Archives for April 2006
April 30, 2006
A South Asian study conducted in India and Sri Lanka that looks at telecom users with monthly incomes of less than $100 says that over half the respondents do not even own the phone they use. The India Times reports.
"It found that 31 percent of fixed owners and 7 perpcent of mobile owners allow non-family members to use their phones. "Keeping in touch" with friends and family locally was the biggest use of telephones.
More than two-thirds of those studied do not take advantage of 'off-peak' rates. Less than 10 percent of mobile users that switch off phones do so to avoid incoming calls. Some 33 percent of Indian mobile users bought second-hand handsets.
Aljazeera reports on "Bluedating", or strangers on trains sending each other messages via bluetooth in order to possibly meet up. Al Jazzera reporter, Sakhr al-Makhadhi, interviews some people and gives it a shot.
"Self-confessed bluedating-queen Mammy Kufuor says it is a no-risk way of finding a partner: "It's quite a safe way to meet people, you can normally see them straight away, so if you don’t like them, there’s no damage done." ... she says it is a growing phenomenon. "I've had quite a few people bluetooth me without me bluetoothing them, all over the country," says the 22-year old. "It's spreading quite quickly, I’m not sure where it started or who started it, but it's one of those word-of-mouth things.
The BBC among many other papers reported on "Bluetoothing in 2004. It was then revealed as a hoax. But news from more credible sources show evidence of real usage of bluetooth for this purpose in (generally concurred) public places.
And it's definitely common practive in some parts of the word:
"The police have set up a special number to take information on crimes from members of the public via SMS messaging, under a pilot scheme called "Textme" that is aimed at young people.
"We log the information from each text we receive and subject them to proper investigation," said inspector Mark Piper, who thought up the idea.
"If the information proves useful, we respond with a thank you and tell them we would like to give them 10 pounds credit" -- worth about 100 text messages on the typical pay-as-you-go cellphone.
The Mobile Weblog via Akihabara News picks up on "two new fixed line phones released by Korean operator KT, under the brand "Ann", which send out a text message if someone calls you at home and you miss the call.
The phones will also record audio if someone enters the vicinity of the phone."
April 29, 2006
File under Travel. Foreigners visiting Japan for a short period are not allow to purchase the prepaid start-up cards for mobile phones that cost a negligible amount.
The policy requires the subscribers to produce documents such as water and electricity bills to verify that they are residents of the country to be eligible to buy them.
[via The Star]
This week's Carnival of the Mobilists is over at
April 28, 2006
Tomorrow is Queensday, one of Netherlands most popular festive days. The Dutch celebrate the birthday of their Queen mum and dress up in orange.
In cooperation with the City of Almere,
All SMS congratulations will be shown on the Queensday website and projected on a big video wall in the city. At the end of the day all messages will be bundled and presented to Her Majesty the Queen.
If you want to congratulate the Queen, please send HM followed by your personal message to 4040 on Saturday 29th of April. For more information visit
File under random. New Kerala reports that Chinese monks above the age of 18 on the Shaolin Temple's martial arts team use mobile phones and surf the Internet daily.
A kung fu monk is given a monthly allowance of $25 by the temple.
Head coach Shi Yanlu revealed the modern life enjoyed by monks in an interview with the Xiaoxiang Morning Post.
The Hindu reports reports on one candidate's electoral promise of free cell phones.
"An independent, contesting from Muthialpet constituency, has promised voters mobile phones free of cost, if voted to power in the coming Assembly elections in the Union Territory.
Besides the free mobile phone offer Ramasamy alias E K R Kuppam intends to convert all huts into concrete structures, take care of elderly people and promote sports activities. candidate's electoral promise of free cell phones."
According to the New York Post via mopocket, "the New York City Police confiscated 129 cellphones and 24 electronic devices yesterday from students at the first city high school subjected to a new random scanning initiative aimed at purging the school system of weapons.
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein called the initiative a success and said the ban on cellphones and other gadgets deemed disruptive would stay in place despite an outcry from parents and students.
Confiscated items, with the exception of drugs and weapons, are usually returned at the end of the day but principals can require the student to be accompanied by a parent to get their stuff back.
The scannings, conducted by police with mobile metal detectors, may take place unannounced each day at as many as 10 middle schools or high schools without permanent magnetometers."
Misuse of mobile phones is leading to dozens of needless call-outs for rescue teams, reports the BBC .
"Chris Lloyd, from Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue in north Wales estimates 30% of the calls to his team could be avoided.
Mr Lloyd told the BBC News website: "People rely on mobile phones these days. In days gone by, they would sort themselves out. ... Rather than spending a wet night out or using some proper navigation and finding their own way down safely, they just press the button and call us out," he said.
... But Mr Lloyd said mobiles could be "invaluable" in some situations. "They have reduced call-out time and I think they do improve the casualty survival," he said.
Instructions on how to treat injuries are often given by rescue teams over the phone before they reach the patient. "
As music and video programming becomes widely available for cellphones, major U.S. wireless carriers are quietly setting strict decency standards for their content partners in an effort to stave off criticism from customers and regulators, reports the WSJ
"Many of the rules go far beyond those set by federal regulators for television and radio.
The rules, which bar sexually explicit or graphic content, have sparked concern among media providers. Some have already been forced to alter or remove hip-hop ringtones, video clips or other material that wireless operators considered offensive, people familiar with the situation say."
A Verizon Wireless content-guideline document, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, shows that the company has developed a long list of restrictions, including off-limits expletives and curse words, highly specific rules for how much bare skin models can show, and a ban on any derogatory references to Verizon Wireless itself."
Engadget Mobile's take entitled Verizon and Cingular go censor crazy with mobile content.
Telecoms trying to avoid Shades of 1995?
It attempted to regulate both indecency (when available to children) and obscenity in cyberspace. It also declared that operators of Internet services were not to be construed as publishers (and thus legally liable for the words of third parties who use their services).
The Decency Act was struck down by the Supreme court 1997, thanks to the EFF and ACLU. They argued that speech protected under the First Amendment would suddenly become unlawful when posted to the Internet.
April 27, 2006
Pocket-lint reports that Motorola and T-Mobile have both independently announced today that they are both about to start advertising campaigns with big celebrity names.
T-Mobile has opted for Robbie Williams and will start TV commercial with the singer next month, for a pan-european broadcast.
And Motorola has turned to David LaChapelle, world-renowned photographer and director, to capture the highly anticipated PEBL Colour handsets in a whimsical photo shoot."
Master illusionist David Copperfield used the tools of his trade and a cell phone to avoid being robbed this Sunday after his show at a West Palm Beach performing arts center, reports Justin Oberman in mopocket.
... Four teenagers pulled up in a black car and demanded that he and his two female assistants hand over their belongings. His assistants gave money and their purses, but Copperfield refused to empty his pocket.
Copperfield says he turned his pockets inside out to reveal nothing in them, even though he was carrying his passport, wallet and cell phone. "Call it reverse pick-pocketing," Copperfield told Palm Beach Post for its Wednesday editions.
When the alleged robbers left in the car, Copperfield read the license plate number to an assistant while she called 911. The alleged teenage robbers were eventually caught and all belongings returned to the assistants.
Justin suggests "this is one trick that Mr Copperfield should share with the rest of us, as a public service".
PS. I have thing for David Copperfield. This will definitely be my favorite story for a long while.
"Through partnerships with hot spot operators, iPass offers access to about 50,000 hotspots around the world through a single account, according to the Redwood Shores, California, company.
... They expect to deliver software for the Nokia 9300i and 9500 by summer".
Refresh Mobile has partnered with Sony Ericsson to launch a music based Mobizine – available to users of any phone on any network – to promote their new new Walkman phone - the W8101, reports Big Picture Advertising.
"The Mobizine is called "Soundtrack to your life" and features a wide range of music content which is updated daily.
Virtually anyone with a java enabled phone can download Mobizines and there is no cost to the user other than a few pence for the data charges on each update - and as the content is cached it can be read on the tube..."
Walt Disney Co said on Thursday it plans to launch its own family-focused cellular phone service in Britain by the end of the year, which will use capacity on O2's network. [via Reuters]
Electromagnetic radiation from your mobile phone may impair your ability to make snap decisions, such as when driving a car, an Australian study shows, reports Optus.net via Engadget Mobile and Techdirt Wireless.
"The study, which will be published in the journal Neuropsychologia found evidence of slowed reactions, on both simple reactions and more complex reactions, such as choosing a response when there is more than one alternative.
The researchers found these effects after people were exposed to electromagnetic radiation equivalent to spending 30 minutes on the phone.
... Another interesting finding of the study was that the participants showed a slight improvement in working memory, such as remembering a phone number long enough to dial it."
Despite the phenomenal growth of cellphones, few consumers who have one are ready to give up the better reception of their landlines, reports the NY Times.
" But now a handful of companies are marketing household devices that they believe meld the best of both worlds: the convenience, calling features and free minutes of a cellphone with the reliability and ease of use of a landline".
... When the user is leaving the house, the cellphone can be removed and the cordless phone reconnected to the landline network." Continue reading
As part of a research collaboration with MIT computer scientists, the Nokia Research Center Cambridge, is developing cell phones that can understand and respond to written commands typed in English. Tech Review reports.
"To power Nokia's natural language technology, MIT's Katz is using a software system he developed in 1993 called Start, which interprets human questions and finds answers using websites such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and Mapquest.
Using the Web version of Start as a base, Katz is currently working with the Nokia center to develop a mobile version of the software for cell phones, called MobileStart.
April 26, 2006
Phones smuggled into jails is a problem worldwide - this blog has an entire chapter devoted to Inmates and cell phone stories - as thanks to cell phones convicts are able to stay in touch with the outside world and continue business as usual (sort of), running rackets, directing drug cartels, even ordering executions from behind bars.
In the UK penitenciaries, it seems SIM cards have become a valuable currency, as they can contain the key to a criminal enterprise. One prison officer said told The Telelgraph. "It is the equivalent of handing someone a ready-made business".
Today The Houston Chronicle opens our eyes to yet another way cell phones are used by Texas inmates, they're used a currency as prisoners sell minutes to other inmates. "It's just like American Express it's good as cash," said John Moriarty, inspector general of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Investigators say prisoners are willing to pay between $350 and $600 to have a phone smuggled into prison.
... But some defense attorneys say <prosecutors haven't proven cell phones are used for anything more than getting in touch with family. Texas prisons don't have pay phones, so offenders are desperate to communicate.
"Drugs take you out of the prison psychologically," said David P. O'Neil, a defense attorney in Huntsville and former director of the prison system's public defender's office. "Phones place you outside the prison in a different sense. There is a premium on escaping in that sense."
KT, Korea's dominant telecom operator, has unveiled a fixed-line phone, which can keep people informed on what's going on in their home. The Korea Times reports.
"The sophisticated model, codenamed "Ann Eye," is equipped with a heat sensor, which recognizes intruders or expected visitors to a house and sends cell phone messages to owners away from home.
"Outgoing users can turn on the embedded sensor in the phone, which can identify any movement within a radius of 10 meters and send short text messages to the users,'' KT director Yoon Min-ho said.
As an example, he said "The movement can come from a burglar or children returning from school. Home-owners will be able to check immediately after receiving the text warning by calling home.''
The gadget, produced by local mid-tier phone vendor Aprotech, will go on sale this week with a price tag of 127,000 won ($134) while the alarm service is free of charge. "
Mobile Signal will give subscribers the opportunity to communicate with people who share their personal or business interests in their vicinity via their mobile phone or PC. They also expect to boost mobile operator revenues by at least €30 million inside two years.
The Mobile Signal platform – which is available via simple plug–in patented technology compatible with any web or mobile application – enables network operators to provide high revenue features to its customers within four weeks.
Justin writes, "Once the tech is in full swing an SMS will alert users when there are people in the same location who share a whole host of similar interests such as sport, music, films, politics or even romance.
Whether it is a young backpacker arriving at an airport in a new country, or a businessman attending a congress alone, by activating Mobile Signal on their phone they will be made instantly aware of those nearby who also like to meet others sharing something in common."
More in Press Release.
Students of the Ranade Institute Journalism in New Delhi have launched an SMS campaign wishing Pramod Mahajan, speedy recovery.
Janta Party General Secretary Pramod Mahajan, who is fighting for his life, was shot three times by his youngest brother Praveen on Saturday. He graduated from the Ranade Institute of Journalism.
[via New Kerala]
A new mobile phone text alert service was launched today in Ireland to provide teenagers with urgent advice on the dangers of illicit drugs, reports the Irish Examiner.
"... Recognising the reality that every night in clubs, bars and streets around the country, young people are being offered drugs for the first time.
Now, by texting the name of the drug to 50100, young people can find out the effects they can have on their life or health within seconds."
April 25, 2006
"Text messages are transformed to a voice message when delivered to a conventional phone.
Text to landline messages are sent in regular fashion. When the recipient�s phone is answered, the message will be read aloud. Recipients can reply with a preset text message or a voice message.
Regular text-messaging rates apply, Sprint said."
FierceMobileContent April 24, 2006
* dotMobi registration to kickoff for telecoms
"A Samaritans volunteer will text back within 10 minutes and the service will be available in the UK and Republic of Ireland 365 days a year.
The charity was the first to offer emotional support by email in 1994 and now believes texting can help more people reach help. Volunteers have been trained in understanding abbreviated text language they may receive.
... Confidentiality is maintained by the technology, routing text messages centrally and then onto Samaritans branches, which take the messages and compose replies within 160 text characters."
Related service: - Text helpline for pupils launched by UK charity Barnardo's
Related article today on e therapy in the Pioneer Press
Inside the Bay Area reports on "a disturbing trend in Alameda County and other areas, the number of underage prostitutes.
Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Sharmin Eshraghi Bock said the number of teenage prostitutes is increasing for several reasons, among them cell phones, the Internet and the "glorification of pimping by the entertainment industry."
San Francisco youth can access the service from most cell phones by sending a text with the message, "SEXINFO," to the SexInfo number, 36617.
... The service allows youth to get answers in "a safe and private and way," according to Deb Levine, Executive Director of Internet Sexuality Information Services, Inc."
Related services elsewhere: