004

Stronger-than-expected growth is driving up global shipments of mobile phones, prompting one market researcher to revise earlier projections for 2004, reports News.com.

"El Segundo, Calif.-based iSuppli said Wednesday that worldwide shipments may pass even the 625 million mark this year--about 25 million more units than it previously predicted.

Handset makers sold 155 million phones in the second quarter of 2004, compared with 152.5 million in the first quarter. iSuppli said demand in the second half of the year is normally stronger than in the first.

A recent study of the European, Middle Eastern and African markets also reported a positive trend."

emily | 10:29 PM | permalink

Mobile Streams Launches Go Vegas Go

go-vegas.gif Mobile Streams, the global mobile content company, announced today the launch of Go Vegas Go, a fully licensed mobile gaming and gambling service, reports Wireless Developer Network.

"The extensive range of mobile games includes Poker, Roulette, Blackjack and several types of slots. The games can be played on a wide range of Java-based mobile phones through an intuitive interface.

Customers will be able to download the games to their mobile phone by simply sending an SMS shortcode. The Go Vegas Go service is for adults over the age of 18, and will conform to the strict age verification processes currently being introduced by the mobile carriers. Customers will enjoy excellent odds, usually in excess of 95%."

emily | 10:21 PM | permalink

SMS Service for Kids in Trouble

Anti-crime cellphone network eBlockwatch in Johannesburg has launched a new service designed to assist children and students, should they find themselves in a precarious situation, reports allAfrica.com.

"Student Buddy service will make use of the company's existing 15 000-member network, situated throughout the country. "Basically we are offering a network of people that will look after students in trouble, whether they are in danger or in the wrong.

"For example, if a student were to get arrested, they could contact the Student Buddy contact centre, and we would ensure they were treated OK," he says.

Two young girls have already been tracked down using the eBlockwatch service, Snyman says."

emily | 10:16 PM | permalink

SMS messages become embroidered

halloloser.jpg UK-based artist Kate Pemberton describes how she's been working on a project called SMS (short message samplers) these are embroidered picture messages used on mobile phones. There will be 30 framed embroideries in total when completed, all hung together in a grid. 25 have been stitched to date. I have uploaded 10 finished ones into the catologue as a new series.

Kate says: "Texting is quick and has [largely] replaced the act of sending a card -- Happy Birthday images for example. If something is stitched by hand by the message sender, there is a lot of emotion attached... someone has stitched feelings there, using up much time and patience. Texting is flippant... however we may be more likely to send texts to people who we may not send cards to! via boingboing.net.

emily | 10:06 PM | permalink

FreeHeadset.org launches program to promote wireless phone safety by giving away free cell phone headsets.

More on FreeHeadset.org from PRWeb Newswire.

"Several states are writing new laws mandating the use of cell phone headsets while operating a motor vehicle; however these new laws fail to provide assistance in obtaining a headset. In response, FreeHeadset.org has developed a program to provide wireless phone users with a free cell phone headset. Participants are only required to pay $3.94 for the cost of shipping and handling".

FreeHeadset.org founder Matt MacAdams identified the need for this program in his local community. Using his experience in the wireless phone industry, he started FreeHeadset.org in late December, 2003. Incorporated three months later, the company now ships thousands of headsets per month nationwide. "Using a headset is a very important safety issue that often goes gets overlooked. Our goal is to encourage people to use headsets by making it simple, affordable and convenient to obtain one," said MacAdams today."

emily | 9:56 PM | permalink

Speakers Corner

04.jpg Speakers Corner is a unique project which has attracted international attention including recognition in the recently published 'Digital Art', by Christiane Paul.

The 15 metre LED display is an architectural interface to the Internet and wireless networks which acts as an open media system, available to the public locally and remotely.

The system has recently been expanded with the installation of a new smaller display board in a Café Bar which mirrors the larger external one.

Users can send text messages directly to the boards via an SMS facility and the website allows users to write text messages to Speakers Corner remotely.

Media Centre Network also commissions artists and writers to create new interactive content for the system.

CURRENT PROJECT
===============

Speakers Corner: Nameless Poem by Eleanor Rees

Eleanor has written a new poem specifically for presentation on Speakers Corner; over the coming months the public are invited to respond to the refrain "Tell me something of this", using text messaging - enter the letters 'TXT', leave a space, then enter your message and send to 0776 290 4208 - or via the website.

The public's responses will inform a re-writing of the poem, which will then replace the original, creating a recursive hybrid work that exists somewhere between the poet and the street.

emily | 12:50 PM | permalink

Do You Hear Your E-Mail Ringing?

116983-c_072204_push2talka.jpg Taking Push To Talk service to the next level, Nextel's NextMail lets you send a voice message via e-mail with the touch of a button, reports PC World.

"Say hello to "Push To Mail," Nextel's NextMail e-mail service. Using the same PTT button on the side of their phones, Nextel customers can now send a voice message via the company's new NextMail e-mail service.

Recipients get an e-mail with a link to a page that plays the voice message--but this works only if the recipient has Windows Media Player version 6.4 or later. Alternatively, you can check off a box to have the voice message sent in MP3 format as an e-mail attachment."

emily | 12:39 PM | permalink

Honey, I'm tracking the kids

Another child tracking cell phone device, but this one is sure to please the kids!

Reuters reports that parents in South Korea will now be able to track their children by using a device in a new mobile phone that has been designed for kids.

SK Telecom on Wednesday began selling colourful cellphones with antennas that look like human ears and a built in tracker using the global positioning satellite (GPS) network.

See picture on Engadget

The phone has four buttons to save phone numbers of key contacts, such as Mum and Dad. The GPS technology works even when the phone is turned off.

To keep the price down, the phones do not have text messaging or Internet capabilities.

Per a related article in the JoongAngDaily, satellite, this ‘i-Kids' service via satellite, points out the current location of the child and alerts the parent or guardian when the child has left an area designated by the parent. Monthly fees are 3,000 won ($2.50).

Of note: A sampling by 3G Today of location-based services and applications sorted alphabetically by operator and more such services under localisation in textually.org

emily | 12:07 PM | permalink

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