Archives for August 2004

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August 31, 2004

Kids to text their their social workers

Children in foster care may soon be able to text their social workers with their concerns under a new scheme being considered by UK's Plymouth City Council, reports adoption-net.

"Officers are considering setting up a system where children can get in touch with social workers via mobile phones, as complaints went up by eight percent in the last four years.

Carole Riggall, from social services, told the cabinet: "We are looking to modernise, and texting is how young people keep in touch, even more so than by email."

emily | 6:13 PM | permalink

Korean Students hooked on cell phones

Kteenagers.jpg The Korea Herald reports that cell phones are an addiction that's causing stress among particularly the younger generation.

"A survey by the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital of 340 high school students in Pulgok High School found about two-thirds possessed cell phones.

-- About 29 percent had addictive symptoms bordering on paranoia.

-- About 60 percent were constantly worried whenever their mobiles were turned off, feeling someone could have sent a text message without setting off the warning bell.

-- Kim Bo-mi, 14, a junior high school student, hallucinated that her phone was vibrating or ringing even when she did not have it with her.

Excessive messaging can cause pain in the shoulders and the thumb and fingers. Called Text Message Injury (TMI), it's a blood circulation problem caused by pressing buttons rapidly on a small space. The symptoms are similar to RSI, repetitive stress (or strain) injury, from which millions who use computers or do repetitive motions suffer.

Related articles:

-- Cell phones prompt earlier sexual debut - A professor at the University of Oslo thinks the widespread usage of cell phones among teenagers is prompting them to have sex at an earlier age. Two of three Norwegian teenagers who chat and send frequent text messages on their cell phones have engaged in sexual intercourse.

-- 2003: Cell Phones' Bad Rap - Medical scientists and psychologists have blamed cell phones for everything - from making children fat, to triggering the onset of Alzheimer to being responsible for a new form of addiction disorder as well as leading to sexually transmitted diseases.

emily | 1:08 PM | permalink

Drug Dealer busted by SMS

A suspected drug pusher in the Philippines was arrested yesterday after police fooled him into thinking he was texting his supplier, reports The Freeman

emily | 1:02 PM | permalink

Terror fears loom over subway cell phone service

Despite mounting evidence from Spain to Pakistan that al-Qaeda is training its operatives to use cell phones to detonate bombs by remote control, cities around the world are taking steps to wire subway tunnels to receive mobile signals, reports the San Diego Union Tribune.

"A range of homeland security specialists and lawmakers acknowledge that wiring subway tunnels for cell service increases the risk that the system may be used against the public. But most also say that, on balance, the security benefits of extending the wireless communications network underground probably outweigh the cost of that increased risk.

"It's a conundrum," said P.J. Crowley, a former National Security Council official who is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. "In ensuring that we have the ability to communicate in a crisis, we're ensuring that our adversary can do the same thing. But the answer is to keep people who want to do us harm away from our borders, rather than eliminating a valued asset for people who day in, day out live within our borders."

The use of cell phone ringers to detonate bombs apparently goes back to the Irish Republican Army, but the technique has been enthusiastically embraced by Islamist terrorists. Recent bombings in Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Pakistan have used the technique, which gives a militant precise control over when the explosives will go off from a position of remote safety."

Related articles:

-- Bombings put mobile phone in terror spotlight

-- Terror's Latest Trigger: Cellphones

-- Cell phone detonated bombs in Madrid

-- Marriott bomb 'set off by mobile phone'

-- Cell phones trigger bombs

-- Bomb oustide Jakarta Hotel was detonated by a mobile phone

-- Cell Phones Triggered Bombs in Saudi Arabia

-- IRA involved in cell phone bombs

-- Attack is inevitable, say the (London) police. So how can we stop it?

emily | 12:54 PM | permalink

"TRAIN Countdown" mobile ap

cdtr_tou.gif TechJapan reports on a mobil ap for DoCoMo customers developed by JR East Japan Planning, that will show the user the departure times of trains.

"As a new function, the screen can be scrolled horizontally, and doing so will allow for the display of multiple departure times at once. For example, you could compare the timetables for multiple lines leaving from the same station, by choosing both the "Chuo Line Toward Shinjuku" and "Uramachi Line Toward Ikebukuro."

emily | 11:57 AM | permalink

Cell phones prompt earlier sexual debut

A professor at the University of Oslo thinks the widespread usage of cell phones among teenagers is prompting them to have sex at an earlier age. Two of three Norwegian teenagers who chat and send frequent text messages on their cell phones have engaged in sexual intercourse, reports Aftenposten.

"The survey, backed by the University of Oslo, is part of a major research project called "Young in Norway".

Professor Willy Pedersen of the university's sociology institute, who has overall responsibility for the project, says the survey suggests that cell phone usage and text messaging represent a new form of contact that makes it easier for teenagers to approach one another.

Results being published Thursday in Norway's major medical journal (Tidsskrift for Den norske lægeforening) show that:

-- Only 8-9 percent of those teenagers who seldom or never use cell, or mobile, phones have had sex.

-- Around 60 percent of those teenagers who use mobile phones frequently have had sex.

-- Girls with high rates of mobile phone usage had eight times as high probability to have debuted sexually, compared with girls who seldom or never used mobile phones.

-- Boys with high rates of mobile phone usage were six times as likely to have debuted sexually than boys who rarely use mobile phones.

Pedersen says the results were also "corrected" for other factors influencing sexual behaviour, including such things as parental guidance, alcohol usage and partying habits.

Related article:

-- Mobiles linked to teen sex Children with mobile phones have sex earlier - and more often - than phoneless friends.

emily | 11:50 AM | permalink

Cell «Phone» Horror movie

FF083.jpg «Phone», a 2002 Korean horror film has just been released in the UK, directed by Byeong-ki Ahn, in which a haunted mobilephone plays a major role.

"Plot Summary from imdb:

"Soon after Ji-won gets a new cell phone, her friend's young daughter, Yeong-ju, puts it to her ear and immediately begins screaming in terror. When other strange things start happening in connection with the phone, Ji-Won does some investigating and discovers that of the people before her who had the same number, almost all of them died suddenly under unusual circumstances".

More on movie plot in FrightFest.

Related - See roundup of movies where cell phones play a major role and Nokia takes a risk in Putting New Phone on the Big Screen.

emily | 11:42 AM | permalink

Mobile Game Patents on the Rise  

Patents related to mobile phone game technologies are increasing as cell phones became daily necessity and computer games are booming, reports Telecoms Korea.

"According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), 57 applications for patents and utility models were filed 2003, a similar level of back in 2003, when IT was hot".

emily | 11:18 AM | permalink

First mobile six-degrees-of-separation social network goes public

A new UK based friends network, playtxt, uses six-degree's-of-separation via a mobile phone to meet friends, or friends of friends safely and easily when one is out and about on the town, according to a company press release.

"After signing up via your mobile or online at playtxt.net, you simply click on profiles of people who are your friends (or invite your friends to signup by text) and you can then begin exploring the network that starts to emanate around you."

emily | 10:57 AM | permalink

New Web Site to Offer Phony Caller I.D. Service

s38-Final.gif A California entrepreneur has a plan to bring the hacker technique of Caller I.D. spoofing to the business world, beginning with collection agencies and private investigators, according to Security Focus via near near future.

"Launching September 1st, Star*38.com will offer subscribers a simple Web interface to a Caller I.D. spoofing system that lets them appear to be calling from any number they choose.

Star38.com claims it will screen subscribers, and initially make the service available only to licensed private investigators and collection agencies".

emily | 10:23 AM | permalink

Cell phones could keep atomic time

Atomic clocks may be headed into cell phones, thanks to a breakthrough by federal researchers, according to News.com .

"Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have demonstrated the heart of an atomic clock that's believed to be a hundredth the size of any other atomic clock, NIST said Monday.

The clock's inner workings are about the size of a grain of rice, consume less than 75 thousandths of a watt, and are so stable that just one second every 300 years is gained or lost.

emily | 9:35 AM | permalink

R.I. man barred from sending spam text messages

A judge granted Verizon Wireless a permanent injunction against a Rhode Island man accused of sending millions of unsolicited text-message advertisements to cell phone customers in four states, reports USA Today

"The messages were sent over the last several months to cell users in California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They advertised mortgage loans, products for losing weight, even adult Web sites."

emily | 9:26 AM | permalink

August 30, 2004

Council's (mobile) sex campaign could backfire

prostitutejpg.jpg Westminster Council's campaign to cut off mobile telephone numbers used by prostitutes could go badly wrong, according to The Inquirer.

"In an effort to 'name and shame' the mobile networks that aren't co-operating with its policy of getting rid of tarts' cards displayed in telephone boxes, the council has printed up some 'fake' cards.

These cards carry a phone number and a name for the heads of British mobile phone networks such as Arun Sarin of Vodafone, Sanjiv Ahuja of Orange, Dave McGlade of 02, Bob Fuller of 3, and Brian McBride of T-Mobile. Notice they didn't dare put Richard Branson's name on a card for Virgin Mobile.

If the Council gets its way, disaster could strike. It only costs £4 to create 50 such cards at a London Tube station. So for a mere £4 you could have your arch rival's mobile phone numbers barred.

And if the numbers for mobile phones on contracts are barred, prostitutes will simply move over to using pre-paid handsets which can be activated in hours.

As O2 has also pointed out, being a prostitute isn't actually illegal. So what other groups could be targeted in this way? Gays leaving their phone numbers in Westminster Council's public conveniences?

emily | 5:38 PM | permalink

Seven-year-olds carrying mobile phones

sp45ece5_1037698_jp_210729h.jpg A new survey by Norway's dominant telecommunications company Telenor revealed that mobile use by children is enjoying explosive growth, reports Aftenposten.

"In 2002 only eight percent of 7-9 year-olds had cell phones, a year later this number had doubled to one in six having mobiles. In the age group 10-11 years 58 percent use mobiles, up 12 percent points in a year.

Berit Skog, a researcher at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), said there were positive effects. Parents could now find and make contact with their children more easily and writing text messages is considered good literacy training.

The Telenor study is also attracting attention abroad as Norway is the first country in the world to have an age group with 100 percent saturation of mobile phones.

emily | 5:30 PM | permalink

5th International Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships

phonethrowing_2004_08_30.jpg Finland knows what to do with Nokia Phones. They throw them. This weekend was the (ridiculous) 5th international Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, reports Esato.com via i4U.com. Also in Engadget.

"At the 5th international Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships on Saturday the 28th of August in Savonlinna Kirkkopuisto was set a new world record. Nokia flew 82.55 meters. The new champion is Ville Piippo is from Helsinki.

Altogether there were 117 contestants from five different countries, 57 in individual categories, 42 in team categories and 18 in juniors.

Next year the championships will be held on the 27th of August. More here.

emily | 3:25 PM | permalink

Curitel reveals an innovative (and round) game phone

curitel_gamephone.jpg Pantech&Curitel's new game phone adopting innovative design was opened to public Monday.

PH-S3500's prominent keypad is specially devised to let gamers enjoy 3D games using 4-direction keys with both hands holding the phone. The phone is released with 4 types of games initially installed and the enhanced graphic engine provides more life-like features, the company added.

[ via Telecoms Korea ]

emily | 3:02 PM | permalink

Same Text Marriage at Upoc.com

On eve of the Republican Convention, mobile community Upoc Networks announces the upcoming marriage of a couple who met via text messaging on its mobile community service, Upoc.com.

The couple will host a mobile messaging-based reality program in the nation about their upcoming wedding beginning September 10, according to a (silly) company press release.

The couple will host a messaging event as it gives America updates on the wedding planning, all leading up to the big day, through Upoc. People who want to participate can join in by sending a text message with "Join weddingblog" to 8762 (U-p-o-c) from their mobile phones. From that point on, they will get occasional text, voice and picture messages from David and Brenda.

emily | 12:38 PM | permalink

Use a Cell Phone in a Library, Pay $1,000

082704_cellphone_fine.jpg City leaders of Huntington Beach California adopted an ordinance, which takes effect September 15, that bans all cell phone use in libraries, including talking, text messaging and ringing tones of any kind, reports The Associated Press.

First-time violators will be warned, then fined $250 if they don't comply. A second offense gets a $500 fine and a third offense gets a $1,000 fine.

emily | 12:29 PM | permalink

Use of mobile phones more common in Finland than in Sweden

Finns, Norwegians and Danes send a lot more SMS messages and talk considerably more on the mobile phone than the Swedes, Nordic telecoms operator TeliaSonera told the Finnish News Agency STT Friday, reports Newsroom Finland.

According to data collected by the company, Finns on average, spend 249 minutes talking on their cell phone while Swedes only talk 130 minutes.

Norwegians are most fond of SMS messages, and send an average 76 monthly. Swedes average only 17 per month.

In Norway and Denmark, businesses without any fixed telephone lines are approved of more easily than in Finland and Sweden.

emily | 12:24 PM | permalink

NTT DoCoMo RSS feed for company press releases

For anyone who wants to know what's up at NTT DoCoMo, you can sign up to the new RSS feed of their company press releases.

emily | 11:23 AM | permalink

New York's theater district sees protesters putting on a show

broadway.jpg Protesters and police put on a Broadway show Sunday night, with rallies and mass arrests throughout the theater district where Republicans had gathered for a night on the town, reports Scripps Howard News Service.

"Hundreds of activists converged outside shows like "The Lion King," "Phantom of the Opera" and "Aida," hoping to put their anti-GOP messages right in the faces of delegates on the eve of the Republican National Convention.

One gay rights group, Queer Fist, staged a mass "kiss-in" at Times Square, with dozens of same-sex couples affectionately holding hands and kissing in the heart of the theater district.

After the the police gave the crowds a 15-second warning to disburse or be arrested, a game of cat-and-mouse throughout the theater district occured.

Police kept moving from theater to theater, threatening to arrest groups of protesters who didn't move. The young activists used text messaging on their cell phones to dispatch groups to more theaters where Republicans were spotted, or to come to the aid of people caught in more group arrests.

The impromptu street theater protests on Broadway were organized by a group called the Mouse Bloc, taking its name from the little critter who is a legendary menace to lumbering elephants, the Republican Party mascot.

emily | 11:11 AM | permalink

Spc. Ryan G. Anderson, facing a military trial

In yet another case where text messaging is being used as evidence in court, The Associated Press reports on a Washington National Guard soldier, Spc. Ryan G. Anderson, facing a court martial which begins today. Anderson was text-messaging a federal agent he believed was a member of al-Qaida.

emily | 10:55 AM | permalink

Mobile Phone Service Helps Find Missing Children

A mobile phone system allowing users to help find missing children scored its first success Sunday in Jeonju (South Korea), 100 days after the system was introduced, according to Digital Chosunilbo.

A 14-year-old girl missing since April, was found in a hospital and reunited with her parents on Sunday.

"The service, jointly started by SK Telecom with the National Police Agency on May 14, sends out the photo and description of missing children to subscribers in the area when instances of children going missing take place.

The police "made a contract with SK Telecom and asked 15 million registered people whether they would receive SMS message on searching missing child, and 6.3million of them agreed to get the messages. KTF is also preparing a similar program.”

Click here for related articles and services around the world.

emily | 10:43 AM | permalink

E-mails and SMS - about to be less private

A new law due to be debated in the Australian Senate today, allows many new government bodies to access private e-mails, voice-mail messages and SMS messages, reports The Herald Sun.

"Under present laws, unopened e-mails can only be accessed if they involve serious crime and only with a telecommunications intercept warrant.

If the Bill is passed, authorities would need only a search warrant, or in some cases no warrant at all, according to online civil liberties group Electronic Frontiers Australia.

EFA executive director Irene Graham said the amendment posed a serious threat to privacy."

emily | 10:39 AM | permalink

Chemical repellent activated by SMS to disperse birds on the runway

egret2.jpg The highly modern Singapore Air Force is plagued by migratory egrets that appear between September and November, causing fighter planes to crash if sucked into the jet engines, reports Spacewar.com.

The Air Force base has come up with several solutions to this problem; importing aggressive hawks from Germany to help scare the birds off, using flares, using digitally recorded bird distress calls or, and of interest to this column, using a chemical repellant dispenser activated by SMS text messages from the control tower whenever unwelcome avian guests are spotted on the runway.

emily | 10:30 AM | permalink

Olympic spirit sees SMS soar

Figures released by Telstra today show that more than 97,000 SMS messages and 90,000 fixed line phone calls have been made to Greece by Telstra customers since the start of the Athens Olympics, according to IT News.

"The figures mark a 160 and 51 per cent increase in the volume of normal SMS and fixed line traffic respectively."

emily | 10:19 AM | permalink

Finnish game developer launches mobile lottery scratch card

European Game & Entertainment Technology, a Finnish supplier of digital gaming solutions, has delivered MMS mobile scratch cards to the Swedish national gaming operator, Sperospel.se, reports DMEurope (cf company press release).

"Any mobile phone with MMS capability can handle the scratch cards. The player who has subscribed to the service orders a scratch card to a mobile phone by sending an SMS to a premium number. Opening of the MMS scratch card resembles opening a text message.

The two MMS scratch card games delivered are called "Femman" and "Sperolotten". These scratch cards have been available for some time at the Sperospel.se web site as classic internet games."

emily | 10:14 AM | permalink

August 29, 2004

Rushkoff to write SMS novel

Rushkoff over at TheFeature.com has announced he will be writing his first SMS novel.

"Unlike the ones I've seen so far, however, I want it to be native to the wireless space. If it's text and text/image messages that will serve as the medium of transmission, then they should be messages from the organic world of the book. An epistolary, if you will, in SMS.

I'll be sure to let you know how it's coming - I do plan to begin transmitting the thing before it's actually done, so that users can have some impact on how things turn out. But I need a couple of months to organize a very non-linear narrative and then create some opportunities for unexpected narrative to emerge."

Related articles on SMS novels:

-- First bilingual short story book written in SMS-shorthand - Phil Marso, author and Independent Editor of Megacomik publishing, has recently launched the first bilingual SMS title called «Frayeurs SMS» («SMS Frights»), a collection of 6 short stories which appear in French on the left hand side of the book and in English on the right hand pages.

-- Coming to a cellphone near you: A novel - «Outside The Fortress Besieged», the story of an extramarital affair, written by Chinese author Qian Fuchang, is a novel meant to be read in 70-word chapters transmitted by text message.

-- Mobile fiction micropublishing - Japanes author Joshi, who has been sending installments of his best selling novel, «Deep Love», by text messaging has been very successful. News of the novel spread by word of mouth, and within three years the site had received a total of 20 million hits".

emily | 10:51 AM | permalink

SMS on giant python draws crowd to Market

marketmalaysia.jpg Rumours of a giant python, with the girth the size of a car tyre, living under the market in Sungai Muar (Malaysia) brought the town to almost a standstill yesterday, reports the The Star.

"The crowd, some came from as far as Malacca, Segamat and even from Kuala Lumpur, including a TV3 crew, thronged the jetty area behind the market waiting for the snake to appear. 

According to rumours, spread by SMS, a team, comprising of bomoh from Thailand and Indonesia, would try to capture the giant snake and that the market would be closed to enable them to act.  

However, according to Distric Officer Datuk Naim Nassi, “No one seems to know anything about a giant python under the market and none of departments are involved in any capture operation”. 

emily | 10:36 AM | permalink

NEC Develops Unified Dual-Band Antenna for Cell Phones Using 800MHz/2GHz Radio Bands

The mobile phone market is stepping up demand for a single antenna with dual-band capabilities that can cover two or more frequency bands, according to NEAsia.

emily | 10:26 AM | permalink

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