Archives for December 2005
December 31, 2005
Simply writing their phone number doesn't have the appeal of a tempting tattoo, said Lance Frey, a cellphone company executive. It's a low-tech alternative to things such as RFID chips in backpacks or clothes. And it gives the Freys some peace of mind in case their daughter is separated from them.
Frey first saw the need for the temporary tattoo because of his sister's kids, who tend to cut loose at airports, he said. She used to write her phone number on their hands, but as they got older, the kids rejected the pen.
The tattoos come in six colors, with kits for boys and girls. A travel kit includes six tattoos, a marker for writing a phone number, towelettes to apply the tattoo with and alcohol wipes for removing it. The tattoos generally last for a week, said Cindi Aldrich, who owns Temporary Tattoos With A Purpose.
Aldrich got the idea for the tattoos after her son started going on school field trips. Although she taught him to recite his phone number in case he was lost or separated from the group, she was concerned he'd panic and forget the number. She decided a temporary tattoo could work because it doesn't come off easily, and it won't fall off like a bracelet or button. It takes rubbing alcohol or baby oil to remove.
President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with Russian Telecommunications Minister Leonid Reiman that one of the things that makes him different from the vast majority of Russia’s population is that the does not have a mobile phone, informs ITAR-TASS.
At this moment, the number of ‘mobilniks’ (mobile phones, some times also called ‘trubkas,’ which means ‘receivers’) in Russia hugely exceeds the number of fixed-line phones, Reiman indicated.
While fixed-line services embrace 42 million Russians, the mobile operators have 120 million customers. “Mobile service is now available to 84% of the population, which means we’re keeping good pace with the Europeans,” Reiman said.
In Moscow alone, there are 132 ‘mobilniks’ per each 100 people, as some people buy services from more than one mobile operator at a time.
Nutracheck Mobile(TM) is a new diet program for mobile phones.This personal food diary comes with a food and drink database and a Barcode QuickSearch technology (to find an item using just 4 digits of a barcode) to help keep dieters on track.
The user completes a personal profile and sets their weight loss goal, and Nutracheck Mobile(TM) recommends a daily calorie allowance. The food diary then allows the user to record exactly what they are eating and drinking on a daily basis. An extensive food database contains the fat and calorie content of up to 30,000 products including alcoholic drinks, fast food outlets as well as major brands and supermarket own labels.
The program also includes FoodSwap(TM), a feature to find healthier options to high fat favourites, using the last four digits of the product's barcode.
Available from 3 January 2006, Nutracheck Mobile(TM) costs one-off GBP5 and is downloaded by texting DIET to 60999.
A cell phone operator in Saudi Arabia has cut off text message voting for TV show Star Academy because of a religious fatwa, reports CBC.
The show brings together 16 young Arabs in a shared house to attend sports, singing, music and dance classes. Religious scholars have condemned the show as "culturally inappropriate." That led to the ban on text message voting by Saudi cell phone operator Mobily this week. Saudi Telecommunications Co., the largest mobile firm in the conservative kingdom, had already blocked voting.
"The decision was taken last night because of a fatwa (religious decree) issued last year, since the program is culturally inappropriate," Mobily spokesman Humoud Alghodaini said. "It shows men and women living in one house, sometimes semi-naked and in inappropriate situations," he added.
"We will definitely lose money, but how much, I don't know," Alghodaini said. "If we don't (stop messaging) it would backfire on us and affect our brand."
Some music fans say they managed in the past to vote for show contestants on the internet, bypassing the government server which controls access.
Marlon Brandon Gill, 23, was charged Tuesday with first-degree assault - a felony - in a case initially considered an oddity when it was reported that Melinda Abell had swallowed the cell phone herself during an argument with her boyfriend.
Abell told detectives that Gill, her ex-boyfriend, forced her from her house and made her go with him in his vehicle. While on the road, Gill began screaming at her and demanded her cell phone, she said, adding that Gill then grabbed her by the mouth and shoved the cell phone into her mouth until it became lodged in her throat.
Blue Springs police were called to the scene and an ambulance took Abell to a Kansas City hospital, where she had surgery to remove the phone.
Police Sgt. Allen Kintz said investigators weren't able to talk to Abell until that evening because of the surgery, but didn't set out to trivialize what happened to her. "Our initial press release was that she had swallowed a cell phone," Kintz said in an interview Tuesday. "Subsequent investigation found that she didn't swallow the cell phone voluntarily. That was what we were told initially."
At least eight companies are offering free phones with 300 minutes of cellular service to Hurricane Katrina evacuees, writes Dateline Alabama.
Other companies may join Alltel, Cellular South, Centennial Wireless, Cingular, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, Tracfone and Verizon Wireless in the program, Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell said Friday.
The 300 free minutes expire March 1, and are limited to one for each household which the Federal Emergency Management Agency found eligible for housing assistance because of Hurricane Katrina. They should call the FCC at 888-CALL-FCC or 888-225-5322 for more information.
December 30, 2005
Offenders who fail to pay their court fines could receive a text message warning them "to pay up or get locked up", informs Reuters.
Under plans outlined by the government, magistrates courts in England and Wales are to look at sending messages by text or email to fine evaders and those who fail to show up to court or for community service. The messages warn those that don't comply with their court orders that they could face further action.
In a successful trial in Staffordshire, 75% of the offenders who were sent SMS immediately paid up.
"Everybody's got a mobile phone and as one of the most common ways to keep in touch these days, it makes sense for the courts to contact offenders that way too," Constitutional Affairs Minister Harriet Harman said. "It doesn't cost much, it's quick and effective and most importantly offenders take notice too."
The first of a network of 30 satellites that will provide Europe with its own version of the American GPS was launched yesterday, writes The Times.
The Giove A satellite will test atomic clocks and signal generators for the Galileo project, which will give civilian users a satellite navigation and positioning service ten times more accurate than the alternatives available today. Coverage in Europe will be virtually total. In most locations six to eight satellites will always be visible, allowing positions to be determined to within a few centimetres.
This will transform the consumer applications of satellite positioning technology, allowing mobile phones with a Galileo chip to receive local weather forecasts and entertainment listings. The system will underpin road-pricing and air traffic control networks, and would make it possible to fit cars with control units that prevent drivers from getting too close to other vehicles.
Chinese police will monitor mobile phone payment platforms, focusing on larger transactions, as a key part of their efforts to close down pornographic websites, informs Interfax China.
"As everyone knows, pornographic photos and service providers set their prices fairly high. Therefore monitoring can be improved by specially targeting higher priced services," said Zhao Shiqiang, from the BPS's Public Information Network Security Supervision Bureau.
Telecom operators will likely conduct the monitoring of mobile phone payment platforms. Mobile phone payments services have become a popular way to pay for internet services because few people in China have credit cards.
In addition to monitoring mobile payments, Zhao said telecom carriers should investigate internet and mobile phone content providers, and also hire third party firms to investigate and monitor services.
This new initiative by police to monitor mobile payment platforms is part of a broader government crackdown on the dissemination of pornographic, gambling, and anti-government content over mobile phone and internet networks.
December 27, 2005
South Koreans may look at their mobile phones with some trepidation in the new year because prosecutors will start telling people they have been indicted via text messages, writes CNN.
"Most people in South Korea have mobile phones and since the notices don't reach them immediately by regular mail, this is a more definite way for the individuals to know they have received a legal notice," said Lee Young-pyo, an administrative official. "People will receive a text message of a legal notice only after they apply for the service," he added.
Prosecutors expect to save about 160 million won ($158,000) a year by shifting to the service and reducing the number of legal notices it sends through the mail. Other notices that will be sent by text messages include information on fines and penalties.
December 25, 2005
Textually is making a pause until December 30. Emily is having a well-deserved holiday in Gstaad and i'll be in Berlin until Friday. I'll be online though, so if you have any irresistible story for textually, ringtonia or picturephoning, don't hesitate to write me: reg at we-make-money-not-art dot com. Merry Christmas everyone!
All Maggie Bergara wanted for Christmas was a quiet car, explains Record Online. As the woman began fantasizing about buying "one of those zappers" in October, she wondered: "Can we do this?"
The Federal Communications Commission has some objections. "If it were only that easy, we'd probably be buying them by the case," sighed Dan Brucker, a spokesman for Metro-North. Cell phone abuse is still among our top quality-of-ride complaints."
It's a crime to jam or block radio signals. And the prohibition extends to making, importing, selling or operating devices that do that. Remember "importing" when you're surfing the Internet and comparing prices.
The transit agencies say the actual number of complaints, however, has fallen over the past three years as cell phones have become commonplace and businesses of every description have devised policies regarding their use.
"The coolness of cell phones is so over," said Dan Brucker, a spokesman for Metro-North. "Cell phone abusers have become the new smokers. People feel empowered because there's a consensus now about how they should be used in public places so they're quick to confront and ostracize abusers."
"But I think it's a little harder to misbehave on the bus because the driver is right there," said Christine Falzone, at Short Line. "And our customers know if a passenger misbehaves, the driver can - and will - pull over to the side of the road and put the passenger off the bus. You can't do that with a train."
At NJ Transit, cell phone abuse is still enough of an issue among commuters that the agency is exploring the possibility of introducing quiet cars.
December 24, 2005
Make a wish by a cellphone and spread good karma to your beloved ones!
Tree is a symbol of eternity and long life in Asian culture. People in Asian countries worship trees just as they worship other gods. Besides going to a temple, they write notes and knot then on the tree to wish good luck for themselves and their beloved ones. Taking advantage of SMS, ITP students Yu-Chen Chiu and Kuan Huan developed Cellwish to provide people a different user experience to make a wish.
Users textmessage their wishes and the computer will visualize messages as 3D objects and show them on the tree.
Cellphone charms are now sporting little display plates powered by solar, that you can hang on your mobile phone.
Asian store CellphoneGeek offers Solar Power Flash Plates to fix on your cell phone. They feature Snoopy, Doraemon, Winnie, Angel Kitty and Nightmare before Christmas images. The images appear and disappear!
China has begun building large-scale trial networks based on a home-grown third-generation mobile telephone standard, writes The Australian.
Construction of the networks in Shanghai and other cities is the strongest evidence yet of China's determination to create a central role for the TD-SCDMA standard as part of its 3G rollout. The Shanghai trial involves two core networks and 16 "base stations" that cover commercial districts, development zones and residential neighbourhoods.
"They started with Shanghai and are also drawing up plans for other cities," said a source. "The trial networks will be progressively expanded to a pretty big scale."
A telecoms consultancy, said by introducing TD-SCDMA, Beijing hoped to give China Telecom an edge over domestic rivals that use foreign-backed standards, and to support local equipment providers.
Computers and mobiles phones are playing an increasingly valuable role in helping doctors and patients monitor conditions such as diabetes on a daily basis, explains BBC News.
And government ministers believe that new technology can also be harnessed to help elderly people live independently for longer.
A system being used by a thousand patients in the UK deploys mobile phone technology to help patients with diabetes monitor their blood glucose levels. The information gets sent straight back to their GP for immediate analysis.
It has been developed by Lionel Tarassenko, at Oxford University, who said: "Even if they've never used a mobile phone before, we find that if people are motivated to bring their diabetes under control, this technology really works for them."
Tarassenko is hoping to get the number of users up to 10,000 next year. "It costs a staggering six billion pounds a year for the NHS to support people with the complications of poorly managed diabetes - they may go blind or have lower limb problems, requiring amputation. The government is keen to try to do something about these problems - they have begun various initiatives to encourage people to self-manage their condition."
--Blood glucose testing accessory for mobile phone
A woman's row with her boyfriend about a mobile phone suddenly went quiet - when she swallowed the handset whole, writes BBC news.
Police in Blue Springs, Missouri, said they were called out by a man who said his girlfriend was having trouble breathing. When they arrived at the house, they found a phone lodged in her throat.
"He wanted the phone and she wouldn't give it to him, so she attempted to swallow it," an officer said. The woman was expected to make a full recovery.
The 24-year-old woman was taken to hospital in Blue Springs. "She just put the entire phone in her mouth so he couldn't get it," said Det Sgt Steve Decker.
NEC announced a new "customer relationship support solution" for personalized in-store services that match customers' preferences and personal traits. Customers shows either "RFID-chipped mobile phone straps" or customer loyalty cards to an in-store RFID device. Then, their purchase histories, preferences, etc. are displayed on sales agents' PCs and mobile devices.
The system incorporates the know-how for judging people's personality types, which is provided by a psychology research organization. When analyzing customer data, the system also provides information about customers' personality and "stars" based on their birthdates. Sales agents use this information to adapt their interactions with the customers. Or, sales agents who are highly compatible with the customer go talk with him/her.
The company's goal is to sell 200 systems in three years.
[via RFID in Japan]
FaithMobile promises to keep "the active modern community connected to the inspirational word of God."
FaithMobile allows subscribers "to practice the presence of God any moment of the day – listening in traffic, reading during the lunch break, being inspired and strengthened at anytime" using inspiring imagery, the daily verse, ringtones, and worship music. The service is available in the US and UK on Cingular and T-Mobile and costs $5.99 per month in addition to your normal phone charges.
[via The Raw Feed]
December 23, 2005
The Finnish city's bus operator, Koskilinjat, and transportation applications provider Buscom are testing a system that lets passengers use mobile phones as transit cards, reveals RFID journal.
The trial, set to last until next summer, has begun with 10 employees receiving Nokia 3220 phones equipped with Nokia-provided shell enabled for near-field communication. The NFC tags connect to a new application loaded onto the handset. This allows users to pay for travel on any of eight specially prepared buses operating on two bus routes in the Finnish city of Oulu.
Starting in March, the trial will add the option for a participant to use a phone's Internet connection to buy travel credit. The payment will be made either by deducting from the passenger's bank account or by credit card.
What kind of cellphone is best for a 5-year-old?
Millions of parents think that parent-child separations occur almost every day, brought about by play dates, after-school activities, getting lost at the mall, parents working late and the shuttling between divorced spouses. In these situations, a cellphone could be a nerve-calming lifeline.
But not a traditional cellphone. Security is one reason; you don't want heavy-breathing strangers calling them up and luring them to shadowy places. Complexity is another; goodness knows there are plenty of adults who find modern cellphones overwhelming.
And then there's the service cost.The New York Times reviews and compares cell phones to help parents choose the best handset for their youngest.
Despite a huge increase in interest in SMS technology within the non-governmental organisation sector, many find the technology out of reach due to a combination of lack of expertise, a lack of direction, and cost. Designed with the needs of the non-profit sector in mind, FrontlineSMS is a text messaging solution that allow ONGs to create and manage all of their SMS-related contact groups; send and receive messages via special on-screen consoles; engage with contact groups - run surveys, competitions etc. via the Survey Manager; run their own text-based information service, export data to Excel. The system handles flash messages and long messages up to 320 characters in length and provides incoming and outgoing message history for each contact
No need to be on-line - works on any GSM network via your own PC or laptop.
The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry in Japan plans to develop an emergency-broadcast system capable of automatically turning on cell phones so it can send a warning alarm and information to them in case of a major earthquake or other natural disaster, informs Daily Yomiuri.
The ministry is planning to start testing the system, which uses a digital terrestrial television broadcasting signal, before March 31, and it hopes to be able to put it into practice within a few years.d.
Cell phone users would receive useful data, including information about disasters, and evacuation instructions and routes. The ministry believes SMS would help people evacuate a disaster area safely and, in doing so, prevent a disaster situation from worsening.
The ministry plans to test the system in Sapporo in April 2006, piggybacking a new broadcasting system, called One Seg, that is being set up to enable television programs to be played on cell phones.
The ritual of exchanging business cards could beome a thing of the past after Japanese researchers devised a way to swap data just through a handshake, writes Baku Today.
The "RedTacton" device, under development by NTT in Japan, uses optical electric field sensors that look for similar electric fields on other bodies. When contact is made, the data goes through the body with a small amount of voltage, winding up in a portable handsets.
"As the information has the date it was obtained just like e-mails, it would help you remember who the person was. It would also make it easier to make an address book," said Tadashi Minotani of the laboratory.
The technology, which the NTT group aims to put into practical use in two to three years, could have many uses, such as being embedded into medicine bottles that send messages to mobile terminals such as a cellphone. "The terminal would buzz or say 'Don't take this' if it is the wrong medicine. There are so many drugs that it is difficult to judge which must not be taken together with which," said Tadashi Minotani of the laboratory.
Other uses of the technology include allowing people to unlock a door by touching the door knob.
December 22, 2005
An Austrian man who used an oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler for his cell phone voice mail has been sentenced to two months in prison, reports WISTV.
Police accidentally came across the message --which includes the repeating of the phrase "Sieg Heil!"-- on the 20-year-old's phone in 2004 when they called to question him about a burglary. The defendant says that the download of the message from the Internet was a "spontaneous act" and that he did not fully embrace the meaning of the oath.
He was sentenced to a year in prison for theft and fencing stolen goods, but the court decided to tack on two extra months for using the oath. There is a law in Austria that makes Nazi propaganda a crime.
British Airways has launched its global mobile messaging strategy for customers and staff, reports Netimperative.
The customer service benefit of mobile was proved this week, with BA using it to help cope with disruptions caused by the Hemel Hempstead oil fires. With 155 planes cancelled or delayed as a result, messages were sent out to customers in 59 countries, in local languages, containing telephone details for customers to find out further information.
The first three services being rolled out by Incentivated under the strategy are passenger notifications, cargo logistics alerts and staff communications.
The airline has installed an Internet telephony system and sees mobile as ideal for staff communications, with employees receiving SMS notifications of voicemails and other telephony communications. The company has many further plans for rolling out mobile communication for both marketing and customer communications.
Thanks to wireless laptops, Internet-enabled cell phones and telecommuting, some say, the bus and subway strike has not caused the utter chaos that many people had expected, explains CNN.
"We're open for business as usual," said Selena Morris, spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch & Co. The financial management company had some employees working from home, while others could go to various regional offices if getting into Manhattan was too difficult.
Commuters have also Internet technology to find rides or a couch to sleep on, and to fire off e-mails from home or the car.
Already 98 per cent of Finns have a mobile phone. Nearly half the population relies exclusively on a mobile phone, writes NewsRoom Finland. Only two per cent of Finns anymore depend solely on a fixed-line telephone, according to a survey commissioned by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority.
Finns make use of their mobile handsets primarily for talking and text messaging. Most of them show no interest in for example multimedia messaging or accessing the Internet via handset. On the other hand, of the new telecoms services especially Internet calls are gaining ground. Nearly one in five of those who have broadband access to the Internet have used it for Internet calls.
A Sydney man has been charged with sending SMS messages to incite violence in the days following the city's race riots, writes BBC news.
The 33-year-old man - the first to be charged with such an offence - faces a maximum three-year jail term. Police say they expect to make similar arrests in the coming days.
Thousands of white men attacked people of Middle Eastern appearance on a beach in Sydney on 11 December, apparently in revenge for an attack on two men. Violence by both sides continued for two nights, and SMS inciting further unrest were sent around Sydney and other areas of Australia.
The suspect is believed to have forwarded messages calling for people to meet at two Sydney beaches last Sunday. He has been released on bail and is scheduled to appear in court on 1 February.
Police Commander Dennis Bray explained that detectives and phone companies were working hard to trace many other text messages sent about the riots. "We've been working in the last week in gathering and analyzing information we've obtained from the carriers, and this fellow was identified as one fellow that had been sending messages and we've acted," he said.
MSA Communication, Korea’s messenger phone service provider is launching “imTEL version 2.1” that provides call forwarding service, informs Telecoms Korea.
When PC is turned off, calls are forwarded to fixed line telephones or mobile phones.
Also provided are selective reception of calls on certain dates or days and call screening to reject certain calls. Users can record their conversation and send both voice and text messages to friends at the same time.