Archives for February 2007
February 28, 2007
According to NMA, CNN is set to re-launch its CNN mobile service this week and has secured car company Lexus as its first advertiser on the platform.
"It will feature a searchable 14-day news archive with over 2,000 stories, as well as a news SMS alert service covering categories like business, weather, entertainment and lifestyle.
The service, which first launched in 1999, will be available in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America to all handsets by entering CNNmobile.com".
February 27, 2007
A private radio station broadcasting to Zimbabwe from the UK says it using text messages to beat the country's censors. The BBC reports.
"Broadcasts from SW Radio Africa, started by a Zimbabwean journalist in London to avoid the media crackdown, have been jammed for nearly two years.
SW Radio Africa founder Gerry Jackson says the daily SMS headline service is proving popular with 100 requests a day from those wanting to join the service.
... So far about 2,000 people have signed up to SW Radio Africa's text scheme in the last two months.
The jamming has mainly affected the radio station's broadcasts to urban areas, where mobile phones are most popular. "
Such a harmless and common object in our society represents a real problem for four in ten young adults in Spain, for whom their mobile phone has turned into an addiction that can lead them to consequences as dangerous as those caused by alcohol or drugs. That is the conclusion reached by Francisca Lopez Torrecillas of the Universirty of Granada. News-Medical.net reports.
"Lopez Torrecillas highlights that this addiction is the result of social changes occurred in the last decade. The main difference between this kind of addiction and alcoholism or drug-addiction is that mobile phones do not apparently cause physical effects, but psychological ones. "Mobile-addicts can be seriously affected at the psychological level but, as they don't show any physical symptoms, their disorder goes unnoticed to others" says the UGR professor.
... Addiction to mobile phones should be included into a greater group - that of addiction to new technologies".
In the UK, mobile speed cameras will soon be used to catch motorists illegally using their mobile phones, reports Intranetics Motoring News Service.
"Although the primary function of the devices will continue to be that of detecting speeding drivers, police forces have said that if they happen to spot a mobile-using motorist in the course of their work, prosecutions will occur".
According to Newsday, a Long Island (NY) family has filed a $5 million civil rights lawsuit against their son's high school, claiming it did nothing to stop students from text-messaging racial slurs and scrawling an offensive word on his locker.
"The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Central Islip on Monday, says administrators at the nationally ranked Miller Place High School failed to stop the mistreatment of ninth grader Brian Orr _ one of five black students in a school population of 950".
mad4mobilephones has spotted an interesting new patent for a device that can get you out of difficult situations by ringing your phone at a predetermined time and another patent, "The Driver-Attentive Notification System", allowing mobile phone users to press a button telling the person on the other end of the phone to stop talking while they concentrate on something.
Mobile users can have ree access to nearly 200 of Concierge's regularly updated guides and the "Gold List "of the best places to stay in the world, selected by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler.
[via Cool Hunting]
This project by Madrid Abierto seeks to raise sensitivity on the loss of privacy which we are heading towards and, at the same time, to experiment with the new creative language offered by the new media.
Systems are installed that send sms/mms to all passers-by carrying a mobile phone and who cross a previously established area, thereby distributing a number of messages/images generated by the [nexus*]artgroup. Each passer-by crossing a hot-spot receives a message/image in his/her terminal.
... It is a communicative initiative that aims to raise the shock of the message.
Karina explains it all on mobuzzTV.
February 26, 2007
In Singapore, in an attempt to elude the law, some pimps have taken their prostitutes off the streets and put them online, according to The Electronic New Paper and meetings are arranged by SMS and phone numbers exchanged for further "heart-to-heart "chats.
"The SMS service to launch in March will allow Jews to use their cell phones to find synagogues, kosher restaurants, Chabad houses, mikvehs (ritual purification baths) as well as the exact times for prayers, Shabbatot and holidays anywhere in the world.
... The times of services, Shabbatot and holidays, as well as information such as data on local rabbis, Jewish tourist sites and Chabad houses will be added at a later stage, and will have coverage in Israel as well as in the rest of the world."
-- The Shabbat phone for isreali soldiers, minimizes Shabbat desecration - The Shabbatphone “minimizes Shabbat desecration” for military soldiers in the israelian army.
-- The Kosher Phone, by Motorola - carrying the seal of approval from Israel's rabbinical authorities -- are stripped down to its original function: making and receiving calls.
-- Kosher voice navigation - MIRS, the maker of kosher phones* approved by the Haredi community, will offer a yiddish verbal navigation system.
-- Cell phones for the Orthodox - An Israeli cellular phone company came out with a line catering to the fervently Orthodox community.
Teenage suicide rates are on the increase in South Africa, reports IOL.
"The "Suicide Shouldn't be a Secret" programme targets primary and high school pupils, said Zane Wilson, director of South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag). ... And while trained counsellors visit schools and create awareness of suicide, they rolled out an SMS help line for the youth.
... The SMSes are entered into a computer database and trained counsellors SMS the teenagers back. "Children need to be encouraged to get help. They are very vulnerable and think and act quickly," said Wilson."
Hi I’m an iPhone. And I’m a Smartphone comic strip by Long Zheng posted on istartedsomething. Fun idea but - disapointing - the slant favors Microsoft.
A wonderful piece written by Shashi Tharoor, U.N. undersecretary-general for communications, on the transformation of India's class system thanks to cell phones, that was published in the IHT early February.
"We had possibly the worst telephone penetration rates in the world The government's indifferent attitude to the need to improve India's communications infrastructure was epitomized by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's communications minister, C.M. Stephen.
In response to questions in parliament decrying the rampant telephone breakdowns in the country, he declared that telephones were a luxury, not a right, and that any Indian who was not satisfied with his telephone service could return his phone -- since there was an eight-year waiting list of people seeking this supposedly inadequate product."
"The cell phone revolution is exciting not only as a sign of India's economic transformation, but a symptom of something far more important: a change in the attitude of India's governing classes.
... what is truly wonderful about the "mobile miracle'' is that it has accomplished something India's old socialist policies talked about but did little to achieve: It has empowered the less fortunate.
The beneficiaries of the new mobile telephones are not just the affluent, but people who in the old days would not even have dreamed of joining those 20-year-long waiting lists."
LG have announced the LG CAN*U mobile TV phones, each of which features of one of 10 designs by famous cartoonists and painters.
"Some of the artists whose work features on the design include Yi, Seokju, Jung, Hyeonsuk, Heo, Youngman, and Han, Seungwon."
"London, Rome, Madrid, Berlin and Paris are among the destinations to benefit from a mobile guide.
The guides will be made available as a downloadable application, received when a user texts a short code. They include interactive maps, video and audio commentary and textual descriptions of tourist hot-spots. Updates to each guide are pushed automatically over-the-air."
NTT DoCoMo and McDonald’s, are teaming up to bring burgers and bytes to each other’s patrons across Japan, reports Digital World Tokyo.
The two companies re forming a ¥300 million ($2.5 million) joint venture company to promote the use of DoCoMo’s IC-card based e-cash phones in McDonald’s outlets.
"As well as being able to watch streaming video of the aurora, the site also offers video on demand and still images for download."
The students who do it say multitasking makes them feel more productive and less stressed, reports The Washington Post.
"... Researchers aren't sure what the long-term impact will be because no studies have probed its effect on teenage development. But some fear that the penchant for flitting from task to task could have serious consequences on young people's ability to focus and develop analytical skills.
There is special concern for teenagers because parts of their brain are still developing, said Jordan Grafman, chief of cognitive neuroscience at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
... Whatever the consequences of multitasking, they're going to be widespread. A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that when students are sitting in front of their computers "studying," they're also doing something else 65 percent of the time.
Researchers say there isn't any answer yet to whether multitasking helps, hurts or has no effect on teens' development.
"Given that kids have grown up always doing this, it may turn out that they are more skilled at it. We just don't know yet," said Russell Poldrack, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles, who co-authored a study that examined multitasking and brain activity."
Sony Ericsson teamed up with Japan's top fashion designers in Tokyo to showcase its newest colour cell phone models themed "Beauty Renaissance Collection". Models strutted up and down the stairs holding mobile phones. The highlight was a jewellery encrusted model said to be worth over $ 25'000.
MSNBC.com's Dara Brown reports. Watch video.
"The GoClip is made from stainless steel and "attaches quickly to belt loop, backpack, briefcase or bag".
The Australian reports that NSW Premier Morris Iemma has announced new counter-terrorism measures, including an alert system able to send text messages to all mobile phones in a suspected target zone.
"A state-of-the-art "early warning" phone messaging system would be introduced allowing emergency services to send SMS alerts to all mobile phones in a terrorism target zone.
The system would work across all phone networks, Mr Iemma said. "The alert service can be used to warn people of an emergency or terrorist threat and provide evacuation information, bushfire advice, or alternate routes to avoid emergencies," he said. "
Other national SMS emergency system from around the world:
Samsung has launched a denim clad cellphone, as part of its SGH-E490 line, along with several other jackets, according to Tech Fresh and Aving.net via Crave.
"Back in October, Levi announced that it had contracted with ModeLabs to make a branded Levi Strauss mobile phone. The handset and accessories were supposed to come out in Europe this year but have yet to make their first runway appearance."
Nokia is launching a online game featuring real-life footage to promote the handset makers new multimedia car kit. Netimperative reports.
"The driving game, called ‘The Passenger’ was filmed on location on the streets of the Île St Louis in Paris.
The game is accessed at www.the-passenger.com and will be promoted with 60 second film trailers, featured on the European Nokia homepage, and seeded with technology bloggers."
Pictured left, a charging station seen in many Chinese cities, selling power for cell phones. via Lunch over IP in an article on evolving business models.
Over 420 million Chinese have cell phones, but in many areas electricity supply is non reliable. So this company, for a modest fee, lets people plug in their phone and charge the battery
Soon after starting the business, they noticed that while the phone was plugged in, the clients were hanging around, waiting for the battery to be at least partially recharged, and they figured that they could exploit that idle time by displaying advertising and other commercial content on screen placed on top of the booth.
... The hotel, restaurant or shopping mall hosting the charging station has the option of sharing in all the revenue streams or simply taking the charging fees and allowing the operator to take all the advertising related revenues."
-- Street Charging Services in Uganda - Jan Chipchase reports on shared phone use in Africa and brings to light what we never even think twice about, how easy it is for ur to charge our cell phones and how in some parts of the world, access to power requires major ingenuity.
-- Access to Power, Phone Charging Services - future perfect shows how cell phones get recharged in Soweto.
-- Romania. Five mile walk to recharge phones - Mobile phones have become popular in a remote Romanian village - even though users have to walk five miles to recharge them
Apple aired a new iPhone commercial during the Oscars last night.
"The commercial aired multiple times throughout the awards ceremony and featured a number of movie and television clips with actors and actresses answering the telephone. "Hello?" [via ArsTechnica]
According to Mad4Mobilephones, the commercial cost a reported $1.7 million, lasted just 30 seconds and was apparently seen by 40 million viewers.
February 25, 2007
According to Vietnam News, cell phone coverage in Vietnam has reached 35 phones per hundred people.
"Minister Do Trung Ta said the total subscribers of both land and cell phones had reached nearly 30 million."
About 10,000 Australian commuters who subscribe to the train operator's timetable messaging service received the threatening text message last night after hackers broke into the system.
"The message read: ALLAHU AKBR FROM CONNEX! our inspectorS Love Killing people - if you see one coming, run. Want to bomb a train? they will gladly help. See you in hell!
... Passwords had been changed to protect the system's security and police were also investigating."
February 23, 2007
Taxpayers have already received almost $87 billion in income tax refunds this year, but according to the IRS, many are neglecting to ask for a modest refund from a now defunct telephone tax. [via the AP]
"The agency said more than 10 million early filers did not request the telephone tax refund, which is worth $30 to $60 if taxpayers apply for the standard refund amount set by the IRS. It noted that nearly half of those returns were completed by tax prepar.
... The government stopped collecting the long-distance excise tax last August, and has authorized a one-time refund of tax collected on service billed during the period from March 2003 to July 2006."