Archives for March 2005
March 31, 2005
Time Warner Cable has begun testing its own mobile-phone service in Kansas City, according to a company source, signaling a move by the cable industry to compete against local phone companies' wireless dominance. [via News.com].
"Earlier this week, Time Warner Cable started marketing Sprint mobile phones to its subscribers in Kansas City. While the phones are branded and operated by Sprint, Time Warner Cable is handling billing procedures and marketing for the service, the source said."
In their own words:
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Updated April 28, 2005 Related articles from around the world on inmates and cell phones:
-- Don who ran gang from jail cell - Delhi News Online has just now the published the text of the SMS message sent by underworld don Aftab Ahmed Ansari in 2003 to one of his aides directing him to eliminate two ACPs of Delhi police while he was in custody at Presidency Jail, Kolkata.
-- Inmates charged over cell phones - Two prisoners have been charged under prison rules after three mobile phones were found in Maghaberry prison (Northern Ireland).
-- Prisons See Increase In Cell Phone Smuggling - The Tennessee Department of Corrections said they've caught a number of inmates who smuggled cell phones into prison.
-- Cell phones being smuggled into prisons - News 8 has obtained exclusive video of a dangerous trend that Texas prison officials are battling to stop: inmates getting their hands on cell phones to continue illegal activity from within prison walls.
-- NSW seeks mobile jamming trial - The Commonwealth (Australia) should conduct a trial of mobile phone jamming equipment in prison to combat the growing threat of technology-savvy terrorists.
-- Gangster Curtis Warren faces new drugs charges from jail - He may have been locked up in a Dutch prison cell for almost a decade, but Curtis Warren is still the name in Liverpool's underworld - thanks to cell phones smuggled into prison
-- Convicts grumble as cops steal their 'luxury' - Deprived of their flat-screen televisions, cellphones, pizza deliveries and long visits from lovers, inmates at Mexico's top security prison complained on Monday they are being treated "like dogs.
-- Feds probe jail phone incident in Hammond (Indiana) - Federal officials are investigating how a smuggled cell phone got into the hands of a federal inmate housed at the Hammond City Jail in the past month.
--Norway: Cell phone ban in jails proposed - The Norwegian government wants to ban all use of cell phones in Norwegian jails because of reports stating that cell phones are used to plan escapes
-- Phones in prisons a widespread problem in Mexico Homesick inmates aren't just calling home. They are coordinating armed robberies, drug deals and kidnappings, authorities say.
-- Prison Cells - Recently, prison officials, aware of one inmate's illegal phone, allowed him to make calls so that they could monitor his activities. Once they were ready to seize the phone, however, the inmate flushed it down the toilet.
-- The newest prison contraband: cellphones - Cellphones are becoming the newest form of coveted contraband, allowing inmates to communicate freely with the outside world and, at times, conduct illicit activity from behind bars.
-- Cell phones becoming one of most prized contraband items - Cell phones have joined the ranks of the most prized illicit commodities inside Texas prison cells
-- Crossed signals over jail mobile phone jamming - The New South Wales Government has accused the Federal Government of blocking a trial of mobile phone jamming in the State's jails
-- Prisoners shown smoking drugs and using mobiles - A Brazilian TV station has shocked the country by screening footage of maximum security prisoners freely smoking cannabis and using mobile phones.
-- Inmate Sentenced for Nextel Phone Scam - A US inmate used a jail telephone to impersonate Hollywood executives and dupe Nextel Communications out of more than 1,000 cell phones.
-- Mobiles in top security prison - Four mobiles were discovered hidden by inmates at one of Britain's top security prisons.
-- Staying well connected in jail - A mafia don in prison in New Delhi, planned the killing of Police officers by SMS.
-- Convict ran drug ring from prison - A Canadian inmate organized a cocaine run from Miami to Canada. Partners on the outside paid for his cell phone bills through phone cards.
-- Camera phone in Sydney jail gets media attention - An illegall photo of flamboyant jailed stockbroker Rene Rivkin, serving the first 24 hours of his sentence for insider trading, was taken on a mobile phone camera inside the detention center and published on the front page of Sydney's Sunday Telegraph.
Engadget reports that researchers at Gifu University and Gunze in Japan have created what they say is an ultra-thin solar cell that can be applied to fabrics.
"They're showing off a prototype solar-cell blouse that they say can charge a cellphone. How cool is that?
"All GPS-Art projects use the GPS-12 device (Global Positioning System), as well as the cell phone system. GPS-12 refers to the 12 satellites hanging above the Northern half of the globe; it's used for navigation and measures in an interactive way many topographic parameters including latitude and speed.
These measurments are the starting point of many art projects of GPS-Art."
One more inmate and cell phone story. This time in Tenessee.
The Tennessee Department of Corrections said they've caught a number of inmates who smuggled cell phones into prison, News Channel 5 reports.
"Close to 300 cell phones have been confiscated from Tennessee inmates in the past two years, prison spokeswoman Amanda Sluss said. Most of the phones were discovered in the state's largest penitentiary, located north of Memphis.
Inmates who smuggle phone in often use the phones to continue criminal activity behind bars, prison officials said.
Prisoners caught with a phone are disciplined; sometimes they are put in 23-hour lockdown if they have been in trouble before."
Huge news today in Ringtonia.
A Bulgarian student was fined for sending an ominous sms to the Interior's chief secretary, Sofia News Agency reported.
"Don't mess with the game or we will have you shot dead," the short message read.
Receiver Lieutenant-General Boyko Borissov complained that, though not the first of its kind, the menace frightened his closest people."
Reactions to Thursday's Supreme Court ruling recognizing Reform and Conservative conversions performed mostly in Israel - but completed abroad - were swift and fierce, according to Ynetnews.
Shas chairman Eli Yishai called the decision a “terror attack on Jewish identity,” and said “all that's left is to recognize conversions by SMS (cell phone text messages).”
"It has basically the symptoms as ADD -- such as an inability to concentrate on one task at at time -- except it's context dependent.
ADT is caused by the technologies of constant interruption in the modern workplace and the modern home, such as email, instant messaging, SMSes, mobile phones, and endless meetings (or endless preplanned children's sports).
The thing that makes the two conditions different, he says, is that ADD seems to be hardwired, while ADT goes away when you're on vacation or in a relaxing, non-hyper-stimulated place."
Illustration from the cover of a book entitled Women with Attention Deficit Disorder.
"The company aims to win customers from rival mobile networks or those who use calling cards to dial abroad - an industry said to be worth £500m a year. It claimed people could save up to 98% on calls with Mobile World."
SCOOT is a mixed reality experience designed by Deb Polson and Marcos Caceres, to explore the potentials of location-based games.
Players have to solve clues located both in the real world and the virtual world. They interact with strange objects, receive information via SMS to their phones and have to text their answers to the games clues back to SCOOT.
As part of their journey around the site players will be introduced to the area and its surrounds. This orientation will not only be spatial, as the game explores also the history of the place and its dynamics.
reBlogged from near near future.
In spite of the rise of ringtones and other data services, messaging still accounts for 85% of all youth data revenues accoring to a the mobileYouth 2005 report. [via 160characters.org].
"The report says that the 'sweet spot' for messaging is among the 15-19 yr olds and is a $26.6 billion dollar market that looks set to increase $12 billion by 2007. In spite of the growth of rintones, games and other mobile content services, this still only represents 15% of the revenues on data services from teenagers."
Yet another product that lets doctors monitor their patients through a wireless device.
This time, Nordic telecommunications operator TeliaSonera AB is launching a new system, called BodyKom, which connects wirelessly to sensors on the patient. If dangerous changes are detected in the patient's body, the hospital or health care services are automatically alerted over a secure mobile network connection, according to CNN.
"The unit receiving the alarm will also be informed of the geographic position of the patient through the use of GPS technology.
TeliaSonera is launching the service together with Hewlett Packard Co. and Swedish technology company Kiwok.
"It can be difficult for patients to understand exactly how their body feels, if for example there is irregular heart activity," said Professor Christer Sylven of the Karolinska University Hospital in Solna, just outside Stockholm. "In theory, the patient would be able to be at home or at work and still feel safe. If something were to happen, health care personnel would know immediately and be able to respond more quickly."
The concept will be tested this spring, either at the Karolinska University Hospital or the Uppsala University Hospital, Kiwok spokesman Bjoern Soederberg said."
They are the ultimate gadget for anyone bored in a queue or commuting to and from work: video sunglasses, according to the Times Online.
"Connected to a portable DVD player, mobile phone or digital camera, the Teleglass projects films, text messages or pictures directly on to the left lens of the glasses, filling the vision in that eye but leaving the other free to allow the viewer to move around.
The gadget's manufacturer, Scalar, a Japanese medical technology company, says that the design is a cross between the magnifiers used by dentists and the hands-free displays that help helicopter pilots to aim a machinegun."
March 30, 2005
A New Jersey father discovered to his horror that his 16-year-old daughter rang up a whopping $1,058 cellphone bill, reports the New York Post.
The bill covered a month and a half, was more than 200 pages long and listed more than 12,000 text messages. Ashley had sent and received almost all of them while she was in school.
Ashley "no longer has a cellphone," said her father, who now knows why his daughter has been failing math and social studies.
Her cellphone bill showed messages sent "at 8:01, 8:02, 8:03, 8:04 — all the way through to 3 p.m. on some days," he said. "Everyone in school" is doing it, he added.
Korea's major mobile operators earned W113 billion (US$113 million) last year from selling adult content, reveals Digital Chosunibo. The number of people who bought adult content through their mobile phones accounted for almost half of all mobile phone subscribers.
According to a report submitted by the Information and Communication Ministry, out of the total revenues of W2.4 trillion earned by mobile operators from providing wireless internet service, some W113 billion came from selling adult materials.
There were as many as 18.7 million uses of the service and assuming that each subscriber used the service once, almost one in two subscribers bought obscene materials using their cell phones.
Despite the growing use of adult content through mobile phones, the government has not come up with any measures to protect minors from pornography.
AwareFashion, by Richard Etter, Diana Grathwohl, Sigmund Homolya, are clothes that react to invisible communication technology in the surrounding and since most people wear mobile devices the system also enables the wearer to sense the presence of other people.
The AwareFashion shirt has sleeves that glow in the proximity of switched-on mobile phones. It features an antenna, a tiny circuit board, button cells and fiber optics woven into the cloth. The antenna detects radio waves of GSM mobiles. The circuit board processes the radio waves and converts them to light which travels through fiber optics to the end of the sleeves. There the light emits and indicates the presence of near mobiles.
The antenna and circuit are hidden in a detachable pocket and the fiber optics sewed in the cloth are used as fashion design elements. When a mobile is near, small light spots appear at the end of the sleeves. The color of the light can be chosen by the wearer, so he can match it to his style.
The team is currently developing an AwareFashion Item that detects WLAN.
Israelis are being asked to turn off their cell phones for 24 hours next Monday. A request to this effect was relayed by e-mail over the past month with the subject line: "Don't phone me on 4.4,"
The reason for this shutout is the increase in air-time prices, supposedly designed to compensate the companies for the revenues they lost after the government ordered them to reduce the interconnection fees they charge for calls between different networks.
Problem is that such an expression of disapproval will soon become impossible as people become ever more dependent on their portable phones.
The Korean government is to fine advertisers who send text messages or call customers for promotions without receiving prior consent, reveals JoonAng Daily.
Until now, advertisers were allowed to contact customers unless the customers asked them not to.
Those who receive spam telephone calls or text messages are urged to file a report on the Korea Spam Response Center's Web site (www.spamcop.or.kr), or call the department (02-1336).
"We will primarily focus on advertisements offering credit card loans or real estate deals, and 060 calls, which usually contain sexual content. Advertisements in these three areas make up about 90 percent of all mobile spam ads," said Information Ministry official Jang Seok-young. Violators will be fined up to 30 million won ($29,431).
March 29, 2005
The number of complaints filed about mobile phone service soared 38 percent last year in the US, raising to 29,478 in 2004 from 21,357 in 2003, according to the Consumers Union.
"The numbers don't lie -- there continues to be a problem, and it's getting worse, not better," said Janee Briesemeister, a senior policy advocate for the consumer advocacy group. .
Billing problems were the No. 1 complaint among consumers. Complaints about transferring their phone numbers, service quality, contracts and marketing were close behind.
Cingular Wireless had the worst combined complaint record for 2004 and Verizon and US Cellular had the lowest number of complaints. (via CNN)
The Washington Post reports that in the political spring of protest and debate about democracy in repressive Arab countries, cell phone text messaging has become a powerful underground channel of free and often impolite speech, especially in the Persian Gulf monarchies, where mobile phones are common but candid public talk about politics is not.
Demonstrators use SMS to mobilize followers, dodge authorities and swarm quickly to protest sites. Candidates use text services to call supporters to the polls or circulate candidate slates in countries that supposedly ban political groupings. And anonymous activists blast their adversaries with jokes, insults and political limericks.
Text messaging also appears to be popular because it has captured Arab pop literary imaginations. In Gulf societies, where rhetorical speech is celebrated and poetry is prominent, the quipping format of a text message offers a new twist on tradition. Activists deliberate over their compositions and memorize their favorite zingers, passing them from phone to phone.
Globe and Technology writes that British Columbia kids will be able to use their mobile phones to make their voices heard on key voter issues thanks to a new mobile network developed by the University of British Columbia.
The Get Your Vote On mobile network is an on-line community that uses mobile technology to engage and educate young people about citizenship, democracy and key voter issues, and can represent the opinions of its members accurately and instantly. Through the network, participants can communicate with each other about key voter issues through SMS, receive updates about upcoming educational and political events, and participate in polls that could be shared with media and politicians.
Fans of American Idol TV show can now chat with one another by using their Cingular mobile phones, writes Mobile Burn.
Two chat services are available: "Idol Chat," a community based service that allows AMERICAN IDOL fans to communicate with other IDOL fans, and "Idol Interview," a service that allows fans to interview the featured American Idol celebrity guest. Charges will appear on the customer's mobile phone bill.
Participants enter a chat room where they exchange text messages on their handset. Every message is read and cleared by moderators before being sent.
In Idol Interview, one celebrity takes the "stage" and answers questions posed by the participating wireless audience. One star chat is planned per week, running for at least 30 minutes. Moderators and producers read each text message sent and select as many as they can for the celebrity to answer during the event.
Three Romanian journalists kidnapped in Baghdad managed to send desperate messages to relatives and colleagues before disappearing on Monday.
"We're kidnapped. This is not a joke," one of the three, Prima TV reporter Marie Jeanne Ion, managed to message her mother from her mobile phone.
Details in The New York Times.
March 28, 2005
When was the last time you memorized a phone number?, asks GlobeTechnology.
Probably before you got your cellphone. There are now so many cell, home, business, pager and fax numbers that we are taking advantage of a device more suited to number storage than the brain.
The human memory is best suited for recording information up to nine digits long, says Dr. Edward Tenner, but a phone number and its area code are 10 digits, which exceeds people's levels of comfortable memorization.
And with voice dialing and phone books carried in PDA or phones, the need to keep numbers in mind (or written down) is reduced.
The rise of the cellphone as phone book simply "shows people are flexible and are responsive to their environment in ways that are efficient," said James E. Katz, from Rutgers University. But efficiency can also become dependency, of course, and that has its risks. "Their entire memory bank of social contacts is contained in that phone," he said. "And if they lose that phone, it becomes a grievous process to try and establish everyone's phone number."
In the short run, the number of numbers to remember seems destined to grow. There are also fears that North America could run out of assignable 10-digit numbers by about 2030.
But by then, there may be just one omnibus address for each person to use for e-mail messages, instant messages and phone contact. "By the year 2030, I could imagine most people wouldn't even have phone numbers," said Bob Atkinson at Columbia University.
For now, though, people may just have to back them up — or write them down.
After some 15 months, 15 months Kuwaiti-based MTC has finally launched its official GSM network in Baghdad, to coincide with the recent Telecom Arabia show.
MTC – which partners with Vodafone – claims its 1,800 kilometres of network have been rolled out with the help of a 100 per cent Iraqi workforce, reports The Inquirer.
Part of the deal surrounding the granting of its licence was to roll out the GSM network in the south of Iraq before being allowed to cover the war-torn capital. As such, MTC Atheer now has over 360, 000 subscribers in Iraq.
In fact, MTC is fast becoming a Middle Eastern mobile network leader with operations in Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait and the Lebanon.
A Dutch company has introduced a downloadable program for mobile phones, called SimWatcher, which sends out a text message when someone steals a mobile phone and replaces the SIM card, informs The Register (and Javamania, in dutch).
The software reveals via an email the number of the person who stole the phone and displays a message every ten minutes on the stolen phone, saying it belongs to someone else.
The software costs €10 and can be installed by sending a message with an attachment or by WAP.
Some phone companies are already able to block a stolen phone by determining the mobile's International Mobile Equipment Identity, a 15 digit unqiue code which is entered into the network's central database. Once reported stolen, the handset will be immobilised and deactivated across every network.
Two intruders ambushed a Ware Road couple Thursday, but the home invasion was foiled when the woman ran into the bathroom and called police, writes North Jersey.
The couple were home alone when someone knocked at the door. When the homeowner cracked open the front door a gunman pushed his way in and pointed a gun at his head.
A second man began searching for the wife, who was hiding in the bathroom. When he found the bathroom locked, he kicked the door down - and found the woman with a cellphone in her hands. The startled men fled.