Archives for June 2007

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June 30, 2007

Inmates Smuggle Cell Phones For More Than Calling

prisonPA_228x305.jpg Lieutenant Tim Wamble describes a worst-case scenario for the California Prison system: If prisoners had cell phones "they could organize simultaneous riots in all 33 institutions if they wanted to." reports.

"Apparently they're not having too much trouble getting their hands on them. About 1,000 cell phones have been confiscated at the state's prisons in the past 12 months. Most cell phones apparently come from visitors, but how they get through the metal detector is a mystery.

... "While one obvious advantage of having a cell phone on the inside is being able to make calls yourself, there's another advantage. You could take a cell phone and rent it out to another inmate, for $20 dollars for five minutes.

Holding up a cell phone, Lt. Robin Bond says: "This is getting more lucrative than selling drugs. You can make more and it's not a felony."

Beyond being a money maker, the modern cell phone also poses a major security risk.

"If there were to be some type of escape plot, it could all be done via the internet, via instant messages," Bond said.

Making telephone calls from prison is considered a privilege. Inmates get about 15 minutes of collect calls every three days. All official calls are monitored or recorded. Cell phones are not."

emily | 3:58 PM | permalink

June 29, 2007

iPhonetini: a new cocktail drink


There's no end to the iMadness. It's even brought on the launch of a new cocktail!

By the time the iPhone rolls out at 6 p.m. it'll be cocktail hour, and that means it's time for an iPhonetini. A special drink created specifically for this auspicious iPhone Day Zero occasion, from the self-proclaimed "best home bar in the city of San Francisco."

[via Gizmodo]

emily | 4:19 PM | permalink

Taiwan hit by iPhone craze

The country with the highest excitement level about the iPhone isnot the US, according to InfoWorld, but Taiwan.

"The surest sign marketing hype surrounding Apple's iPhone has outdone itself is that a small island on the Pacific rim is abuzz over the device, despite the fact it won't be on sale here until next year at the earliest.

Part of the reason for the excitement is the number of technology savvy users in Taiwan who want to get their hands on one. And Internet auction sites are getting ready to sell them.

Most of the sellers are up-front about the fact users may not be able to use the iPhone for phone calls in Taiwan, for now. "You may only be able to use the camera and music player function of the iPhone," writes one seller."

emily | 4:17 PM | permalink


iwait.jpg More iPhone line waiting craziness.

A real ad from Craiglist:

“We have line waiters in every major city, for iPhone, X-box, iPod, Zune, SPS, Video Games, and other hot consumer electronic products and concerts and events. Don’t miss out. We have hundreds of line waiters, so those who need iPhones in bulk don’t have to wait for months. Call us now! Release is on Friday.

... Get an iPhone from the professionals who will stand in line and camp out on your behalf.”

emily | 4:15 PM | permalink

Nokia sued in China for incorrect SMS spelling on handsets

xin_19080110151529610051.jpg Wang Yingde, a lawyer from Hunan Qishun Law Firm, has told local media that he will join with other Chinese consumers to launch a lawsuit against Nokia for including incorrect Chinese characters on Nokia phones, reports China Tech News.

"On May 28, a consumer surnamed Zhang reported to Chinese media that he had found more than 30 wrong or misspelled characters on Nokia's mobile phones. Zhang, who previously was a Chinese teacher, believed these incorrect characters not only harmed consumer's interests, but also undermined the great power of the Chinese language. He therefore filed a lawsuit against Nokia and requested the company to recall all the problematic mobile phones and apologize to Chinese consumers.

... Nokia told local media that there are no quality problems with their mobile phones, so they won't return the products to consumers or recall them.

However, Wang says that since SMS is a vital function of mobile phones, the incorrect spelling of characters in short messages should fall into a quality area and Nokia should make an apology to consumers for providing poor quality gadgets."

Image from China Daily

emily | 10:11 AM | permalink

Every Apple employee entitled to an iPhone

Engadget reports that Steve Jobs at the Apple town hall meeting yesterday announced that every Apple employee could have an 8GB iPhone. A gift worth a grand total of $12,091,414 retail. Nice!

emily | 9:53 AM | permalink

The iPhone Challenge: Keep It Quiet

poguevidiphone.jpg David Pogue for the The New York Times looks at the features of the new iPhone in a five minute video entitled The iPhone Challenge: Keep it Quiet. Great fun!

Also very helpful, David Pogue answers Often-Asked iPhone Questions such as:

-- Does the iPhone synchronize with my computer’s calendar and address book? - Yes. It can sync with Address Book or Microsoft Entourage on the Macintosh, Outlook, Outlook Express on Windows, or Yahoo’s address book on the Web. If you add appointments or phone numbers to the iPhone, they are added to your computer the next time you sync.

And Are there any secret features? - ...

emily | 9:17 AM | permalink

Liquid cellphone cushion (patent)

Japanese electronics company Sony has come up with a clever new way to protect cell phones from breaking. [via New Scientist]

"Sony has filed a patent where the phone's electronics could be housed within a water-tight casing, which is itself placed within a second container filled with liquid, but punctured with numerous holes.

Drop the phone and, on impact, the inner compartment would push against the liquid, squeezing it through the holes into an outer chamber. The process reduces the force of impact, helping to protect the electronics inside, and increasing the chances your phone's functions will survive the fall."

emily | 8:40 AM | permalink

Michael Moore Attacks Steve Jobs on iPhone launch, same day as "Sicko"

thumb140x140_652235547_e90b6ff709_o.jpg Of all the craziness surrounding the iPhone launch later today, (the media coverage sounds almost like the Paris Hilton frenzy), this story from takes first prize. [via OnePlusInfinity]

"Controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is accusing Apple Inc. and AT&T of using the iPhone to distract attention from his new movie “Sicko”, which opens in US theaters on the same day the hyped phone goes on sale.

“This is an appalling display of greed and jealousy,” said Moore after a recent screening of his new movie. “Apple and AT&T obviously don’t care about fixing America’s healthcare system. They only care about how many iPhones they’re going to sell.”

I don’t see how Steve Jobs can call himself a ‘liberal’ and then try to silence my film,” said Moore. “Americans should be learning about our corrupt healthcare system on Friday, but instead they’re going to be lining up for a silly $600 dollar gadget.”

Other favorite iPhone launch stories:

-- According to Gizmodo, the guy who is first line of the NYC iPhone line is not an iPhone fanatic. He's a professional Line Sitter. Greg Packer simply likes the attention of being first in line.

When told of the lengths Packer has gone to to be at major events and meet celebrities, Robert Thompson, a Syracuse University professor of pop culture, said Packer has turned a passion into an art form.

"If you're totally obsessed with Shakespeare and James Joyce and go to the ends of the earth researching them, we call you an English professor," Thompson said. "This guy has chosen his body of art to consume, it just so happens he can't make a living off of it. The only fundamental difference is he doesn't have tenure."

-- Also on Gizmodo, who's live blogging from the SF line, a a homeless guy, Stanely Michael Jackson, has offered to stand in line for someone for $200 bucks (or $8 an hour).

emily | 7:49 AM | permalink

June 28, 2007

Iran shuts down Text Messaging Services

Iran security authorities have switched off the mobile text messaging system in Tehran overnight to prevent motorists from organising more protests. Angry motorists have reacted violently to a new petrol rationing, a day after its surprise introduction. [via BBC]

Other governments that cut off cell phone networks:

-- Nepal. Phones cut off as police arrest activists

-- Frequency blocking devices installed in North Korea

-- Cell phones jammed at Bush inauguration?

-- Indian government orders SMS jam to avoid outbreak during religious festival

-- Cellphone networks in Mumbai disabled their SMS service

emily | 5:42 PM | permalink

Nielsen Adds to Cellphone Tracking

Cellphones are rapidly becoming ubiquitous and the Nielsen Company, the longtime monitor of television consumption, wants in, writes The New York Times.

"Nielsen said yesterday that it had agreed to acquire Telephia, a private company based in San Francisco, for an undisclosed amount. Since its founding in 1998, Telephia has become one of the most respected sources of data about cellphone use — tracking consumers’ phone calling, mobile Web surfing, video viewing and just about everything else.

Nielsen has been building mobile tracking products on its own, but Telephia will greatly advance its ability to track media consumption on every screen, Nielsen executives said.

emily | 9:26 AM | permalink

June 27, 2007

Global mobile phone use to hit record 3.25 billion

Global mobile phone use will top 3.25 billion -- equivalent to around half the world's population -- in 2007 as cell phone demand booms in China, India and Africa, a survey said on Wednesday.

"It took over 20 years to connect the first billion subscribers, but only 40 months to connect the second billion," said The Mobile World Co-Founder John Tysoe. "The three billion milestone will be passed in July 2007, just two years on."

[via Reuters]

emily | 6:29 PM | permalink

iPhone for Africa


Not everyone is camping out just for an iPhone. Alicia Keys, Iman, Liv Tyler and Jessica Alba are lining up to raise awareness about AIDS in Africa as well as raise funds by selling ad space on their t-shirts.

"We're doing this for Keep a Child Alive which is a charity that provides drugs for children in Africa."

The iPhone is all about keeping connected with people and it's important at times like this to remember that we are all in fact connected to everybody, and it would be nice to remember people less fortunate than ourselves. So we're lining up for the next three day. We have about 80 volunteers so far and actually people on the street are coming by and volunteering to sit in as well. We are taking sponsors on our t-shirts; it's a minimum bid of $500."

[via Core77]

emily | 10:24 AM | permalink

Mobile phones 'offensive weapons'

A UK teaching union is calling for mobile phones to be classed as potentially offensive weapons, reports the BBC.

"NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said the way pupils misused them to bully their teachers meant they should be banned from school premises.

Ms Keates is raising the issue of mobiles with ministers at a task force meeting on Tuesday.

She is particularly concerned about websites such as ratemyteacher and bebo which, she says, provide a vehicle for false allegations and abuse by pupils which can damage teachers' self esteem and careers.

She said: "These sites are fed by pupils' misuse of mobile phones. The time has come for mobiles in schools to be placed in the category of a potentially offensive weapon and action taken to prevent their use by pupils while on school premises. "

emily | 10:00 AM | permalink

Cellphones Get Wi-Fi

MK-AK617_WIFONE_20070626190704.jpg Manufacturers of popular handsets are increasingly making built-in Wi-Fi a standard feature, reports the WSJ.

-- Apple Inc.'s iPhone, scheduled to make its debut on AT&T Friday, will use Wi-Fi to let users browse YouTube and other content at much faster speeds than AT&T's cellular network allows.

-- Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA is launching a service today with phones from Nokia Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. that will automatically transfer cellphone calls onto Wi-Fi networks when users have access to them at home or at one of the company's 8,500 hot spots.

-- T-Mobile plans to offer similar features on other devices, including a BlackBerry from Research In Motion Ltd., later this year, according to people familiar with the matter.

"Operators have resisted selling Wi-Fi phones in the past, fearing that such devices would eat into revenue from voice and data plans by allowing customers to cut back on cellular-network usage. They also worried that Wi-Fi could become a Trojan horse for third-party services that allow cheap or free Internet calling.

Some carriers, though, are starting to warm to the technology, seeing it as a complement, not a substitute, to their networks. They think Wi-Fi can help them ease network congestion as mobile media applications like video hog more of their expensive bandwidth. And some are finding ways to use Wi-Fi to their advantage, offering Wi-Fi-based voice calls as a premium service."

emily | 9:49 AM | permalink

iPhone endorsed by both Walter Mossberg and Steven Levy

Thumbs up reviews for the iPhone from both technology pundits Walter Mossberg for the WSJ and Steven Levy in Newsweek.

Can't do better than that.

emily | 8:26 AM | permalink

Cellphone (concept) Inspired By Chinese Scrolls


Yun Liang’s scroll cellphone takes its inspiration from how traditional Chinese paintings are unfurled.

When not in use, the display neatly rolls into the tube. All numeric key functions remain tactile running along the side of the scroll as opposed to touchscreen. This makes it possible to use without having to unroll the screen. You would only do so when accessing media and data.

[via Yankodesign]

emily | 8:07 AM | permalink

June 26, 2007

Bubble wrap simulator cell phone strap

puchipuchi.jpg Who can resist bubble wrap? Well now we can all pop away to your heart's content thanks to the PuchiPuchi's bubble wrap simulator that you can dangle from your cell phone.

"It was designed in consultation with an actual Japanese bubble wrap manufacturer".

[via Popgadget]

emily | 9:52 PM | permalink

iDay update

According to ars technica AT&T retail stores plan on closing early on Friday—around 4 or 4:30pm—and then re-opening at 6pm for the iPhone launch. This is so that they can prepare for what they have ever-so-creatively dubbed the "iDay."

Apple plans to close all retail stores at 2pm local time on Friday and will reopen at 6:00 p.m. Details on Apple retail website.

emily | 9:51 PM | permalink

Mobile Loo Locator

Spotted on Springwise, a mobile loo locator.

MizPee finds the closest, cleanest toilet and gives you entertaining reading material once you get there. Since the service is cell phone-based, it's always with you, when you really need it.



-- London launches "Restroom Locator" SMS Service

-- Dial-a-toilet launched in China

emily | 9:50 PM | permalink

170 years of the Telegraph

telegraph1.jpg The birth of the electric telegraph, often referred to as the 'Victorian Internet' is being celebrated this month by BT Heritage. It is 170 years since the first signal was sent by telegraph starting a period of rapid expansion of a communications network in the nineteenth century which can be likened to the twentieth century's internet boom.

The signal was sent on 25 July 1837 by Charles Wheatstone and William Fothergill Cooke who sent a message to each other via telegraph between Euston and Camden Town in London alongside the line of the recently built London and Birmingham Railway. [via Cellular News]

Read also from the BBC:

-- Wiring up the 'Victorian internet' - The world's first global communications system for exchanging text messages was not the internet nor the mobile phone.

It was the great engineering project undertaken 150 years ago to put wires across the globe.

In an editorial on 20 April, 1857, the New York Herald commented: "The laying of the telegraph around the world is the great work of the age."

For the first time in history, the telegraph made rapid communication possible between Europe and America, and between Britain and her distant colonies such as Australia.

emily | 10:07 AM | permalink

Engadget spots first iPhone camper in Manhattan

As June 29 looms closer, the iPhone frenzy itensifies. Engadget has spotted the first person to queue at Apple's flagship 5th Ave store.


More iphone spotting craziness:

-- Apple Employees Flaunting iPhones in Public Like Crazy (Cult of Mac) via Techmeme

-- First iPhone Kiosk Sighting in Seattle (CrunchGear) via TechCrunch

emily | 8:49 AM | permalink

June 25, 2007

Suits allege texting games on 'Apprentice,' other TV shows violate lottery rule

dealornodeal.jpeg According to RCRnews, a hairdresser and a secretary from Georgia, among others, ave filed a class-action lawsuit against "The Apprentice," "Deal or No Deal" and "One vs. 100," alleging the shows' mobile games constitute illegal gambling.

"The suits, which are pending in federal court in Los Angeles, point to the lack of legal clarity when it comes to nascent marketing technologies—and to just how careful media companies and marketers must be to ensure their promotions fall within the law.

The lawsuits attack the games on the grounds that they charge viewers a 99-cent premium text-messaging fee to participate, a violation of what is known as the Standard Lottery Rule. That premium fee is applied on top of the basic text-message fee. The show's producers, the network and the cellphone carrier split the revenue.

... The games, which offer the option of entering for free online, could have gotten around the lottery laws had they offered something of value in return for the 99 cents, according to legal experts.

"It's a serious shot across the bow to some of these promotions," said Joseph Lewczak, an attorney with Davis & Gilbert who specializes in mobile-related legal issues.

"Charging a premium fee for a text message, which provides the entrant with no bona fide product or service, may be deemed illegal," he said. "It is important not to overlook the fact that, though mobile entertainment may be a new and fast-developing medium, this medium is not exempt from the laws that would otherwise apply in the brick-and-mortar world."

emily | 9:33 PM | permalink

EU To Monitor Cellphone Bills For Abuses In Roaming Rules

The European Commission said Monday that it will monitor the cost of mobile phone use over the next 18 months to ensure operators don't unfairly raise fees to compensate for the price ceiling on international roaming calls, set to come into force this summer.

The commission also threatened to fix ceilings for the prices charged for using cross-border data networks unless operators slash their fees.

The commission will "continue to monitor prices, in particular for SMS and data roaming, to make sure consumers do not suffer in other ways," said E.U. Telecommunications Commissioner Viviane Reding, who has championed the price ceilings. "I hope that operators now understand the E.U.'s ability to act. My message to them: Move now and bring down SMS and data roaming charges down quickly, or we will be forced to also intervene there very shortly." Yay!

emily | 9:10 PM | permalink

Alcatel offers environmentally-friendly packaging for new handset range

Alcatelhas made the first move in cutting back on the packaging that comes with a handset, according to Tech Digest.

"Working alongside Carbon Footprint Alcatel has managed to reduce the packaging for its new mobile range, making it three times smaller than before. That means reducing CO2 emissions, as well as reducing the amount of retail and home clutter."

emily | 5:05 PM | permalink

SOLARCS Shoulder bag to recharge your mobile gadgets

P1010043_klein.JPGAnother solar bag to recharge your mobile phone. Developped by German technology company SOLARC, well known for well-known for develooping solar powered kitchen appliances worlwide.

In their own words: The bag's cover include an integrated flexible solar module making it possible to recharge an accumulator or small electronics devices, such as PDAs, GPS, mobiles, MP3-Players... , by using a specific cable. You are no longer dependent on power supplies and can travel in peace.

Other bags that recharge cell phones:

-- Juice Bag

-- Solar Shoulder Bag Charges Cell Phones

-- Power purse charges your cell phone

-- Solar golf bag charges cell phones

emily | 5:00 PM | permalink

Russians send SMS to authenticate Vodka

des_sms_pour_demasquer_la_vodka_de_contrefacon_lmo_article_230.jpg As of this summer, Russians will be able to send text messages to ensure that the Vodka they are drinking is legit.

By sending the serial number of the bottle to a designated short code, they will get a response by SMS certifying (or not) the product.

The project is an initiative by State run Rosspirtprom, the company responsible for the sale of 60% of strong alcohol in the country and distributor of the top brands.

The sale of counterfeit vodka is a huge problem in Russia, not just because it hurts the major brands sales, but because the counterfeit drinks are filled with cologne water, antifreeze liquids or pure alcohol and are responsible for 40'000 deaths each year.

[via Le Matin]

emily | 10:04 AM | permalink

Asia Pacific biggest market for replacement phones

Users in the Asia Pacific region, including Japan, China, and Korea are expected to buy the most replacement phones this year, said Mauro Montanaro, Nokia vice president for customer market operations of Southeast Asia Pacific.

Predicting that 65 percent of phones that will be sold worldwide this year will be mainly replacements, the mobile phone giant stressed that the replacement market remains big in the Asia Pacific region.

Last year, Nokia said that 60 percent of phones sold in the global market would be a replacement.

[via Asian Journal Onlne]

emily | 9:59 AM | permalink

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