Archives for August 2006
August 31, 2006
News.com reports on Ted Selker's newest Smart Helmet, which can play music when hooked up with an iPod, record speech through built-in microphones, and GPS warns the wearer of hazards on a given route.
It also can detect important sounds like a fire siren to mute music when necessary. It has a Motorola cell phone with Bluetooth installed so a bicyclist can talk on the phone, hands-free
... The helmet exemplifies Selker's work on gizmos that mediate communication between people and the environment and create a kind of virtual city that enhances the ones we live in. He's working on hundreds of other projects that meld intelligent design with everyday objects or industrial ones."
"The 17 year old teen driver hit the back of a police car, which was assisting another car crash when the car spun around and hit the officer, who was thrown into the air".
Picture Above: Payphone on Lake Victoria in Uganda using GSM Technology and Solar Power. Photo sent in by Craig Wheeler, Remkor Technologies South Africa.
Something useful from Italy! A new free SMS weather alert service that lets you know specifically if the weather is suitable for hanging out your clothes to dry.
By my books, this service ranks right up there with one of my old time favorite service, Belgium and Switzerland's SMS Garbage Alerts, reminding people to take out their trash on pick-up days.
-- Recycling Reminder Text Service - to remind residents in Northern Ireland to put out their recycling bin for collection.
Nokia is about to launch an enhanced version of its Nokia 8800 luxury slider phone according to reports on the web, reports Pocket-Lint.
"The new phone, which is also rumoured to be used in the new James Bond movie Casino Royale staring Daniel Craig will be re-named the 8800 Sirocco and feature a 2 megapixel camera.
Like its predecessor the new 8800 is expected to offer a 262k colour screen display, 64MB of Flash memory, tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth with wireless stereo audio, MP3 ringtones and a digital music player."
August 30, 2006
"Officer Phillip Short received a text message on his personal cell phone Thursday night regarding marijuana and decided to play along, setting up a meeting to do the drugs.
18 year old Elizabeth Burchfield says she got Officer Short's number by mistake and thought she was messaging one of her friends.
Officer Short caught up with her, pulled her over for a traffic violation, found drugs in her purse, and arrested her."
Following McAfee's SMSishing warning/scare earlier this week of hackers sending out SMS messages to mobile users - coaxing them into downloading unsuspecting software containing Trojan horse viruses - today, Science Daily reports on "stealth attacks" that drain cell phone batteries. [via digg]
"Cell phones that can send or receive multimedia files could be targeted by an attack that stealthily drains their batteries, leaving cellular communications networks useless, according to computer security researchers at UC Davis, in a lab test.
Chen, and graduate students Denys Ma and Radmilo Racic, found that the MMS protocol, which allows cell phones to send and receive pictures, video and audio files, can be used to send packets of junk data to a cell phone. Every time the phone receives one of these packets, it "wakes up" from standby mode, but quickly discards the junk packet without ringing or alerting the user. Deprived of sleep by repeated pulses of junk data, the phone's batteries run down up to 20 times faster than in regular use."
Toyota Motor Corp. said on Wednesday it has developed a mobile phone with KDDI Corp. that will make it easier for drivers in Japan to use its car navigation and other services. Reuters reports.
"The phone, called "TiMO," will go on sale at the end of October and will be sold only at the automaker's 7,500 outlets in Japan, the companies said in a statement.
... Drivers will also be able to connect to emergency centers by just pushing a button on the handset if they need help while on the road."
Selling your old phone - or recycling it - can be like handing over your diaries, according toThe Associated Press.
"All sorts of sensitive information pile up inside our cell phones, and deleting it may be more difficult than you think.
A popular practice among sellers, resetting the phone, often means sensitive information appears to have been erased. But it can be resurrected using specialized yet inexpensive software found on the Internet.
A company, Trust Digital bought 10 different phones from leading manufacturers on eBay this summer to test phone-security tools it sells for businesses - and found:
-- One company's plans to win a multimillion-dollar federal transportation contract.
The recovered information was equal to 27,000 pages -- a stack of printouts 8 feet high."
mopcoket picks up on a post by The Urban Kunoichi who writes about a company - without naming it - , which is "able to provide a service to intercept text mesages from a specified number and pass on the details to a subscriber’s handset (it's illegal, by the way).
"We can now install, remotely anywhere in the world onto their mobile phone (providing it is a compatible model) a program which when they receive or send a text, you will at the same time receive the exact same text with the number it is being sent to and received from… This feature is an extremely powerful and covert application that is 100% trace resistant."
The Urban Kunoichi does list other sites which offer the sale of devices which offer "passive monitoring systems for GSM networks":
Your cellphone may soon serve as a smoke detector if Nokia gets its way, according to everyone's favorite Barry Fox, reporting on weird and wonderful patent applications for New Scientist.
"Conventional smoke alarms detect smoke particles by the way they scatter light. But they work using a small chamber that allows smoke in while keeping out ambient light. This makes the detector too big for a small phone.
Nokia gets around this by putting a light emitter and detector in the side of the phone. Any smoke particles in the air then scatter light from the emitter into the detector which then triggers an alarm or dials a pre-programmed number. [Patent 20060164241]
Earlier this week: - A patent has been requested for a mobile phone which would include light panels for treating SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
After years of lagging behind Europe and Japan in the adoption of mobile text messaging, US subscribers have finally caught the SMS bug, reports the FT. Yeah!
"A total of 48.7bn SMS messages were sent in the last six months of 2005, up 50 per cent from 32.5bn in the first six months of last year, according to the CTIA.
About 40 per cent of the more than 200m mobile phone subscribers in the US now use text messaging, up from 25 per cent in 2003 but still far behind the 60 per cent plus penetration rates in Europe.
... Over the past year Cingular, a joint venture between AT&T and BellSouth, recorded 64.5m SMS votes for American Idol, up 52 per cent from the previous season. “American Idol was big and started people messaging,” said Mr Ryan.
... Mr Ryan believes text messaging has been slower to take off in the US in part because the economics of texting were not so compelling in the US as elsewhere, and because early adopters – typically business professionals and youth – had greater access to mobile e-mail devices.
Mobile carriers in the US have begun to address the first issue by offering subscribers bundles of lower-cost SMS messages that start at $5 a month for 200 messages and make text messaging more financially attractive. At the same time US carriers are actively seeking to educate their subscribers about SMS."
"Shot in Chicago, "LOL" is part of a series of films made over the last few years that fulfill the promise of cheap filmmaking equipment combined with local inspiration.
The film was made last summer, and drew heavily on the director’s and writers’ real experiences. The characters are based on the actors themselves, and one actor’s girlfriend even plays herself, complete with real phone messages and pictures from the time when their relationship was a long distance one.
... The making of “LOL” is often what the movie is about. Email was used to transfer the noiseheads. The movie was probably cut on a laptop (maybe even the one Tim describes as a “sexy machine”). Music was coordinated over phone and email while Bewersdorf was in Europe. This movie couldn’t have been made only a few years before, not only because of the technical limitations, but because many of its specifics wouldn’t have existed.
View the trailer!
August 29, 2006
Telecoms Korea, a favorite online destination for anyone following cell phone news, is launching a hard cover magazine.
"It will be published every two months in the beginning, but the interval may be shortened according to the response from the readers.
The cover story of the first issue is about the problem of Samsung Electronics’ cell phone strategy."
TelecomsKorea.com will send subscribers six free issues of Telecoms Korea Magazine when they sign up for one year.
The Premiere issue of TelecomsKorea Magazine is now available to order. The magazine is available to subscribers only. Click here to subscribe - $60 for 6 issues - goes through Paypal.
Sixty-three percent of parents who use text messaging believe that it improves their communication with their children, according to a recent Cingular Survey (pdf)on text messaging and parents conducted by Mediathink. [via Press release]
"... Parents who text message say they communicate more frequently with their children when they are away from home and 64 percent say that texting made their kids easier to reach.
As a result, Cingular has teamed with clinical psychologist and parenting expert Dr. Ruth Peters to develop "TXT2CONNECT - A Parent's Text Tutorial." The tutorial provides parents with tips from Dr. Peters on how to better communicate with their kids via text messaging and to understand popular text messaging lingo.
According to Dr. Ruth (Peters) text messaging is a great option for parents and kids to stay in touch: I disagree on many points - as the premise here seems to be that teenager/parenting relationships are somewhat contrived.
-- Texting vs. calling gives kids more space but allows parents to keep in touch as often as necessary.
-- Text messaging can also be used to strengthen parent-child bonds, and let kids know that their parents are thinking of them.
-- Parents get a quick answer to their questions. When their children's phone is not ignored or turned off
-- Kids are more apt to respond to text messages when they are with their friends. Not necessarily if their busy. They'll answer if it's urgent or necessary.
-- Texting allows you to enter your child's world. No it doesn't, it only enables you to reach him in his world
-- You, or they, don't have to worry about tone of voice. Parenting is not about acting
-- Text messaging allows parents to compose and edit a message before pressing send. Only when they're not adept at text messaging. Hopepfully if a parent has something important to say, it's not by SMS
Some interesting related studies:
-- Parenting by cell phone - Using the telephone to parent is part of a larger societal change of more ongoing conversations between parents and children, says Steven Mintz, a history professor at the University of Houston.
-- Colleges try to deal with hovering parents - Heightened parental involvement is one of the biggest changes on college campuses in the last decade, experts say. One major reason is the tight bond between Baby Boomer parents and their children, reports the Globegazette.com, fueled by cell phones.
-- New grads face a world of difference - ... one of every five students on that school's honor roll reports calling his or her parents an average of three times a day. Psychology Today magazine calls cell phones "the eternal umbilicus."
From News.com: "... Experts say the biggest reason why users aren't using their cell phones to access the Web more often is that compared with the traditional Internet, today's mobile Internet is still fairly rudimentary when it comes to Web site quality and ease of navigation.
Part of this experience is determined by the technology used by Web site developers and phone manufacturers providing access to sites. But it's also impacted by the fact that most users don't yet have access to faster 3G networks and affordable 3G handsets, which greatly improve quality.
"We're just waiting for all the pieces to come together," said Linda Barrabee, program manager for Wireless and Mobile at Yankee Group in the U.S. "I think once carriers improve the experience and solve the network and handset penetration issues, the services will become a lot more appealing to consumers."
A patent has been requested for a mobile phone which would include light panels for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. Cellular News reports.
"Most SAD sufferers experience normal mental health throughout most of the year, but experience depressive symptoms in the winter. Seasonal mood variations are believed to be related mostly to daylight, not temperature. For this reason, SAD is prevalent even in mid-latitude places with mild winters, such as Seattle.
The patent, US 2006/0183516 calls for a phone to be fitted with a number of light panels on the face of the phone which would deliver "light therapy" to the users face when the phone is in use.
SAD is often treated by the use of "light boxes" which use a bright light at a dose of 10,000 lux for 30-60 minutes daily. The patent states that as sitting in front of a light box is not always convenient, the addition of a lower dosage "light therapy" inside the mobile phone could augment the treatment."
Justin Oberman on mopockethas posted a screen catpure of an ad from the September Issue of Wired Magazine, introducing Wired Mobile.
Text now...For exclusive invitations. special offers and editorial features - all delivered to your phone or mobile device. How it works: Text the word "Wired" from your mobile device to 94733 [Wired]
You are now connected - and will be automatically be kept up to date on what's next through WIRED mobile.
Click here for other examples of SMS services offered by the press
An sms sent out to a random number in Italy from a terrified immigrant led the AFM to recover a boat of migrants as they were stranded south of Malta early yesterdaym, according to a New bulletin.
"The sms is believed to have been received on a cell phone in Turin, with the receiver alerting the authorities who in turn contacted the Maltese Armed Forces who set out a search and rescue operation."
A judge detained and questioned a row of spectators when a cell phone rang for a third time in her courtroom, later ordering two people to serve community service for contempt of court, reports the FresnoBee via digg.
"When no one admitted having the ringing phones Wednesday, Lake County Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell told all five people in the row to sit in chairs reserved for jail inmates. They stayed there for more than an hour until the morning court call ended.
Boswell found three people in contempt of court because they initially refused to say who had the ringing phones."
Related cellphones in the courtroom stories:
August 28, 2006
Checking my textually feeds in Bloglines, I've noticed there is often several hours delay between my posting and the actually appearence of the feed in Bloglines, and that both Bloglines and Rojo post at a similar (identitical?) slow rythm.
Today is the slowest I've noticed so far with the last post to appear dated 11.25 am this morning Swiss time (or 5.25 am New York time). That's over 7 hours ago!. According to Bloglines FAQ page, posts are updated every hour.
A word to the wise for those who use only Bloglines and Roja, they are slow! and you're not getting the latest news.
The UPlus 2, a USB cellphone charger from NewQ s supposedly the world's smallest. Gizmodo reports.
"It's mall enough to be carried with you everywhere you go (yay!) and also doubles as a USB file transfer device, letting you offload images and or media stored on a cellphone."
This week's Carnivalof the Mobilists is hosted by MobileActive.org.
"There is a lot of great reading ahead – 15 stories that run the gamut from SMS activism campaigns to mobile tech reviews to predictions on the future of mobile." Check it out!
LG's handset goes a capella / Motorola ties up with Pop Icon Jay Chou / Guerilla group ready to strike against digitally dull ringtones
The headlines in Ringtonia today.
-- LG's handset goes a capella - LG Electronics unveiled a mobile handset featuring a cappella sounds for bells and other sound effects yesterday, sung by Sweden's Real Group.
-- Motorola Makes Music with Asia's Leading Pop Icon Jay Chou - making Chou Motorola's brand ambassador for Greater China.
-- Some great quotes from music industry leaders... "Mobile music is transforming the way we listen to music, offering people music in any form they want, when they want.”
-- Time may be up for that phoney music- A guerilla group calling itself the The Ringtone Society is ready to strike and rid the world of uninspiring ringtones.
Cops follow texting trail: Investigators routinely retrieve cell phone text messages as clues in everything from killings to divorce proceedings. ipCoomunications reports.
"Text messages surfaced as evidence in the Kobe Bryant rape proceedings before the alleged victim refused to testify." (cf Bryant's Attorneys File Motion to Access SMS Data)
Overseas news reports link text messages to bribes in Zimbabwe, a robbery in Australia and a homicide in Sweden."
Related articles in textually and picturephoning categories:
Chronicling the utterances of people on the street talking to one another or on their cell phone, is the mission of Overheard in New York, a Web site that has become an Internet sensation, spawned a book and inspired countless imitators throughout the world. Interational Business Times reports.
"In a city of 8 million people, someone's always saying something strange. And, odds are, someone is around to hear it.
The site traffics in the inane, the insane and just about every -ism out there. It gets 4 million page views a month, mostly from people who don't live in the city. Its irreverent, voyeuristic and often vulgar style, combined with the city's fame and diversity, fuels its popularity, founder and publisher Morgan Friedman said. "It's really a love letter to New York," he said."
Twelve interesting facts about Nokia you may not know...:
-- The “Special” tone available to users of Nokia phones when receiving SMS (text messages) is actually Morse code for “SMS”
-- The ringtone “Nokia tune” is actually based on a 19th century guitar work named “Gran Vals” by Spanish musician Francisco Tárrega. The Nokia Tune was originally named “Grande Valse” on Nokia phones but was changed to “Nokia Tune” around 1998 when it became so well known that people referred to it as the “Nokia Tune.”
-- Nokia is currently the world’s largest digital camera manufacturer, as the sales of its camera-equipped mobile phones have exceeded those of any conventional camera manufacturer.
-- In Asia, the digit 4 never appears in any handset model number, because 4 is considered unlucky in many parts of Southeast/East Asia.
-- The Nokia corporate font (typeface) is the AgfaMonotype Nokia Sans font, originally designed by Eric Spiekermann.
"In the March Elections, SMS messaging was used to bring down the incumbent prime minister who was comfortably ahead in the polls until March 11, when Spain woke in horror as ten bombs blew up in commuter trains."
Panic spread throughout Spain—and the world. Only after five hours painful hours the prime minister comes forth, accusing the Basque terrorist group: it was the proof that his party’s hard line against ETA terrorists had been justified.
While the goverment tried to say the bombings were from ETA terrorists - internal groups - rumors began to spread, fueled by SMS messaging, that the Spanish goverment had lied.
Saturday, March 13 should have been a calm reflection day before the elections. Instead, as evidences contradicting the government thesis kept appearing, many started to wonder about the honesty of the officials’ declarations: simply put, had the terrorist attack come from ETA, it would benefit their political agenda; had it come from Al-Qaeda, it would be a severe blow. Around noon, the first SMS with the simple message: The government lied. Pass it on.
Picture from AlJazeerah.
For each text received, the World Land Trust will offset 140kg of C02 through various reforestation projects worldwide.
This is the equivalent of the amount of C02 produced by a return flight from London to Paris, 16 people sitting down for a restaurant meal, eight nights in a hotel, two nights on a cruise ship or 120 school runs in a 4x4."
To offset your footprint, text WLT CARBON to 87050.
Cellphones and text messaging are changing the way political mobilizations are conducted around the world. From Manila to Riyadh and Kathmandu protests once publicized on coffeehouse bulletin boards are now organized entirely through text-messaging networks that can reach vast numbers of people in a matter of minutes. The Washington Post reports.
"The technology is also changing the organization and dynamics of protests, allowing leaders to control, virtually minute-by-minute, the movements of demonstrators, like military generals in the field. Using texts that communicate orders instantly, organizers can call for advances or retreats of waves of protesters.
This tool has changed the balance of political power in places where governments have a history of outmuscling dissent. In April, Nepal's King Gyanendra ordered authorities to cut cellphone service after protesters against his absolute rule used text messages to help assemble street protests by tens of thousands of democracy advocates.
The Philippines, widely called the text-messaging center of the world, has led the way. When President Joseph Estrada was forced from office in 2001, he bitterly complained that the popular uprising against him was a "coup de text."
... Every major Philippine political party and nonprofit group has a database of its supporters' cellphone numbers. Many use computers to automatically generate mass text mailings to those phones with news about issues or rallies or upcoming votes."
Related articles on text messaging and politics in the Philippines: