Archives for March 2006
March 30, 2006
I'm leaving in a few hours on vacation for a couple of weeks (Seychelles). My good friend Régine Debatty from WMMNA will be taking over as much as she can. Updating will be irregular as Régine will be busy travelling too.
Bear with us! Back on track April 13.
The environmental cost of disposing of your mobile phone is revealed in a new exhibition at London's Science Museum. Many of the handsets end up in landfill sites where they can leak toxic chemcials. (picture left ©Jennie Hills/Science Museum)
The US poultry industry produces more than a billion kilograms of feathers every year. The University of Delaware has combined some of these with soy bean to create an environmentally friendly circuit board for mobiles. (picture right ©Jennie Hills/Science Museum)
A startling sheet of ornate love poetry written by a Welsh emigrant more than 200 years ago has been uncovered at an American museum reports ICWales.
"The parchment, covered in fine calligraphic script and detailing Hugh Pugh's doomed love for Mary Fisher, hung on a family's wall for generations.
It offers a unique insight into the rites of courtship in the American colonies and tells a moving story about a young schoolteacher's love and the 20-year-old woman who ultimately spurned him.
And while academics today bemoan the damaging effect that email and text messaging is having on teenagers' communication skills, it seems that there were similar trends back in 1801. Instead of writing out some words in full, Pugh has replaced them with abbreviations like "CU" in a startling precursor to today's teen text-speak.
"It's quite unique," said Ingrid Bogel, the centre's executive director. "It's different from anything I've seen."
Cellphone battery boosters have been around for a while, but they have built-in batteries that need periodic recharging as well.
But with the Turbo Charge, you can recharge your phone with a AA battery. The company claims the charger, which you plug into the phone or P.D.A. with an adapter, can give you up to two hours of talk time or 40 hours on standby.
[via The New York Times]
Johannesburg motorists will now be informed about their traffic fines through an SMS within two to three days of committing an offence, according to IOL.
"This is an extension of the SMS traffic search system launched by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department in January. The system was introduced to allow motorists to check if they have any outstanding fines."
News.com reports on another cell phone spy device.
" The FlexiSpy application captures call logs, text messages and mobile Internet activity, among other things. The software, released at the beginning of March, sells for $49.95 and is advertised by Bangkok, Thailand-based Vervata as a tool to monitor kids and unfaithful spouses. The data captured is sent to Vervata's servers and is accessible to customers via a special Web site.
More people than ever are asking to be buried or cremated with their mobile phones when they die, say researchers, reports the BBC.
"The trend, which began in South Africa, has now spread to a number of countries, including Ireland, Australia, Ghana, and the US.
Martin Raymond, director of international trend-spotting think-tank, The Future Laboratory said that this had started off "in the realm of the urban myth", but was fast becoming fact.
... The first cases of people asking to be buried with their phone originated in Cape Town, where some people's belief in witchcraft meant they feared that "they could fall under a spell, be put to sleep and actually be buried.
"In fact, they were asking for the phones to be put into the coffins with them in case they woke up.
... In some cases, they are even taking their mobiles into cremation.
"We came across this in places like South Carolina in the US - people were being burned but unknown to the crematorium, they had left the phones in their jackets," Mr Raymond said.
"If you heat a mobile phone battery, it tends to explode, and the first reports were about explosions, and that's how they started noticing this trend."
Some funeral parlours will now arrange for the phone put into the box with the ashes following the cremation.
And one service in South Africa will put a number of batteries in the coffin just in case the dead person wakes up much later and finds their own battery has run out."
Related articles on mobile phones and death rituals:
March 29, 2006
According to the WSJ, "the Bluetooth wireless standard used in cellphones and other small devices will take a leap in transmission speed, by incorporating a new radio technology, known as ultra-wideband, or UWB. Currently, Bluetooth works only for low-speed uses such as headsets and wireless keyboards."
March 28, 2006
The 4th Screen: a global festival of art & innovation for mobile phones launches today with a call for works.
The festival is the first event of its kind to focus on the mobile phone as an emerging social, cultural and technological phenomenon.
Artists, designers, technologists, and all creative thinkers are invited to submit their creations, inventions and revolutionary ideas in one of two categories:
Moving images - including videos, animations, and games made specifically for mobile delivery
Wise technologies, including SMS based projects, sound, software art, software and hardware projects proposing new or extended use of mobile devices, applications that impact the life, the cultural, social and economical conditions of people living in diverse cultures.
The deadline for submissions is June 4, 2006
"1712 mobile phones are upgraded every hour in the UK alone‚ reveals Dead Ringers?‚ a new free exhibition to be opened at the Science Museum on Wednesday 29th March by Government Minister Ben Bradshaw.
The exhibition‚ opening in Antenna - the science and technology news gallery of the Science Museum - will showcase pioneering phone technology, such as:
-- The first UK display of NEC's phone with a biodegradeable cover‚ currently only available in Japan.
-- A a prototype phone cover with an implanted sunflower seed. As the sunflower grows‚ it gets additional nutrients from the biodegrading phone cover.
-- The only lasagne-based circuit board in the world
-- An exploded phone showing how new smart metals will help phones take themselves apart for recycling.
Further inventive design ideas covered in the exhibition include new and biodegradeable battery designs and design innovations from Nokia which may reduce the need for toxic flame retardants‚ aiding easier recycling of mobile-derived plastics.
[via science museum e-newsletter and Press Release]
Justing Oberman for mopocket and on his Personal Democracy Forumreports that "starting yesterday, IFAW launched advertisements, like the one showed above in the Sunday Mirror and has already received well over 10, 000 responses."
According to The Guardian, describes how charities are going to greater lengths to access our wallets, including innovated web options to attract young people.
"Exclusive website designs are incredibly useful. For teenagers, the web is the key means of communication. They will grow older in the next few years and become potential donors."
Vicki Pulman, PR manager of the Charities Aid Foundation, has also witnessed a surge in specialist schemes targeted at adolescents. Text messaging, multi-media campaigns and wristbands are all ways in which charities are trying to improve their relationship with young people."
Mobile Voter, in partnership with Music for America, has won a sizeable grant to register thousands of young voters at concerts across the U.S. this summer. Justin Oberman reports on Personal Democracy Forum.
"The SMS campaign called TXTVoter will kick off at concerts throughout the U.S. in June and aims to increase voter turnout in the 2008 elections.
The campaign takes celebrity involvement in "getting the vote out" to the next level: Musicians will ask concert goers to register for the SMS service during the live show by texting a word of the musician's choosing to a short numerical code. Fans will then get a reply asking for their name and address to receive voter registration forms in the mail."
Related to SMS and US politics:
Do you ever feel frustrated that you lack the depth or breadth of general knowledge that your friends or colleagues seem to have? Do you struggle to answer any questions in the local pub quiz or while watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Or perhaps you just love learning new things?
A new SMS service called GotItSussed.com offers a new range of text message services aimed at people who want an easy way to improve their vocabulary or expand their knowledge.
The knowledge service offers a number of options: Fact of the Day / Science / Environment / History / Arts & Culture.
The European commission is announcing a crackdown on excessive charges for using mobile phones abroad, reports ICNorth London online.
"Proposed new laws are designed to force mobile phone companies to slash their international "roaming charges" to levels close to prices charged for domestic calls between different mobile networks.
The move follows months of warnings to mobile phone operators from EU Telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding. Last October she launched an EU website publicising the "unjustifiable" charges travellers face when making and receiving calls on their mobile phones in other European countries."
A new study published by the Sleep Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia claims teenagers are not getting enough sleep. "Computers, cell phones, televisions and video games all keep those who should be asleep wide awake, according to a Memphis online health site Memphis online health site.
... "Nearly all the children surveyed had one gadget in their bedroom, but by 12th grade, 39 percent had more than four electronic items there, the study found.
Fourteen percent of the 11-to-17-year-olds said they arrive late or miss school because they oversleep, and 15 percent of those who drive said they drive sleepy at least once a week.
The poll, taken in November, interviewed 1,602 adult caregivers and their children age 11 to 17. It had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points. "
Related studies from around the world:
-- Teens face mobile stress (Sweden)
-- Students lack sleep (Japanese study)
-- Mobile phones and video games 'are depriving children of sleep' (Belgian study)
-- SMS causes poor sleep (Belgian study)
-- Children text at night instead of sleeping (Australian study)
A British mobile software developer launched a flat-fee text messaging service that allows users to send unlimited messages for $1.75 a week. RCRNews reports.
Hotxt.com, which describes its service as a kind of Skype for text messagers, uses the Internet to send messages between wireless users. The company is targeting its new service at 16- to 25-year-olds, claiming that a user who sends seven texts a day will save $367 over the course of a year.
... Hotxt said its service works on all Java-enabled phones on U.K. networks except from pre-paid handsets from O2 and 3."
The (UK) Times online reports that children are to be protected from junk food advertisements sent over the internet or by text message as part of a drive to tackle the country’s obesity crisis.
"New regulations and standards to cover innovative marketing techniques that promote junk food are to be decided by a new inquiry from the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) to be announced today.
It will also investigate online games, video clips, images and e-cards that promote brands and products to children. "
-- Phone firms targeting of under-fives is 'as bad as marketing junk food' say MPs - Senior MPs are calling for an urgent government inquiry into the "targeting" of children with cartoon mobile phone merchandise, including Winnie the Pooh, dangly soft toys and Scooby-Doo mobile phone covers.
March 27, 2006
Reuters reports that Sprint Nextel plans to kick off on Monday a local directory cellphone service with information such as driving directions and movie times.
"The $2.99 a month service, called "Find It," combines location aware phones and directory information from InfoSpace that lets users search out locations without having to enter a postal code or even know where they are."
Japanese mobile operator KDDI have unveiled plans to let users find their way to shops and restaurants by looking at 3-D satellite images on their cellphones, according to the AFP.
"The service, to be launched at the end of April, is an updated version of its already popular "EZ Navi-Walk" programming which uses GPS and offers vocal guidance.
The new version offers three-dimensional images that show surrounding buildings and sidestreets or directions once one is inside a building."
"How do they do it? Surely there's data charges involved with this? Short answer, no, as the phone handsets that work with this service must support WiFi - and Barablu have gone to great lengths of draw this to our attention. Simply get a WiFi-enabled mobile phone, put the Barablu software on and you're able to chat freely to anyone else on their service, no matter what platform they're on."
Text message dating makes New York Magazine.
An inside look on how text messaging is the latest technology for New Yorkers to hook up.
"It’s by far the best way to set up a sex date,” says Kate, a 34-year-old designer in the East Village. “No worrying if your voice sounds needy or desperate or neurotic. In texts you can be blunt, erotic, funny—all the things you want to be.”
Texting isn’t just easy—it’s sexy too. By its very nature, texting is quick and dirty, so you can get away with MY PLACE OR YOURS? and nothing else. Plus the very private can happen in public—call it exhibitionism for the shy.
And it’s not just for booty callers. Committed couples across the city are texting each other into a frenzy. “It’s a great form of foreplay during the workday,” says Molly, a 28-year-old yoga instructor. “Once my mom was staying with me, so I had no way to have actual phone sex with my girlfriend at the time, but we had text sex all night while my mom and I were watching Jay Leno. She had no clue.”
The Deleted Text Message Reader is a clever device that allows you to read the deleted messages stored in a mobile telephone sim card. Brought to our attention by favorite oddball gadget scout Red Ferret.
In their own words:
The software will only work on Windows XP or Windows 2000.
A pay-as-you-go SIM will usually display 10 texts, a contract SIM will usually display 20 texts.
The texts displayed are the last texts saved to the SIM, whether deleted or not. Success varies depending on the phone type that the SIM was used in and the way in which the phone user manages their texts. Best results are obtained from SIMs where texts are regularly deleted. This is because the SIM fills with texts first, and any further texts are stored in the phone.
The The Raleigh News & Observer reports on how prepaid plans are making it easier for the homeless to own cell phones.
"Cell phones are increasingly popular among the Triangle's homeless. With public pay phones quietly disappearing and prices on cell phones dropping, many homeless people say that it just makes sense.
But some social workers are concerned that the phones are an unnecessary expense that, in some cases, can be an obstacle to returning to a normal life.
Schiff, 41, who has been home-less on and off for eight years, uses his prepaid Virgin Mobile phone to look for work and get messages from potential employers.
"I call it networking," he said while standing in line for a free lunch at the Raleigh Rescue Mission recently. "The more people I know, the better chance I have of getting a job."
Paying for minutes ahead of time solves two problems for homeless users: uncertainty about their future finances and the lack of an address where a bill could be sent. It can also help curb the temptation to use the phone too much."
At a time when consumers are being inundated with offers to receive wireless sports updates, interactive games and more, entrepreneurs are catering to customers looking for cellphones and related services that satisfy spiritual, rather than entertainment needs. The WSJ rounds up some of the religious services available for cell phones.
Many more examples in Textually's SMS and Religion category.
"Taking unauthorised items into exam rooms was the most common offence with 60% of such cases involving mobile phones - probably often accidentally. A third of cases involved plagiarism, collusion or copying work."
There is no place for mobile phones in the classroom let alone in the examining hall - Department for Education and Skills.
Related links to studen cheating: - The new Cheating Culture
Patrick Nagel's most iconic works can now be downloaded onto mobile phones across the United States, and are
About Patrick Nagel: Patrick Nagel's artwork bridged the gap between traditional fine art and contemporary aesthetics, and achieved an almost unprecedented popularity throughout the 1980s. During his lifetime, Patrick Nagel completed more than sixty graphics editions and posters, numerous commemorative editions, and countless high-profile commissions, including the album cover for Duran Duran's 1983 RIO, which became the number one album in the world.
-- Pop surrealist and underground art for mobile devices- Start Mobile is offering mobile wallpaper from the world's emerging and underground artists.
-- New Art for cell phones - START SOMA, the San Francisco gallery for emerging artists, launched of STRAT MOBILE, a retail art gallery to sell New Art for cell phones.
-- Contemporary artists create artwork for cell phone screens In November 2003, See My SMS, a Paris based company run by Alexandra de Waresquiel, signed up over 25 contemporary artists, whose artwork could be downloaded onto cell phones; Jeanne SUSPLUGAS, Anne DELEPORTE, Sam SAMORE, Susan SHUP et François-xavier COURREGES all created original artwork for this project.
-- Wooster Collective Mobile Wooster Mobile is a Wooster curated art gallery of images which you can download onto your mobile phones in cities around the world.
-- Masterpiece painting for cell phones SK Telecom announced Tuesday that it's NATE service will provide customers with viewing access to 80 selected art masterpieces from the collection of "400 Years of Western Art from Poussin to Matisse".
-- Famous artwork for cell phone screens 123Multimedia, a French producer of logos and ringtones, has announced the launch of a series of "Master Painting" wallpaper designs for cell phone screens.
A new phobia has exploded among mobile phone users in Greece, reports The Observer. "The 'fear of fear' has been brought on by revelations of eavesdropping at Vodafone, the country's biggest mobile operator, say psychoanalysts reporting a boom in patients.
"Greeks, anxious their phones may have been tapped by bosses or spouses, have sought medical help. 'The afflicted show all the signs of a classic phobia,' said Dr Dimitris Souras, an Athenian psychotherapist. 'I have had at least 25 people, of all ages, displaying what I can only call a "fear of fear", that is fear of their own fear that their private conversations may have been monitored.
All had complained of anxiety, sleep disorders, irritability and an inability to function properly. 'There is no doubt in my mind that this is connected to what we now know: that in Greece mobile phones are not safe,' said Dr Souras who includes the phobia in his latest book."
March 26, 2006
Studies have found that the majority of people who work at a computer experience some eye or vision problems, and that the level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of computer use, reports medical news today .
"But, increased use of smaller, portable work and recreational gadgets such as PDAs, laptops and cell phones may also be contributing factors to the visual fatigue and discomfort experienced by millions, according to leading expert, Dr. Jeffrey Anshel."
To offset to the drudge of their daily ride to work, Japanese commuters are reading on cell phones. Short stories, comic books and manga are all readily available, reports the BBC.
... "Bandai Networks is one of the largest publishing outfits in this brave new world.
They have their own steadily growing mobile site, with 20,000 users subscribing to a catalogue of 400 plus titles.
.... And perhaps more importantly, it is reversing the younger generation's apathy towards reading.
Science Fiction author Chiaki Kawamata says: "A high school student wrote to me to tell me that he read 1,000 books in a single summer. There's absolutely no way he could have done that with regular books and without having the novels on his phone instead."
This renewed interest in the written word is also spinning off into regular bookshops. It seems that this could be one medium which, though still somewhat rare, may, in the final analysis, prove to be pretty well done."