Archives for March 2010

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March 31, 2010

Starbucks Now Accepting iPhone Payments In Over US 1,000 Stores

StarbucksCardMobile.jpg Back in September of last year, Starbucks made it possible in a handful of locations, to pay for your daily caffeine hit with their Starbucks Card Mobile iPhone app.

quotemarksright.jpgIt works by displaying a QR code, which the hot little barista behind the counter can scan and then bill you for.

Now, according to MobileCrunch, Starbucks has just announced that they’re now taking iPhone app payments in over 1,000 Target stores nationwide.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via Gizmodo]

emily | 10:54 AM | permalink

Hospital ER uses text messages for wait time

Another good way to use SMS by a California hospital who is using text messaging to minimize waiting time. WMBF News

quotemarksright.jpgRiverside Community Hospital has been using what it calls the "Know Before You Go" text system. Patients send a text to the system and it responds with an estimated wait time.

Hospital administrators say the system not only cuts a person's wait time once they arrive at the ER, it also helps the hospital design ways to become more efficient.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 8:48 AM | permalink

March 30, 2010

Only rare "supertaskers" can balance driving, cellphone use

cell_phone_drive_eat_ars.jpeg

quotemarksright.jpgA study that simulated driving with cellphone use has found that a tiny fraction of the populace can handily "supertask" and complete both tasks without impairment. The authors of the study would like to assure you that you're probably not one of them, so put your smartphone down if you're reading this from behind the wheel.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article in arstechnica.

emily | 8:39 AM | permalink

Maine Rejects Radiation Warning Labels on Cell Phones

A Maine lawmaker's bid to label cell phones with cancer warnings has failed. PC Mag reports.

quotemarksright.jpgBack in December, Rep. Andrea Boland, a Democrat, announced that she was prepping a bill that would require cell phones makers to label their phones as potential brain cancer risks.

The bill, L.D. 1706, was introduced in January and called the "Children's Wireless Protection Act."

It called on any retailers who sold cell phones in the state of Maine to affix a label to the phones that would have read: "Warning, this device emits electromagnetic radiation, exposure to which may cause brain cancer. Users, especially children and pregnant women, should keep this device away from the head and body."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related:

-- Maine Lawmakers Mull Cell Phone Cancer Warning

-- Main to legislate over cancer warnings on cell phones

emily | 7:55 AM | permalink

Google says mobile service in China partially blocked

google_china_logo.jpeg According to The Financial Post, Google Inc., after shutting its Internet search engine in China last week, said its mobile services in the country are being partially blocked.

quotemarksright.jpgThe services delivered to wireless phones were operating normally until becoming partly shut down Sunday, Google said on its Web site that tracks service availability in mainland China.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:50 AM | permalink

March 29, 2010

BBC iPhone applications postponed

quotemarksright.jpgThe BBC's plan to launch iPhone apps for its news and sport content have been put on hold by its governing body.

The free applications were due to be released in April but have met with criticism from groups who say they will skew the market for news apps.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article in the BBC.

Previously:

-- Newspaper group call to block BBC iPhone apps

-- BBC to offer iPhone apps for news and sport

emily | 6:14 PM | permalink

Text Message Alert when Diaper (for elderly) is Wet

Simavita's electronic underpants TXT you when they're wet.jpeg

Sometimes the elderly just can't speak up for themselves and when their diapers are wet, the nursing staff may not know about it.

In comes Australian company Simavita which has developed a replaceable pad with electronic leads that detect moisture and alerts the nursing staff by text message.

Their news system is being deployed at nursing homes following successful clinical trials.

[via engadget]

emily | 1:40 PM | permalink

Calorie counting apps can fuel anorexia

ABCNews reports that calorie counting phone applications are encouraging eating disorders like anorexia.

quotemarksright.jpgLara Pence, a clinical psychologist and clinical supervisor at the Renfrew Center, an eating disorder treatment center in Dallas, is seeing increased use, and abuse of these applications.

"I think that it's tying into the eating disorder mentality of making sure that you know everything that's going into your body, having those obsessive thoughts of calorie counting, keeping track of your weight, keeping track of what goes in and what goes out through exercise," Pence said.quotesmarksleft.jpg


emily | 8:13 AM | permalink

App Store to get parental control rating system?

app_store.jpeg According to iPhone FAQ, Apple is adapting its parental control system for music to the App Store.

quotemarksright.jpgThis would open the gates for adult subject matter in digital magazines, games and other content. Parental controls would screen content based on their age rating and whether or not an item is flagged explicit.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: - Apple launching an "adult" iPhone app store?

emily | 7:50 AM | permalink

March 28, 2010

3,800 tickets issued on a single day to NY City drivers using their cell phones behind the wheel

Some 3,800 Big Apple motorists were nailed yesterday for using their cellphones while driving in an NYPD crackdown.

[via The New York Post]

emily | 6:07 PM | permalink

Cellphone User Sues Movie Theater After Arm Rest Hits Her Head

In America you can really sue anyone about anything. The Consumerist has a story on a lawsuit filed by a woman who's head rest fell on her head while she was "hunched over chatting on her cellphone "discreetly".

quotemarksright.jpgIt apparently did give her quite a bump on the head because she was taken by ambulance from the theater to a nearby hospital, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The lawsuit claims the theater was negligent because it did not properly maintain the armrests.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via phoneArena]

emily | 9:12 AM | permalink

March 27, 2010

Fighting the Taliban, one text message at a time

taliban1.jpg More on the US government's investment in new communication technologies to fight extremism in Afghanistan. By CNN/Afghanistan Crossroads.

quotemarksright.jpgIn Afghanistan, Vikram Singh, a senior communications advisor to Richard Holbrooke, said there is a direct link between communications infrastructure and development.

As cell phones spring up in various areas that either didn't have them before or where they were destroyed by the Taliban, he said, commerce has increased and people are using mobile phone messaging to move around the country and spread information about the movement of the insurgents. Currently, between 10 million and 12 million afghans have cell phones, he said.

"Farmers are using cell phones to see what prices are in the market before making the trip into town. People are building confidence with local security forces. Cell phones really do transform areas.

The United States has also created a mobile banking project to pay Afghan police via cell phones. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related:

-- Cell Carriers Bow to Taliban Threat

-- Mobile Phones combat Taliban's Afghans "Information Wastelands"

-- Radio, cell phones to help US in Afghanistan?

-- Once media-shy Taliban go hi-tech in propaganda war

-- British Intelligence bomb Taliban with SMS in psychological warfare

More on the Taliban and cell phones

emily | 12:55 AM | permalink

March 26, 2010

Chinese mobile firm drops Google

China Unicom is to stop using Google search on Android handsets. Instead of using Google search, handset makers will be able to decide which search service to use on phones that run Google's mobile operating system.

[via the BBC]

emily | 9:41 AM | permalink

March 25, 2010

The Air Force’s BlackBerry Crackdown

091011-N-9950J-324.jpeg Last week, the Air Force introduced sweeping changes to boost BlackBerry security. Wired reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAmong other things, the service will disable most Bluetooth functionality: The only Bluetooth feature that will continue to work will be the smart card reader cradle, a device that holds the user’s Common Access Card.

The new measures also mean users will not be able to receive text messages with attached photos or videos.

Devices will have their software automatically updated: Users will get only have one chance to decline updating their software while syncing, and any subsequent attempts to sync will disable the BlackBerry until it is updated.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related, sort of:

-- Air Force enforces new (cell phone) dress code

-- Air Force female personnel can not carry a cell phone in the right hand

emily | 5:01 PM | permalink

U.S. Is Leading In Mobile

Interesting, from mocoNews.net:

quotemarksright.jpgAsk anyone who has been in the wireless industry for several years and they will tell you that the U.S. has been trailing behind Europe and Asia in terms of adopting the latest technologies and consumption.

But at this year’s CTIA, speakers have been clear to dispute that image, and in fact, are saying the U.S. is leading the way by any measure.

... The U.S. adoption of 3G services is unprecedented. The U.S. has 33 percent of the world’s advanced 3G customers (despite only having 7 percent of the world’s wireless subscribers).quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:25 AM | permalink

Mobile Data Traffic Surpasses Voice

According to Ericsson estimates, mobile data surpassed voice on a global basis during December of 2009. This finding is based on Ericsson measurements from live networks covering all regions of the world.

[via Cellular News]

emily | 9:20 AM | permalink

Verizon To Launch Own App Store

verizon-logo.jpeg Verizon is set to launch its own mobile app store called V Cast Store March 29th.

According to a i4U, Verizon has teamed with Vodafone to create the digital marketplace, where users will be able to pay for all their apps through their cell phone bill.

emily | 8:35 AM | permalink

Obama Twitter account 'hacked by Frenchman'

A Frenchman who police say hacked Twitter accounts belonging to US President Barack Obama and celebrities could face jail. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe unemployed 25-year-old was arrested on Tuesday after an operation lasting several months, conducted by French police with agents from the FBI.

The 25-year-old is said to have hacked into the micro-blogging website, by simply guessing users' passwords.

The suspect reportedly targeted other celebrities, including Britney Spears.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article

emily | 8:20 AM | permalink

1.5 trillion text messages were sent in 2009

jennytexting.jpeg According to the CTIA's semi-annual Wireless Industry Survey, there were nearly 5 billion text messages sent over wireless networks per day, totaling up to over 1.5 trillion text messages during the entire year.

According to the survey, text messaging continues to be enormously popular, with more than 822 billion text messages sent and received on carriers’ networks during the last half of 2009—amounting to almost 5 billion messages per day at the end of the year.

During the 2009 calendar year, there were more than 1.5 trillion text messages reported on carriers’ networks.

[via MobileBurn and CTIA press release]

emily | 8:08 AM | permalink

March 24, 2010

Telecom companies seek to make Haiti a mobile nation

The earthquake that devastated Haiti also destroyed the nation's feeble network for phones and Internet service. Except for cellphones, the population was largely cut off from communication.

But out of the rubble, one U.S. wireless industry pioneer sees opportunity, reports The Washington Post.

quotemarksright.jpgJohn Stanton, founder of Voice Stream and former chief executive of T-Mobile USA, wants the Haitian government to forget about rebuilding its copper wire communications network. Instead, he thinks Haiti should go mobile.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 6:44 PM | permalink

Egypt Says No More Mobile Skype Calls

skype_logo_online.png Egypt is banning Skype because it can't track and/or that the state-owned telco can't make money off of.

quotemarksright.jpgThe ban is on Skype on mobile internet, not on fixed, and this is due to the fact it is against the law since it bypasses the legal gateway," said Amr Badawy, the executive president of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA)quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via Techdirt]

emily | 9:22 AM | permalink

Hello! Your Psychiatrist Will Skype You Now

Telepsychiatry is a growing trend in mental health, reports TIME, quoting Dr. Kathleen Myers, who treats a teenage age patient up close and personal despite the 75 miles between them.

quotemarksright.jpgAs director of the telemental health service at Children's Hospital, she points to one of the benefits of a videoconference: unlike a phone call, it allows doctors to observe a patient's facial expressions and body language. "You can talk back and forth in real time — it's off by a millisecond — so you get immediate reactions.

... So far, anecdotal evidence indicates that virtual psychiatry visits work just fine for children and adolescents. Perhaps it's a sign of the times, an era in which teens feel more comfortable in front of a camera than they do face to face.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: - Phone Chats During Therapy

emily | 9:21 AM | permalink

Apple Allows Users to Give the Gift of Apps

Gifthisapp.jpg The app store has launched a new feature allowing users to buy apps as a gift.

Simply click on “Gift This App” under the price of any app in iTunes.

The feature doesn't seem to be available yet from Switzerland from the apps store on my iPhone, but does work from iTunes online.

[via The New York Times]

emily | 8:28 AM | permalink

Text messaging record set on Samsung phone

Franklin Page, types out text messages via Samsung Electronics’ Omnia II in New York, yesterday. Page, an employee of Swype, set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest text messaging on a touchscreen mobile phone.

quotemarksright.jpgPage typed in a 26-word phrase in 35.54 seconds, beating the previous top speed of 41.4 seconds.

The user texted the Guinness-designated phrase: “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.”

A previous world record set by a user in Singapore typed the same 160-letter, 26-word phrase in 41.4 seconds. quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via JoongAng Daily]

Links to previous fastest texter championships here, here and here.

emily | 8:17 AM | permalink

Cell Carriers Bow to Taliban Threat

afgceldf.jpeg The WSJ on how the Taliban are using the cellphone system as an instrument of war against the Afghan government and the U.S.-led coalition.

quotemarksright.jpg... Nightly blackouts are implemented across southern and eastern Afghanistan are a Taliban decree that aims to prevent villagers from passing tips to coalition forces.

They could easily destroy the network altogether in many districts. But the Taliban, too, depend on cellphones for communication. Plus, they know that shutting down phone service entirely would cause a backlash among ordinary Afghans. Instead, they're dictating the terms on which phone companies work, for propaganda reasons and sometimes for financial benefits as well.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article

Related:

-- Mobile Phones Combat Taliban’s Afghan ‘Information Wastelands’

-- Radio, cell phones to help US in Afghanistan?

-- Once media-shy Taliban go hi-tech in propaganda war

-- British Intelligence bomb Taliban with SMS in psychological warfare

More on the Taliban and cell phones

emily | 8:10 AM | permalink

March 23, 2010

Data from Emergency Rooms: The many ways you can get hurt with your cell phone

ER.jpeg Virginia's Star Exponent has a list of some of the oddball injuries that fill emergency rooms every year based on data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Below are cases involving cell phones (texting/calling while driving notwithstanding):

quotemarksright.jpg-- A 19-year-old male, on the phone while lifting weights, drops a barbell on himself.

-- A 37-year-old male cutting chicken while on the phone slices his hand.

-- An 18-year-old woman who was “looking for a cell phone in a dumpster" at sorority sustained head injury when the lid fell on her.

Hundreds of injuries are blamed on the phone in its capacity as a weapon: They’re used as missiles or as a bludgeon to beat people on the head.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from Sepinwall.

emily | 4:50 PM | permalink

Airport device follows fliers' phones to track wait time

According to USA Today, the Transportation Security Administration is looking at installing devices in airports that home in and detect personal electronic equipment. The aim is to track how long people are stuck in security lines.

quotemarksright.jpgInformation about wait times could then be posted on websites and in airports across the country.

But civil-liberties experts worry that such a system enables the government to track people's whereabouts. "It's serious business when the government begins to get near people's personal-communication devices," said American Civil Liberties Union privacy expert Jay Stanley.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 4:39 PM | permalink

Bus driver's wrong call

Quirky China News.jpeg

Not a good idea to use your cell phone while driving a bus in China either.

[via Ananova]

emily | 9:07 AM | permalink

iPhone stealing game market share from Sony, Nintendo

iPhone_USportableGameShare_2009.png

quotemarksright.jpgAccording to a new report released by Flurry Analytics, Apple is taking share from Sony's PlayStation Portable, and to a smaller level, the Nintendo DS.

According to Flurry's report, Sony fell from 20 percent in 2008 to 11 percent in 2009, and Nintendo fell from 75 percent in 2008 to 70 percent in 2009.

... Flurry calculated that iPhone game revenue was $500 million in 2009 compared with $115 million in 2008.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article in News.com.

emily | 8:56 AM | permalink

Study: Americans Using TV , Internet and Cell Phones Together

blog.nielsen.png Americans increased their overall media usage and media multitasking according to The Nielsen Company’s latest Three Screen Report, which tracks consumption across TV, Internet and mobile phones.

In the last quarter of 2009, simultaneous use of the Internet while watching TV reached three and a half hours a month, up 35% from the previous quarter. Nearly 60% of TV viewers now use the Internet once a month while also watching TV.

[via arstechnica]

emily | 8:46 AM | permalink

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