Archives for March 2009

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March 31, 2009

Google's April Fools' Pranks: 2000 -2008

f.jpg Tomorrow is that day again, the one time of the year you have to doubt everything you read.

Check out Google's April Fools' Pranks: 2000 -2008, courtesy of Business Insider via The Hunffington Post.

emily | 6:32 PM | permalink

Skype app available today as promised

skypeapp.png Here's the Skype app, delivered on Tuesday as promised.

In their own words:

With Skype on your iPhone or iPod touch, simply sign into Skype from any WiFi zone, and call friends and family on Skype totally free.

See who’s online and instant message them.

Sign into Skype via 3G, Edge, GPRS or WiFi and check who’s online - then instant message them whenever and wherever the mood strikes.

emily | 6:01 PM | permalink

Pigeons fly mobile phones to Brazilian prisoners

pigeons_1375385c.jpg Guards have intercepted two carrier pigeons carrying mobile phones to detainees at a prison in Sorocaba, 62 miles from Sao Paolo, a spokesman for the state penitentiary system said, reports The Telegraph.

quotemarksright.jpgEach pigeon was carrying a small bag containing a mobile phone and charger, she said. The birds were caught on two successive days, last Wednesday and Thursday.

The use of pigeons to smuggle contraband into jail is the latest twist in a ongoing struggle by criminal networks to deliver forbidden goods into Brazil's prisons.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related:

-- Carrier pigeons fly cell phones into jails (June 2008) - "Inmates at the prison in Marilia, Sao Paulo state had been training carrier pigeons to smuggle in goods using cell phone sized pouches on their backs, a low-tech but ingenious way of skipping the high-tech security that visitors faced.

Officials said the pigeons, bred and trained inside the prison, lived on the jail's roof, where prisoners would take their deliveries before smuggling the birds out again through friends and family."

emily | 3:19 PM | permalink

Earth Secrets app shares your secrets with the world

earthsecretsapp.jpg Like Post Secret - an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard - Earth Secrets is a free iPhone app let you discover other people secrets and share your thoughts with the world. There is a rating system based on the number of hugs a secret receives.

Some of the features :

-- Browse secrets over the planet

-- Hug people to express your compassion and sympathy and keep track of their secrets

-- See how many people have read your secret and how many times you have been hugged

-- View secrets, you just have to touch the globe in the zone you are interested in or just click the "next" button.

earthsecretsscreenshot.jpg

Previously: - Earth Secrets iPhone app

emily | 3:03 PM | permalink

Vibrating touch screen puts Braille at the fingertips

Touch screen devices like the iPhone are great when you can see them, but not much good if you are blind. Now a new way of presenting Braille characters on a mobile device could be the first step towards a Braille-ready touch-screen phone, reports New Scientist.

quotemarksright.jpgIn Braille, letters are encoded using a two-by-three matrix in which each character is represented by a different configuration of raised and absent dots at the six locations. To display these dots on a touch-screen device, Jussi Rantala of the University of Tampere in Finland and colleagues used a Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, which has a piezoelectric material built into the touch screen that vibrates when an electric signal is applied to it.

The team installed software that represents a raised dot as a single pulse of intense vibration, and an absent dot as a longer vibration made up of several weaker pulses (see diagram).quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:49 PM | permalink

Verisign launches secure password app: VIP Access

big_icon_30623.png As of today, you can now download VIP Access, an iPhone application that will generate a password for your AOL, eBay and PayPal accounts. It’s optional and free to consumers, but if you sign up, no one can get in your account without your user ID, your password, and the six-digit number generated by your phone.

quotemarksright.jpgThe applications come from VeriSign, which has been offering an identification service based on keychain-sized hardware devices for about three years.

VeriSign is testing similar applications for about 40 other phone models, including some BlackBerry models from Research in Motion. You can see a list and download beta versions of the applications here. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Not available though from the Swiss app store - which proably means not available yet in Europe.

[via Bits Blog]

emily | 9:04 AM | permalink

Yahoo! gets an app

yahooapp.png The Yahoo! app released yesterday brings together Yahoo! as we know it and allows iPhone users to customize the app so that all the content and services are uniquely tailored to their needs and interests.

Includes: news, sports, stocks, movies, RSS feeds, e-mail account, social networks (inclulding Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Dopplr and LastFM).

Something odd, I can't find it in the (Swiss) app store on my iPhone, Though it appears when I search for Yahoo! But when I click on Yahoo! I get an endless list of other apps.

emily | 8:46 AM | permalink

Pirates Board Apple's iPhone App Store

According to Wired, the iPhone's App Store is becoming an increasingly juicy target for pirates, who have illegally cracked 20 percent of paid applications for free distribution.

quotemarksright.jpgApple's App Store offers about 25,000 paid apps, and iPhone analytics company Medialets estimates at least 5,000 have been pirated. The company also said it has tracked dozens of apps with as high as a 100-to-1 pirated-to-paid ratio.

Just how much piracy affects App Store sales is unclear and remains up for debate — since Apple, tight-lipped as usual, has not disclosed any numbers. Apple didn't respond to several requests for comment.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:17 AM | permalink

March 30, 2009

How to Make Your First iPhone App

303067819_bt.jpg Your First iPhone app is an app to teach you how to make an app.

In their own words:: Ever wanted to learn how to make your first iPhone or iPod Touch app but didn't know how or where to start?

Now, in your spare time, you can browse through 70 pages of helpful step by step instructions for programming your first iPhone or iPod Touch application.

Learn by watching and following the instructions to make your first app which integrates a button and a text label, often a great starting point for making more complicated apps by simply starting with the basics. ...

emily | 9:07 PM | permalink

Ghostbusters iPhone game announced

ghostbuster-iphone-game-announced-150x150.jpg

According to ElectricPig:

quotemarksright.jpg Sony Pictures Television has just announced an iPhone version of the Ghostbusters game for iPhone, to go with the Xbox 360, Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii versions.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 8:47 PM | permalink

Twitter Hiring a Celebrity Concierge

According to Switched and TechCrunch, Twitter is hiring a VIP Concierge to cater to celebrities, making sure that they know how to use the service and that they keep tweeting.

quotemarksright.jpgAs more and more layers get added to the Twitter celeb tweeting process (from ghostwriters to this new concierge), you can bet that the distance between fan and celeb will only grow greater, regardless of how many new celebs join Twitter or how many tweets they post.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related:

-- The celbritiy Twitter ecosystem

-- When Stars Twitter, a Ghost May Be Lurking

emily | 6:52 PM | permalink

“Virtual Zippo Lighter” iPhone App Sparks Three Million Downloads

screenshot_1_4009.jpg

Zippo and Moderati today announced that their free iPhone app, the Virtual Zippo Lighter, has been downloaded over three million times since its release last October, making it one of the most popular and prevalent branded applications in the App Store’s history. The application is averaging about 100,000 new downloads per week.

It was one of the first apps I downloaded.

More in press release

emily | 6:39 PM | permalink

Two apps to improve your TOEFL scores

big_icon_13972.png big_icon_11360.png Every foreign student who wants to study at an American or British University is required to pass an English proficiency test. And the test that is the most required is the TOEFL. Low and behold, there are two TOEFL iPhone apps for students to improve their English skills.

The first for $1.99 is the TOEF Vocabulary. It has more than 6334 terms, 1200 antonyms, a smart test generator and two interesting games to build up your vocabulary.

The second for $ 9.99 is the TOEFL Vocabulary AudioLearn which allows you to listen to a detailed review of over 500 vocabulary words that commonly appear on the TOEFL. Professionally narrated, each word is pronounced, spelled, defined and used in a sentence.

emily | 11:27 AM | permalink

AT&T Unveils 6 New Devices for Text Messaging

samsung-impression-1.jpg

AT&T today announced a fresh new lineup of Nokia and Samsung smartphones with full-QWERTY keyboards, making it easier for customers to send text messages. These new models will be released in next few weeks.

Full reviews and pictures of models on Slashphone.

emily | 11:08 AM | permalink

Former Prisoner Sues Over Confiscated Mobile Phone

A former prisoner is suing the UK prison service for compensation after a contraband mobile phone was confiscated and destroyed, reports Cellular News. The UK forbids prisoners from having mobile phones, and a search following a visit from his girlfriend found a mobile phone in the cell occupied by Mark Coleman. The phone was taken away and destroyed - while Coleman was given prison punishments.

quotemarksright.jpgHowever, in a legal action, Coleman is claiming that the prison authorities were wrong to destroy the phone and should have kept it in storage until he was released. Lawyers are claiming that in destroying the phone, the prison service had unlawfully deprived him of his property.

The Samsung branded phone was used in a police dog training session and chewed up by the dogs. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related:

-- Jail dog sniffs out illicit phones

-- More on Murphy, first sniffer dog able to detect cell phones

emily | 11:00 AM | permalink

Free text messages save lives in Malawi

medcaremalawi.jpg A simple SMS system is revolutionizing medical care in Malawi, where scarce resources and a skeleton hospital staff must serve thousands of people spread over hundred of square miles. The Guardian reports.

quotemarksright.jpgJosh Nesbit, an undergraduate at Stanford University in California teamed up with Ken Banks, the founder of Cambridge-based FrontlineSMS – free text message software aimed at charities and NGOs – and created FrontlineSMS:Medic

Community health workers, most of whom had never seen a mobile phone, let alone owned one, were trained to send text messages containing medical information back to the hospital staff.

If health workers sent a drug name in a text, the system would automatically respond with information on dosages and usage. Health workers can also give status updates on particular patients or make a call for further medical information to help them treat cases on the go. It is particularly important in a country where HIV and Aids are rife – with infection rates as high as 70% in some areas.

The pilot project, which has been running for five months, has already had a significant impact: as well as getting emergency medical attention for 130 people who would have otherwise gone unseen, it has allowed the hospital's tuberculosis officer to treat twice as many people because his time can now be more used more efficiently.

Read article.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 10:46 AM | permalink

Skype for iPhone: It's official

According to Cnet, a free Skype app will finally be available from the iTunes App Store sometime on Tuesday.

emily | 10:20 AM | permalink

March 29, 2009

Upright: A posture alert app

upright.png Ahh, the wonders of what you can do with your iPhone and how it can help you in ways you would never have imagined, like improving your posture. A new application Upright alerts you when you slouch.

In their own words: - Improve your posture by being alerted whenever you slouch. Upright features a simple and intuitive interface that let's you focus simply on achieving good posture.

Secure Upright in a shirt pocket, on a lanyard, on your neck, or however best works for you. Assume your optimum posture and then just tap to calibrate. Upright instantly begins tracking your posture. Tap again to pause or to re-calibrate. Upright will alert you when your posture is off track. Choose from vibration (iPhone only), sound, or visual alerts. Configure the slouch-sensitivity and time period before you are alerted to create a posture tracker suited to your needs.

emily | 10:54 AM | permalink

Helping Parents Snoop on Kids’ iPhone Habits

bits_iphone1.jpg Bits Blog writes up 3 iPhone apps that help parents keep an eye on what their children are looking at.

quotemarksright.jpgMobicip is a free, kid-safe browser for iPhones and iPod Touches. It’s browser works exactly like Safari, but bars access to Web sites containing sexually explicit material, graphic violence, Web-based chat clients, e-commerce, social networks and games.

iWonder Surf, allows parents to block and unblock sites at their leisure. Parents can see which Web sites are being visited, and in the case of some social networks, like MySpace, find out which profiles their children have viewed.

SafeEyes Mobile tracks Web history and sends e-mail notifications to parents when Web surfers try to gain access to restricted Web sites. In addition, the application lets parents set limits on browsing time.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:43 AM | permalink

Become a Fan of Facebook Pages With a Text Message

This is potentially huge news for brands that are using Facebook Pages. You can now promote your Page using text messaging – or rather, by simply asking people to text the name of your page (www.facebook.com/yourname) - to Facebook’s shortcode, 32665, to become fans.

[via Mashable]

emily | 9:33 AM | permalink

Cell phone strap replicates sensation of opening a can of beer

6a00d8341c5d3253ef01156f82f380970b-500wi.jpg

Spotted on Tokyomango, a cell phone strap that replicates sensation of opening a can of beer.

quotemarksright.jpgThe latest in Bandai Gadget's "do it forever" series is the top of a coke or beer can. Basically, researchers spent hours and hours perfecting the sensation of cracking open a can, and then made it into a cell phone strap. quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 9:22 AM | permalink

March 28, 2009

New cell phone app for heart patients

Here's a cell phone app that could actually save lives: AT&T Inc. is introducing technology that lets patients monitor their heartbeat and automatically transfer the data to their cardiologists using Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. SF Gate reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe service, offered by MedNet Healthcare Technologies, allows customers who are in AT&T's network range or roaming areas to send the information to a central monitoring center, which then relays the information to their doctor. The service is available for a monthly fee, and doctors must be signed up to use it.

Patients using an older service offered by MedNet have to call a toll-free number and then put their monitoring device near a landline receiver in order to transmit their data to the center.

MedNet also will use AT&T voice services so cardiac technicians and physicians can quickly contact patients if necessary. The service will be available April 21.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 6:18 PM | permalink

SMS campaign to save Venice

c2d1b5eab7556d66d4bc742b6f31b2f8.jpg Venice is continuing its drive to help save the city's art heritage by receiving SMS and Internet funding, reports Ansa.it.

quotemarksright.jpgThe campaign, launched last year, is dubbed SMS, which also stands for Save St Mark's.

Visitors to the www.venezia.net website can click on a 'digital' tile of Palazzo Ducale to contribute to the city's upkeep.

This year's goals are to restore the city's famed Rialto Bridge and three historic churches: San Giorgio Maggiore, San Giuseppe and the Chiesa dei Gesuiti, as well as the Scuola di San Rocco with its famed Tintoretto paintings.

Last year, SMS saw concerts by Momix, Joan Baez and Elton John, who has a house in Venice. The high spot of this year's SMS campaign will be a Simple Minds concert in St Mark's in July, organisers said Friday.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 4:50 PM | permalink

Bring Your Cell Phone to the Opera, Please

cvtuthumb.jpg A coming production of Mozart's opera “Così fan tutte” will ask audience members to vote at intermission for which characters should be married in the opera’s final scene. The New York Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe production, called "Così fan Tutte: Defining Women," will be performed by the Underworld Productions Opera Ensemble at Symphony Space in Manhattan on April 29 and 30, and it invites theatergoers to vote by sending text messages from their cell phones. Cast members will then perform the democratically chosen ending.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 4:36 PM | permalink

New rent-by-mobile-phone car-sharing company to launch in Austin

car2go11635.jpg It's impulse shopping meets car rental. Car2Go, a car-sharing concept from Daimler, will launch in Austin, Texas, in fall 2009. The service will enable members to use their mobile phones to locate and rent one of a fleet of 200 cars near them without advance reservation. Cnet reports.

quotemarksright.jpgRegistered members can rent cars via their mobile phones and unlock the car with their membership card and pin number. They return the car to "any space not subject to parking fees or restrictions may be used--such as those along the side of the road or within designated parking areas," according to the company's press release.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related: - Car2Go launches in Germany

emily | 4:08 PM | permalink

March 27, 2009

iPhone App Store: 30,000 apps, but slowing

148appspic.jpg Shortly before 4 p.m. EDT on Thursday, eight months after it opened with 500 applications for the iPhone and iPod touch, Apple’s App Store passed the 30,000 mark, according to the count maintained by 148appss, which updates its list automatically. Apple 2.0 reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThat’s up from 28,000 apps nine days ago and considerably higher than the official figure of 25,000 that Apple has been using.

But the flood of new titles seems to have slowed, and there are signs that the App Store’s infrastructure is straining to keep up with what it already has in hand. Complaints from developers — always a contentious lot — have increased in recent days. Among their latest grievances:

-- Delays in approval. Although Apple claims that 96% of apps submitted in February were approved — 98% within seven days — reports persist of apps languishing in the queue for months.

-- Delayed payments. The waits for monthly payments have grown longer this year, on occasion violating the contract that says they must be paid within 45 days of the end of the month.

-- A punitive refund policy. As Techcrunch’s Leena Rao reports, developers get only 70% of each sale, but if a user demands a refund within 90 days, Apple makes the developer return 100% of the sale price.

-- Failure to police the App Store. Several developers are loudly complaining that clones of their original apps have been approved by Apple and are now being sold by copycats on the App Store.

The slowdown in App Store growth is relatively small and quite recent. In early March, the store was adding new titles at the rate of 250 a day. Over the last nine days, the rate of growth has slowed to less than 223 per day.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 9:23 AM | permalink

Flowing Blood Could Power iPods and Cell Phones

Power generated from flowing blood, simple body movements or a gentle breeze could one day be converted to electricity to charge iPods, cell phones and other personal electronic devices. LiveScience reports.

quotemarksright.jpgResearchers reported today they can harvest energy by converting low-frequency vibrations, like simple body movements, the beating of the heart or movement of the wind, into electricity by using zinc oxide nanowires that conduct the electricity. The nanowires are piezoelectric — they generate an electric current when subjected to mechanical stress. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:05 AM | permalink

Twitter re-launches SMS in the UK - But only if you’re on Vodafone

vodafone_twitter.png According to TechCrunch, Twitter has confirmed that it has re-launched out-going SMS in the UK on a shortcode, but with only one provider, Vodafone.

quotemarksright.jpgSo while Vodafone UK customers will be able to receive SMS updates from Twitter for free, and send for free to begin with, users on other networks will have to wait while Twitter negotiates separate deals.

Twitter cut the ability to get your Twitter feed last August after starting to throttle the service down in November 2007. At the time co-founder Biz Stone said that: “Even with a limit of 250 messages received per week, it could cost Twitter about $1,000 per user, per year to send SMS outside of Canada, India, or the US.” Although they’d been able to negotiate service fees with mobile operators in the US and Canada, negotiations failed in the UK.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 9:01 AM | permalink

March 26, 2009

Cell Phone Games Emerge as Entertaining Way to Increase Public Advocacy

As mobile phone usage becomes more commonplace in developing countries, cell phone games are emerging as an entertaining way to increase public advocacy. In India this month the Danish government launched Copenhagen Challenge, a detective game designed to educate Indian school children about climate change. Voice of America reports.

quotemarksright.jpgYour mission; free Dr. Kumar from the claws of the fossil fuel mafia and save the environment from total annihilation.

No small task. But one that students at the Montort school in New Delhi are eager to confront.

According to the Telecom Regulatory Agency of India the country has nearly 350 million mobile users, many of whom are poor villagers using inexpensive, recycled phones.

Denmark's minister for climate and energy, Connie Hedegaard, says such cell phone penetration makes the mobile network a natural choice to educate people about climate change.

... The impact of this innovative effort is to be assessed when Denmark hosts the U.N.'s international climate change conference, known as COP15, in Copenhagen this December. quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 4:00 PM | permalink

Dexter branded iphone case

dexter-cases-noscale.jpg The Dexter iPhone game, after America's favorite serial killer and tv show Dexter, is scheduled to hit the App Store this summer, but after a demo of the game, folks over at Destroctoid were handed Dexter-branded hard-shelled iPhone cases as gifts.

quotemarksright.jpgMade by Speck, the hardshell cases come in tiny cardboard boxes and sits snug in a bed of foam splattered in blood. It's unclear if the cases will be made available for the public to purchase.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[Destroctoid via Pocket-Gamer]

Related: - Watch the Dexter iPhone game Trailer.

emily | 3:31 PM | permalink

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