Archives for November 2004

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November 30, 2004

More and more US schools restrict cell phone use

02-rightbar-contact.jpg Henry Sibley Senior High School's cell phone policy changed this school year. Students have to keep their phones in their hallway lockers during school hours. And the phones are not allowed in bathrooms or locker rooms.

Elsewhere across the country, advances in cell phone technology — such as built-in cameras and text messaging — have prompted school districts to curtail cell phone use in an attempt to balance fears of cheating and inappropriate pictures with parents' desires to get in touch with their children.

Santa Fe school officials were considering a ban on cell phones in the high schools after they found students cheating on tests by text messaging each other the answers.

A girl in an Arlington, Texas, school brought a camera phone into a locker room — at the request of a male classmate — to take pictures of girls undressing.

School board members in Forest Lake will vote in the next month on a policy that states cell phones must be turned off and packed away in classrooms, bathrooms and locker rooms.

"Virtually every piece of technology … that students possess has the potential of being misused. But technology is part of the fabric of life today," said Kevin Mackin, principal at Mahtomedi High School. "Rather than fight a futile battle against students possessing technology, we have opted to set reasonable limits to its use." (via Twin Cities)

Regine | 7:26 PM | permalink

Trying To stop Drunken calls

bridget_body1.jpg With Christmas parties approaching, the Australian branch of Virgin mobile has launched a new service to stop people from making incoherent phone calls they may later regret.

A survey by the company found that 95 percent of us make phone calls after a drinking session, with 30 percent of calls going to exes and 19 percent to current partners. Furthermore, the morning after more people will first reach for their mobile phone to check who they had dialled (55%) instead of reaching for painkillers (8%). More than half those surveyed also said they made up to three calls per night.

With the “dialing under the influence” service , people will simply dial a number followed by the phone number they don't want to call, effectively blacklisting it until six o'clock the following morning.

The new service begins on December 1, just in time.
(Via Engadget)

Regine | 3:51 PM | permalink

Mobile advent calendar

Mobile services company Zed is launching an advent calender for mobile users, offering them a daily item of seasonal content till December 25.

Three different types of service are available, each cost £12:

Black and White Calendar is for old-style handsets. Subscribers text XMAS ON to 80115 to receive a mono ringtone, logo, joke or trivia every day.

Colour Calendar, for polyphonic ringtone handsets, is available by texting CRIMBO ON to 80115.

Truetone Calendar (YULE ON to 80115), will register users for a daily True Tone or colour wallpaper along with other content.

Mark Harris, product director at Zed, comments: “The countdown to Christmas invariably begins with advent calendars. With more and more people owning mobile phones and having less time on their hands, our calendars deliver daily treats to customers as they are moving around” (via Netimperative.)

Regine | 3:21 PM | permalink

Phones booths with phones, for cell phone privacy

mk-ad683_booth11292004202633.jpg Some restaurants, libraries and other businesses are resurrecting the phone booth -- sans phone this time -- allowing users to bring their own mobile phone and talk as loud as they want, reports the WSJ.

"In five years, it could be completely passé to be at a table in a restaurant and not get up to use the cellphone booth," says Mr. Boehm, who paid around $3,500 to install a plush, brown and blue velvet-appointed booth at his own new restaurant, called BOKA. A discreet note on the menu tells diners about the booth.

Just when many mannered folks had given up on having a civilized dinner, or library trip, without overhearing other people's conversations, a simple solution seems to be calling. Phone companies have eliminated more than a million traditional pay phones in the past eight years, many of them in phone booths, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Now, some restaurants, libraries and other businesses are slowly bringing back the phone booth, sans phone this time. Users bring their own mobile phone and can talk as loud as they want without bothering anybody else, or being asked to step outside."

emily | 3:01 PM | permalink

Thanks Régine

ny.gif You may have noticed, but Régine Debatty of near near future has been posting wonderful articles on the Textually blogs for the last couple of days. I'm so lucky she fills in for me when I'm away. She always comes up with the most wonderful stories and my stats go through the roof.

I'm in New York until Thursday - one of my favorite places on earth.

emily | 2:49 PM | permalink

My last cigarette software for mobile phone

My Last Cigarette for Smartphone, by Mastersoft Mobile Solutions, helps you resist restarting smoking.

Once you have entered your personal details, your statistics will be updated in real time, every second.
The software provides you with nicotine level readout, expected cravings readout, deaths since you quit readout, motivational message, Carbon Monoxide level of your blood, your risk of lung cancer compared to your risk before, money saved, etc.
(via Caymag < Smartphone Thoughts)

Regine | 10:31 AM | permalink

CellSpotting software

CellSpotting is a global location based service built by its users. It allows you to find the name and location information about a place you are at, track your Cellspotting friends, find the distance and direction to spotted cells.

Regine | 9:45 AM | permalink

Religious mobile mast

masthyster.jpgCompanies are finding innovative ways to disguise ungly and unwanted mobile phone antenna masts, as Deutsche Welle found out (via The Register)

An Austrian company offers Pine needle and trees with leaves "wrappings". Kaal in Holland and the British company, Francis & Lewis, sell trees that can be "built in a day" and look real.

Prices start at around €25,000 ($30,200). And if you prefer chimney masts and crucifixes for churches, they are in the catalogues too.

Of course, some congregations are not willing to see Christ on a cross, with antennae sticking out. The mayor of Schwabhausen, in Catholic Bavaria, has come out against such an antenna in his village church. But others have gone ahead: "Everyone recognizes the church now," said Johannes de Fallois, pastor at a church in Neuburg.

Regine | 9:16 AM | permalink

November 29, 2004

Researchers compost old mobile phones & transform them into flowers

flowerphone.jpg Scientists at the University of Warwick in England, in conjunction with hi tech materials company PVAXX R&D and Motorola, have found an amazing way to recycle discarded mobile phones – bury them and watch them transform into the flower of your choice.

They have designed a mobile phone case or cover that when discarded can be placed in compost in such a way that just weeks later the case will begin to disintegrate and turn into a flower.

A seed is embedded in a small transparent window in the case or cover. The seed is visible but will not germinate until the phone cover or case is recycled. The University of Warwick's horticultural research arm has even identified which types of seeds would perform best in this situation. For the first prototype they have used dwarf sunflower seeds.
(via Eurekalert)

Regine | 9:23 PM | permalink

Australian Senate passes surveillance bill

Spy and law enforcement agencies will be able to snoop on suspected terrorists and criminals e-mails, SMS messages and voicemail under a measure passed by the Australian Senate - but only for the next year, according to The Age.

"The Senate passed the government's problematic telecommunications interception legislation sought by police, regulatory and security agencies to facilitate their investigations.

Related article: - E-mails and SMS - about to be less private

But there will be a strict 12-month sunset clause".

emily | 4:30 PM | permalink

Special Cellphone Helps Parents Keep Tabs On Their Kids

LocHand.jpg A new service from Wherify Wireless will make it possible for parents to keep tabs on their kids by use of a special cellphone embedded with GPS technology, reports The Wireless Weblog.

"The Wherify GPS Locator Phone does not have a dialing pad, but instead has has five push buttons that can be pre-set to dial certain phone numbers—including 911 and a direct line to a child's parents.

Related articles and services:

-- Honey, I'm tracking the kids

-- Kindercity RFID

-- Tracking your children by SMS in Legoland

-- Parents track kids at Danish zoo

-- Putting child safety into parents' hands

-- Orange launches new child track system

-- ChildLocate helps parents keep track of children

-- MapAmobile's Mobile signal puts children on the spot

-- BlueTags Allows Parents to track kids at the zoo

-- Finland may let parents track teens via cell phones

-- From Alcatel, Guardian Angel monitors childrens' whereabouts by SMS

-- Verilocation pinpoints a cell user's wherabouts

emily | 2:57 PM | permalink

New Forms of Online Communication Spell End of Email Era in Korea

The email era is coming to an end because replacement communication means such as Internet messengers, mini-homepages (dubbed "one-man media"), and SMS are wielding their power, reports Digital Chosunilbo.

"As a consequence, the stronghold of email, once the favorite of the Internet, is being shaken from its roots".

The ebbing of email is a phenomenon peculiar to Korea, an IT power. Leading the big change, unprecedented in the world, are our teens and those in their 20's. The perception that "email is an old and formal communication means" is rapidly spreading among them. "I use email when I send messages to elders," said a college student by the name of Park. For 22-year-old office worker Kim, "I use email only for receiving cellphone and credit card invoices."

A poll conducted by Chungbuk University computer education professor Lee Ok-hwa on over 2,000 middle, high school and college students in Gyeonggi and Chungcheong provinces in October revealed that more than two-thirds of the respondents said, "I rarely use or don't use e-mail at all."

"The new generation hate agonizing and waiting and tend to express their feelings immediately," said Professor Lee. "The decline of email is a natural outcome reflecting such characteristics of the new generation."

emily | 2:04 PM | permalink

Mobile mast effects to be studied

_40085374_phone_mast_203.jpg Scientists are to conduct the first major study into what effects mobile phone masts might have on our health, reports the BBC.

"The Electromagnetics and Health (EMH) Laboratory opens at the University of Essex in Colchester on Monday.

The research team has already surveyed 20,000 people in Essex and Suffolk about their perceived sensitivity to electromagnetic fields.

The £328,000 ($620,000) research project will last for two years and is being funded by government and industry. "

emily | 12:50 PM | permalink

Mobile Carriers Move to Put Their Names on More Phones

United States cellphone operators, hoping to bolster their brands, are flirting with selling handsets that feature their names exclusively, according to an article in The New York Times.

"The effort, which follows a trend in Asia and Europe, means the companies may eventually sell more models that do not include the names of popular manufacturers.

[...] United States cellphone carriers want to better manage and tailor features and services on the phones. And by working directly with "no name" manufacturers in Taiwan, South Korea and elsewhere, they might also gain leverage over phone makers and potentially reduce their costs.

emily | 12:40 PM | permalink

Solar Cell Doubles as Battery

Technology Review reports that scientists from Toin University of Yokohama have designed a single device that can both convert solar energy to electricity and store the electricity. The photocapacitor can also capture energy from weak light sources like sunlight on cloudy or rainy days and indoor lighting.

The light-driven, self-charging capacitor could eventually be used to power phones, cameras, and PDAs. "Users can just bring the device anywhere and expose it to indoor and outdoor ambient light whether they need power or not [then] release the stored electricity anytime they want," explains Tsutomu Miyasaka, a researcher at the University.

Regine | 12:38 PM | permalink

A "mind-reading" phone?

crystalball Nathan Eagle and Sandy Pentland at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a "mind-reading" software for mobile phones that will get to know you as well as your friends.

The software logs in when you make voice and text calls or use applications like an alarm clock or phone camera. It then learns your habits by studying behaviour with pattern recognition software.

Bluetooth short-range radio links determines who you associate with by the proximity of their Bluetooth phones.

The software prompts you to enter your location and activity every time the phone moves into the range of a new cell mast- so it can associate activities like socialising, or working with certain locations.

It can then make suggestions based on the your habits and diary - calling someone you haven't heard for some time or warning you not to drink too much before a meeting, for example.

Eagle claims that the phone may be able to analyse how good a relationship is by how often the user calls a certain friend. "It might even pick up on a flirtation before you notice," he added. (via Silicon)

Regine | 10:34 AM | permalink

November 28, 2004

Answers Relayed From Other Organizations

A second article today on the cell phone cheat scam that has rocked South Korea.

It turns out there were more students involved than initially thought, in Gwangju's exam cheating scheme using mobile phones. As many as 183 students in four organizations, including six female high school students were involved in the exam scandal, according to police investigation, reports

"According to police, an 18-year-old student of K high school identified as his family name Kim collected 2.1 million won, 100,000 to 300,000 won per person, from 10 high school students of five high schools in Gwangju area. He raised the money, offering the students to send correct answers at exam and spent 1.7 million won of the total amount.

Police filed an arrest warrant for two students at K high school including Kim on charges of objection of Justice"

Related links:

-- Cheats stir jamming debate

-- Seoul Education Office Took Precautions Against Cheating

-- Students held for (Text Message) exam scam

emily | 7:10 PM | permalink

Cheats stir jamming debate

Seoul National University announced last week that it would install devices within its test rooms to block the use of mobile phones, but cancelled its plans on Friday when it said in a statement that it couldn't pursue the plan because of the law, reports JoongAng Daily.

"Even if the purpose is for public benefit and to prevent rampant cheating, it is illegal, so we had to give up our plans," said Kim Wan-jin, director of the admissions administration office.

Someone who attempts to block radio communications waves can be jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to 50 million won.

But recent abuse of communications, such as the cheating that took place in the college scholastic ability test, is prompting calls for changes in the law.

Related articles:

-- Seoul Education Office Took Precautions Against Cheating

-- Students held for (Text Message) exam scam

emily | 3:31 PM | permalink

The terror of text

Threats sent by mobile phone text message are being blamed for a rise in violent crime figures, reports Manchester Online.

"Police in Cheshire say the number of violent crimes has gone up by eight per cent in the last six months.

But the force says a large part of the increase is due to the fact that the Home Office now classifies harassment by text or e-mail as a violent crime."

emily | 3:26 PM | permalink

Man shoots cell phones into Swedish prison

This is one of the stranger stories to come along.

According to, authorities in Sweden arrested a man who shot mobile phones into the yard of a high-security prison with a bow and arrows, police said Saturday.

"The 25-year-old man is charged with planning to aid a prison escape and could get up to a year in jail, police said.

The suspect, whose name was not released, taped two cell phones and a battery charger to three arrows, and fired them over the 12-foot wall into Mariefred prison outside Stockholm on Friday night."

Click here for related articles on cell phone smuggling in prisons - around the world.

emily | 2:49 PM | permalink

November 27, 2004

Handset-Theater and Virtual Keyboard

samsung_ac_theater1.jpg Samsung Electronics plans to launch a variety of handset accessories including handset-theater and virtual keyboard, reports Telecoms Korea.

"Handset accessories often enhance the function of handsets, increasing usability of cell phones.

An official of Samsung Electronics said Friday, “We will roll out ‘Anycall Theater' that includes handset rest in Korean market.” The product is just like a mini home theater with a quality speaker, the official bragged. For foreign users, plug-in speaker will be provided. Users can enjoy music or even have a conference call with the speaker, Samsung said".

emily | 7:02 PM | permalink

Phones predicting user's behavior

A new mobile phone which learns people's daily habits could be used to predict what someone is about to do and judge how close they are to their friends. The phone may also help track how diseases spread and societies form, reports pasta and vinegar.

"Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed the system, which logs the ID code of every Bluetooth chip the phone passes, the location of every phone mast it contacts, every person phoned or texted and when applications are used. Data is then stored on a server which uses software to recognise any patterns in behaviour and predict what may happen next."

emily | 6:50 PM | permalink

Mobile Weapons

violence_hooligans.jpg Russel Buckley for The Moible Technology Weblog reports that the latest weapon employed by football hooligans is - mobile phones.

"Police searches allow people to keep mobile phones, while confiscating other lethal stuff like knives, guns, bike chains and stuff.

Then they can be used as very handy missiles when you're in the stadium.

There's even a healthy trade in old phones around some football clubs, so you don't have to lob your chavvy 3 phone at the opposing fans.

emily | 3:45 PM | permalink

The rise of the thumb tribes

Taro Matsumura in Keitai Log has done some research on the origin of the term "thumb tribe".

According to the dictionary's defiition published in 2003, "thumb tribe" is: "The young generation that utilizes the keitai functions of phone, e-mail and Internet frequently as part of daily life. The name stems from the quick motion of a thumb pushing buttons on a cell phone."

But it seems "words "thumb tribe" did not appear with the advent of keitai. The term was used for pachinko (a type of casino game).


-- All Thumbs, Without the Stigma/a>

November 26, 2004

Text for the times

10downing.gifThe Guardian reports back on Tony Blair's text messaging interview.

"Yesterday they came a bit closer when the prime minister attempted to answer some of the 6,000 questions sent to him by this means.

Yesterday's success might spur Mr Blair to a similar experiment in parliament. If all Commons interventions had to be of text message size it could force MPs to come straight to the point of the question rather than taking the scenic route. Voters could sign up to the experiment and be fed debates through their mobile phones."

-- Related article: Public gets chance to text Tony Blair

emily | 8:45 AM | permalink

UK Text Messages hit all time high

The number of SMS sent in the UK keeps on growing and growing. The 2.3 billion person-to-person messages were sent in October says Mobile Data Association (MDA), reports Mike Grenville for

The October 2004 figures are the highest ever total of text messages sent in one month according to figures released today by the MDA.

emily | 8:01 AM | permalink

November 25, 2004

Give your old mobiles to Charity

ShinyShiny reports that UK Marie Curie Cancer Care is asking everyone to dig out all their old mobiles from under the bed and hand them over to raise money for cancer research.

Empty printer cartridges are also worth money to the charity, with phones worth up to £30 and cartridges up to £7.50.

: In their own words The value of a phone depends on make and model, condition, age and the accessories included with it, but some are worth nothing. Care should be taken in packing each phone and the accessories.

We typically pay anything from £1 ($1.90) to £7 ($ 13.-) for each mobile phone although best prices are paid for newer models with their chargers, occasionally these may even be worth up to £15 (28.30)

emily | 2:50 PM | permalink


From Howard Rheingold on

Ross Mayfield on Many 2 Many writes about an experiment from Stanford's Persuasive Technologies Lab: Buddybuzz:

"It helps you find the most interesting articles to read, based upon your friend's ratings -- and allows you to read 300 to 800 words per minute from your mobile phone.

Reading works by having a single word blinked at you at a rate you control, similar to other experiences on the web, but it simply makes more sense with mobile form factor and lifestyle".

emily | 11:24 AM | permalink

EasyGroup close to launching low-cost mobile phone service

easy.com_masthead.gif Easy Group, the holding company of no-frills British airline easyJet, is close to striking a deal to launch a low-cost mobile telephone service in Britain, the Financial Times reported, relays the Associated Press.

" EasyGroup founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou is keen to launch a mobile service in time for Christmas and a deal could be sealed as soon as next week, the FT said.

EasyGroup first revealed plans to enter the mobile telecommunications market in August, with an agreement to launch a low-cost mobile phone operator with Denmark's biggest telecoms operator TDC.

EasyMobile's appearance is expected to unnerve established mobile operators such as Orange and Vodafone, who fear significant damage to their revenues."

Related articles:

-- EasyJet founder to launch mobile phone service

-- «Easy Mobile» : Stelios plans 'no frills' mobile

emily | 10:01 AM | permalink

Books to your mobile via WINKsite

Mobile media technology developer WINKsite has launched the Creative Commons Library for mobile users. [via Smart Mobs].

The Creative Commons Library is the first in a series of works to be published on the WINKsite Mobile Publishing & Community Platform. WINKsite extends the power of publishing and distributing mobile books to the masses. The tools used are offered FREE of charge to individuals and non-profit organizations for non-commercial use.

Over the coming months the number of collections will grow to include thousands of titles available under Creative Commons license, in the public domain, and from leading publishers.

First Releases:
-- Creative Commons Library:
-- Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig:
-- The Literary Works of Cory Doctorow:
-- Monster Island by David Wellington:
-- Monster Nation by David Wellington:
-- Media Are Alive by Mike Popovic: h

Related links and stories on litterature on mobile phones

emily | 9:50 AM | permalink

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