Archives for January 2006
January 31, 2006
"Similar to using a mouse to click on a computer screen to access information, users can now "Click on the Real World" using their mobile phone. With Mapion Local Search, users can walk down virtually any street in Japan and point at over 700,000 buildings, retailers, restaurants, banks, or historical sites to instantly retrieve information on what they are looking at, or find what they are looking for just by pointing their phone."
... A demonstration of the technology is available online at http://www.GeoVector.com
Just to set the record straight, the teen accused of text-messaging while driving and fatally stricking a 2˝-year-old boy, no longer faces criminal charges, according to The Enquirer who has covered the trial.
"A criminal complaint stating Deming was text-messaging "immediately prior" to striking the boy prompted calls from across the state to make driving while on the phone illegal. The child possibly stumbled on the curb.
Crockett said the investigation in the eight months following the death indicated that Deming sent the text message more than a minute before the boy was hit.
... "It is obviously a tragedy," Deming's lawyer, Wilbur M. Zevely of Florence, said. "It is an accident. It isn't criminal, and I think the grand jury did what was appropriate. The grand jury is there to make the hard decisions." Zevely said Deming is haunted by the death".
Other reported incidents:
It's the last day to vote for the nominees of the the sixth edition of The Weblog Awards.
Don't forget to vote for We-Make-Money-Not-Art, in the Best European Blog category.
Results will be announced March 13.
"For every customer who hands over a defunct handset it will "dedicate a tree to a local Lancashire farm, Dale Hey Farm".
Your Communications is working with The CarbonNeutral Company on this planet-saving initiative, which aims to plant forests guaranteed to avoid the axe for at least 99 years.
"He replaces BT's computerised voice which currently translates texts into voice messages on a landline.
It took him 11 days to record 11,593 phrases and sounds which could then be broken down and reassembled by a computer to make new words. Engineers then spent five months processing the recordings so the computer would be able to recognise it and translate them into words using English pronunciation. The service also recognises common text abbreviations such as "gr8" and will translate "xx" into "kiss kiss", while "xxxx" is "lots of kisses".
BT says there are no barriers to what Baker's voice can say - including rude words. "
Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore has become the first hospital in the world to ink an agreement with Nokia to use mobile technology in hospital settings, reports Channel News Asia.
"The system of using pagers wastes over 80 minutes a day for doctors and 200 minutes a day for nurses, according to a study done at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
So the hospital has become one of the few in the world to eradicate the paging system and adopt a smart messaging system. Under it, nurses key patient information into a computer which then sends an SMS to the doctor.
... Sometimes it could take hours before the lab tests results are given to the doctors for analysis. With the new system, the lab tests results will be sent directly to the doctor's mobile phone, closing the communication loop."
Looking ahead, Tan Tock Seng Hospital will test the use of 3G phones to monitor patient wounds. "
Voice recognition technology firm Advanced Media Inc. will begin a service on Wednesday in which users will be able to connect to a blog site via mobile phone by simply reciting the blog's name. [via Nikkei Net]
"Advanced Media will market the service to blog founders as a way to attract readers by making connections easier.
A user will first use a mobile phone to connect to a site operated by Advanced Media subsidiary Voice Domain Service Inc. When the user says the name of a registered blog, he or she will be connected automatically to that Web site."
Wired In North Dakota, former Gov. Ed Schafer is backing a plan to loft wireless network repeaters on balloons high above the state to fill gaps in cellular coverage.
"Extend America and Chandler, Arizona, company Space Data are developing the technology, which is believed to be the first to use disposable balloons to provide cellular coverage. A trial balloon will be launched in the next few weeks to test the idea.
"To cover every square mile of North Dakota, it would take 1,100 cell towers," Schafer said. "We can do the whole state with three balloons."
For anyone old enough to remember, in 1998, a US company offered Internet access thanks to a zeppelin.
Cellphone service is now becoming available to immigrants and other consumers previously shunned by telecom providers, as a result of niche packages offered by air-time resellers, reports the WSJ.
... "Experts estimate that about a half dozen resellers have sprung up to serve this need. They specialize in dealing with immigrants who don't speak English well. Their work force also is trained in selling to customers who lack identification and credit records, and want to place many calls to their home countries at a low cost."
January 30, 2006
This is clever. girl 32's Smart Glove with removable hooded fingertips on the digits you actually need to use - thumb and forefinger. Now you can make a call or send text messages while keeping warm.
Comes in Citrine/Spearmint, Boysenberry/Chocolate, Hot Pink/Bubblegum and Black Licorice.
[via Cape Cod Times]
A welcome alternative for High school students waiting to hear if they've been accepted at Creighton University in Nebraska; checking their cell phone instead of their mailbox.
According to the Associated Press, "since November, 700 students - or 44 percent - of those admitted to Creighton University, have been notified through a text message. The school added the option on application forms last fall.
Students are so interested in having instant information," said Mary Chase, director of admissions and scholarships at Creighton.
Opting for the text message allows students to know the university's decision up to a week earlier. She said text messages are sent to students within 24 hours of the admission committee's decisions, whereas letters can take several days to draft and then arrive in the mail."
Mobile phone manufacturers have shipped 825.5m mobile phones during 2005, according to new data from analyst firm IDC. The figure marks a 16.7 per cent increase from the 707.3m phones shipped in 2004. [via Vnunet]
According to Eyewitness News, investigators from the George County (Miss) Sheriff's Department are concerned that child predators are taking a modern approach to building relationships with minors.
"Sheriff Garry Welford says many of the recent cases involving sexual contact with children have involved cell phones and text messaging. ... In some cases, the predator will provide a minor with a cell phone so they can keep in contact.
He says the problem is a growing threat to children that some parents are unaware of. "
Governments must do more to protect children from food marketing in the fight against obesity, an expert says, reports the BBC. Text messaging campaigns for fast foods are partially to blame.
".. Children are increasingly exposed to not just ads, but also sophisticated marketing techniques such as text messaging. ... A report, published by the consumers' association, Which?, said "underhand marketing tricks" were being used to target children.
The study cited examples of internet promotions, toys and computer games and "misleading" health claims being used. "
According to the The New York Times, Microsoft executives are discussing their alternative to the $100 laptop: turning a cellphone into a computer by connecting it to a television and a keyboard.
"Bill Gates believes that cellphones are a better way than laptops to bring computing to the masses in developing nations.
According to an interview of Craig J. Mundie, Microsoft's vice president and chief technology officer, "there was no firm timing for the cellphone strategy".
January 29, 2006
This is interesting and something I've never read before.
Chortle, the UK Comedy Guide, writes that comedian Stan Boardman blames text messaging for ruining his act.
"The comic blamed the technology for his material dying sometimes. He said: ‘I can tell a new joke on stage one night and get a huge laugh. ‘But all it takes is for someone in the audience to text it to their mates and it spreads so quickly that the very next night you only get a little ripple.
In the early days, a lot of comedians travelled round the country using the same act for months on end. Now I have to change my act on a daily basis, literally".
Police in Avon and Somerset (UK), are being ridiculed for using placards in Bristol's Kingswood area written in text message terminology, reports The Guardian.
"One says: 'Du ur olds knw whr U r o wot ur doin coz D bil wl tel em', which translates as 'Do your parents know where you are or what you are doing? Because the police will tell them.'
The signs, intended to reduce crime, have been attacked for straining too hard. Guy Bailey, a Jamaican community leader, said: 'It is wrong for the police to single out any one particular group, especially in a manner such as this. These signs should be written so everybody can understand them.'
A police spokesman said: 'This was considered the best way to reach people.'
Interesting insight from Seong-ju Lee, my favorite reporter for Telecoms Korea on the differences between South Korean and Japanese cell phones.
"The biggest difference was the size of cell phones. Japanese cell phones got bigger when compared with last year.... It is quite a change considering that everyone in Tokyo seemed to have ultra small bar type phone about three or four years ago. Now, Japanese cell phones seemed 20%-30% bigger than the handsets displayed on the shelves of Korean stores.
Another difference from Korea was that majority of people still seemed to love clamshell phones. It seemed that slide phone, which was huge hit in Korea last year, would take some more time to be a new trend among Japanese consumers.
One thing in common between mobile users in Seoul and Tokyo was that people were busy doing something with their cell phones in subway trains. In Tokyo, people usually sent SMS in subway while subway users in Korea increasingly watch mobile TV these days than sending SMS.
Newsweek sums up the appeal of text messaging around the world in a snappy one page article. Great read!
"It was first published two years ago and has become one of the leading newspapers in Makassar, with a distribution of 50,000 copies and about 120,000 readers.
... “We practically do not have a special budget to send our reporters to Mecca, which is why we are trying to maintain cooperation with people who are going to Mecca, asking them to send reports to us. We started this kind of cooperation last year, and we have gained so much popularity among our readers, because the stories are unique and original. Thanks to the idea of citizen journalists, and we might say that our newspaper benefits from this model,” explained Dahlan.
The citizen reporters in Mecca send summaries of the stories via SMS (short message service), and the newspaper in Makassar makes international phone calls for further information.
Based on the experience from the previous Hajj season, this year Tribun Timur feels more confident asking six citizen reporters for special coverage, one of the reporters being the mayor of Makassar, Ilham Arif Sirajuddin, who will lead the pilgrims from Makassar.
“When at least 345 pilgrims died in a stampede during a stone-throwing ritual this Jan. 12, Tribun Timur received various first-hand stories from its citizen reporters, enabling it to provide comprehensive coverage."
A roof collapsed at an exhibition hall in Poland packed with hundreds of people, killing at least 60, and officials said on Sunday they feared the death toll could rise, reports Reuters. " Earlier, some of those trapped under the wreckage used mobile phones to contact rescuers." More updated coverage in the BBC.
January 28, 2006
The New Zealand Herald has an entertaining story on a new and growing trend; New Zealanders for whom one cell phone is not enough and how they juggle between several telecom subscriptions to bring rates down.
"Josh White a student at Macleans College in Auckland, admits having two cellphones. "I send about 1000 texts a month from the two phones, but my combined monthly bill has never been more than about $20."
Josh can send up to 500 messages a month for just one up-front $10 payment, on the Anytime Go pre-paid plan. On Vodafone's pre-pay Motormouth plan, meanwhile, he can send free texts at weekends. On both networks he has a pre-paid phone.
"During the week I use my Telecom phone and at the weekends I go to Vodafone. Occasionally I have to swap phones when I start using the wrong one, but I realised the savings I could make and also a lot of my friends are starting to do it," said Josh. "
Régine on WMMNA has written up some fabulous interactive shop windows she's read about over the past few months. These two are related to cell phones:
"In Staalplaat's Sale Away, passers-by could conduct an "orchestra" of household devices via their mobile phones on a display window. The mechanical orchestra consisted of flute, organ and brass playing vacuum cleaners, rattling kitchen mixers, buzzing ventilators, radio playing toy trains, wobbling jigsaws, dancing tumble dryers, humming refrigerators and other misused household utilities.
The Digital Aquarium
The Digital Aquarium, by Digit featured 150 pre-programmed mobile phones in a glass tank on display at London's Design Museum in 2002. When viewers dialed the number on the side of the tank, the handsets vibrated, their screens lighted up and each one emited a distinctive ring tone, creating an effect which is meant to look like a school of fish swimming around. (image Sensory Impact)
Stuart Blethers is hosting this week's Carnival of the Mobilist, the weekly round-up of the very best writing on all things mobile that the web has to offer.
Stuart's favorite entry, Darla Mack's hilarious post on some of the newly-coined expressions that have grown up in relation to mobile phones and their usage.
Check it out!
A new program, which can be downloaded onto mobile phones, allows weight watchers to keep food diaries and find healthy alternatives to food items by typing in part of the product's barcode. e-Health Insider reports.
"The Nutracheck Mobile program also links to a database containing nutrition information on 30,000 food items and products, and a feature where users can track their weight against a target. It can be downloaded onto compatible mobile phones by reverse-billed SMS."
January 27, 2006
Finger Ring is a system in which a cell phone decides whether to ring by accepting votes from the others in a conversation with the called party.
When a call comes in, your phone first determines who you're discussing with by using a decentralized network of autonomous body-worn sensor nodes. It then vibrates all participants' wireless finger rings.
Although the alerted people do not know if it is their own phones that are about to interrupt, each of them has the possibility to veto the call anonymously by touching his/her finger ring. If no one vetoes, your phone rings.
reBlogged from WMMNA
Other Ring Phone concepts:
-- The Finger Phone - The Finger Phone is a small bluetooth headset that you can wear like a ring. It remains connected to your cell phone through bluetooth.
-- Technojewelry - Penta Phone, Ring Phone and GPS Toes - Technojewelry for IDEO incorporates emerging electronics into everyday attire. Penta Phone and Ring Phone are concepts for mobile phones.
-- The ring phone concept - A mobile phone encapsulated into a ring you wear on the finger, won the 2004 Sony Ericsson Phone Concept Design Competition in China.
-- The Ring Phone - The winning submission for the "2004 Siemens Design Challenge"was a phone consisting of two finger rings, one ring for listening and one for speaking.
Using mobile telephones in hospitals reduces the error rate in medical care because of more timely communication and rarely causes electronic magnetic interference, Yale School of Medicine researchers report this month.
The study published in February's Anesthesia & Analgesia is believed to be the first to investigate whether use of cell phones by medical personnel has a beneficial impact on safety. It was based on 4,018 responses from attendees at the 2003 meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
Scotsman News reports on the police of Midlothian (UK), having set up a text messaging hotline to encourage youngsters to report on bus vandals.:
"Buses have been targeted by a gang of youths aged between 12 and 15, said Pc Gary McFarlane, of the Operation Excalibur anti-vandal team. "It's only a matter of time before there is a serious injury, whether it be passengers, pedestrians or the drivers themselves.
The police hope to gather intelligence from youths not involved in smashing the windows who may prefer to send a message and remain anonymous, rather than phone police directly."
Click here for other examples where the police or government has sollicted citizen sousveillance.