Archives for September 2006
September 25, 2006
A collection of mobile phone applications that visualize information ambiently:
-- The 'Solar System' application uses planets moving around the sun, in which each planet represents 1 communication partner & the size & velocity of the planet reflect the communication events.
--'Aquarium' uses fish to represent communication partners, & the size of the fish reflects the money the user spent on communication with this person.
-- In 'Bubbles', each circle is a person & the size & speed of the circle represents communication meta-information with this person.
reBlogged from info aesthetics
According to Ynetnews, a new initiative by MK Israel Hasson will let anyone send suggestions for new laws by text message. The best ones will be proposed to parliament.
"The “Knesset SMS” program, conceived by MK Israel Hasson (Israel Our Home), will be activated and managed by his bureau. Hasson will select the best suggestions and will officially propose them to the Knesset.
... Hasson added that the initiative stemmed from “the real desire to draw new ideas from the public."
September 24, 2006
According to the Mercury News, mobile lifestyle companies that promise to dramatically change the way we use our phones -- are attracting Venture Capitalists in droves.
"... More than half a dozen companies are emerging from test periods this fall, primarily in two flavors: those focused on making overseas long-distance calling over the Internet more affordable, trying to compete with Skype ( Jajah, Rebtel SoonR, and Nimbuzz) and those letting users access social-networking programs on their cell phones (Jaxtr, EQO)
-- Jaxtr's service will combine social-networking applications with an easier way to call friends.
-- EQO is developing a browser for mobile phones and making it easy for visitors to social networking sites like MySpace and Friendster to send multimedia messages to their friends' cell phones."
What began as a side venture for a computer refurbishing company 15 years ago has evolved into a cell phone recycling empire with $40 million in sales and more than 250 employees. The Clarion Ledger reports on one company's amazing success story.
"In the last five months, ReCellular Inc. went from restoring 400 phones a month to 300,000 phones, largely from a partnership with cell phone companies including Verizon, Cingular and T-Mobile. The companies give their cellular customers postage-paid envelopes to donate their old phones when they trade them in.
Industry researcher Blumberg & Associates says ReCellular claims 53 percent of the market.
... The antiquated phones the recycling company receives get new faces, and the data on them are erased. Then they're sold in the United States and in more than 30 other countries. Overseas, refurbished phones sell for an average of $18, but some range from $40 to $100.
Refurbished phones are in high demand in developing countries where cell phone service differs greatly from that used in the United States, Newman said.
GRC has 13 percent of the market, while RMS has 9 percent and CollectiveGood 7 percent.
... An estimated 3.5 million phones have been donated to charity since such programs began in 1999."
With China's Moon Cake Festival coming up - also know as the Mid-Autumn Festival - Nokia is is bundling cell phone moon cakes with their handsets Taiwan, according to phonemag. "These limited gifts are to give away by 8 October with purchase of any nokia music phones at appointed retailers. "
The Chinese Moon Festival is on the 15th of the 8th lunar month. Just like Christmas and Thanksgiving in the West, the Moon Festival is one of the most important traditional events for the Chinese and is an occasion for family reunions. When the full moon rises, families and lovers get together to watch the full moon, eat moon cakes, and sing moon poems.
... The moon cake is the food for the Moon Festival. The Chinese eat the moon cake at night with the full moon in the sky. Click here to view pictures of the typical moon cake. [via About Chinese Culture]
Other edible phones:
September 22, 2006
"A Muscle Monitor application was built specifically for this case for Series 60/Series80 mobile phones, and it monitors muscle activity (EMG) with two channels, so two different muscles (biceps in this case) can be monitored, one channel for each muscle.
The application shows muscle activity as graphical trend and is capable of basic operations such as muscle balance calculations, muscle activity counters and min/max follow-up." More. Way over my head!
"The application, called Digg Java Mobile , gives quick access to popular and upcoming stories, and provides filters to contain the barrage of information. Stories can be viewed using Google Mobile Web, or bookmarked and emailed for reference later."
Related: - digg mobile
Interesting insight on how China's military can no longer keep a lid on information, thanks to cell phones. From Strategy Page.
"In the last few months, dozens of generals and colonels have been dismissed from service, or otherwise punished, for making bad decisions.
These incidents include responsibility for the loss of an experimental AWACS aircraft and dozens of soldiers killed when a flood hit their barracks. In the past, such incompetence would have been covered up.
But the growing access to communications (over 400 cell phone users and over 100 million Internet users) means that word of these problems gets out, along with names and other details.
In a way, this is to the government's advantage, as the military tends to take care of its own. In the past, no one would get punished, and inept leaders would continue in their positions.
Now, the government is able to use the unfavorable publicity as an excuse to ditch corrupt and incompetent officers. "
Thailand's self-appointed military rulers arrested their opponents, banned political meetings and prohibited television stations from broadcasting text messages from viewers yesterday, as the newly formed junta consolidated the success of Tuesday’s lightning coup," reports The Times via Smart Mobs.
A new epidemic - known as Nebrols - that threatenes many lives in Africa, has been brought to light by Ugandan humorist, Joachim Buwembo. The BBC reports on Uganda's version of "Can you hear me now?".
"... In rural parts of Uganda, medical workers have found themselves overwhelmed by the number of elderly men and women who had sought treatment for broken arms and legs- which turns out to be the incidental outcomes of the spread of mobile phone use in Uganda.
The speed at which the mobile phone companies were rolling out their networks had not kept pace with the rate at which the phones were being bought and distributed all over the country.
So there were parts of rural Uganda in which there were plenty of elderly men and women with mobile phones, but where the network signal was so weak that the only way to make a phone call was to climb up a tree on some nearby hill, and make your call while clinging to its branches.
When old people begin to climb tall trees there is bound to be a sudden increase in falls and broken bones.
Hence the epidemic of Nebrols - an acronym for the Network Broken Limbs Syndrome. "
In Ringtonia.com today:
-- Concertino for cell phones and orchestra - U.S. jazz composer David Baker is encouraging people to use their mobile phones during the debut performance of " Concertino for Cellular Phones and Orchestra" that will open the 20th anniversary season of the Chicago Sinfonietta classical music festival next month.
... Dialtones Symphony was the first very ringtone concert. It was conducted by Golan Levin and performed in September 2001 at the Brucknerhaus Auditorium in Linz, Austria. The 28-minute concert was produced through the ringing of 200 visitors' phones.
September 21, 2006
I If just a small portion of the world's mobile phone users unplugged their charger when the battery is full, it could save enough electricity to power thousands of homes. So said Nokia Thursday, as it unveiled a new industry group that aims to make mobile phones more environmentally friendly, reports IDG News Service.
"The group also includes Motorola, France Telecom, Vodafone, TeliaSonera and others. It was created as part of a European Commission project aimed at uniting members of different industries to work on reducing the environmental impact of their products.
Members of the new group will try to educate people more about how they can reduce the environmental impact of using their cell phones. For example, manufacturers will start displaying a reminder on phones to unplug chargers once the battery is charged. If only 10% of phone users did that, they would save enough energy to power 60,000 European homes each year, Nokia estimates."
Nokia said on Thursday it has agreed with Microsoft to integrate Live Search capabilities into Nokia's Mobile Search. Reuters reports.
"This would enable phone users access to Live Search directly from their Nokia N-series multimedia phones and other compatible Nokia phones using Series 60 software, it said.
Nokia has earlier announced a similar deal with Yahoo"
Consumers needing a cellphone or accessories on the run have a new option now that Motorola has rolled out a series of what the company calls "robotic stores." USA Today reports.
"The vending machine-like stores, run by Zoom Systems and unveiled Wednesday will carry about 30 products, initially including 12 phones and 18 accessories, said Bob Many, Motorola's director of automated retailing.
The "Instantmoto" will go into 20 malls and airports nationwide as part of a pilot program. Chicago has three outlets operating, including one in the Macy's store downtown.
... Unlike vending machines, however, they don't drop the products from their racks. Instead, the products are gently delivered to consumers by a robotic arm.
With GPS and mobile phones paired together street games has become a reality. Check out "Come Out & Play" Festival which will take place in New York City from September 22nd to 24th for a list of mobile games that are available. [via Bullet Proof Productions]
-- Street Games
September 20, 2006
"San Francisco, Washington and New York are using bluegills - also known as sunfish - to safeguard their public drinking water.
A small number of fish are kept in tanks which are constantly filled with water from the municipal supply. The computerised system registers changes in the fishes' vital signs and at the first sign of stress, the computer system will send an alert by email, pager or mobile device, also known as "fish phones".
South African Christians seeking a quick spiritual boost will be able to download the entire bible on to their mobile telephones phones as part of a drive to modernize the scriptures, reports Reuters.
"By sending an SMS, customers of the The Bible Society will get the complete Old and New Testaments as well as a built-in search engine.
Customers can choose between the traditional King James version of the bible or more up-to-date translations. Zulu and Xhosa version will be available soon and other languages will follow."
The BBC reports on historic phone directories being put online. A wonderful read.
"The humble phone book, dating back to the Victorians, is providing a rich seam of social history. And as part of the boom in genealogy, back issues of phone directories have been scanned and published online in a venture between BT and a family history website.
-- The honour for appearing first in the very first phone book goes to John Adam & Co, 11 Pudding Lane in the City of London.
-- Other entries making their debut in the early phone books were Alexander Bell - yes, he who invented the phone - and Keith Prowse. Yep, selling tickets.
-- It also shows how quickly the telephone spread. By 1914, the phone book was the largest single printing contract in the country, running off 1.5 million copies.
--Phone books give a snapshot through the following decades of the 20th Century of where people were living.
-- The re-published phone books stop at 1984, before the arrival of mobile phones and the proliferation of numbers and communications.
LG Electronics has developed a voice phone for visually impaired users. The “Reading Phone” converts texts files into voice. Telecoms Korea reports.
The specially designed handset gives voice direction for all functions thanks to an embedded voice sensor and text-to-speech converter.
Phones smuggled into jails is a problem worldwide - this blog has an entire chapter devoted to Inmates and cell phones stories - as thanks to cell phones, convicts are able to stay in touch with the outside world and continue business as usual, running rackets, directing drug cartels, even ordering executions from behind bars.
They are smuggled into jails in the most imaginative ways and have been found in toads, mayonnaise jars, in compost piles, a prisoner's bowels, the soles of their shoes, inside hollowed-out blocks of cheese, or alarmingly and more commonly, through a corrupt correctional officer.
Now, it seems the UK may have come up with the perfect solution for detecting them. A sniffer dog, according to The Times..
A sniffer dog has become the first in Britain to be trained to search out mobile phones in jails. Murphy, a 15-month-old English springer spaniel, undertook his first trial at Norwich prison yesterday.
According to the BBC , Mel Barker, the dog trainer at Norwich Prison, said: "Every mobile phone has a scent which is unique to mobile phones. .
"Vivian Glover was one of two who won a play-at-home game in which viewers guess which of many cases on the stage contains the prize by text messaging on their cell phones or by logging onto the Web site."
This past weekend, teenagers were escorted out of a movie theater in Arlington Texas, for reading a text message on their cell phones, according to the The Star Telegram.
“All we’re promoting is a distraction-free environment,” said Nate Reid, the theater’s general manager. He added that the policy has been enforced since the theater opened in 2002. “We have a very high teenage audience. It really is a problem with the teenage audience.”
“They had their phone on silent. It was a text message so no talking, no noise. A uniformed policeman said the theater has a very clear policy on no cell phones and they had to leave, walked them to the door and told them to not come back that night... Police were escorting teens out of the theater through the whole movie.”
Fast food is becoming even faster thanks to the Internet and SMS, reports the WSJ.
"Busy people who don't like waiting in line to order pizza, a sandwich or a cup of coffee are using the Internet or text messaging on cellphones and other wireless devices to order. With a text message or a few clicks on a computer, users can have their food and drinks paid for and ready to go by the time they arrive."
-- goMobo: SMS Your Order, Cut the Lines - Justin Oberman walking in Manhattan, stumbled on gomobo, a new text messaging service that allows users to order and pay for meals via SMS (mostly in Mahattan for now) )...
September 19, 2006
England football star David Beckham has been named global brand ambassador for Motorola in a three-year deal that will include the footballer promoting the mobile giant's products during the World Cup tournament in Germany.
"... Motorola will also have rights to exclusive Beckham content such as screensavers and videoclips of the England and Real Madrid footballer in action on the mobile operator's handsets. "
[via Brand Republic]
"The phones are designed with three penguins dressed in striped inmate uniforms and helmets saluting to a swastika.
I-Mobile is a daughter company of “Smart,” one of the largest telecommunications companies in Thailand.
The Israeli Embassy is planning on asking “Smart” to stop manufacturing the offensive phones and remove them from the shelves."
Modern cellphones may be convenient, but many Iraqis are abandoning them because they bear nothing but bad news. Aws al-Timimi is an IWPR contributor in Baghdad. He reports for Spero News in one of the most poignant accounts' related to cell phones I've ever read. It's "killing the messenger bearing bad news" all over again, but this time, the bearer is new technology.
"Mobile phones, for many years a forbidden object of desire for Iraqis, are beginning to lose some of their lustre, as getting a call rarely means good news.
The insurgents send text messages to warn people to quit their jobs, while kidnappers ring up to deliver their ransom demands.
Hassan Hashim, a 40-year-old salesman in Baghdad, bought mobiles for his entire family as soon as they became available in Iraq. But after spending days on the phone negotiating with criminals for the release of his brother, kidnapped five months ago, he now loathes the things.
Hashim paid the kidnappers 15,000 US dollars to get his brother back, only to receive yet another call to say his dead body had been found. The family have since given up their phones.
"These phones don’t bring us anything good,” said Hashim. “I used to survive without a cell phone, and I felt safe because the landlines were heavily monitored. Now anyone can use the phone to commit crime and deception".
Iraq was the last country in the Middle East to get a mobile phone network. In Saddam Hussein’s time, only landlines were allowed, and international calls went through state-controlled operators to make it easier for the government to monitor conversations.
Cellular services started in January 2004 with a limited number of connections. Back then, people were ready to pay up to 1,000 dollars for a sought-after SIM card, which even at that price was still preferable to an expensive satellite phone, the only reliable way of calling abroad at the time.
Mobile handsets were expensive, with the cheapest costing 120 dollars, a lot of money in a country where monthly salaries average between 200 and 350 dollars.
Competition eventually brought prices down, and handsets are now available for 40 dollars , but despite this, a growing number of Iraqis are abandoning mobiles and going back to the old-fashioned landlines.
The falling demand is due to their widespread use of mobile technology by kidnappers and blackmailers.
... To avoid threats, some Iraqis will only take calls from numbers they recognise.
Others will not use their phones at all, because looking at them brings up sad memories of relatives and friends who have been killed."
Cypyhermint a leading provider of secure electronic payment solutions, and Chris' Pizza of Marlborough, MA, have teamed together to conduct a home delivered pizza service with a mobile payment method dubbed "P2Pizza".
If you live in Marlborough, MA you can order your favorite pizza for delivery. When delivered to your door 30 minutes later, the driver will process your payment with his cell phone. All you have to do is add the tip and confirm the amount on your cell phone. Both parties get an instant confirmation. [Press Release]
-- Ordering pizza by SMS - (2004) A new payment method being offered by Waltham Pizza is giving new meaning to the phrase "call out for pizza." The restaurant is one of the first in the western suburbs to let customers pay with their mobile phones.
-- Ordering pizza by SMS - (2004) u can now order a pizza from the comfort of your mobile phone - if you live in Australia.
The commercial application of software robots is not far away, according to the The Korea Times, writing about Prof. Kim Jong-hwan of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, who is incorporating software robots into cell phones.
"Kim and his associates started the project together with Samsung Electronics, in early 2005, and they have made considerable progress.
The professor gave a glimpse of what is in store, a three-dimensional avatar will be inside the cell phone and adjust itself to the characteristics of the cell phone owner.
"It would be just like a sophisticated creature living inside a mobile phone,’’ Kim said. "An owner will be allowed to set its first personality through defining the underlying DNA.
However, it is up to the avatar how its personality develops in tune with responses of the owner. Its personality can head either way _ getting better or worse _ depending on how people treat it.’’
For example, Kim said people will be able to deal with loneliness felt by the avatar, which will pop up on the phone monitor, by gently touching pre-set buttons.
Should the owner refuse to respond to the signal, the avatar will change its behavior either to express such feelings more often and overtly or just become depressed, according to Kim.
The compelling avatar, which will be available in the not-so-distant future, corresponds to the original idea of Kim - the genie that folks can conjure up at any time and at any place."
-- Samsung software interacts with phone owner - Samsung Electronics is cooperating with Prof. Kim Jong-hwan at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology to develop cell phone software that can feel, think, evolve and reproduce.
"Missed call Marketing, a dispicable practice, is being scrutinised by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, to determine whether it is in breach of the anti-spam legislation. Cellular News reports.
"'Missed call' marketing is the term that has been given to the practice of calling a mobile telephone for such a short period of time that the owner cannot answer the call. When the marketer disconnects the call, most mobile phones present a 'missed call' notification with the marketer's number. The marketer intends that the owner of the phone will think that they have missed a legitimate call and ring the number back, in which case they hear a recorded promotional message.
In the first and most prevalent example of 'missed call' marketing, callers were told about a gift of mobile content that they could receive by calling a 190 premium rate number. In a more recent example of this type of marketing, callers were advised of a mobile premium SMS-based dating service operated on a '19' number. "
A UK researcher is urging people to dust off their old-fashioned telephones and bring them along to a free interactive telecommunications event at the Museum of Science and Industry on 30 September and 1 October. Cellular News reports.
"Professor Nigel Linge from the University of Salford is on the hunt for anything from 1980s 'brick'-style mobiles to 1960s dial phones, and beyond. He is looking to expand the University's collection of historic telephones, which includes several early mobile phones, old BT exchange parts and a morse code telegraph sounder from the early 1900s."
-- Innovative new mobile phone technology on display for the first time at the Science Museum Dead Ringers? is an exhibition which opened at the UK Science Museum in March, showcasing pioneering phone technology.