Archives for September 2007
September 30, 2007
Orange is reportedly refusing to pay Apple 40 per cent of subscription revenues, something that could jeapardise the device going on sale in time for Christmas. Tech.co,uk reports.
"France Telecom and Apple are apparently arguing over the percentage of revenues that Orange has to pay Apple as part of the Apple iPhone distribution deal."
Isaiah Mayweather, 25, a man wanted in a killing at a party store in the Detroit area was arrested Saturday on a Metra train at Chicago's Union Station after police used cell phone tracing technology to pointpoint his location. [via The Chicago Tribune]
September 29, 2007
Stuff.co.nz reports on special clothing designed for pregnant women that claims to protect their unborn babies from cellphone radiation.
"We do not suggest the garment will totally protect unborn babies, but it will certainly minimise the risk from EMR." said Bullock.
New Zealand National Radiation Laboratory scientific adviser Owen Kilgour said there was no scientific conclusion either way on whether EMR was a risk to babies in the womb.
While the fabric would offer some protection against high-frequency radiation like cellphones and appliances, it would not protect against low-frequency magnetic fields that were the main concern with power lines.
160characters.org reports on software that can send a copy of all text messages to/from a mobile automatically and undetected has added Bluetooth as a way of installation on the target phone.
"Once the software is installed on a target phone, the telephone number can be set with a predefined monitoring number.
Then whenever someone places a call to or from the target phone, their telephone numbers, voice recordings and text messages can be heard and recorded by someone calling from the phone with the predefined number.
The software also provides a means of determining where a cell phone is geographically at a given moment.
... The software can be used to check a wayward spouse's phone, see if your teenager is dealing drugs or has fallen in with the wrong crowd, track a stolen car, see if employees are sharing secrets and keep track of members of a sales force, or use as a mobile baby monitor.
The company says that it’s impossible to find out, or to be sure that the software has been installed on your phone. The only way to remove it would be a hard reset to factory defaults that will loose any settings, contacts, software or anything else saved on your phone". More details www.mobile-secuware.com.
File under ridiculous. Rather than simply suing Apple, Steve Jobs or AT&T individually, Dongmei Li decided to throw all three under the bus, accusing the trio of "price discrimination, underselling, discrimination in rebates, deceptive actions and other wrongdoings for their role in the September 5th price drop on the iPhone."
The plaintiff is hoping to secure "compensatory damages in the amount of $1 million" in addition to other punitive damages.
High-resolution satellites images may provide valuable evidence of the violent methods used by Burma's ruling junta to crack down on pro-democracy demonstration in recent days. New Scientist reports.
"By obtaining photographic evidence of the authorities' activities, human rights groups hope to hold the junta to account before the international community.
"You would not be able to see individual people," says Lars Bromley , a senior researcher with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington DC., "but you would be able to see groups of people". In particular, he says, it should be easy to spot groups of monks because of their distinctive maroon robes, and to gauge military numbers.
Bromley says this evidence will hopefully act as a deterrent to the government. "It will give the authorities a ense that the world is watching," he told New Scientist.
Human rights organisations have long accused the Burmese regime of human rights abuses against civilians. Yet the authorities have denied these claims and sought to control the flow of information out of the country.
Cellphones and the internet have helped change this and have been used to transmit reports about the current clampdown. But both are still heavily controlled by the authorities. In fact, within the last 24 hours many internet cafes have been shut down in cities like Rangoon and Mandalay.
The US Campaign for Burma plans to take all the evidence to the UN to support their plea for intervention by the Security Council. "Even China and Russia can no longer argue that nothing is happening in Burma," says Aung Din, policy director for the US Campaign for Burma."
Picture from the BBC
September 28, 2007
According to the BBC an Apple software update is disabling iPhones that have been unlocked by owners who wanted to choose which mobile network to use.
"Earlier this week Apple issued a statement in which it said many of the unauthorised iPhone unlocking programs caused "irreparable damage" to the device's software.
Thousands of iPhone owners hacked their expensive gadget in order to unlock it for use with other mobile carriers and to run a host of unsupported programs.
The company said this would "likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed".
That warning has now proved correct as many owners are reporting their phones no longer work following installation of the update. "
During his recent speech at the National Rifle Association conference, Rudy Giuliani was interrupted by what he said was a call from his wife on his cell phone. He explained where he was and expressed his love for her. The Southwest Florida Herald Tribune reports.
"Despite Giuliani's explanation, it's hard to imagine that this wasn't a prearranged incident designed to showcase him as a loving husband. There was an identical "skit" at a meeting in Florida."
And that coming from the same presidential candidate who humiliated a woman when her cell phone's ringing, interrupted his speech in Iowa.
The Giorgio Armani Samsung handset, unveiled at Milan Fashion Week before the designer's spring-summer fashion show, uses cutting edge technology to ensure the world's most safety-conscious mobile.
The credit card size designer mobile phone comes with a in-built 'rape alarm' function which can be activated from a pocket or even handbag.
The phone automatically sends an SOS text message to five pre-programmed family or friend phone numbers, alerting them to danger.
By pressing an easy-to-locate volume control button four times in quick succession - which can be done through jeans or any heavy material including leather - an automated emergency text is sent.
Received within seconds, the recipient can then call the phone, allowing them to gauge the situation and respond accordingly by calling the police. From here, the mobile's GPS tracker system can be activated to locate the owner's exact position.
The Walt Disney Company said Thursday that it would cease operating its family-oriented mobile phone service at the end of the year.
Steve Wadsworth, president of the Disney Internet Group, said that the company found the business to be “a difficult proposition in the hypercompetitive U.S. mobile phone market.”
[via The New York Times]
Marie Claire magazine asked Popgadget founder Mia Kim to come up with the ultimate cell phone for women, and she did. Here's the shePhone:
"The shePhone has pill storage, condom dispenser, vibrator, corkscrew, atomizer for perfume or mace, and a home pregnancy test." [via Gizmodo]
September 27, 2007
In Ivo van Hove updated world premiere production of The Misanthrope, Molière's classic comedy about the absurdities of social conventions and pretensions, actors carry cell phones and Blackberries while dressed in modern business suits.
Nokia's Vertu-Ferrari phone is selling for 18,000 euros or $25,000 at its stores in London, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The Vertu unit produced the Ascent Ferrari 60 phone to celebrate Ferrari's 60th anniversary.
Verizon Wireless said on Thursday it reversed an earlier refusal to allow an abortion rights advocacy group to set up a text message alert system with subscribers and changed its policy on such messaging.
"The decision not to allow text messaging on an important, though sensitive, public policy issue was incorrect, and we have fixed the process that led to this isolated incident," said Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson in a statement.
Sales of removable memory cards for mobile handsets will be worth over $7bn in 2007, according to a recent study from ABI Research.
... The analyst firm predicts that memory cards will continue to be the highest revenue-generating mobile phone accessory category over the next five years.
Rudy Giuliani doesn't like cell phones. In one recent speech, he humiliated a woman in the audience whose phone went off while he making a speech. Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish reports.
"In Iowa, Giuliani was up to principle No. 2 ("Follow your hopes and dreams") when he was interrupted.
From down in the audience, just beyond the stage, he heard a cell phone ring. He stopped in the middle of telling a story. "It's okay, you can answer your cell phone," he said. "You won't interrupt me."
The woman whose phone had rung was mortified; he had just embarrassed her in front of 18,000 people."
Banned since the contested elections in 2005, SMS has at last been turned back on in Ethiopia in time for Ethiopia's new millennium. [via 160characters.org]
"The Ethiopian Telecommunication Corporation, the sole telecommunication service provider in Ethiopia, has re-started SMS on 14th September.
During the elections in May 2005, Kinijit used text messaging to communicate with its supporters. The election result was contested and in response to Kinijit's effective use of SMS in mobilising its supporters, the government closed down parts of the press, blocked acess to web sites and shut down SMS on 10th June 2005.
To announce the restoration of the service, an SMS was sent to all mobile phone users in the country saying: "[Wishing] you [a] happy Ethiopian Millennium. And now the SMS service is launched."
UPDATE (Thursday pm): Verizon Wireless allows abortion rights messaging
Verizon Wireless is refusing to carry text messages from a prominent abortion-rights group, citing its internal restrictions on content that is "highly controversial," the carrier said. The Wall Street Journal reports.
"Naral Pro-Choice America requested that Verizon Wireless and other carriers distribute its text messages that users sign up for by sending a message to a five- or six-digit short code.
Verizon Wireless rejected Naral's request, citing the carrier's "code of content," which prohibits controversial content.
The move sparked outrage from Naral. "Regardless of people's political views, Verizon customers should be able to decide how to use their phones for political action," said Ted Miller, a Naral spokesman. "Verizon shouldn't make that choice for them. Verizon shouldn't be allowed to arbitrarily censor their activities."
September 26, 2007
Urballoon, by Carlos J. Gómez de Llarena, is located in open urban spaces frequented by pedestrians at sunset and night (e.g. plazas, parks).
The ball is tethered and floats at a height of approximately 3 stories. The images and text submitted via Urballoon's website, are projected directly below it.
By accessing www.urballoon.com people can send text or images which will be queued and shown by the balloon in the order received onto the street.
On the website, an archive of all submissions can also be browsed
[via Networked Performance]
In Japan, the cellphone is stirring the nation's staid fiction market. The WSJ reports.
"Young amateur writers in their teens and 20s have found a convenient medium in which to loose their creative energies. For readers, mostly teenage girls, the mobile novel, as the genre is called, is the latest form of entertainment on the go.
... Mobile-novel writers like getting instant feedback from readers. That encourages them to keep going or even to change stories to suit readers. Of course, the close interaction between reader and writer can sometimes be too much. A 27-year-old woman, who wrote a sad love story called "What the Angel Gave Me" under the pen name Chaco, became so popular two years ago that she was getting 25,000 unique online visitors a day. Chaco, who won't disclose her real name, says she felt pressured to update her novel and respond to comments every day to keep readers happy.
"I was getting only one to two hours of sleep a night," says Chaco. Her phone was ringing with email messages from fans at four in the morning.
... Nobody knows how much staying power the genre will have, or whether authors who specialize in writing about their own experiences will run dry."
[Image from Teleread.org, illustrating an article the popularitiy of short cellphone-based novels in Japan]
"DoubleClick's media company customers can now sell and manage advertisements online and on mobile phones. The new capability is integrated into DoubleClick's publishing service so that publishers can schedule mobile advertisements in the same way that they currently deliver other online ads, it said."
Samsung Electronics, South Korea's best-known company and one of the world's leading manufacturers of mobile phones, is embroiled in a court battle with a local food supply chain over an Internet domain name, reports the AFP.
"The small-time chain, whose identity was withheld from the public, has filed a lawsuit appealing against an earlier decision that the company should hand over the domain name -- "sens.co.kr" -- to Samsung, according to Moneytoday, an Internet news provider.
Samsung in May 1996 registered "SENS" as a trademark for its computers and monitors."
India's legion of self-employed, which comprises half the workforce, has benefited the most from India's mobile phone market, the world's fastest growing.
"Maids, cooks, autorickshaw drivers and construction workers have bought mobile phones even on incomes as low as 100 dollars per month.
"It's no longer a status symbol. It is increasingly becoming a necessity like water and electricity," Arvind Singhal, the chairman of retail consulting firm KSA Technopak said.
Now when a carpenter sticks up advertisements at a local grocery to find business "he has a mobile office" where people can call him, he said.
Despite the surge in mobile users, the growth is still largely confined to cities. A huge market in rural areas, where nearly 70 percent of India's 1.1 billion population lives, remains untapped.
Telephone penetration in urban India is around 25 per 100 people but just 1.6 per 100 in rural areas.
The country's total "teledensity" -- the number of people owning a telephone out of every 100 people -- also remains low at 21.20 percent in August, according to official data.
But mobile phone companies are rolling out coverage to rural and remote areas to increase their clients.
"Landline networks are not very effective in many of these places. So, mobile phones are a big necessity in rural areas," Singhal said. "It's not an indicator of wealth any more. A mobile phone is now a tool that is likely to improve productivity dramatically."
Engadget has posted on all the official pictures of the new Armani phone, which comes with a surprise, a haptic feedback UI: "users can feel an immediate mild vibration when they touch icons on the display."
September 25, 2007
The first game, based on "CSI: Miami," is launching this week, CBS Mobile said Monday. It can be accessed directly through AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon in the United States. [via Reuters]
"... Gameloft and CBS Mobile plan to bring mobile "CSI" titles to fans in more than 140 countries, though the "CSI: Miami" game is the only one available for now."
According to the WSJ, "Apple has warned user that they can permanently damage their iPhones by modifying the cellular phones to work on unauthorized wireless networks.
"In a statement, Apple said it has discovered that unauthorized iPhone "unlocking" programs cause damage to the device's software that could make the phone "permanently inoperable" when users install future software updates from Apple.
The Cupertino, Calif., company said that any permanent disabling of iPhone that stems from the installation of unlocking software isn't covered on the product's warranty."
File under the end of privacy as we know it. Pudding Media, a start-up based in San Jose, Calif., is introducing an Internet phone service that will be supported by advertising related to what people are talking about in their calls. The New York Times reports.
"The Web-based phone service is similar to Skype’s online service — consumers plug a headset and a microphone into their computers, dial any phone number and chat away. But unlike Internet phone services that charge by the length of the calls, Pudding Media offers calling without any toll charges.
The trade-off is that Pudding Media is eavesdropping on phone calls in order to display ads on the screen that are related to the conversation. Voice recognition software monitors the calls, selects ads based on what it hears and pushes the ads to the subscriber’s computer screen while he or she is still talking.
A conversation about movies, for example, will elicit movie reviews and ads for new films that the caller will see during the conversation. Pudding Media is working on a way to e-mail the ads and other content to the person on the other end of the call, or to show it on that person’s cellphone screen. "
September 24, 2007
Cellphone messages are starting to replace toll-free calls and the Web as the easy way to buy clothing and more, according to an article in USA Weekend.
"Already common in Korea and Japan, where people shop by digits for everything from sodas to cars, text-buying is expected to take off here, too.
... That's why Urban Outfitters, which sells clothing, shoes and furnishings, launched UO TXT in June to alert regular customers to pre-sales and new items. "Glamour," "Lucky" and "Stuff" magazines have jumped in, too, the last with its September issue. "Guys will love it,'' predicts "Stuff" publisher John Lumpkin. "You can shop without getting off your couch. It's the least hassle.'
Interestingly enough, text shoppers are as likely to be men as women and usually are ages 25 to 34. "It's not the instant-message crowd,'' says Mark Kaplan, founder and chief marketing officer at ShopText, which, along with PayPal, offers the service. People ages 18 to 34 are four times more likely to carry a cellphone than cash, and the number of mobile phones globally is triple that of PCs."
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