Archives for February 2006
February 28, 2006
Mobile phone text messages helped mobilize hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in 2001 to a massive street protest that swept out former president Joseph Estrada on corruption allegations, replacing him with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, reports inq7.net.
Five years later, text messaging again is proving an indispensable political tool for disseminating news -- and wild rumors -- while mobilizing supporters.
... Arroyo's camp has tried to crack down on text messages before, saying they were being used to incite sedition, but hasn't really figured out a way to do it without sparking a public outcry."
A Reuters article points out that according to military intelligence officials, retired soldiers have tried to recruit military rebels by texting them.
"Musicians could soon have a new instrument to play – their phone. Motorola is patenting a cellphone that displays the layout of a guitar neck on its screen, and allows its keypad to be "plucked" or "strummed" by a user. The resulting guitar sounds can be played through the phone's speaker or can be inflicted on a friend at the other end of the line.
... The guitar phone can be played live, to adoring fans, or a melody can be composed in private and stored in memory for use as a ring tone or meeting reminder. Motorola says the phone could even be converted into a banjo or violin at the flick of a switch, with strings automatically retuning.
Illustration on Engadgetmobile.
In their own words: Google News for mobile devices keeps you updated on current news articles when you're on the go. You can access top headlines, browse through news categories, or search for exactly the stories you want .
Currently Google News Mobile is only available for access to English language news sources, but Google is planning on expansion.
Sony Ericsson has signed a deal with Google that will mean owners of the Sony Ericsson mobile phones will be able to file to a personal blog on the move as soon as they turn on their new phone, reports Pocket-Lint.
"The company today announced that it will be integrating Google’s Blogger and Web Search features on all its future mobile phones. Owners of a blogger.com account will be able to file stories via their mobile phone on the move with the included software."
Related: - Nokia bundles Lifeblog.
"The alerts are to let users know when they have received things such as messages, comments, picture comments, friend requests, and event invitations."
South Korean mobile phone companies said Monday that they were offering new calling plans after a 16-year-old boy killed himself because of a huge phone bill, according to Bloomberg News.
"Korean Mobile service providers are releasing new services that offer unlimited wireless Internet services for a fixed price, in response to the recent suicide of a middle school student who rang up a 3.7-million-won ($3,828) bill for playing games on his cell phone". [Mobile Korea via Moco News]
160characters.org reports on a Spanish operator who is launching a text messaging system for pre-pay customers, enabling them to request an instant automated loan if they are temporarily unable to buy phone credits.
'Lend me 2 Euro' - service works by sending the word " anticipo" to short code 4484 to receive the automated credits. The loan is re-payed when they next buy a top-up."
February 26, 2006
Relax to Win is a revolutionary gaming experience for mobile phones and desktop PC's, where victory is achieved only by out-relaxing your opponent.
Set in outer space, the game takes the form of a race between two dragons.Using technology similar to a lie detector, a bio- sensor worn on the fingers measures your level of stress and transmits it to the game, where it is used to determine the speed of your dragon in the race. The more you relax, the faster your dragon goes. In a race against stress, the winner is the player who manages to relax the most during the course of the game.
Peter Rojas has opened a personal blog peter.roj.as. Something to look forward to.
And he's posted an entry on something new, The Blog 50, "a new chart ranking bloggers by, well, some sort of metric that isn’t exactly clear, but as we all know, there’s only place to go from there and that’s down, baby!"
Indian Television reports that news Channel NDTV is using the power of their station, to launch an SMS campaign to round up support and have a murder case reopened - over public outrage that justice has not been served.
"NDTV has launched a "Fight for Jessica Lal" campaign to garner support for a fresh trail in the ‘Jessica Lal murder case’ where all the nine prime accused were "honoroubly" discharged by a Delhi sessions court this week.
NDTV is using its short SMS code 6388 as a driver to increase public awareness of what it believes was not a proper meting out of justice. It has asked mobile phone users to repond to its short code with a single word Jessica and following that it will approach the Indian President seeking an opening up of the case once again. Simultaneously, the channel has weaved around a show Special Guests: Fight for Jessica Lal at 10 pm on 25 Feburary as well as 26 February at 10 am.
The acquittal of the accused in the murder has led to widespread public outcry for a re-trial of the case and action against officials responsible for ham-handling the case. "
February 25, 2006
In anticipation of President George W. Bush's visit to Hyderabad, India, Muslim religious leaders have formed a committee to coordinate the campaign and use SMS and e-mail services to spread the message that President Bush poses a threat not only to the Muslim world, but also to others who do not like the domination and monopoly of the US. [via Rediff]
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) says it has received an "overwhelming" response after launching a new SMS service for depressed teens, reports allAfrica.com.
"The initiative coincides with Teen Suicide Prevention Week which started last Sunday and runs until this weekend. It's aim is to curb the high levels of teen suicide in the country.
Suicide is said to account for nine percent of all teenage deaths in South Africa. SADAG outreach coordinator, Lucette Mukendi said this was largely due to deaths in the family or broken families."
And related, Irish Examiner via SmartMobs reports that text messaging has become a common form of suicide note in Ireland. "peopleabout to take their own lives are increasingly using text messages and voicemail instead of handwritten notes as a means of delivering the chilling messages", a coroner revealed at the weekend. "
This week's Carnival of the Mobilists is hosted by gotomobile. Check it out!
February 24, 2006
In the UK, a man who posed as a 14-year-old boy is sentenced to jail time, for enticing teenagers to send him indecent pictures of themselves by MMS. In exchange, he paid for their cell phone bills. EDP24 reports.
"Gary Canham, from Beccles, sent numerous text messages from his mobile phone to two girls aged 14 and 16, pretending to be a schoolboy called Tim and inviting the girls to send pictures of themselves to him.
In return, he paid for the credit on their mobile phones.
The Prosecutor said among the 20 to 30 images found on Canham's phone, one picture showed the girl topless and another had been taken up her skirt."
The Jerusalem Post reporting on a a far-reaching plan called "Transformational Diplomacy", introduced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last month, touches on how mobile phones are one factor responsible for forcing change on an age old part of politics, diplomacy.
"... Up until several years ago, a diplomat's job was rather clear. He (or she) was in charge of keeping in touch with the leadership of the country in which he was stationed; making sure the US's view was heard and understood; and conveying messages between the two governments.
But this job description no longer fits.
... In a technological era of cell phones and e-mail, the need for a professional diplomat to convey messages is not as important as it used to be.
Take the case of Israel, for example. Though diplomats on both sides of the ocean are kept busy, whenever the US president needs to say something really important to the Israeli prime minister - or vice-versa - he picks up the phone and says it directly...
"On Feb. 27, the Condé Nast title will announce the launch of a new service called GQ Mobile, providing text messages to readers via their cell phones.
Starting in the March issue, GQ readers will be invited to sign up by using their cell phones to send a text message with "GQ" to GQMAG (or 47624).
Once enrolled, GQ Mobile users will start to receive original content developed for the digital mobile service. It may include information about events, private sales, shopping nights, and giveaways.
... GQ sees new ways to market to its audience -- and reap additional advertising revenue in the process. Privately held Condé Nast says GQ has 854,000 subscribers and 4 million readers. Nearly all of them have cell phones, and 89% of those use text messages.
California would require manufacturers to phase out the use of hazardous materials in making cell phones, iPods and other electronic devices under a bill introduced by a state lawmaker, reports Reuters.
"The bill unveiled on Thursday by Assembly Member Lori Saldana, a Democrat from San Diego, would apply to any electronic or battery-operated device. "
February 23, 2006
Motorola just got FCC approval today for their "Wireless Wheels" remote controlled cars, developed in cooperation with Chinese toy maker Nikko.
The Wireless Wheels remote control toy car can be controlled by certain Motorola iDEN handsets. [via Engadget Mobile].
Telecoms watchdogs are backing European Union moves to make it cheaper for people to use their mobile phones abroad, a top industry regulator said on Thursday, reports Reuters.
"Kip Meek, Chairman of the European Regulators Group, said another key challenge will be to analyze the impact of Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP), which allows people to make calls over the Web for a nominal cost.
"It's a disruptive technology. It's a wonderful thing, but it raises regulatory issues that need to be addressed," he said."
Lately in Ringtonia, on mobiles and music.
-- Turning your baby's voice into a ringtone - A service which enables parents to turn their baby's voice (cries, laughs, gurgles) into ringtones-
-- Mission ringtone symphony - The bag check area at the Strand bookstore,NYc, has about 120 cubbies. Phones left in the bag there are going off regularly, the employees are now used to it. Improv Everywhere, the New York City scene-makers known for causing random inexplicable acts of absurdity, thought it might be turned into a cell phone symphony. They asked participants to come with a bag and their phone.
New child protection measures are to be introduced in West Lothian schools following the Rory Blackhall murder, reports the BBC.
"Council plans, expected to be agreed next week, will bring in playground supervisors and an early-warning text messaging system for parents.
All schools will systematically text or phone parents by 0945 GMT if children are absent without explanation. If parents fail to reply to the text by 1030 GMT, councils will carry out a risk assessment. Care workers and if necessary the police, may then be brought in. "
The Telegraph from India reports that Airtel is launching a Talk SMS feature in Calcutta, enablling people who have probelms sending text messages - to record voice messages by dialling 363 followed by the cellphone number of the recipient. He or she will be able to hear the message in the voice of the sender and can also reply through Talk SMS.
Cellphone makers are opening glitzy stores where shoppers have plenty of space to play with the products. The move, led by Nokia, is part of a broader effort to showcase phones' features and build brand loyalty. The Wall Street Journal reports.
Picture left - Exterior of Nokia's new Moscow store
..."The marketing push by handset makers is part of a broader branding effort. They are determined to keep their phones from being simple commodities, at a time when even service providers like Sprint Nextel Corp. and Vodafone Group PLC, are asserting their brands by inscribing their names on phones."
At the same time, consumers are finding it harder to distinguish between brands as phones come with similar features."
Push-to-talk technology (PTT), which requires no dial-up and is always "on," started as a way for blue-collar workers like security guards to communicate efficiently, reports the WSJ. But now, some wireless companies are targeting a broader consumer market for PTT services, hoping the feature will catch on with teens who want instant updates from friends and family members who want to stay in frequent touch with one another.
... But push-to-talk service has some major limitations that could affect its appeal to the mass market. The biggest of these: Unlike text messaging, users who buy the service from different carriers can't communicate with each other."
In the boycott against Danish products, muslims in Saudi Arabia - and possibly other countries - have launched a viral anti-marketing campaign using SMS, reports Guerilla-Innovation.
"The SMS contains information on how to determine whether a product is Danish by looking at the first two digits of its barcode (the country code for Denmark is 57).
In response to the boycott, member of the Danish parliament, Louise Frevert tried to catalyze a counter SMS campaign, which encouraged Danes to boycott muslim owned stores. The campaign was a total failure and has been ridiculed by all sides in Denmark - including her own right-wing party."
reBlogged from Guerilla-Innovation.
February 22, 2006
University of Illinois researchers have developed the first interactive tool to educate the public about pandemic flu via the mobile phone, reports PhysOrg. Mobile PanFlu Prep, available in English and Spanis, will be launched to the public March 1.
"It seems so logical, but this is the first time that cell phones have been used to communicate valuable public health information for disaster preparedness," said Colleen Monahan, from the UIC School of Public Health. "This is a first-aid kit for the future."
The downloadable program offers a variety of menu items and audio sections providing advice on avoiding the flu, including a preparation checklist that gives specific information on stockpiling supplies such as water, non-perishable food, first-aid kits and face masks.
Initial rollout of the program will be available at no cost on Sprint, Cingular and T-mobile networks and is also available online.
"As last summer’s London bombings showed, the mobile phones we rely on day to day can be critically unreliable when they are needed most – in a crisis. The sheer volume of traffic generated in the aftermath of the attacks meant that the mobile network in the affected areas just could not cope.
The technology developed by Generics could enable us to receive and review important messages on our mobile phones via a unique audio messaging system, called Intrasonics Sound Link and Sync (SLS). In the event of an ‘incident,’ when mass communication is vital, it could send messages and instructions direct to mobile phones even when mobile networks are down or out of reach, such as when underground."
"Sellers receive 5p each time a text bid is sent and they can list all items for free. Hunt For It goes live with some 15,000 items across a range of categories."
"The service, called ‘Price Check for Amazon’ lets mobile users browse the site, as well as check prices, availability, postage and buyer product ratings.
Slated for launch in the first quarter of 2006, the service will will be available for all of Amazon’s country sites including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France and Germany."
"Health workers at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro are piloting the tiny voice-activated badges developed by BT. They weigh less than 2oz (57g).
The badge allows instant communication between staff by simply saying a person's name or department.
The badges also mean staff do not need to memorise phone numbers or carry lists with them."