Archives for April 2005
April 30, 2005
Interesting insight from Islam Online on how cell phones are no luxury in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"Palestinian youths have indeed given the cellular technology a meaning by harnessing it in their everyday lives, thanks partly to charge-free services provided by operators.
And they do not buy mobiles just to hear them ring.
-- “We send SMS alerts to university students in the Gaza Strip informing them about exam and registration dates and keep them updated on the latest developments in their respective universities,” Ibrahim Salah, head of the student movement Islamic Bloc, told IslamOnline.
-- Sawt Al-Aqsa radio has also made use of the technology and started sending breaking news and updates for free to subscribers.
-- The alerts further serve as a wakeup call for Palestinians who want to perform the Dawn prayers on time.
-- Mosques regularly choose music-to-the-ears and eye-catching SMS to be their couriers to sleepy Palestinians."
Cellphone service providers in South Africa announced earlier this month that all cellphones reported missing or stolen would be blacklisted, reports Mobile Africa
"They went so far as to say that within minutes, these phones would be of no value to thieves.
But a Cape Argus investigation has discovered that there are small traders and cellular repair outfits in the city willing not only to swap SIM-cards in handsets but also to tackle the task of getting blacklisted phones working again.
And if this fails, they will buy the phone for spare parts.
Whether or not they succeed in getting a phone off the blacklist depends on the make and vintage of the handset and whether the phone is tied to a network operator.
These activities might be illegal, but the traders don't all operate from shady back alleys far away from the business hub.
The pirating methods to get around blacklisting include replacing components - according to these backstreet operators, even motherboards - as well as using software that in at least one case was downloaded from the internet.
This software reportedly changes the identity of a phone but cannot be used on all phones.
Police have admitted the availability of this technology is a loophole in the system and it will have to be looked at by the Justice Department. "
An English girl of nine with a mobile phone was sent text messages offering work as a sex escort, reports The Daily Mirror.
"One text said: "Free sex and get paid for it. Men and females needed to escort high class individuals today and earn £150."
Sharon, of Weston- super-Mare, Somerset, is with Vodafone. It said her number was on a fake list of potential customers sold to an "adult service".
Results from an inquiry will go to the authorities."
April 29, 2005
Seoul YMCA announced recently that it would initiate a campaign to make SMS be free of charge. YMCA argued that it is no longer an 'additional' or 'special' service but a common service because 90% of mobile subscribers are now reported to use it, reports Telecoms Korea.
"SMS was free in the early stage of mobile service but mobile carriers increased the fee from 10, 20 to 30 ($0,3) won per message. YMCA said that mobile subscribers will pay approximately one trillion won for SMS this year.
The group said that mobile carriers take advantage of the service without making any additional facility investment and they have earned massive amount of money, tens of times the initial investment."
In Europe, consumer groups have been complaining of the high fees asked by the operators for text messaging, in France last year, UFC-Que choisir called for an SMS boycott to protest the cost of the service. In Switerland where I live, an SMS cost between Sfr 0,15 and 0,25 (12 and 21 cents!)
Telecoms Korea has published pictures two Pantech & Curitel Phones which have not yet been unveiled. No details.
An Englishman was told yesterday that he faces jail if he is ever caught with a mobile phone after making a string of hoax calls, reports icLiverpool.
"The order prohibits him from making any phone calls or using any other forms of communication to report false, malicious or unmerited matters to any 999 emergency services".
"The free service delivers the top ten news stories written by Reuters correspondents in 200 bureaux around the world. Each story is illustrated with pictures from photographers on the scene.
It is available on 70 different Web-enabled handsets, including LG, Motorola, Nokia, Siemens, Panasonic, Sharp and SonyEricsson."
New Zealand cinema owners may use mobile phone jamming technology to stop mid-movie calls, text messaging — and cell phone rage among patrons, reports the Associated Press.
"The national Motion Pictures Exhibitors Association said it's studying the legality of using mobile phone jammers because of the disruption from the phones during movie screenings.
Association spokesman Duncan Mackenzie said the jammers could be used in the 200-member group's cinemas round the country.
Mobile phones in cinemas were a "huge disruption" to moviegoers, Mackenzie said."
"Even texting creates so much light and it's unfair to expect that people should have to put up with it," he said."
Related article: - Cell Phone Jammers Authorized in French Theaters
Chinese police have sent a message warning against anti-Japanese demonstrations to more than 30 million mobile phone users as part of a campaign to prevent protests planned for next week's May holiday, reports The Financial Times.
"The warning, sent as a text message to mobile phones in the eastern province of Jiangsu this week, underlines the government's determination to counter the use of wireless technology by activists to mobilise and win greater reach for its own propaganda.
The police message says no Japan-related protests have been approved during the May 1 holiday, which begins at the weekend, and that such demonstrations would be "illegal activities".
"Please do not believe rumours and false news", says the message.
In Shanghai, journalists at one state media website have been ordered to send at least 10 mobile text messages or internet "instant messages" to friends and acquaintances warning against unapproved protest".
April 28, 2005
"The stylus has a built-in circuit that receives electronic waves from a sensor underneath the phone's screen to input writing by the user
Because of its miniature circuit, the stylus measures just 3.5mm in diameter and 6.2cm in length, versus existing ones which are about 10cm long with a diameter of 8mm. It weighs just one gram.
The new product will be targeted for use by the elderly and others who have difficulty using buttons in composing messages on cell phones."
File under whacky.
Villagers in ye olde London hamlet of Meopham are blaming a 3G upgrade to a mobile phone mast for the mysterious behaviour of their cars, reports the The Inquirer.
"Apparently since the upgrade, villager's cars have become possessed and have a mind of their own. Sometimes they lock their owners out, other times they just switch on their car alarms.
A small mob is forming to force Vodafone to do something about its mast at Meopham train station.
Subaru has confirmed its cars can be affected by radiation from 3G masts, but the problem seems to affect all makes and models.
There is just one slight snag. The mast has been there for years, and there have been no problems before. According to Vodafone, the mast has not been upgraded to 3G either".
A gang of 30 motorbike riders, have attacked mobile phone sellers in Ghana, knocking down with clubs, wooden kiosks and glass cases displaying cell phones and accessories, according to Ghana Web.
"Some of the sellers said that they lost all their goods in the attack and have nothing to sell apart from owing their suppliers."
Thefts of Ipod portable music players and of cell phones fueled a 20 percent spike last month in New York city subways, officials said, reports The Ithica Journal
"In some cases, bandits have lifted the iPods from unsuspecting straphangers. In others, the thieves -- after spotting victims wearing the telltale white earphones -- have snatched the devices and fled out train doors.
Reports of cell phone thefts have more than doubled to 165 from 82 last year. The thieves target high-tech models that allow them to insert their own computer cards and take over service, police said.
On Web sites, iPod devotees have shared their own crimefighting tips. Some advise always keeping the devices concealed and switching to cheaper-looking earphones.
In an interesting use of SMS text-messaging, New York Mets' and Knicks' fans were sent SMS text-messages to enlist their support in putting MSG Network and Fox Sports New York back on cable television. [via eMediaWire]
"The effort began with the creation of a protest website www.givebackmsg.com, a place where fans could air their opposition to the TWC decision and also serve as a forum for discussion on the issue.
To help drive fan awareness and traffic on the protest site, MSG enlisted the assistance of Insite Media Group and Unwired Appeal to send SMS text-message alerts to an opt-in list of both Knicks' and Mets' fans."
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. And explains how the don ran his gang from the confines of his cell.
Related 2003 article: - Staying well connected in jail
Cell phones may help to get inside the teen brain. If a new Australian study works out, we may have a unique insight into teenage depression. ABCnet.au reports.
Dr Sophie Reid from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute is behind this novel research.
"What we've done is design a software program that actually loads onto a young person's mobile phone," explains Dr Reid, "and with our software program we actually track the experience of mood, their expectations of stress and how they cope with stress across time, so we can actually look at the way in which depression develops in young people."
Participants in Sophie Reid's study get a $1,000 mobile phone to use for a week or two. They receive SMS messages with simple easily answered questions like Where are you? What are you doing? Has anything stressful happened? What did you do?
These questions are asked three or four times a day, and across a week to a month. Our researcher finds that her subjects generally give honest and helpful answers."
April 27, 2005
Yet another case were a cell phone is found at a crime scene and incriminates a suspect, this time in the Bay Area. The Daily Review reports:
"Lee was found guilty of second-degree murder Tuesday in the shooting death of Roderick Kelly, a former housemate gunned down Jan. 6, 2003, at Palma Ceia Park.
It is Deputy District Attorney Butch Ford's position that Lee unwittingly dropped the cell phone as he chased Kelly through the park, firing his handgun at the hulking man who bullied and intimidated residents at the Decator Way home.
Related stories - where cell phones incriminate suspects:
-- The N91 is a music phone with dedicated music keys and a 4GB hard drive for storing up to 3,000 songs. Available 4th quarter.
-- The N90: High-end visual multimedia phone with twisting display and camera. Available early summer.
-- The N70: Similar to existing 6680 model, upgraded to a 2-megapixel main camera. Available in the 3rd quarter.
Check out Gizmodo too for great pictures, they're covering Nokia's press conference live from Amsterdam.
MTV encouraged young viewers to continue to vote via SMS for 'Artist of the Decade' during TMF Awards ceremony broadcast earlier this month, even though the result was already known and had been released to the press in advance. [via DMeurope]
April 26, 2005
A Korean mobile provider, Momoweb unveiled 'Motion-G', a simple accessory that can change an ordinary cell phone into a vibrating game phone.
'Motion-G' is equipped with a motion sensor and can be inserted into a slot on ordinary (compatible) handsets so that users can enjoy sophisticated mobile games", reports Telecoms Korea.
"The device works by recognizing handsets' moving direction, inclination and speed."
Have you ever felt a stranger's eye secretly watching your cell phone messages in a crowded bus or subway?
Well, help is at hand. A new device blocks prying eyes, reports Telecoms Korea.
"Shehwa P&C introduced Magic Screen, a privacy-protection film at IT Korea KIECO exhibition on Tuesday. Users can fix the Magic Screen onto their own cell phones' screen and protect their private information - Anyone peeking from 30 degrees to the left or to the right will see only an empty screen."
Mobile handset maker Nokia has inked a deal with Yahoo! to pre-install the Internet portal's services on Nokia Smartphones, according to Netimperative.
"The deal means Yahoo!'s Search for Mobile service will be instantly accessible for series 60 Smartphone users, alongside Yahoo's email and entertainment services.
The first Nokia devices with Yahoo! Internet services are the Nokia 6680, Nokia 6681 and the Nokia 6630, with more devices to be announced on 27 April."
Up to a quarter of a charity donation made by text message is kept by (UK) mobile phone companies, according to the Daily Mirror.
"Gifts of £3 made by text to London Marathon charities were cut to £1.80 after phone operators and the taxman took their cut".
Marcus O'Shea, of Breast Cancer Care, which began taking SMS gifts last month, said: "We accepted we would only receive 65 per cent of all donations. The rest would go to network operators."
Another day, another study on mobile phone safety and more good news.
This time it's Japan's mobile phone operators, NTT DoCoMo, Inc., KDDI Corporation, Vodafone K.K. and TU-KA Cellular Tokyo Inc. who report that interim findings that radio frequency energy from mobile phone base stations does not affect human cells. [via Telecoms Korea]
"The findings will be announced at the Bioelectromagnetics (BEMS) Annual Meeting 2005 from June 19 to 24 in Ireland and have also been submitted to the BEMS Journal.
The study has already been registered in the WHO database. The companies intend to continue their research and publish further results".
Sadhana TV in India is offering the wisdom of a panel of 40 gurus by SMS text messaging.
Viewers can send a question to their favorite Sadnana TV guru and receive their answer—all by text messaging over their mobile phone. Managing Director Rakesh Gupta says they're already getting over 20,000 messages a day.... via Indian Express via boingboing via Guruphiliac.
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April 25, 2005
Two different cell phone fashion statements today from Sprint.
Left - Sprint will offer an exclusive line of handset cases by handbag designer Dooney & Bourke, available in several styles, according to a company press release.
Right - Sprint Phones in a Wide Spectrum of Colors - Sprint and Sanyo are offering a choice of phones in different colors.
The expansion includes last month's introduction of the Sprint PCS Voice Phone SCP-200 by Sanyo and today's launch of the Sprint PCS Vision Phone VI-2300 by Sanyo. Combined, the two phones will be available in a total of nine different color options.
File under something to remember. Never leave a cell phone charger plugged in when not in use. (Mine is always plugged in!)
A house burned down in Duchess County New York, when a cell phone charger heated up and short circuited. [via wnbc].
In their own words:
The Cell Phone Stun Gun incorporates its unique design to give you a tactical advantage. Personal Alarm and 180,000 volt stungun with case.
Choose from either navy blue or pearl silver and the cell phone stun gun comes with a free genuine leather carrying case.
It also has a safety switch to prevent accidental discharge. Uniquely designed right into a regular cellphone body so there's no question of how it looks. It's authentic! Just don't let anyone make a phone call!"