Archives for September 2008
September 22, 2008
According to Tokyomango, a 35-year old Japanese mother admitted to having strangled her 6-year old son with his cell phone strap.
"... A reporter on the scene was on TV today, explaining why the mom was under suspicion throughout the short-lived investigation—for example, she was crying his name out desperately while neighbors looked for clues, but when they finally found the body, she refused to look at it.
Also, the GPS-enabled cell phone, which she had urged investigators to track in order to find the boy, had no fingerprints on it. She must have wiped it clean before tossing it aside."
A new label technology claims it can monitor ambient conditions and predict when food is starting to go bad.
According to The Sun, the disposable 5p gadget — like a security label on a CD — measures the temperature of food and the time it is stored.
And scientists at Manchester University are working on an even more advanced device that will be able to communicate with refrigerators and send consumers email or text alerts to tell them that it's bad.
Spotted on Mobile Guerilla, the LG Renoir phone.
The LG Renoir phone as inspired by the famous artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, is actually the successor to the The LG KC910 and the only difference is the name change.
"SlotMusic is be introduced in mid-October at retail outlets including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Best Buy Co.
Each unit is to contain an album, plus extras, on a compact memory card that can be played on mobile phones, PCs and some portable MP3 players.
The cards are inserted into vacant slots on phones and other devices. (The slots are increasingly common on newer phones, but the placement of the slot depends on the phone model.) SanDisk is a maker of flash data storage card products."
"The NSPCC hopes to reach more at-risk children by making use of the technology that youngsters are comfortable and familiar with.
... Although thousands of people contact the NSPCC via ChildLine every day the organisation still struggles to answer every call. Currently about 67% of calls get answered and just 40% of children who need counselling receive it.
"At the moment, we've got a real problem about not being able to reach every child who wants help," said Dame Mary Marsh, director and chief executive of the NSPCC which took over ChildLine in 2006.
"The rate that children can get through is just not good enough, so part of the process is to give different channels of access so there is going to be some way they can get some help," she said.
September 21, 2008
Alarming new research from Sweden on the effects of radiation raises fears that today's youngsters face an epidemic of the disease in later life. The Independent reports.
"Children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer if they use mobile phones, startling new research indicates.
The study, experts say, raises fears that today's young people may suffer an "epidemic" of the disease in later life.
... Last week the European Parliament voted by 522 to 16 to urge ministers across Europe to bring in stricter limits for exposure to radiation from mobile and cordless phones, Wi-fi and other devices, partly because children are especially vulnerable to them. They are more at risk because their brains and nervous systems are still developing and because – since their heads are smaller and their skulls are thinner – the radiation penetrates deeper into their brains.
The Swedish research was reported this month at the first international conference on mobile phones and health. "
In an article on the dangers of being distracted while texting messaging when engaged in other activities, like walking or driving, The New York Times has a quote from aul Saffo, a technology trend forecaster in Silicon Valley who claims that sending an SMS lowers your IQ.
"The act of texting automatically removes 10 I.Q. points. “The truth of the matter is there are hobbies that are incompatible. You don’t want to do mushroom-hunting and bird-watching at the same time, and it is the same with texting and other activities. We have all seen people walk into parking meters or walk into traffic and seem startled by oncoming cars.”
September 20, 2008
John Hodgman ("I'm a PC" guy from Apple's "Get a Mac" ads) was spotted on the New York City subway using an iPhone. So, it turns out he’s not a PC after all. Then again, Apple does sign his checks.
Spotted on Fashionfunky, a yo-yo powered cell phone.
"... The yo-yo is to be used as it normally would be, only the rotating motion is used by magnets to generate power and store into a battery."
USB power adapters sold with the iPhone 3G in the U.S. and certain other countries could possibly break and leave the metal prongs behind in an electrical socket. [via c/net]
"... No injuries have been reported, but Apple is warning users of those power adapters to stop using them immediately until they obtain a redesigned adapter. Check the bottom of your adapter: if there's a green dot, you've got the redesigned one and don't need to do anything. If there's no dot, it's time to replace that unit.
You can get a replacement unit at your local Apple store starting October 10, or you can order one from Apple's Web site here."
September 19, 2008
"Nokia has introduced automated kiosks across the central Klang Valley of Malaysia in a bid to encourage people to recycle their mobile phones. cnet News reports.
"As an added incentive for users to recycle their old mobile devices, Nokia will donate a tree for every phone recycled.
Users who recycle their phones can monitor the growth of their trees, as Nokia will provide the coordinates of the tree planted and instructions on how to view the tree via Google Earth. "
California train operators are temporarily banned from using cellphones on duty, one day after investigators confirmed that the engineer of a train involved in last week's deadly collision was text messaging while working.
[via The Washington Post]
September 18, 2008
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies today on behalf of AT&T customers to stop the illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records.
The five individual plaintiffs are also suing President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless domestic surveillance.
The lawsuit, Jewel v. NSA, is aimed at ending the NSA's dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and holding accountable the government officials who illegally authorized it. Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA.
According to Reuters, mobile phone makers and operators risk losing thousands of their most profitable customers as financial havoc whacks the global banking industry.
"Analysts said the success of Blackberry-maker RIM is the most dependent on Wall Street's future.
In worst case scenario 40,000 workers may lose their jobs in finance following Lehman's collapse and problems at other big financial firms, New York Governor David Paterson said earlier this week."
Cell phones powered by your brain are already here, reports FashionFunky.
"NeuroSky Inc, a venture company based in San Jose, Calif, prototyped a system that reads brain waves with a sensor and uses them for mobile phone applications.
Software algorithms try to deduce from your brainwaves what you are thinking and pass on the appropriate commands to the cell phone.
... One of the most interesting ones allows the user to move a video game character to an intended place as quickly as possible on the screen of a mobile phone. The more the degree of brain's concentration, the more quickly the character moves. "
Read full article.
Related: - Brain-texting Concept
From next month, you can watch your words go up in smoke as part of an art installation in London's Trafalgar Square. [via The Guardian]
Called Memory Cloud, the work by architects/designers Stephen and Theodore Spyropoulos will, over three evenings in October, create a huge cloud of smoke on to which the artists will project messages sent by members of the public via text message.
Those of a sensitive disposition may need to look away - all the messages will be projected uncensored.
Its' first performance was in Bristol in June 2007, called Smoke Signals.
-- Paul Notzold's Txtual Healing performances around the world.
-- The HelloWorld Project - text messages were projected by a laser beam on mountains and buildings in several cities in 2003
-- Hello Mr President - A laser projector beamed messages onto the snow during the Davos WEF summit in 2001
Scientists are claiming that when you text message, basically your brain blanks out. The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
"The ratio communis, a key region of the brain, was malfunctioning. Instead of fluorescing on brain scans, it flickered, grey and dull. What science was trying to work out was the link between this dead zone and gadgets. When we chat on the mobile phone, text furiously, browse the BlackBerry, or commune with our car's global positioning system (GPS), the lights go out.
So alarmed was the American College of Emergency Physicians it issued a media release, concerned at not just the bruised coming into hospital emergency rooms, but the fatalities when this key decision-making part of the brain failed."
"Don't text while you're engaged in physical activities that require sustained attention, such as biking, inline skating [rollerblading] and playing sports," the college warned.
"Never text when driving or motorcycling, and use caution even when using headsets. Texting can divert you from ensuring your own safety."
"The campaign is organized by the Environmental Media Association (EMA) and Lionsgate studio, which hope to spread awareness among the starlets’ fans about how recycling can help lessen CO2 emissions by decreasing the energy needed to create new phones.
The Scarlett Johansson fronted PSA, “Answer the Call!” plays off the poster of her upcoming movie “The Spirit,” which co-stars Eva Mendes.
The PSAs will start appearing in People magazine on Friday, September 19. "
Apple Insider reports on a new patent from Apple that describes a future generation Nike+ system that would be capable of more accurately monitoring athletic performance in real-time, providing feedback on wear of athletic gear, and even conveying advertisements from establishments that an athlete passes during a workout, thanks to GPS.
The Nike+ sensor would provide notification to a user by way the Internet, a wireless device or in some cases as part of a peer-to-peer type arrangement of like wireless sensors or other wireless devices."
A House panel on Tuesday approved a bill to set universal disclosure standards on rates and other terms for prepaid calling cards. Cellular News reports.
"Lawmakers want to stop small companies that repeatedly dupe low-income or non-English-speaking customers on available minutes. A similar bill is pending in the Senate.
Congress is concerned about hidden fees, printed in near illegible type, that can cause callers to lose up to half of the advertised minutes on a card. In one example of misleading marketing, staffers have found companies that market prepaid calling cards in non-English languages and print the disclosures only in English."
According to a new report by Nielsen, by the end of the year 20 percent or one in five American households will not have a home phone line. As of today, 17 percent of homes rely entirely on cellphones.
As the U.S. economy tightens and consumers look for ways to cut household spending, many are eyeing that landline phone bill, which averages $40 per month per landline household.
... But Wireless substitution doesn't work for everyone. Ten percent of landline phone customers have experimented with wireless-only in their household, but then returned to landline service. Nielsen reports that needing a landline for another service (security system, satellite TV, pay-per-view, fax machine, etc.) is the primary reason people mend the cord.
Read full Nielsen report titled "Call My Cell: Wireless Substitution in the United States".
[via Bits Blog]
September 17, 2008
"The Cassation Court overturned a 2002 ruling by a Naples tribunal that permitted the telecommunications company to fire the employee, identified as Carlo T., after he incurred more than $2,000 in text messaging charges on his work phone between January and October of 2000, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Tuesday.
The court said in its decision that Telecom Italia had penalized other employees for similar offenses with less extreme measures, including docking wages for three days and taking the cost of the text messages out of the employees' pay checks.
''Employees must be treated in the same way,'' the court said.
Spotted on Pocket-Lint, a telephone-shaped USB hub.
This four-port USB hub is shaped like an old rotary dial phone for a bit of retro dec for your desk.
If you ride around in the car on weekends trying to find open houses while balancing a newspaper and map on your lap, it may be time to use your mobile phone instead. A display of properties for sale - and even open houses - may be as close as the screen on your wireless device. Physorg repots.
"New mobile services such as Trulia, Terabitz, Realtor.com, Home Finder, allow users to search for homes for sale, see pictures and details about the properties, get driving directions and call or e-mail the real estate agents handling the sales. "
September 16, 2008
"I based my concept for the scarf on the Lotus' unique square shape. The scarf absolutely reflects my vision as a designer and I hope this sparks a trend of wearing your phone in a more fashionable way."
Press release and video:
The Huffington Post has an interesting article on how text messaging may become the companion service that will make (green and social change) net-based social networks really action-oriented:
"Take fish texting. Blue Ocean Institute has established what it calls Fish Phone in which you send the Institute a text message about a fish you are thinking of eating or buying, and the Institute replies with a green light message or some sustainable alternatives.
The gadget blogs are going wild with this one: A John McCain advisor claimed the GOP candidate - who doesn't know how to use e-mail - invented the (Canadian) Blackberry. At first I thought this might be deliberate, like Al Gore's inventing of the Internet, hoping it might stick instead of turning into a joke, but according to Gearlog, this is what was said:
"According to McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the Republican presidential nominee was actually the driving force behind RIM's uber-popular BlackBerry smartphone. When asked what work John McCain did as Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee that helped him understand the financial markets, the candidate's top economic adviser pointed to his PDA.
Spotted on Gizmodo, iPhone cupcakes. How cool is that?
[via Laughing Squid]
"During the debates, the network bent on viewer-created content will broadcast Twitter messages -- or "tweets" -- from viewers. In close to real time, Current will display comments on the screen while John McCain and Barack Obama face off."
The Solar Power Purse comes with solar cells that charge a cell phone battery in just two hours.
Links to other solar purses and bags.