Archives for October 2008

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October 16, 2008

Crank phone Monument

colorphone.jpg Twenty-five years nearly to the day after the last hand-crank phone call was made in Bryant Pond of Bethel, Maine - a 14-foot tall sculpture made by Gil Whitman of the old-style phone was dedicated on the common. The Bethel Citizen reports via Fierce Telecom.

"The Bryant Pond Telephony Company operated the last operating handcrank phone service in the U.S., with the switchboard operated in the living room of owners Elden and Barbara Hathaway.

Phone calls were routed through by family members -- sometimes while cooking dinner or doing laundry."

emily | 10:12 PM | permalink

Improvisation for Two Altered Telephones

0kolop0.jpg Régine form gives a rave review for The Creative Interactions - The MobileMusicWorkshop 2004 - 2008 book, saying it's every bit as excellent and informative as the annual workshop itself.

The publication, edited by Nicolaj Kirisits, Frauke Behrendt, Lalya Gaye and Atau Tanaka, celebrates 5 years of Mobile Music Workshop.

The book collects all the projects presented over the workshops that ran from 2004 to 2008: title, abstract, bio of the artist(s) and some pictures. Super simple, clear and fascinating. One of them is described below:

quotemarksright.jpgI stumbled upon this ear-pleasing (there's an audio-sample on the webpage) performance from 1999: Improvisation for Two Altered Telephones. A performance by Julie Adler and Andrew Bucksbarg.

An AM/FM radio circuit was added to the phone interface. "The radio circuit produces sound when its speaker output is fed back into the circuit at various points and in varying degrees. The resulting sound is controlled through the phone keypad and a few added knobs (variable resisters). The mouthpiece is also soldered into the circuit and the vocalizations (or air pressure) become amplified and filtered by the radio circuit."quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 6:30 PM | permalink

Brewer accused of ripping-off iBeer idea

iBeer20Character_wideweb__470x320%2C2.jpg The magician and inventor whose creation is at the centre of a multimillion dollar lawsuit over a download which transforms the iPhone into a virtual glass of beer says he was surprised and hurt to discover that his idea had been pilfered. The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

quotemarksright.jpg Steve Sheraton, the magician, invented an interactive application called iBeer last year and began selling it from his own website as a $US2.99 download for the iPhone.

When activated, iBeer transforms the iPhone into a virtual glass of beer. Users can pretend to drink the simulated beer by titling the phone on an angle, which then empties the glass.

But when Apple launched its official iPhone App Store in July this year, Sheraton's download was not the only digitial beer gimmick on offer.

Coors, the US division of the world's fifth-largest brewer, also offered a similar interactive application called iPint, a free download promoting its Carling brand of beer.

Hottrix, a small Las Vegas-based novelty software company, which now owns the rights to the Sheraton's digital gimmicks, last week filed a lawsuit against Coors, seeking $US12.5 million in damages for lost profits and the brewer's "ill-gotten gains".

The suit claims that iPint had been downloaded over six million times since it launch on July 11 and being a free download, "significantly' impairing the number of iBeer (paid) downloads.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:34 AM | permalink

Mobile Muslim


Mobile Muslim (also known as ‘Hidayah which means divine guidance in Arabic) is a new phone launched in Indonesia designed completey around the Koran.

It sounds the "azan" call to prayer five times a day as well as the bang of the traditional bedug drum used at sunset to signal the end of the fast.

It also wakes Muslims up with religious songs before the dawn prayers so they can eat a final meal.

Since it's launch in August, Mobile Musllim has sold 100'000 units.


Links to other articles related to Islamic cell phones.

emily | 9:49 AM | permalink

T-Mobile Probably Did Not Sell 1.5 Million G1 Pre-Orders

Following the report that T-Mobile sold 1.5 million G1 pre-orders, it turns out that some iffy multiplication may have been involved and the number of pre-orders sold is probably closer to 200,000 to 300,000. Big, but not crazy big.

... Considering the iPhone, which launched in 20 different countries, only hit a million during its first weekend, we all probably should have been a little more suspicious of one phone in one country on one carrier surpassing that.

[via Gizmodo]

emily | 9:00 AM | permalink

Employees Clock In Via Text Message

clock_340.jpg now uses SMS Text Messaging to track employee time.

This new technology will assist companies in tracking their mobile employees and those who work numerous locations and save time and money when clocking in using a cell phone.

When an employee clocks in via their cell phone, they essentially call the HourDoc system and send a basic text message. The text messages are commands for the system, and the employee chooses one of four text message commands. They are “in”, “out”, “bin” or “bout”. These stand for “clocking in”, “clocking out”, “taking a break/clock in” or “taking a break/clock out”. The HourDoc system then receives these SMS text messages, and posts the according time entries to that employee’s electronic timesheet.

[via Press release]

emily | 8:12 AM | permalink

Fox News, A&E Television Networks Join Nokia Mobile Ad Networ

Nokia has announced that several large U.S. publishers have joined its mobile advertising network. These additions join other flagship Nokia Media Network publishers such as Reuters, CNET, Agence-France Press, Unidad Editorial, Hearst and AccuWeather; operators like Sprint and Airtel; and Nokia services like

Nokia Interactive Advertising helps brands reach the potential global audience of 3.3 billion consumers with mobile devices.

[via Cellular News]

emily | 8:00 AM | permalink

October 15, 2008

Dial-a-concert? Japan software turns mobiles musical

h_logo.gif According to Reuters, making music has just become easier. A Japanese game maker has teamed up with the nation's leading mobile phone network carrier to enable users to play an orchestra with their fingertips.

"Game manufacturer Taito has created the "Chokkan Classic" software for NTT DoCoMo's i-mode Internet service that lets users to pick their instruments and the melody they want to play.

To activate the sounds, users must either rub or move a finger infront of their phone's infrared sensor. The sensor can also be used to sync several users' phones to create the myriad sounds of an orchestra."

emily | 1:44 PM | permalink

'Jammers' to make mobile phone use OK on flights

At first I gleefully thought this meant that passengers could jam other passengers cell phones, but it's not the case. The jammers are meant to block passengers' mobile phones from picking up multiple signals from numerous base stations on the ground - without interfering with other on-board communications systems.

[via The Age]

emily | 1:07 PM | permalink

FreeHands - How to stay warm and take calls


An idea for a xmas present, spotted on Cool Hunting, FreeHands, for texting, sending email and playing games on your cell phone when it's cold. The gloves come in leather, stretch or fleece.


Also: - Dots Gloves for using touchscreens in the cold

emily | 9:18 AM | permalink

Deaf people lobby MPs over phones

tin%20can.jpg Deaf campaigners fighting for equal access to the telephone are lobbying MPs at a reception in parliament. The BBC reports.

"Consortium group TAG said deaf people are being held back in their jobs and lives because phone technology is no longer easily available or affordable.

The deaf are able to communicate using phone systems which either turn speech into text and vice versa or use sign language interpreters via video link.

Another system called captioned telephony, which uses speech recognition technology to convert an operator’s voice into text, closed in December for funding reasons.

"Much better access has been shown to be within grasp, but most of the services that deliver it have folded because they are too expensive for deaf individuals."

TAG's reception for MPs is being held at Portcullis House under its campaign "Bringing Deaf Telecoms into the 21st Century".

The group represents all the main UK deaf organisations concerned with telecoms and broadcasting.

emily | 8:45 AM | permalink



PRINCE rocked the Gansevoort Hotel rooftop over the weekend, but the show was nearly interrupted by audience members who refused to turn off their cellphones, reports The New York Post.

"As the "Purple Rain" pop star prepared to take the stage, a panicked emcee announced the hundreds of cellphones in the room had knocked out Prince's high-tech sound system. He begged fans to shut them or "there may not be a show."

emily | 8:14 AM | permalink

October 14, 2008

Australian girls paint phone numbers on skin while sunbathing


The Telegraph reports that "Australian teenage girls have been warned over the dangers of painting their phone numbers onto their skin while they sunbathe on public beaches.

Groups of young girls have been photographed in bikinis with their mobile numbers written on their backs using blue-coloured zinc sunblock.

The 14 and 15-year-olds said they had travelled from Sydney’s inner suburbs to Cronulla Beach in the city’s south and Manly Beach in the north to “meet boys” and hoped the unusual tactic would encourage a few phone calls. "

[via Mobile Industry Review]

emily | 7:04 PM | permalink

Zippo For Your iPhone


Spotted on Uberphones, a Zippo iPhone application that will let you have a Zippo lighter on your own iPhone. The lighter will open with a flick of your wrist, and light up once you turn the flint wheel. How cool is that?

emily | 6:58 PM | permalink

AT&T goes wild with texting, announces four QWERTY phones


AT&T has gone ahead and announced not one, not two, but four QWERTY-equipped dumphones today, including a dual slider and a Pantech being billed as "the world's thinnest device with a full QWERTY keypad.

Full disclosure on engadget.

emily | 6:40 PM | permalink

84.5 mln Chinese uses mobile phones to surf Internet

According to China View, "nearly 84.5 million Chinese use their mobile phone to log onto the Internet, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of the country's total netizens. China's mobile phone user population is about 616 million."

emily | 6:27 PM | permalink

Software prevents mobile phone chatting while driving

distraction.jpg Aegis Mobility has developed DriveAssist , software that offers parents and corporations the ability to stay in touch with their teens or employees, while ensuring responsible mobile phone use while driving.

DriveAssist detects when phones are moving at automobile speeds and then tells callers that the person they are trying to reach is driving.

Callers are invited to leave messages or call-back numbers., just like a personal assistant. The DriveAssist service will be available through Mobile Operators. The service allows E911 calls and includes an override feature so you can make calls while a passenger.

[via Yahoo Tech]

emily | 11:25 AM | permalink

Japanese talked on mobile for 1.899 billion hours


According to the report by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the total talk time on mobile phones in Japan was 1.899 billion hours, a 4.5 percent increase from the previous year.

... In addition to the growing number of mobile phone subscriptions, the spread of free call services between users of the same carrier is likely to have boosted the use of mobile phones, the ministry's telecommunications bureau says."

[via fareastgizmo]

emily | 10:58 AM | permalink

Software in Cellphones Measures Customers' Exposure to Marketing

logo_227x066.gif A small media research company called Integrated Media Measurement (im<>mi) is offering new technology that measures consumers' exposure to the audio in ads on television, radio, computers, mobile phones, DVDs and inside a movie theatre -- using a consumer's cellphone. The WSJ reports.<>mi embeds its software into the cellphones of the company's 4,900 panelists. The software picks up audio from an ad or a TV show and converts it into its own digital code that is then uploaded into an im<>mi database, which includes codes for media content such as TV shows, commercials, movies and songs.

im<>mi's database then figures out what the cellphone was exposed to by matching the code. Cellphone conversations and background noise are filtered out by the software, im<>mi says, since there is no "match" in the im<>midatabase.

Read full article.

emily | 9:07 AM | permalink

October 13, 2008

Cell Phones and NYC Street Fashion

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9098VMrainWeb.jpg 9258ViaSanAndreaGBWeb.jpg9078sunglassesWeb.jpg

From favorite The Sartorialist, the most influential blog on New York City street fashion. Interesting how many people are captured with their cell phones; calling texting or just holding them.

emily | 7:01 PM | permalink

Mobile phone ads hit by spending curbs

According to the FT, the global economic downturn is set to hit advertising on mobile phones until at least 2010, when marketing agencies expect clients to increase their budgets.

"Advertising agencies say clients are reining in their marketing spending and focusing on proven mediums such as mass audience television and the internet.

The move deals a blow to European mobile operators, who were planning on generating significant new revenue from advertising. "

emily | 6:58 PM | permalink

Wood Earphones


Spotted on Nikkei Net, earphones made of maple wood.

emily | 6:56 PM | permalink

25 Anniversary of the First Commercial Cellphone Call Timeline


Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the first commercial cellphone call in history. On October 13th 1983, Ameritech executive Bob Barnett called the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell using the now legendary and bricktastic Motorola DynaTAC 8000X.

Here's Gizmodo modified cellphone timeline highlighting this historic event.

emily | 6:50 PM | permalink

Google G1 Android Phone: 1.5 million pre-orders

More than 1.5 million people have pre-ordered Google's first mobile phone, which goes on sale in the UK next month, according to The Telegraph.

... "By contrast, Apple's iPhone 3G phone, one of the G1's main competitors, sold 1 million devices in its first weekend on sale, and Apple is on course to hit its target of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of the year."

emily | 4:04 PM | permalink

Text messages save elephants’ lives, villagers’ crops

savetheleephants.gif As elephants’ habitat is destroyed, the great beasts frequently leave their protected reserves, barging into villages and eventually are killed by rangers. But in Kenya, there is a better way: text messaging. [via ZDNet]

"A group called Save the Elephants has outfitted a huge bull elephant named Kimani with a text-messaging collar that alerts rangers whenever he crosses the boundary of the Ol Pejeta conservatory.

The project not only saves the elephants, it protects nearby families and villages from economic devastation and loss of life."

Related articles on tracking wildlife with cell phone technology:

-- Texting to save Kenyan elephants - Scientists in Kenya are using text messages to keep tabs on elephants

Cell phone technology helps researches obtain information about animals - Researchers in Kenya and South Africa are using cell phone technology to gather information on elephants, cheetahs, leopards and other animals, reports Pravda.

Cellphone technology to track dolphins and elephants - Reuters reports that South African researchers are planning on tracking dusky dolphins with a new device that uses cell phone sim cards.

-- SMS technology keeps wild wolf on the map - Norwegian researchers have used cellphone text messaging for the first time to track a young wolf that recently crossed the border from neighbouring Sweden.

-- Tracking Moose by SMS - Researchers from the University of Agricultural Sciences of Stockholm are tagging several dozen moose with special cell phones to track their eating habits and movements across the country.

-- Tracking Geese on a 3'000 km flight - UK's Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust tagged 20'000 geese and tracked them with satellite technology from the breeding grounds of Canada to Ireland, a 3'000 km flight.

-- Seals sent out SMS - From the Scottish waters, seals sent out SMS to scientists.

emily | 8:41 AM | permalink

October 12, 2008

A Phone That’s Not Afraid to Mess with Water

liq_nokia5.jpg Spotted on Yanko Design, a Nokia concept phone by designer Rune Larsen:

"Among the grievous wrongs done by touchscreen technology, the worst is its disregard for tactile feedback. Without the pleasant sensation of a button being pressed, we are woefully incapable of using any gadget without complete visual attention.

This Nokia concept tries to right this wrong by using a small pump to fill a substrate beneath the screen that gives our fingers something to feel and press. Maybe now I can finally type out these posts while driving to work without having to put my coffee in the cup holder."


emily | 6:02 PM | permalink

October 10, 2008

invisibleSHIELD: Protecting your iPhone


Yanko Design reviews Zagg's clear, glass-like film called invisibleSHIELD for the iPhone 3G, because even the tiniest scratch somehow totally ruins Apple’s minimal aesthetic.

" ... Once the installation was finished, I was pleasantly surprised. My iPhone didn’t look like it had anything on it, not unless I looked really close but then again I don’t go around with my vision permanently fixed on macro. The film is totally clear, like glass. It’s also somewhat resistant to fingerprints but the best part is it seems immune to scratches."

emily | 9:42 AM | permalink

RAZR Still The Top Selling Cellphone In The U.S

Even though it has lost its sense of cool, Motorola’s RAZR is still the best-selling cellphone in the U.S. more than four years after it first hit the scene, Electronista reports via

" The latest NPD Group data puts the device above the second-place iPhone 3G, followed by the BlackBerry Curve, LG Chocolate and BlackBerry Pearl.

The clamshell device is almost universally available for free on a contract with carriers throughout the country, and yet because the device’s value has shrunk so low on the market, Motorola reaps very few benefits from sales. "

emily | 9:33 AM | permalink

Nokia ad campaign: "My Phone Knows Everything About Me"

TrendHunter writes about Nokia’s new promotion involving a game/story event that plays upon our propensity to harbor potentially sensitive information on our cell phones.

"How often have you gotten in trouble for pictures, videos, phone calls or text messages that have been sent or received on your phone?

The Nokia promotion features several characters like Anna and Jade, who all seem to have Facebook pages. Each character’s phone is ‘found’ or unlocked on the website at a predetermined time, and readers can snoop into the characters’ lives via their cell phones."

What does your phone say about you? Check out My Phone Knows Everything About Me

emily | 9:28 AM | permalink

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