Archives for August 2005
August 31, 2005
"To enter, uses need to buy a packet of Walkers crisps and text or email their unique 10 digit code found on the back of pack to be entered into the next five-minute draw to win an iPod mini.
Walkers is backing the promotion with a new microsite, winwithwalkers which contains hints and tips on the busiest and quietest entry times."
Google has just launched Google Film, a new web search feature that enables users in the UK to search for local film showtimes, read critics' reviews, and search for films by plot, genre and more, according to Computer Business Review Online
And it includes an SMS feature that enables users to get film showtimes and cinema listings on their mobile phone or handheld device via text messaging.
-- Film search by SMS - Following a successful 6 month pilot test, several Australian movie complexes have launched an SMS movie search service, using natural language processing (NLP), enabling movie goers to enquire which films are playing at the movie theater and at what time.
This story is not really related to cell phones, but to their disapearing cousin, the pager.
A 10-year-old girl has been saved from drowning by a computer system designed to raise the alarm when swimmers get into difficulties, reports the BBC
The girl, from Rochdale, was at the deep end of the pool in Bangor, north Wales, when she sank to the bottom.
The £60,000 system, called Poseidon, detected her on the pool floor and sounded the alarm. A lifeguard pulled her out and she recovered in hospital."
More on Poseidon:
Poseidon addresses a real need to help lifeguards maintain a vigilant watch over the swimmers in the pool.
Poseidon consists of a network of cameras placed in and around the swimming pool, connected to a PC that executes Vision IQ's CAS software. The system analyzes, in real-time, the images from the cameras, follows the trajectories of the swimmers in the pool, and when a suspicious situation is detected, sounds an alarm, directing lifeguard personnel to the location of the incident."
Mobile phone technology being used by Waikato District Health Board dental therapists has the potential to revolutionise dental health services across New Zealand, according to stuff.co.nz.
"The new system called DentIS is based on a personal digital assistant (PDA) and combines the facilities of a mobile phone and a hand-held computer.
The technology gives school dental workers fast, wireless access to the records of 54,000 Waikato children treated by the dental service and allows therapists to spend more time with children, rather than on administration.
"Given the often transient nature of children this means all we need is a name and date of birth to give us records and details of treatment," Diane Pevreal, acting manager of the school dental service said.
"(Previously) the dental therapists would update the clinical records for a child by hand and then courier these for scanning into a central database," Mrs Pevreal said".
Pedestrian: A Walking Tour for Multiple Voices and Portable Phones - by Geek Ink-- was a performance piece that took New York audiences on walking tours in groups of ten on three separate routes led by three actresses through the East Village (August 27 and 28).
According to Network Performance, The project allows the participants to "eavesdrop" on cell phone conversations exploring the topic of loss - from lost tempers and lost loves to lost identities.
Pedestrian explores the public airing of private speech, which occurs daily on the streets of New York. Connected by cell phones, the actresses invite the audience to overhear their conversations, confessions, and revelations; in fact, all participants are connected by a conference call service, allowing each tour participant to hear all three tour guides simultaneously."
Concierge This! is a reminder service providing various useful reminders by voice or text messaging, such as wake up calls, appointment/birthday reminders, motivation messages, sales promotion or concert alerts. As incentive to join, a $ 5.- referral reward if offered, which can be kept or donated to a charity.
"Refer your friends, family, and co-workers to the “Concierge This!” service and receive $5.00 for each referral to keep or to donate. Corporation can refer their employees and send the referral proceeds to charity. Since there is no overhead 100% of the donated funds go directly to the charitable organizations." [press release]
Prayers for money, jobs and even boyfriends have been flooding a Philippine Catholic Church project allowing Filipinos to send their petitions via text messages from their cellular phones, reports the Taipei Times.
"The petitions sent to the "Text Mary" project are forwarded for inclusion in the intentions of daily Masses held in churches in Manila and in the prayers of Carmelite nuns , the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper reported.
Many texters prayed for jobs and financial assistance with one asking divine intervention to win a lottery jackpot and others seeking God's help to find jobs in Canada, New Zealand or the US. One woman appealed to God to make her boyfriend "keep his promise to marry early next year" while another petitioner asked that her friend find a boyfriend within the year."
The Rotterdam-Rijnmond police sent 17,000 people, SMS messages on Tuesday requesting their help track down the hooligans involved in the riot on the day of the Feyenoord-Ajax football match last April, reports Expatica.
"The SMS read: "During the football riots on 17 April 2005 you were in the vicinity of stadium De Kuip. The police are looking into this incident and ask for your assistance. See: www.politie-rijnmond.nl."
The police received the telephone numbers but not the names of the owners of the mobiles".
The sexes are divided over mobile phone usage - men like to play games and women to buy ringtones, according to the Age.
... "The study revealed that age and demographic influenced the type of content people had on their phones:
-- 34 per cent of Australian women bought ringtones in the past year compared to 27 per cent of men.
-- As for games, 15 per cent of men had bought them in the last 12 months, compared to only 10 per cent of females.
-- Married participants tended to use the movie reviews more than most, but used the comedy and astrology services less than others.
-- Males tended to use news and adult content, comedy and sport more than females, while females used more astrology content than males.
-- A whopping 97 per cent of respondents used SMS and over half used pictures, music and sounds on their mobile phone.
Mobile phone use does not raise the risk of cancer, at least in the first 10 years of use, the largest investigation to date shows, reports the BBC.
"The latest Institute of Cancer Research work includes data from five European countries and more than 4,000 people.
Expert advice is still to limit mobile phone use as a precautionary measure." [via Engadget]
August 30, 2005
According to Statistics Finland, mobile phone calls accounted for 64% of all phone calls, and nearly half of call minutes in Finland, in 2004.
... A total of 2.2bn text messages were sent in 2004, representing an increase of 33% from 2003.
By year end 2004, there were 96 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, and 46 fixed-line subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. [via eFinland]
More than 50,000 bare-breasted virgins vied to become the King of Swaziland's 13th wife on Monday in a ceremony which critics say ill befits a country with the world's highest HIV/AIDS rate.
King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, arrived dressed in a leopard-skin loincloth to watch the Reed Dance ceremony, which he has used since 1999 to pluck new brides from the girls dressed in little more than beaded mini-skirts.
... the girls danced around the royal stadium in the hope of catching the eye of the 37-year-old monarch. "I want to live a nice life, have money, be rich, have a BMW and cellphone," said one dancer, 16-year-old Zodwa Mamba, who wore a traditional brightly colored tasseled scarf."
The new "disease" about to sweep the nation is Orexiaorexia. Fun from Fox News.
"Our biggest Grrrs will come when some unoriginal news copywriter starts putting an "orexia" or "orexic" at the end of every addictive condition, much like the suffix "-gate" is added to every scandal.
The birth of the term "tanorexia - which describes people who can't get dark enough - and its skin-damaging effects are the least of our problems.
We news consumers will now be subjected to words like "colarexic" for kids who drink too much cola. "Shoporexic" will replace the equally unoriginal shopaholic and "pokerexia" will describe those who can't stop playing Texas hold'em.
"Textorexia" describes the constant text messaging that occurs on cell phones, two-way pagers and Blackberries.
"DIYorexics" are people who are addicted to "Extreme Makeover" and other home improvement shows.
"Videorexia" will refer to PlayStation 2 and Xbox addicts, as well as MTV junkies.
"Travelexia" describes people who take more than two vacations every year.
"Weborexics" are people who are constantly online."
A study from mobile phone company Motorola identified several profiles of mobile users and classified them as types of birds. What kind of mobile phone user are you?
Take The Quiz! published by The Guardian.
My score is 45 points, which makes me a peacock:
You buy a new phone every time the technology is out of date, or every six months, whichever is sooner. Your current phone allows you to create animated short films and download music from Napster. (true)
Apeejay Institute of Management and Technology (AIMT) in Dwarka (India) has disqualified a student from taking exams for two years because he received a text message during an exam, reports Hindustan Times.
The student is appealing to the Delhi High Court against the Schools's decision on the ground that the action was taken without giving him any opportunity to show cause or being heard.
While taking the 7th paper in April last year he was carrying a mobile phone and received and SMS during the examination, but it was not in any way connected with the subject.
The Invigilator confiscated his mobile phone and answer sheet and forced him to sign a confessional statement on the promise that no further action would be taken against him".
Survey results released today from ACE*COMM indicate most North American parents aren't supervising the mobile phone use of their teenaged children. Seventy-one percent of teenagers surveyed admit they enjoy unrestricted use of their mobile phones. [via Cellular News]
"The Itracks survey also found that many teenagers are abusing their mobile phone privileges. More than one-third (38%) of teens surveyed use their mobile phones to text-message their friends during school, 30% play video games on their phones while in school, and more than one-quarter (26%) use their phones to talk to people their parents would not approve of. The survey also revealed that on average, teens spend almost as much time on their mobile phones as they spend doing physical activity.
... According to the survey, teens are very attached to their mobile phones. Fully one half of those surveyed said they would rather have their TV privileges restricted than their mobile phone use, while more than a quarter (27%) indicated they would prefer to have Web access or use of iPods limited rather than have their mobile phones taken away".
Seven local councils have teamed up with mobile operator Vodafone UK to address public worries about emissions from mobile phone masts with a scheme to provide 24-hour monitoring of radio frequency fields, reports DMeurope.
A central unit, named Cassiopea after its Italian origins, records emissions from masts and other sources throughout the day and night in selected areas near to Vodafone equipment then sends this data to the council's publicly accessible website. A graph will then show total emission levels set against the precautionary health guidelines.
This is part of Vodafone's wider strategy of addressing concerns and providing information about their operations in communities. "
Using a cellphone to place a call can still be a hang-up, but there are signs things are improving, reports The Wall Street Journal.
"Despite an increase in wireless usage, the number of dropped or distorted calls has actually decreased, according to a new survey by J.D. Power and Associates.
Three out of every 100 calls placed so far in 2005 had a connection problem, down from six out of 100 in 2004.
... Cingular's customers had the most complaints; their carrier scored lowest in three regions.
... And thanks in part to lower prices, people are talking more: the average U.S. wireless user has spent 418 minutes (nearly seven hours) a month on their handset this year, up 7% from 2004.
According to The Washington Post, a privacy group wants the government to force telephone companies to better protect their customers' private data -- including records of calls made and received -- from being bought and sold on the Internet.
"n a petition scheduled to be filed today, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC urges the Federal Communications Commission to create tougher rules for how and when landline and wireless carriers release customer information.
... EPIC included in its filing a list of more than 40 Web sites that offer to sell call records, often within hours of receiving credit-card orders that are taken online.
EPIC argues that carriers are making it too easy for fraud artists to glean customer data by requiring only basic biographical identifiers that are easily obtainable, such as Social Security numbers or dates of birth."
Cell phone service was spotty and long-distance callers met busy signals on Monday as Hurricane Katrina knocked out key telecommunications hubs along the Gulf Coast, reports the Associated Press.
... "There were no reports of the storm knocking down any cell phone towers, but many stopped working because of power problems.
Many of Sprint's cell towers in the New Orleans area switched to batteries or generators but could not be recharged because crews could not reach them.
...Telecommunications companies generally had crews, supplies and parts on standby to restore facilities and services once emergency officials clear them."
August 29, 2005
In order to play the Cry Wolf Game you need an AOL I.M. account, because you will have to chat with 15 people to find out who is the killer.
A mobile version of the game is also available and allows player to win a trip to Hollywood.
An SMS service which warns high speeding drivers of police speed checks is getting extremely popular in Denmark, according to Guerilla Innovation
"The service is provided by a company called Razzia.dk and for an annual fee of 40 euros ($49.-), subscribers receive an SMS whenever there's a speed check in their area.
razzia.dk gets the information from its own subscribers who are encouraged to send an SMS if they spot a speed check or camera site.
Although Razzia.dk has been heavily criticized for providing such a service, the police is in fact quite possitive about it since it helps reduce the speed on the roads as well as reduce the time officers would otherwise spend writing tickets (apparently, they forgot that SMSing while driving is pretty dangerous and against the law).
The service is about to launch in England and Germany".
Jailed Mafia boss, Santi Timpani, and prison guard,Attilio Peppino Iannazzo, have been caught running a protection racket from a Catanzaro prison, sending orders to henchmen and threats to victims via SMS messages, according to Ansa.it.
..."According to investigators, Iannazzo smuggled a mobile phone into Timpani's cell, from where the boss sent his SMS messages demanding money. A number of phone calls made by Iannazzo to potential victims, containing implicit or explicit threats, were recorded by Messina police after one targeted businessman turned to authorities for help.
... This is not the first time mafiosi have been caught running their affairs from their prison cells".
Samsung Electronics Co. said yesterday that it has developed the industry's first mobile phone memory card that can store up to 1 gigabyte of data, reports JoongAng Daily.
It said the new memory card can hold up to 500 high-quality digital photos, and provide six hours of high-definition video recording. Additionally, 250 music files downloaded from the Internet can be saved on the mobile phone. According to Samsung, the memory card, which is half the size of a typical multimedia memory card, transmits data at 52 megabytes per second, or 20 times faster than previous products.
Previously, the largest memory card for mobile phones was 512 megabytes, which is far smaller than the 4 gigabyte memory card used in MP3 players."
The idea is to tap into the lucrative craze for text messaging as a new way of bringing in the money needed to finance a £2.4m seafront display.
The eye-catching Laser tableau on the cliffs at North Shore has been given a £35,000 upgrade which will allow stunning new colour lighting effects, reports Blackpool Today.
But bosses are also hoping to capitalise on the ever-growing number of mobile phones by allowing visitors to see their names or slogans in lights via an interactive text messaging system.
In this way, every text sent to the tableau would actually be contributing to the Illuminations fund directly through a secured computerised billing system".
Heightened parental involvement is one of the biggest changes on college campuses in the last decade, experts say. One major reason is the tight bond between Baby Boomer parents and their children, reports the Globegazette.com, fueled by cell phones.
"... One factor is definitely the cell phone. The era of the 10-minute weekly check-in from the pay phone in the hall has given way to nearly constant contact. Rob Sobelman, a Colgate sophomore, says when students walk out of a test, many dial home immediately to report how it went. One friend checks in with her mother every night before going to sleep, he said.
"Even 10 years ago, parents couldn't even get hold of their children,'' said Colgate President Rebecca Chopp. "If you reached them once a week it was a miracle."' Now she says she's hearing from older alumni who are "worried their grandchildren won't learn accountability and responsibility."
-- New grads face a world of difference - ..."one of every five students on that school's honor roll reports calling his or her parents an average of three times a day. Psychology Today magazine calls cell phones "the eternal umbilicus."
August 28, 2005
According to The Age, the election of China's latest popular music star by millions of text messages has set Chinese pundits pondering the bizarre byproducts of democracy.
"Li Yuchun, a 21-year-old from Sichuan described as "the androgynous girl with the weakest voice of the top five", won the final battle of Super Girl on Friday night after getting 3.5 million votes from fans all over China.
Votes were made by text messages, with each mobile number allowed up to 15 votes. The slim, shaggy-haired Li topped Zhou Bichang, 20, who got 3.2 million votes."
In a sort of scary article, News24.com reports that Egypt presidential candidate Osama Shaltut - who claims to descend from the Prophet Mohammed - is running his campaign on the promise of converting the entire world to Islam.
And he has launched a mass mobile campaign, using text messaging to spread his views.
However, writes News24.com, Shaltut, the only Islamist candidate in Egypt's September 7 presidential election, nevertheless knows he will have to wait before he can unseat President Hosni Mubarak, who is widely expected to be re-elected.
In the hunt for the killer of Scottish schoolboy, Rory Blackhall, a week ago, detectives launched a text messaging service to encourage people to come forward with information. The number, 07717 997 885, will allow the public to send in texts as well as pictures and video clips. [via the BBC.]
The SMS blitz follows the opening up of front-line roles to women and a proposal to enlist thousands of South Pacific nationals for the ADF.
Civil Liberties Australia spokesman Anthony Williamson criticized the employment tactic, saying it raised privacy concerns.
"We understand that the military has trouble meeting its targets but we don't think this is the appropriate way to go about doing it," he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation."
Related: - Text messages from the British Royal Navy