Archives for January 2010

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January 31, 2010

Irresponsible study claims texting while driving does not result in fewer crashes

carcrash.jpg A new (irresponsible) study by The Highway Loss Data Institute has found that state laws banning the use of handheld devices to make calls or send text messages while driving have not resulted in fewer vehicle crashes. The Huffington Post reports.

quotemarksright.jpg... The US Department of Transportation, dismissed the new study's conclusions as irresponsible and said the study will lead people "to wrongly conclude that talking on cell phones while driving is not dangerous". ... "At this early stage in our work against distracted driving, no one should be discouraging strong nationwide efforts to make our roadways safer. Unfortunately, a study released by the Highway Loss Data Institute casts doubt on the reality of this epidemic."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article and The Highway Loss Data Institute press release on the study.

emily | 9:08 AM | permalink

January 30, 2010

China cracks down on text messaging in Xinjiang

090714-xinjiang-hlarg-136p.hlarge.jpg Authorities in China's troubled north-western region of Xinjiang have punished residents for spreading rumours and "splittist" content via text messages, within days of turning services back on, according to local media, reports The Guardian.

quotemarksright.jpgOfficials cut off the internet and short message services across the region after inter-ethnic violence in the capital, Urumqi, left almost 200 dead and 1,700 injured last July. At least 26 people have since been sentenced to death over the riots.

A report from the Xinjiang website Tianshannet, carried on another Chinese website, said one man was in criminal detention after sending messages with "splittist" content.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from MSNBC.

Previously: Text messaging services resume in Xinjiang six months after riot

emily | 9:32 AM | permalink

January 28, 2010

Ireland launches food allergy SMS service

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has set up a text messaging service which will directly inform food allergy sufferers of the presence of allergens in inappropriately labelled foods.

People with allergies or parents of children with allergies can subscribe to receive e-mail and SMS alerts via the authority's website

[The Irish Times via MobileHealth News]

emily | 9:25 AM | permalink

New iMussolini app raises eyebrows in Italy

iMussoliniapp.jpg The iMussolini app for iPhone, containing his biography, a hundred of his speeches with video excerpts is raising eyebrows in Italy.

According to Bloomberg and Apple’s Italian iTunes store, iMussolini was Italy’s second-most downloaded iPhone application on yesterday's Holocaust Memorial Day and has been downloaded more than an Avatar game.

quotemarksright.jpgIt’s a delicate page in our history that should never be forgotten,” Luigi Marino, the 25-year-old creator of the application, told Bloomberg News in an e-mail. “I’m stunned by the success of the application. I’ve had complaints, but also lots of positive feedback asking me to keep updating.”quotesmarksleft.jpg

[@arrêts sur images via Twitter/Gilles Klein]


emily | 8:53 AM | permalink

Apple now allowing iPhone apps to make VoIP calls over 3G networks

According to a press release issued Wednesday by iCall, Apple has revised its software development kit (SDK) to allow VoIP calls over cellular networks. This is a major change from Apple's previous agreement with AT&T which only allowed VoIP communications over a WiFi connection.

[via Apple Insider]

emily | 8:31 AM | permalink

Nokia Research Center unveils mobile radar concept

Nokia Research Center (NRC) Helsinki yesterday unveiled a new research concept at Demo House 2010 research exhibition in Espoo, Finland. Slashphone reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe mobile radar demonstration shows how a mobile device can use an active radar sensor to measure speed and the direction of movement of approaching objects, just as traditional RADAR would. It uses electromagnetic waves to provide a different type of mobile wireless sensing.quotesmarksleft.jpg

More in Nokia Conversations.

emily | 8:27 AM | permalink

Cheaper cellphone calls to drive SMS uptake in 2010

BulkSMSlogo.jpg Pieter Streicher, managing director of, says the possible reduction in mobile call charges will change consumer behaviour and stimulate SMS business communications.

... In a world where information overload is already a challenge, consumer behaviour patterns may shift and expect businesses to contact them less with a phone call and more with an SMS.

One of the changes could be that people are less likely to answer calls, particularly from numbers that are not in their phone book. People may also leave their phones on silent for longer periods. These two factors would result in increasing numbers of voicemail messages.

Recent research by US networks indicated that people are increasingly neglecting their voicemails. In a study conducted for Sprint, results showed that people under the age of 30 are four times more likely to answer an SMS within minutes than respond to a voicemail. Those over 30 were twice as likely to do the same.

... Businesses will need to gear themselves to embrace the opportunity of SMS to remain relevant and in touch with customers. In the future, a call or a voicemail will not make the customer service grade—if a company cannot reach a customer telephonically, they will need to have the ability to send a follow-up SMS.

Interesting excepts from BulkSMS Predictions. This post is a paid editorial ad from BulkSMS, a leading wireless application service provider offering two-way SMS messaging services.

emily | 8:20 AM | permalink

HourFace: A Dorian Grey App for iPhone

HourFaceapp.jpg Dorian Greyish! HourFace iPhone app turns a picture of a face into a 3D face, and make it become older or younger. According to TUAW, it's the top selling app in Japan.

[via boingboing]

emily | 8:13 AM | permalink

Energy-harvesting Rubber Sheets Could Power Mobile Phones

Power-generating rubber films developed by Princeton University engineers could harness natural body movements such as breathing and walking to power pacemakers, mobile phones and other electronic devices.

Way over my head. Read more from Cellular News.

emily | 8:04 AM | permalink

January 27, 2010

Recharging cell phones in Haiti

Image: A man rents mobile phone chargers by the hour in downtown Port-au-Prince.jpeg

A man rents mobile phone chargers by the hour in downtown Port-au-Prince, where twelve days after the earthquake there is no power grid and no landlines.

[via MSNBC]

emily | 9:41 PM | permalink

Photo from death row using a smuggled cell phone

According to, a condemned San Antonio law enforcement killer sent a photo of himself out of Texas' death row two years ago using a smuggled cell phones.

quotemarksright.jpgThe case confirms what prison officials have long suspected, that convicts — even those on death row, which is supposed to be the most secure part of Texas' massive prison system — have had Internet access with smuggled cell phones.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.


-- Another death row inmate caught with cell phone

-- Death Row inmate makes threatening call to Senator

emily | 9:38 PM | permalink

Nigeria. Text Messages fuel killings of hundreds

inigeriamap.jpeg Text messages that urged people to murder and then burn their victims' bodies helped stoke inter-religious violence in central Nigeria that killed hundreds of people last week, police and rights activists said on Tuesday. iAfrica reports.

quotemarksright.jpgRights activists have identified at least 145 texts that circulated on mobile phones in the central city of Jos, the epicentre of four days of Muslim-Christian clashes that authorities said killed 326 people.

"The messages helped escalate the violence in Jos in that some of them instructed people on how to kill, dispose of and burn bodies," said leading rights activist Shehu Sani.

One of the messages read : "War, war, war. Stand up ... and defend yourselves. Kill before they kill you. Slaughter before they slaughter you. Dump them in a pit before they dump you."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:42 AM | permalink

Feds ban texting by truck, bus drivers

A crackdown on texting while driving entered a new phase Tuesday when the federal government banned the practice on handheld devices for bus drivers and commercial truckers. USA Today reports.

quotemarksright.jpg... The new restrictions take effect immediately and apply to interstate truckers and operators of vehicles carrying at least eight passengers. Violators face penalties up to $2,750.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 8:31 AM | permalink

A Closer Look at Haiti Quake Survivor’s Use of Tech

Dan Woolley was all over the news last week as the tech geek who survived the Haiti earthquake with the help of a first-aid iPhone app (now identified, it was the Pocket First Aid & CPR Guide app), his digital SLR and, of course, a lot of luck.

In an interview with, he reveals that he was even more technologically resourceful than initial reports suggested.

quotemarksright.jpgIn addition to consulting the iPhone app First Aid & CPR for advice on treating cuts, Woolley used his digital SLR’s focusing light to help illuminate his surroundings. He snapped photos of the wreckage, using the flash to help him search for refuge.

... While waiting for rescue, Woolley recorded voice memos for his family with his iPhone. And when he was feeling discouraged, he used the iPod app to listen to music.

When the battery meter sank to 20 percent, Woolley shut off the iPhone to save the power. Before he did, he had stored some text messages calling for help, figuring he would have them ready to send in case he could get a miraculous cell connection.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:02 AM | permalink

Obama team sends out text messages about State of the Union Address

Tuesday, the Obama team sent out text messages about State of the Union Address, reports The Examiner.

quotemarksright.jpgThe text messages were sent to urge people to attend watch parties for the State of the Union address on Wednesday night.

The text message list was put together during Obama’s presidential campaign and now the Democratic National Committee has a copy of the list.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 7:54 AM | permalink

January 26, 2010

Texting while behind the wheel

According to Anne Teigen, a transportation specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures, 194 bills concerning various forms of distracted driving, including texting, are being debated in 34 states. [via USA Today]

quotemarksright.jpgTexting while driving is already prohibited in 19 states.

The Department of Transportation says 5,870 people — 16% of all highway fatalities — died in distracted-driving crashes and 515,000 were injured in 2008.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[Image above: States in dark blue ban texting for all drivers. Light blue indicates states weighing legislation to ban texting for all drivers. Gray indicates states with no active legislation. White indicates states with no legislative session scheduled for 2010. ]

emily | 4:04 PM | permalink

70% of Fortune 100 Companies Trying iPhones


quotemarksright.jpgIt appears that early skepticism about the iPhone’s appeal beyond consumers may be falling by the wayside.

Apple COO Tim Cook said corporate usage of the iPhone has doubled since this summer’s 3GS release, noting “This is a key focus of ours.”

Some 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies are actively piloting or deploying iPhones, and 50 percent of the FTSE 100, according to Cook, who added, “Those are some pretty staggering numbers when you think that the time frame we’ve been in the business is only two and half years.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via GigaOM]

emily | 3:46 PM | permalink

January 24, 2010

Ending Slavery one SMS at a Time

January 2010 is National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month. On, in a FrontlineSMS guest post, Aashika Damodar – Founder of Survivors Connect – gives some background and context on the challenges of fighting human trafficking, and talks about the impact FrontlineSMS has had on their anti-trafficking efforts.


emily | 8:27 PM | permalink

Clickatell and Ushahidi assist with Support for Haiti

ushahidimapping.jpg As the world rallies around Haiti in crisis, it is paramount that recovery initiatives are expedited; and SMS alerts are being used as the communications platform of choice to co-ordinate initiatives, share information, organise processes, and gather and disburse significant information.

Clickatell customer Ushahidi, a citizen-reporting platform, is working with a number of organisations in Haiti and around the world, including the US Department of State, United Nations, Frontline SMS, International Network of Crisis Mappers, mobile carriers, Red Cross, EIS and InSTEDD among others.

The system tracks data gathered from people on the ground while teams of specialists work to ensure that incoming information is accurate and filtered appropriately so decisive action can be taken.

An SMS shortcode, 4636, has been introduced to speed the process; this SMS alerts service is only available in Haiti and is free of charge; people can use it to report developments as they happen to aid relief efforts.

Thanks to the ubiquity and availability of SMS — even with damaged infrastructure — people are able to stay in contact to communicate to volunteers, convey information about the location of food and medical supplies, and SMS alert those looking for missing persons when information has been discovered, all helping to restore a country that has resorted to violence as people fight for survival.

Full press release


-- Cell phones and radios help save lives after Haiti earthquake

-- Texts, Tweets Saving Haitians From the Rubble

-- Haiti. Ushahidi offers SMS too help people find each other

-- Crisis mapping brings online tool to Haitian disaster relief effort

emily | 6:52 PM | permalink

Dutch Commercial to Help Haiti by text messaging

Spotted on Adverblog, a very simple commercial from Amsterdam, to support donations via SMS for Haiti.

emily | 6:40 PM | permalink

India. SMS To Promote Birth Registration

Mother and newborn in India.jpeg According to Indian Express, new parents of Uttar Pradesh, the fifth largest state of India, have a poor record of registering the birth of their child birth before the child turns three.

quotemarksright.jpgSo Delhi-based NGO Churches Auxilary for Social Action and UP-based NGO Vatsalya have together launched an SMS campaign to spread awareness on birth registration across the state.

The SMS campaign, which is a part of the “Promote Birth Registration” campaign, will conclude in March and will see a series of three text messages to create awareness about the need of birth registration. The recipients will be selected from the database prepared by the NGOs.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Image from Brook Elliott-Buettner. A woman and her newborn in India. Image care of the Swedish International Development Agency.

emily | 11:12 AM | permalink

January 23, 2010

Individual sends $10 Haiti SMS donation using live phones in AT&T store

According to PhoneArena, an individual made a gesture to help Haiti by texting HAITI to 90999 and donating $10 not from his own phone, but one of the demo phones in a carrier store.

emily | 10:47 AM | permalink

January 22, 2010

The Coffeephone


Spotted on Trendhunter, The Coffeephone. By Anddreas M. Wiese.

emily | 2:14 PM | permalink

Texts, Tweets Saving Haitians From the Rubble

100119-G-0450H-450 - Navy personnel transport injured Haitian.jpeg Wired on how relief workers in and volunteers are using social networking tools to aid relief efforts in Haiti, suggesting that something new and unprecedented is happening in humanitarian response.

quotemarksright.jpgRelief workers in Haiti received an emergency text message Tuesday about a collapsed school, with children still alive in the rubble. A search-and-rescue team on the scene, however, couldn’t find the right location.

Then a group of volunteers in Boston pinpointed the origin of the message, sent using the 4636 SMS shortcode. They rapidly relayed the information back to Erik Rasmussen, a former top naval medical officer working with rescue teams in Haiti.

A team was then dispatched to the correct grid location. The coordinates were accurate to five decimal places.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.


-- Woman trapped under Haiti rubble sends SMS

-- Haiti. Ushahidi offers SMS too help people find each other

emily | 8:33 AM | permalink

January 21, 2010

Nokia offering free turn-by-turn navigation on smartphones globally

Nokia will offer free navigation on its smartphones that give turn-by-turn directions in 74 countries in 46 languages. You can download it here.

[via engadget]

emily | 10:28 AM | permalink

Egypt's mufti says Koran ringtones inappropriate

6a00d8341c630a53ef012875ffe220970c.jpeg Using Koranic verses and the call to prayer as mobile phone ringtones is inappropriate and violates the sanctity of the word of God, Egypt's highest religious legal authority, Mufti Ali Gomaa, said on Wednesday.

[via Reuters]


-- India. Fatwa Issued Answering Cell Phone during Aayat - A Muslim organization has issued a fatwa over using verses from the Koran as ringtones, saying that answering the call while the aayat (verses from the Koran) is going on is a sin.

-- Saudi Arabia. A Fatwa Against Ringtones - An imam at a Mosque in Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa against mobile phones after one rang during prayers on Saturday, playing Arabic pop music.

emily | 10:20 AM | permalink

Lost and found: a lorikeet that imitates ringtones

Staff have found the lorikeet is a great mimic, performing at least three mobile phone ringtones.jpeg A red-collared lorikeet found in Brisbane and brought in to the RSPCA shelter turns out to be a wonderful mimic, performing at least three different ringtones. You can listen here.



-- Birds Mimic Ringtones - Birds have learnt to imitate the ring tones of the omnipresent mobile phones, say German ornithologists, backing up a Danish gentleman's similar claim a few years ago (in 2001, the sparrows in his garden were chirping the Nokia classic tone).

-- Mockingbird Sings Ringtones - Combining tunes from other birds along with the disparate notes from doorbells and cell phones, the mockingbird can render up to 200 unique harmonies. It can also mimic the songs of 36 different songbirds.

emily | 8:44 AM | permalink

Tetris iPhone app downloaded 100 million times

textris.jpg According to USA Today, the Tetris iPhone app has been downloaded 100 million times.

quotemarksright.jpgThe game, created by Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, is the most ported game, according to The Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, with more than 55 different platforms.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 8:15 AM | permalink

iPhone first aid app helped U.S. man survive Haiti quake

An American filmmaker trapped under rubble in last week's Haiti earthquake credits an iPhone app with helping him survive. reports.

quotemarksright.jpgStuck for 65 hours in the lobby of his Port-au-Prince hotel, Dan Woolley turned to an iPhone first-aid app he'd downloaded to look up treatment of excessive bleeding and compound fracture. He then used his shirt to make a tourniquet for a gash in his leg and a sock to stanch the bleeding from his head wound.

According to an MSNBC story on Woolley's ordeal, the app also instructed him not to fall asleep if he felt he was going into shock, so he set his phone's alarm to go off every 20 minutes.quotesmarksleft.jpg doesn't know yet which first-aid app Wooley used in Haiti, but they will update their post as soon as they find out.

emily | 8:01 AM | permalink

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