Archives for February 2005

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February 28, 2005

Hop-on's universal car charger and a Cell Thong

chargerimg.gif hop-on plans on exhibiting a universal mobile car charger at the 2005 CTIA Wireless Show.

It includes a multitude of adapters to make it compatible with most every cell phone, including Motorola, Samsung, Sony- Ericsson, Kyocera, Siemens and LG models. It shouldsafely charge a fully drained cell phone battery in approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

[press release]

cellthongonly.jpg Looking around hop-on's website, I came across another item of interest, the, uh, Cell Thong

emily | 5:42 PM | permalink

Emotional GPS: Psychogeography

torreoro.jpg networked_performance writes about psychogeography and cognitive mapping, a Mobility Paterson project, offering two suggestions for recording wireless experiences, using a term they coined, emotional GPS.

Whereas traditional GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and GPS (Global Positioning Systems) tend towards an empirical representation of the world, emotional GPS is biased towards the personal, temporary, and imaginary. In most cases, the prevailing impact of wireless on the definition of a place is not so much on its static form as the potential experiences that this place can afford.

One's city is composed of the places in which one lives, plays, works, and remembers. It is made of the routes and paths through which one makes connections. This personal city is also about the meanings ascribed to these places of inhabitance and transition, even those that are hated."

The idea of psychogeography was playfully employed by the Situationist Movement in mid-20th century France, inspired by Baudelaire's 19th century notion of the flaneur, the city walker who wandered.

emily | 5:06 PM | permalink

Samsung Launches 3DMovement Recognition Phone

Picture 4.jpg Following an earlier annoncement today by OMRON, of face recognition technology, Samsung has announced the launch of a 3D Movement Recognition Phone. The new phone operates by recognizing a person's movements accurately, according to NE Asia Online, opening a new chapter in natural communication.

"Samsung's new phone can recognize continuous movement in 3D space. The SCH-S310 provides several innovative functions, such as deleting spam calls or messages just by shaking the phone twice up and down. It also can read movements to enable speed dialing. For instance, a user can write the number "3" in the air and the phone reads this and dials 3.

In addition, the phone features a variety of interesting functions targeted at young people. It can recognize movements and respond with a voice message "yes" or "no" when a user draws "O" or "X" in the air. And the "motion beat box" enables users to select a particular sound from the menu such as drum, tambourine, scratch or clap and have an instrumental effect."


-- Cell phone gaming: Shake the Phone

-- Motion-recognition mobile phone

emily | 4:53 PM | permalink

Individual Isolation from Cell Phones

mom7.jpg Another option for people trying to isolate themselves from cell phone disturbances, by Ingrid Hora, "who has focused her attention on mundane eccentricities, such as talking to oneself or listening to other people's conversations". [via near near future].


-- «La Complice» A chair to host your mobile phone

-- Silence Chair

-- The Portable Cellular Phone Booth

-- Silence Booths

-- Phones booths with phones, for cell phone privacy

emily | 11:19 AM | permalink

Australia. Text message service for home phones

More than 10 million households across Australia will soon be able to send text messages from their home telephone units, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

"The telecoms company today launched the service which allows phone users to read and send text messages on their landlines using specially designed telephones in the same way they do with mobile phones."

Similar services offered in other countries:

-- BT brings texting to fixed-line phones with Text launch - British consumers can now send and receive text messages from their fixed-line home phones following the soft-launch of BT Text.

-- Telstra Launches Land-Line Talking Text - Telstra Mobile post-paid and pre-paid customers can now send Talking TextTM messages to most Telstra fixed home and business phones.

-- Texting from land line phones - France Télecom is offering it's land line phone subscribers the possibility to send text messages to subscribers of their mobile affiliate Orange.

-- Swisscom offers SMS on landline phones - Swisscom ISDN subscribers (these phones come with a screen), enable users to send SMS from a land line phone to a subscriber to any of the three mobile operators, but only Swisscom mobile users are able to reply to the SMS.

-- Texting gets voice of its own from BT - BT Group announced a service that will allow mobile users to send text messages to fixed-line telephones by converting them into a synthesised voice call.

-- Operators Reinventing Home Phones to Compete with Mobiles - European fixed-line operators are reinventing home phones to compete with the popularity of cell phones, by adding popular features such as SMS and picture messaging.

emily | 10:58 AM | permalink

SMS greeted with delight by Linguistics Professor

thumb.sge.lfe36.210904064428.photo00.default-228x384.jpg Educationalists may rail against the increased use of 'txt' shorthand by children in their school work, and that is only proper, for there is a time and a place for everything. However, the advent of new language styles and forms engendered by the Internet, and related communication developments such as SMS messaging, should be greeted with delight, according to internationally renowned language expert, Professor David Crystal, Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor. [via Science Daily]

"Professor Crystal tells the Annual Conference of the AAAS that this is the greatest opportunity for the development of the English language since the advent of the printing press in the Middle Ages.

The variety of applications of new technology leads to new stylistic forms and increases the expressive range of a language, especially at the informal end of the spectrum."

The prophets of doom emerge every time a new technology influences language, of course - they gathered when printing was introduced, in the 15th century, as well as when the telephone was introduced in the 19th, and when broadcasting came along in the 20th; and they gathered again when it was noticed that Internet writing broke several of the rules of formal standard English - in such areas as punctuation, capitalization, and spelling," says Crystal."

Other positive articles on SMS language

-- IM and SMS, not the death of language

-- Teacher finds novel way to use texting

-- E-Mail and Texting - Not at all bad

-- Texting 'is no bar to literacy'

emily | 9:43 AM | permalink

February 27, 2005

The touchy-feely side of telecoms

phone7 2.jpg Following a previous post a couple of days ago, New Cell Phones Will Reach Out and Slap Someone, thanks to touch sensation technology, called haptics, New Scientist has a lengthy piece on Samsung's new mobile phone as well as other interesting applications of haptics technology.

"Not only will it be able to send images and streaming video, but the phone can vibrate in such a way that you can add the sensation of a playful tickle to your text message, or make the person on the other end of the phone feel as if their handset has slapped them across the face".

Welcome to the world of haptics - the technology of recreating touch and texture through artificial stimuli.

The most widespread use of haptics so far is in video gaming.


Samsung's phone is the first mass-market use of haptics (to launch in March). When you send a text message you can add one of a number of sensations from a menu.

When the person reads the message, "vibrotactile" motors in their phone are activated. These are basically more complex versions of the motors that allow many mobile phones to vibrate when ringing. The precise frequency and amplitude of the vibrations generated by the motors simulates the desired sensation

The haptic technology behind game pads and the Samsung phones has been developed by Immersion of San Jose, California, US, which is one of the leading companies in this fast-growing field (see graphic).


From these simple beginnings, analysts think the technology will have many applications, for example, in haptic gloves and pads designed to give online shoppers a feel for products.

Imagine being able to feel the quality of a cashmere sweater before you buy it, experience the roadholding of a car or feel the finish of a piece of furniture.

Just like graphics and sound, touch can be coded as digital bits. They are sent in packets over the internet or a cellphone network then reassembled or "rendered" in some form at the other end.

For haptics to reach their full potential, the technology also has to be able to convey a wide range of tactile sensations. Sile O'Modhrain at Media Lab Europe in Dublin, Ireland, says that "pre-packaged" haptics have barely scratched the surface.

For example, a student at MIT has built a phone that can transmit a squeeze of varying strength. Accelerometers in the phone measure the strength and speed of the squeeze and reproduce the effect at the other end of the line, making it feel a bit like holding hands. Much of the technology needed to achieve such effects already exists, O'Modhrain says."

emily | 3:30 PM | permalink

The first ringtone movie?

A two-minute short film, "The Life of a Ringtone", shows what it takes to bring a ring tone from someone's imagination to another's cell phone and wins best student film award. [via via]

emily | 3:07 PM | permalink

Mobiles 'part of social fabric'

_40866721_3gsm_afp_203.jpg Mobile phones are the essential accessory most of us never leave home without. Stephen Cole for the BBC assesses the real role they play in our lives, and the problems users face.

"The relationship with mobiles is changing all the time, according to researcher Michael Hulme. "If we go back five years, it used to be fairly functional.

"Today we're moving towards a real time of dependency, where if we lose our mobile we begin to feel cut off from our network of friends, cut off from our contacts, and absolutely disabled.

"The other thing is that the mobile is very much a device of control. We are using it to control our relationships with others, how others contact us, and increasingly to control information.


Michael Hulme says part of the reason why the mobile is so successful is that it takes us away from where we are. It reconnects us with another space, be that a friend that we want to talk to, or actually the opportunity to reconnect with a games space that takes us out of where we are.

"Hence the reason that in Asia you see people in queues playing games. "They don't want to be in the queue, they want to be somewhere else - and playing a game is a jolly good place to be."

Reaching out

Mobile gaming is, of course, always likely to appeal to some more than others. Teenagers, in particular under 15s, are most likely to experiment with new services.

"But increasingly I think we are going to see this group looking at the devices and means to reach out to the world and pull the world towards them and to re-order and re-structure it actually on the phone."


But do today's mobile services actually work? A clue to that question is that there is now a big business in solving people's mobile phone problems.

David Ffoulkes-Jones runs Wireless Data Services (WDS), a company that supplies technical support for most of the major mobile operators.

He feels major companies have not always thought through the services they are offering, but they are now getting much more involved in servicing and support of the end user."

emily | 2:56 PM | permalink

February 26, 2005

Ordering condoms by SMS

condom1.jpg cond.jpgMobiDoms by MobiVend allows UK mobile users to order condoms by text message.

Gentlemen no longer need to feel embarrased asking for condoms in a drugstore or helping themselves at dispenser in a crowded men's room, they can simply send an SMS to the MobiVend system and will receive FOUR condoms discreetly by mail order.

All items are dispatched under plain wrap, so no one will know what's been ordered. (Thanks Terry)

emily | 7:06 PM | permalink

Loan phones for jobless

Australian jobseekers will be allowed to borrow a mobile phone from their job network provider until they find work under a new scheme approved last week, reports

The Federal Government developed the "loan phone" scheme after a study found having a mobile phone increased a jobseeker's chances of securing employment by 30 per cent.

In particular the use of text messaging by jobseekers has proven to be an unqualified success."

emily | 3:19 PM | permalink

Mass Consumption - Cell phone waste - Mindboggling

cell_phones.gif Space and Culture via Clippings.reblog has a picture of (zillions) of discarded cell phones (Orlando), and another of cell phone chargers (Atlanta).

The photography by Chris Jordan is part of an exhibit titled Intolerable Beauty — Portraits of American Mass Consumption shown at the Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles.

Our consumerism holds an anesthetizing kind of mob mentality; collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for the consequences... So perhaps my photographs can serve as portals to a kind of cultural self-reflection. It may not be the most comfortable terrain, but I have heard it said that in risking self-awareness, at least we know we are awake." - Chris Jordan

emily | 10:49 AM | permalink

Baggy clothes banned from Middle School

rappers.jpg Last week the administrators of Carver Middle School in Delray Beach (Florida) began strictly enforcing a ban on hooded sweaters and baggy apparel because of increased incidents of students hiding CDs, CD players, MP3 players, cell phones and inappropriate clothing underneath, reports the The Boca Raton News.

"According to school officials, students are using the oversized apparel to hide CDs, Walkmans and cell phones underneath the clothes and listening to music or text messaging each other during class.

“We don't want them text messaging during the FCAT exam.” said principal Mary Stratos".

emily | 9:51 AM | permalink

Japan. Students lack sleep

High school students are experiencing a chronic lack of sleep and worsening health due to long hours on email messages, cell phones and nighttime visits to brightly lit convenience stores, according to a study by a team of researchers in Fukuoka Prefecture, reports Japan Today.

The study revealed that the students spend an average one hour and 13 minutes a day sending or reading email messages or talking to friends on their mobile phones, with 25.4% of them saying they spend two hours or more on such activities.

Based on how quickly they fall asleep or how refreshed they feel after a night of sleep, the study found that the quality of sleep tends to deteriorate among students who spend two or more hours on their cellphones.

The researchers said they believe that the students have trouble falling asleep because talking on the cell phone and sending or reading email messages make them tense.

"High school students today are not having healthy sleep both in terms of quality and quantity," Uchimura said. "Society, proliferated with emails and a 24-hour lifestyle, has turned them into nighthawks."

Related articles:

-- Mobile phones and video games 'are depriving children of sleep' (Belgian study)

-- SMS causes poor sleep (Belgian study)

-- Children text at night instead of sleeping (Australian study)

emily | 9:42 AM | permalink

February 25, 2005

March 1st. Nokia sneak preview

ComingFromNokia.jpg Heads up.

Nokia invites you to a sneak preview of the new products we'll be unveiling to the public at CeBIT 2005.

"Please visit this page beginning March 1st, from 10.30 am CET, to find out more!

[via Gadget Lounge]

emily | 4:30 PM | permalink

"Paris made me change my number" t-shirt

paris.jpg Silly.

Following the much mediatized story of Paris Hilton's mobile address book being hacked, and her celebrity friends numbers published on the Internet, what's next? How about a "Paris made me change my number" t-shirt.

From Glarkware via La Coctelera - Artilugios.

emily | 4:14 PM | permalink

Catholics worldwide praying for pope

Roman Catholics around the world stopped Thursday to pray for Pope John Paul II as word spread that he had again been rushed to the hospital, where he underwent a tracheotomy to help him breathe, reports the Associated Press.

In the Philippines, church officials relayed a prayer request to the faithful by text messaging.

emily | 3:27 PM | permalink

Google Web Movie Search + SMS Theater Search

filmreel.gif Google has created Movie Search Help, enabling users to search for film titles, actors, directors, movie genres, famous lines or plot details - just in time for the Oscars. And a new text messaging service (46645 or GOOGL on most phones) to look up show times for nearby theatres.

"Results also display the movie's average rating out of five stars and links to reviews, reports DMeurope via Google Weblog.

For users in the US, the addition to Google's search engine also allows them to find the closest theatre showing a particular film, as well as the show time, by inserting a zip code or city after the 'movie:' operator.

emily | 2:56 PM | permalink

Skype launches free SMS service

A free feature that lets users send short text messages to mobile phones from internet phone service Skype was being made available for testing starting on Thursday.

Prior to Thursday, people downloading the Skype software could only receive text messages, according to

"Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype are based on the same technological underpinnings as instant messages, which appear on PC desktops. Net phone operators are using text messaging to create a bridge between mobile phones and PC desktops.

By closing the message loop, Skype has outdone Yahoo!, AOL and Microsoft, which make the most popular instant-message software. AIM, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger only allow the sending of SMS."

emily | 2:50 PM | permalink

"Response Time is Wireless Killer App,” says Negroponte

lgforum_negroponte1.jpg "The killer application in mobile service is decided by response time,” MIT Professor Nicholas Negropontesaid during an interview - celebrating the opening of the LG cell phone research labin Seoul.

In his keynote speech, “The Future of Wireless,” Negroponte emphasized the right direction of change for mobile handsets. He insisted that any new function of handsets should be downloadable, but phone makers are just adding new functions in the device like inserting new tools into Swiss Army knife.

About the power efficiency, he said, future mobile handsets should be designed to be inserted in shoes so that people can use their phone while they are running or the battery system should be simple so that users have only to shake their phones to recharge them.

He emphasized simplicity, saying the industry always talks about easy-to-use interface, but nothing has been done; the smaller the handset gets, the thicker the manual becomes. He cited Swatch as an instance of the way the future wireless devices should take. According to him, although Swatch is widely known as a famous watch brand, it is the concept of “second watch” that the company has pursued. Likewise, he recommended, the handset industry should try for the “second handset.” Selling more handsets at lower price will lead to large profit, the renowned professor added.

emily | 12:41 PM | permalink

US Cell Phone-Only Users Pose Problem For Researchers

funphone.gif They're mainly young, single and urban. They move frequently, usually renting rather than owning their homes. Pollsters call them "cell phone only" because they don't own traditional phones.

As this hard-to-track population grows, so does the problem of accurately incorporating them into polling and scientific surveys that seek to measure everything from health and business practices to political attitudes, reports the Associated Press

The industry has to deal with the cell phone issue while it's still manageable or it will be doing that research work when cell phones have become a problem for surveys - "and that's not a good practice," said Mike Brick, a statistician at Westat, which handles scientific surveys for the federal government."

Related articles on political polls:

-- Phone Choices May Affect Polls

-- Are younger voters flying under the pollsters' radar?

-- Cell Phones Left Out

-- Conflicting polls add to election confusion

emily | 12:17 PM | permalink

"Electronic paper" display for MP3 players and cellphones

20050224_phone.jpg A technique first used to cut headlight glare in rear-view mirrors is adapted to create an "electronic paper" display for MP3 players and cellphones. The new screens can be viewed from almost any angle. [via New Scientist]

"A technique originally used to cut headlight glare in cars' rear-view mirrors has been adapted to create a new "electronic paper" display for MP3 players and mobile phones. It's called a NanoChromic display, or NCD".

emily | 11:19 AM | permalink

New Cell Phones Will Reach Out and Slap Someone

Samsung will release a mobile phone next month that tickle the person you talk to or basically slap them across the face, according to Live Science.

This is a catchy way of describing haptics technology which enable a phone to vibrate - but describing it this way is a bit unfortunate, when the UK has reported several incidents of a new craze called "Happy Slapping", where teenagers randomly slap a stranger riding public transportation, while a nearby friend takes a picture with a camera phone.

"The touchy-feely technology, reported by New Scientist magazine, is rooted in games that vibrate. In the phones, "vibrotactile" motors will literally reach out and touch that special someone, thanks to a technology,called haptics.

The most widespread use of haptics so far is in video gaming, in the vibrating game pads and force-feedback steering wheels that accompany Sony's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft's Xbox., according to New Scientist. Read also the Hindustan Times.

Related technology, sort of:

-- SMS with feeling - BT has developed new technology that takes mobile messaging to a new level where "actual emotions can be conveyed between family and friends in a physical and tactile way". (2003)

emily | 11:13 AM | permalink

February 24, 2005

Wind-Powered Cell Phones

Students at the Indian Institute of Technology have developed a pocket-sized turbine that attaches to your cellphone to charge it, reports Gizmodo.

"Best suited for use in costal areas with near-constant wind flow or long talks with your mother, the device can also be used during travel as long as you set it up against the wind.

The idea is to allow mobile users to charge and continue using their phone when they're away from electricity".

That would be fabulous, because in many developping nations, recharging cell phones is a real problem:

-- Five mile walk to recharge phones - "People from Ciosa, in Bistrita Nasaud county, are buying phones even though they have never had electricity in their village. Their network signal is good but they have to walk to the next village to recharge their phone batteries."

-- Mobile power - According to Rory Stear from Freeplay Energy, a company that develops and sells 'wind-up' energy generators, Kenya has 30 million people and three million cell phone users - but only 200,000 households that have electricity," he says.

"People mail their mobile phones to relatives with electricity at home just to recharge them...

emily | 6:03 PM | permalink

Text-a-friend: the high-tech approach to cheating

250208textcheating.jpg A very interesting article on student cheating, from uh, the horse's mouth, published in a school paper by the students themselves of Montgomery Blair High in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The article gives first account stories of student who have actually cheated during exams, unbeknownst to their clueless teachers.

"Teachers' ignorance of text-message cheating makes it even more tempting for students: In an informal Silver Chips poll of 19 teachers from different departments on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4, only two were aware that students use text-messaging to cheat. None have caught any students in the act.

Rachel, a student, feels that teachers are too inexperienced with technology to realize students would use it to their advantage. "They're not expecting [cheating] to be that high-tech. When they were in school, they didn't have cell phones. That's never going to cross their mind," she says.

Steven, a junior, says that teachers won't catch text-message cheaters since cell phones are so small. "The teachers can't pay attention to it. It looks like a PDA so when it beeps, I just say my PDA went off."

Steven says the only way teachers will catch on is if they learn the technology. "They need to get into technology so they can text-message each other," he says. That way, he says, teachers will understand the technology and be better able to detect text-message cheating."

Related articles:

-- Honor code to target high-tech cheating

-- New Cell Phone Technology to Block Exam Cheating

-- Exam scandal offers shades Orwell's fear

-- Education Ministry goes after cheaters

-- A Struggle of 18 Days with 280,000 Text Messages

-- 1,625 More Suspected of Exam Cheating

-- South Korean Students Burned for SMS Cheating

-- Answers Relayed From Other Organizations

-- Cheats stir jamming debate

-- Seoul Education Office Took Precautions Against Cheating

-- Students held for (Text Message) exam scam

emily | 5:14 PM | permalink

Virtual boyfriend to follow virtual girlfriend

girlfriend.184.1.jpg The New York Times has a story on Artificial Life's virtual girlfriend, Vivienne.

"Vivienne, the product of computerized voice synthesis, streaming video and text messages, is meant not only to bring business to Artificial Life (she will be available for a monthly fee of $6, not including the airtime costs paid to cellphone operators or the price of virtual chocolates and flowers). But she is also meant to be a lure for the new, higher-tech, third generation, or 3G, cellphones.

And good news

Vivienne will be joined by a virtual boyfriend for women and, after that, a virtual boyfriend for gay men and a virtual girlfriend for lesbians , is at the leading edge of a wave of services that companies are developing to take advantage of the much faster data transmission rates made possible by 3G technology.

These include the ability to download everything from high-resolution television news broadcasts to music videos to trailers of the latest movie releases."

Vivienne can handle English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish and Italian.

Related articles:

-- Virtual Girlfriend on your Mobile Phone - Programmers in Hong Kong have created an online dating game featuring a cyber dream girl that can be wooed and won via a 3G phone.

-- Texting with Chatterbots - In early 2002, wireless technology company, Link77, specializing in the development and operation of innovative mobile services, launched an SMS Chatterbot* called NataChata, a sophisticated text chat application for adults, based on Artificial Intelligence, enabling users to engage in provocative and sex texting... with a bot.

-- Send SMS to the Virtual User - KTF launches a new service allowing users to send SMS to a virtual user and to receive appropriate responses chosen from the company's large data base.

emily | 4:58 PM | permalink

UK gets official virus alert site

nachi-b.jpg A rapid alerting service that tells home computer users about serious internet security problems is being launched by the UK government, reports the BBC.

"The service, ITsafe, will issue warnings about damaging viruses, software vulnerabilities and weaknesses on devices such as mobile phones.

Alerts tell people how the threats affect them and what they can do to avoid trouble and protect themselves.

The service will be free and those who sign up can get e-mail or text alerts.

The scheme is aimed at home users and small businesses. The government estimates it will issue security alerts about six to 10 times a year, based on previous experience of virus outbreaks.

The creation of the national alert service follows similar efforts in the Netherlands and US."

emily | 10:37 AM | permalink

February 23, 2005

No Paris Hilton was not Bluesnarfed or Hit with Cabir

HiltonTinkerbell.jpg Blueserker explains how Paris Hilton's cell phone got hacked.

It was not - as some have reported - Bluetooth, it was not the Cabir virus. It had to do with her security settings.

"According to Wired and others, Hilton's security question was "What is the name of your favorite pet?".

Recent publicity over the loss & recovery of Tinkerbell has led to most of the English speaking world (that pays attention to these things) knowing the answer (Tinkerbell)."

emily | 10:30 PM | permalink

Despite new technology, Border Patrol overwhelmed

More than three years after the terrorist attacks in 2001, the 11,000 men and women who serve as the border's front-line defense are overwhelmed, reports

"Despite an influx of new technology, such as underground sensors and cameras that pan the desert, agents catch only about one-third of the estimated 3 million people who cross the border illegally every year.

[...] Agents are up against increasingly sophisticated smugglers. Even as the Border Patrol has gotten new high-tech equipment, so have the people they're trying to catch. Smugglers use two-way radios, cell phones, global positioning systems and other high-tech equipment to watch agents' movements and alert each other when the coast is clear".

emily | 9:44 PM | permalink

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