Archives for July 2007
July 31, 2007
A fun story from the Birhmingham Mail, about inmates using smuggled cell phones at a minimum security facility - not to organize crime on the outside - but to order take out! The prison smells delicious.
"The orders are massive - because the prisoners have got money, every dormitory smells delicious and that just winds up the other prisoners to order food for themselves.
A spokesman for the Prison Service said "prisoners are not permitted to order a takeaway and will be disciplined if they are found doing so."
You don't need an Apple iPhone to get the iPhone experience it seems, writes Technology news first.
"Other mobile device enthusiasts are now trying to emulate the iPhone's unique touchscreen interface by developing their own version - the latest example being reported on the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet.
"... The Nokia N800 iPhone-style virtual keyboard has been followed up by an appearance on YouTube of a Nokia N800 running an iPhone-like screen scrolling application. Apparently, the open Linux platform used on the N800 allows it to be customised relatively easily, so further iPhone-clone apps could be making an appearance on the device soon."
New rules aimed at slashing the price of mobile phone calls made abroad in the European Union come into effect this week, with EU regulators promising Monday to name and shame non-compliant companies. [via the AFP]
" Mobile phone operators had until midnight Monday to offer the new so-called roaming rates and by September 1 must bring them into effect whether customers request them or not.
An EU commission spokesman said that the mobile phone operators who did not offer the new rates would be named and shamed."
Apple’s announcement last week that it sold 270,000 iPhones in the product’s first 30 hours of availability popped the bubble of several excessively exuberant analyst reports. The (WSJ) Numbers Guy explains why.
"Many publications (including the Journal) reported that WSJ was disappointed because analysts had expected sales as high as 700,000.
But did Apple miss analysts’ forecasts, or did the forecasts miss reality?
Analysts I spoke to after Apple released the official numbers offered several explanations for why their numbers were so far off the mark. Among them: flawed in-store checks using small samples; one-upmanship resulting from the iPhone hype; and an emotional reaction from Wall Streeters to the iPhone.
“People get emotionally involved in the product and start thinking it’s going to be a bigger number than it actually is,” said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray."
July 30, 2007
Latest headlines from around the Web:
The leading online dating site match.com - with over 15 million subscribers - has a mobile version.
According to an article in All Headline News, "a Kuwaiti company started a media race to take advantage of the Egyptian man's case in which he is accused of raping 18 children. The media company started a SMS contest, includes one question "what do you think the just ruling in the Hawali monster case should be?"
"Haggag Al Saadi, 27, is accused of raping 16 Egyptian and two Jordanian boys in the tiny gulf state.
Local newspapers refer to the Egyptian as "the Hawali monster" as most of the crimes took place in the Kuwaiti town of Hawali. "
What's not clear is whether the text messages are meant to rouse the public against the accused, or whether the media company is making money out of this.
July 29, 2007
According to recent patent application, it seems Apple may have found a way to deter people from stealing mobile phones. Engadget reports.
"Essentially, the technology would invoke a "guardian" recharge circuit, which would disable any further charging if the computer (or "other recharger") it was paired with was of the unauthorized variety.
According to Apple, this type of limitation would "serve as a deterrent to theft," and while we can only assume that it would be applied first to the iPhone and iPod, the application does insinuate that other handheld, rechargeable devices could eventually benefit from the invention."
The light from the cell phone screens allowed surgeons to complete an emergency appendix operation during a blackout in a city in central Argentina, reports Reuters.
"Leonardo Molina, 29, was on the operating table on July 21, when the power went out in the Policlinico Juan D. Peron, the main hospital in Villa Mercedes, a small city in San Luis province.
"The generator, which should have been working correctly, didn't work," a hospital spokesman, whose name was not given, told TN television news station.
"The surgeons and anesthetists were in the dark... A family member got some cell phones together from people in the hallway and took them in to provide light," he said."
A similar incident occured in Vietnam last March - Vietnamese doctors use mobile-phone light to finish surgery
July 28, 2007
President Bush wants Congress to modernize a law that governs how intelligence agencies monitor the communications of suspected terrorists. The Associated Press reports.
"This law is badly out of date," Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio address.
Bush noted that terrorists now use disposable cell phones and the Internet to communicate, recruit operatives and plan attacks; such tools were not available when FISA passed nearly 30 years ago. He also cited a recently released intelligence estimate that concluded al-Qaida is using its growing strength in the Middle East to plot attacks on U.S. soil.
"Our intelligence community warns that under the current statute, we are missing a significant amount of foreign intelligence that we should be collecting to protect our country," Bush said. "Congress needs to act immediately to pass this bill, so that our national security professionals can close intelligence gaps and provide critical warning time for our country."
... Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, contends the White House is asking for more power to conduct warrantless domestic and international surveillance.
The ACLU said the legislation backed by the administration would give immunity from criminal prosecution and civil liability for the telecommunication companies that participate in the NSA program. The ACLU urged lawmakers to find out the full extent of current intelligence gathering under FISA before making changes.
"The only thing more outrageous than the administration's call for even more unfettered power is a Congress that would consider giving it to them," Frederickson said.
Since iPhone: The Musical, there is no one more wonderful than David Pogue by me. His latest? he's written a book called iPhone: The Missing Manual, available on Amazon (Though he needs no endorsement from me, if you're my friend, buy!)
"The book is supposed to show you how to get the most out of your new Apple iPhone. It's full of humor, tips, tricks, and surprises", according to i4U News.
The book that should have been in the box.
In what appears to be completely misguided, a Cook County, Illinois resident has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple and AT&T over the iPhone, reports TechCrunch.
"Jose Trujillo is claiming that Apple and AT&T misled iPhone buyers by not clearly informing them that the iPhone battery was sealed, and could only be professionally replaced.
... According to TechCrunch, "the suit would appear to have little credibility; the sealed battery issue was reported extensively prior to the iPhone being launched and was certainly never kept as a secret".
July 27, 2007
In the 1982 film Namak Halal , Amitabh Bachchan famously declared: "I can talk in English, I can walk in English...because English is a very funny language." This statement is no more a metaphor since the Cellphabet 1.0 - a radical new system to convert the movement of a mobile phone into plain English text.
The system will now be demonstrated publicly and all are invited to witness a first in history - a man walking to write an SMS text message, without touching his phone. As he walks, you play a game of words like no other...
Where: Kala Ghoda Art District's Parking Lot, Mumbai
When: 1PM, Saturday 28th of July 2007
Long the preserve of businessmen in power suits, mobile email is about to hit the masses with one in five email users accessing their accounts wirelessly by 2010, according to Gartner.
... Today there are less than 20 million wireless email users worldwide, but this will grow to 350 million, or 20 per cent of all email accounts, by 2010, Monica Blasso, the firm's research vice-president said.
"Once email becomes available more or less free of charge by default on your mobile handset, people will gravitate to that rather than just continuing to use SMS," Robin Simpson, mobile and wireless research director at Gartner Australasia said."
July 26, 2007
Technology is transforming humanitarian relief—and shifting the balance of power between donors and recipients. The Economist reports.
"My name is Mohammed Sokor, writing to you from Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab. Dear Sir, there is an alarming issue here. People are given too few kilograms of food. You must help.”
A crumpled note, delivered to a passing rock star-turned-philanthropist? No, Mr Sokor is a much sharper communicator than that. He texted this appeal from his own mobile phone to the mobiles of two United Nations officials, in London and Nairobi. He got the numbers by surfing at an internet café at the north Kenyan camp.
As Mr Sokor's bemused London recipient points out, two worlds were colliding. The age-old scourge of famine in the Horn of Africa had found a 21st-century response; and a familiar flow of authority, from rich donor to grateful recipient, had been reversed. It was also a sign that technology need not create a “digital divide”: it can work wonders in some of the world's remotest, most wretched places. Read full article.
Leszek Wojcik ran up the bill by by sending more than 38,000 SMS messages, about 1,200 a day, in an effort to win a contest, according to the Associated Press.
According to Engadget, the iPhone should be in France, Germany and the UK by September 30th, because Apple confirmed that some of Europe would be shipped by Q4 2007. The rest of Europe will have to wait until 2008.
Engadget thinks the delay may be "retribution for recent seasons of Eurovision". They're probably right.
According to The Macintosh News Network, on July 26, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple’s patent application titled Multimedia data transfer for a personal communication device, a system for providing multimedia data to a mobile personal communication device such as a cell phone, walkie talkie and so forth.
"The unique aspect of this patent however, rests with technologies and methodologies that could translate text messages into voice messages while in transit to other devices without using traditional Short Message protocols as defined in GSM."
Full details on The Macintosh News Network.
According to Finfacts, "Apple reported impressive third quarter results on Wednesday fuelled by demand for iPods and Macintosh computers.
Apple said record sales of iPods and Macs helped the company report a 73% increase in its fiscal third-quarter earnings and a 24% rise in revenue.
Apple also said it sold 270,000 iPhones in the period and reiterated its target of selling 10 million of the mobile phones by the end of next year. "
There is a new home technology on the block, known as femtocells, and if the hype is to be believed, it will end signal problems forever. The BBC reports.
"The paperback sized-boxes are essentially a compact, personal mobile phone base stations that plugs straight in to your internet connection.
Make a phone call on your mobile, and instead of routing the call through the network of base stations and masts that cover most of the country, it sends the call over the internet using your broadband connection.
Until now, they have been the preserve of big business, but sometime in the next two years they could come bundled with your mobile phone contract. "
Parents who say their children need to bring cell phones to city schools have gotten a boost for their cause from the City Council, reports Newsday.
"The council passed a measure Wednesday that gives children the express right to carry cell phones to and from school. The measure didn't change a long-standing ban on cell phones inside school buildings in the nation's largest school system, but it could help buttress legal challenges to the policy or help force the education department to compromise and find a solution. "
DebtHound makes it easy for anyone to effectively recover their business debts online using text message reminders.
Individualised messages are delivered to your clients cell phones on a regular and persistent automatic schedule that you define - reminding debtors anywhere from once a month to once every hour. A simple, feature-rich interface allows you to manage the entire process of debt collection right from your computer.
Reminding (read 'annoying') debtors anywhere from once a month to once every hour is a persistent and invasive method that has proven to be very effective.
July 25, 2007
Mobile phone masts are not responsible for the symptoms of ill health some blame them for, a major UK study says, reports the BBC.
"Dozens of people who believed the masts triggered symptoms such as anxiety, nausea and tiredness could not detect if signals were on or off in trials.
However, the Environmental Health Perspectives study stressed people were nonetheless suffering "real symptoms".
Campaign group Mast Sanity said the results were skewed as 12 people in the trials dropped out because of illness.
In the trial, many of those who blame masts for their symptoms reported greater distress when they thought the signal was on, suggesting the problem has a psychological basis.
"Belief is a very powerful thing," said Professor Elaine Fox, of the University of Essex, who led the three-year study. "If you really believe something is going to do you some harm, it will."
The study was funded by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research programme, a body which is itself funded by industry and government. "
According to TUAW, Google has created a brand new just-for-iPhone demo page for their search engine.
Spotted on Gizmodo, "a cellphone concept design by Peter Lau enables blind users to easily dial numbers and make calls. It doesn't rely on Braille, but instead has differently angled keys that users can learn to recognize".
AT&T today provided a helping hand to some of its subscribers with Mobile Backup, a new online service meant to assuage cellphone users that may store valuable contact info only on their handsets.
Simultaneous walking tours for Second Life avatars and real people, connected to each other using a pair of walkie talkies. One operating from Second Life, the other running on an internet enabled mobile phone.
Second Life residents can pick up an in-world walkie talkie at the 0031 area in Second Life
Real people can check out the availability of activated virtual walkie talkies and by surfing to slwalkietalkie.com on their mobile phone.
The project is initiated and carried out by Sander Veenhof, a multi-media artist from the Netherlands with a fascination for the cross-over between the virtual and the real.
A project called Pesinet, currently running in Mali, provides a preventive medical diagnostic for childred aged 0-5 thanks to mobile phones. UnionNetwork.org reports.
"Local staff transmits information about the infants’ weights and symptoms such as fever via a Java application on their cell phones to pediatricians. The objective is to facilitate the quick identification of children that are at risk.
In the Senegalese version of the program, the infant mortality rate fell from 120 per 1000 to 8 per 1000. In 90% of cases, if the disease is quickly reported, the child will survive."
More on the project from Balancing Act Africa
July 24, 2007
While young people embrace the Web with real or virtual friends and their cell phone is never far away, relatively few like technology and those that do tend to be in Brazil, India and China, according to a survey. Reuters reports.
"Only a handful think of technology as a concept, and just 16 percent use terms like "social networking," said two combined surveys covering 8- to 24-year-olds published on Tuesday by Microsoft and Viacom units MTV Networks and Nickelodeon.
Young people don't see "tech" as a separate entity - it's an organic part of their lives," said Andrew Davidson, vice president of MTV's VBS International Insight unit.
"Talking to them about the role of technology in their lifestyle would be like talking to kids in the 1980s about the role the park swing or the telephone played in their social lives -- it's invisible."
The surveys involved 18,000 young people in 16 countries including the UK, U.S., China, Japan, Canada and Mexico.
... The surveyors found the average Chinese computer user has 37 online friends they have never met, Indian youth are most likely to see cell phones as a status symbol, while one-in-three UK and U.S. teenagers say they cannot live without games consoles."
Verizon Wireless customers sent and received more than 10 billion text messages in June 2007, a company record and the highest reported total of any wireless service provider in the nation.
Also in June, Verizon Wireless customers sent and received more than 200 million multimedia messages (MMS), which include picture and video messages.
Both monthly figures represent an increase of more than 100 percent from September 2006, when the company broke the five billion monthly text message threshold for the first time.
[via Press release]