Archives for January 2010
January 31, 2010
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.
... 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."
January 30, 2010
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.
Officials 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.
January 28, 2010
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 www.fsai.ie.
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.
It’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.”
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]
The 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.
More in Nokia Conversations.
Pieter Streicher, managing director of BulkSMS.com, 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.
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.
January 27, 2010
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.
According to statesman.com, 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.
The 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.
Read full article.
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.
Rights 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.
Read full article.
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.
... 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.
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 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.
Read full article.
Tuesday, the Obama team sent out text messages about State of the Union Address, reports The Examiner.
The text messages were sent to urge people to attend watch parties for the State of the Union address on Wednesday night.
January 26, 2010
Texting while driving is already prohibited in 19 states.
[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. ]
It appears that early skepticism about the iPhone’s appeal beyond consumers may be falling by the wayside.
January 24, 2010
January 2010 is National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month. On Kiwanja.net, 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.
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.
Spotted on Adverblog, a very simple commercial from Amsterdam, to support donations via SMS for Haiti.
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.
So 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.
Image from Brook Elliott-Buettner. A woman and her newborn in India. Image care of the Swedish International Development Agency.
January 23, 2010
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.
January 22, 2010
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.
Relief 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.
Read full article.
January 21, 2010
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.
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.
-- 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.
The Daily Mail reports that a 13 year-old Saudi school girl is to be given 90 lashes in front of her classmates after she was caught with a mobile camera phone and assaulted her teacher when she caught her with the phone.
Read full article.
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.
The 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.
An American filmmaker trapped under rubble in last week's Haiti earthquake credits an iPhone app with helping him survive. News.com reports.
Stuck 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.
News.com doesn't know yet which first-aid app Wooley used in Haiti, but they will update their post as soon as they find out.