Archives for May 2010

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May 31, 2010

"Cell phones killing off bees" in the news again

honey_bee.jpeg Cell-phones-are-killing-off-bees is in the news again, as researchers at Punjab University are saying radiation from cell phones is probably responsible for their decline. The technology is interfering with bee navigational senses and tampering with inner-hive life.

The same issue came up a few years ago and the scientists who then claimed bees were being rerouted because of cell phone radiation, said they had been misinterpreted and that "the study actually looked at DECT phones and base stations, which transmit a "different frequency than mobiles."

Related articles:

-- Disappearing bees may not be linked to cell phones - but a virus (2007)

-- Are mobile phones wiping out our bees (2007)

Image from Impact Lab

emily | 5:56 PM | permalink

The EyePhone

eye_x220.jpeg Spotted on MIT's Technology Review, The EyePhone, developed at Dartmouth College, which tracks a person’s eye relative to a phone’s screen, letting users activate applications by blinking.

quotemarksright.jpg EyePhone runs on a Nokia 810 smart phone. The program tracks the position of an eye relative to the screen (rather than where a person is looking). A user must move the phone slightly so the icon is directly in front of her eye and then select an application by blinking.

The program places an "error box" virtually around an eye, and can recognize the eye as long as it doesn't move outside of this box. The phone app divides the camera frame into nine regions and looks for the eye in one of these regions. While the eye tracking approach is rudimentary, the researchers hope to develop more sophisticated methods soon.

The system is at least 76 percent accurate in daylight and while the user is standing still and 60 percent accurate when a person is walking, says Dartmouth professor Andrew Campbell.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 5:45 PM | permalink

May 30, 2010

Non-Profit Uses Foursquare to Raise Environmental Awareness


Spotted on Mashable, a poster that takes a critical look at the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

quotemarksright.jpg That particular poster — as seen above — reads, “Use your cell phone to drill the oil industry.” For each Earthjustice ad checkin, a company donor with donate $10 to the cause in question — in this case, “unsafe oil drilling.”

The effort is specifically targeted at younger audiences who don’t typically respond to messages in advertisements. The hope is that by combining a compelling and relevant message with the Foursquare checkin donation, the younger demographic will be inspired to take an active interest in environmental causes.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 4:37 PM | permalink

Smokescreen makes Flash content visible on iPhone and iPad

engadget shows a preview release of Chris Smoak's Smokescreen, enabling Flash content to play on Apple's iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad.

Apparently it's slow, but still, it's a start.

Click here to read more and watch demo video.

emily | 4:30 PM | permalink

Text messages save pregnant Rwandan women

101.jpeg Rwanda's new Rapid SMS service, a joint initiative between three U.N. organizations -- is being tested in the Musanze District where 432 health workers have received mobile phones. Reuters reports.

quotemarksright.jpg Health workers register pregnant women in their village via free SMS text messages and send regular updates to a central server in the capital, Kigali. They are monitored during the pregnancy, and those at high risk brought in for check-ups.

... John Kalach, director of the nearest hospital in Ruhengeri, says since Rapid SMS launched in August 2009, his hospital has had no maternal deaths, compared to 10 the previous year.

"We used to get ladies coming here with serious complications just because they delayed the decision because the journey was very long," he says.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from Rise Rwanda

emily | 9:44 AM | permalink

Georgia State pilots texting program

Georgia State University wants students to text in class. AJC reports.

quotemarksright.jpg While many professors find texting distracting and even confiscate students' phones, some business professors at Georgia State are incorporating text messages into the way they teach and students learn.

Professor David McDonald created the Text Question System to allow students to send questions about a professor's lessons directly from their cellphones during class. The questions scroll across the bottom of the classroom's overhead screen, similar to the news ticker in Times Square.

The questions appear anonymously, eliminating any anxiety that shy or international students may have about raising their hands in large lectures or fears that students may be viewed as stupid because of what they ask, said McDonald, director of emerging technologies in the Robinson College of Business. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.


-- Teaching by Texting

-- Mobile phones boost school standards

-- Phone a friend during exams

emily | 9:29 AM | permalink

One on One: Brian Lam of

Brian Lam, editor of Gizmodo.jpeg

In an interview with The New York Times, the technology blog's editorial director discusses his boxing gym background, "spy shots" of gadgets, and the iPhone 4G story.

emily | 9:20 AM | permalink

May 27, 2010

First Man infected with computer virus

In the future, we could all become walking computer viruses, according to Reading scientist Mark Gasson. Gasson is supposedly the first human being to be infected with a computer virus.

[The BBC via boingboing]

emily | 9:00 AM | permalink

Apple now bigger than Microsoft (again)

Apple apps plus Steve Jobs.jpeg The latest share price changes have pushed the total value of Apple past its rival Microsoft for the first time since 1989. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpg Apple has to look back to late 1989 to see the last time it was ahead of Microsoft.

Microsoft, whose operating system runs on more than 90% of the world's personal computers, has not been able to match growth rates from its hey-day of the 1990s, although its last sales figures were still higher than Apple's. quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 8:55 AM | permalink

FCC says consumers are 'bill shocked'

According to an FCC survey, one in six customers have been shocked by unexpected cell phone charges. [via]

quotemarksright.jpg The agency conducted a survey of roughly 3,000 Americans and found that about 30 million Americans, or one in six mobile users, have experienced a sudden increase in their monthly bill that is not caused by a change in service plan.

The survey indicated that 84 percent of respondents said their mobile carrier did not contact them when they were about to exceed their allowed minutes, text messages, or data downloads. And about 88 percent said their carrier did not contact them after their bill suddenly increased.quotesmarksleft.jpg

FCC Survey Confirms Consumers Experience Mobile Bill Shock and Confusion About Early Termination Fees. (Word or pdf)

emily | 8:51 AM | permalink

New proposal would require identification to buy prepaid cellphones

TheWire32.jpeg A bipartisan pair of Senate leaders have introduced a first-of-its-kind bill aimed at stopping terrorist suspects such as the would-be Times Square bomber from hiding their identities by using prepaid cellphones to plot their attack. The Washington Post reports.

quotemarksright.jpg The legislation sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) would require buyers to present identification when purchasing a prepaid cellphone and require phone companies to keep the information on file, as they do with users of landline phones and subscription-based cellphones. The proposal would require the carriers to retain the data for 18 months after the phone's deactivation.

"This proposal is overdue because for years, terrorists, drug kingpins and gang members have stayed one step ahead of the law by using prepaid phones that are hard to trace," Schumer said.quotesmarksleft.jpg


-- Time Square Bomber Suspect Used a "Burner" Phone

-- Easy to resell, prepaid phones rankle carriers

-- Tourist to Japan not allowed to buy prepard phone cars

-- Thailand to register all prepaid mobile phone cards to prevent bombings

-- China wants mobile phone users to register

-- Malaysia to stop anonymous use of mobiles

-- Singapore plans to regulate pre-paid phone cards to curb terrorism

-- Prepaid Phones Get a Bad Rap From Crime Use in Japan

-- Norway: Police want mobile phone cash cards stopped

-- Swisscom Blocks 130,000 Prepaid Mobile Phone Numbers

-- Switzerland forcing registration of PrePay customers

-- Prepaid phones to be outlawed in Japan

emily | 8:41 AM | permalink

May 26, 2010

MasterCard Is Making It Easier To Pay By Mobile Phone

quotemarksright.jpg MasterCard said today it will let third-party developers tap into its payment systems, so they can be used for online or mobile applications. By opening up its services, the credit card company becomes more competitive in the next generation of platforms, which are the target of more than a dozen or so start-ups that have raised millions of dollars to make paying by cell phone more ubiquitous.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Full article in

emily | 3:06 PM | permalink

Streetmuseum app overlays historic images on today's streets

Strolling Through 19th Century London Today.jpeg

StreetMuseum– an iPhone app from the Museum of London – overlays four hundred years of historic images on today's city streets, thanks to augmented reality.

quotemarksright.jpg StreetMuseum makes creative use of Google Maps and geo-tagging to show users how London used to look. You can use it to check out pictures and info about nearby historic locations, which is has more of a straightforward walking tour feel. But the fun starts when you're actually standing in front of a location in the database.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full articles. More pictures.

emily | 2:54 PM | permalink

Children 'more likely to own a mobile phone than a book'


Children as young as seven are more likely to own a mobile phone than a book, figures show, fuelling fears over a decline in reading, reports The Telegraph.

quotemarksright.jpg ... As part of the latest study, the National Literacy Trust surveyed more than 17,000 schoolchildren aged seven to 16.

It found that 85.5 per cent of pupils had their own mobile phone, compared with 72.6 per cent who had their own books. Among children in Key Stage 2 – aged seven to 11 – 79.1 per cent had a mobile compared with 72.7 per cent who had access to books.

The findings come amid continuing concerns over the effect of modern technology on young people.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Link to National Literacy Trust study.

emily | 2:39 PM | permalink

Twitter Emerging as Online Video Power Broker

According to Mashable, stats by video measurement company TubeMogul show that Twitter is quickly growing as a top referrer for web video traffic, far outpacing Facebook, Yahoo, Google and Bing.

emily | 2:33 PM | permalink

May 25, 2010

Mobile phone number suspended after three users die in 10 years


quotemarksright.jpg A mobile phone company has suspended the number 0888 888 888 – after every single person assigned to it died in the last 10 years. One died of cancer reportedly from a radioactive poisoning of his cell phone, two were gunned down and one was shot. quotesmarksleft.jpg

[The Telegraph via The Huffington Post]

Related, sort of: What brings ill omen to some is considered good luck to others:

-- Phone number, 8888 8888, fetched $280,000 at a special telecom auction in China

-- Mobile phone numbers as status symbols

Image above from Dreamstime.

emily | 10:19 PM | permalink

Google reveals AdSense Revenue Share

Wow. For the first time, Google is revealing in a blog post their revenue shares for AdSense for content and AdSense for search.

quotemarksright.jpg Today, in the spirit of greater transparency with AdSense publishers, we’re sharing the revenue shares for our two main AdSense products — AdSense for content and AdSense for search.

-- AdSense for content publishers, who make up the vast majority of our AdSense publishers, earn a 68% revenue share worldwide.

-- AdSense for search earns a 51% revenue share, worldwide, for the search ads that appear through their implementations.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read on.

emily | 9:38 PM | permalink

Holiday Inn to test smartphone as hotel-room key

imgres.jpeg Two Holiday Inns will begin testing new technology that will allow guests use their smartphones to unlock their hotel-room door, reports USA Today.

quotemarksright.jpg Guest will go register on a special website so they can receive confirmation emails. To join IHG's trial, participants will first need to download an Open Ways app on to their phone. Guests ultimately will call up the confirmation email on their smartphone and hold it up to a sensor on the door to unlock it.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:26 PM | permalink

Wives more likely than husbands to monitor e-mails, text messages when they suspect cheating

It turns out wives are far more likely than their husbands to read their spouse's emails and texts when they suspect the other of cheating. The New York Daily News reports.

quotemarksright.jpg According to London's Sunday Times, a study of 920 middle aged couples found that 14 per cent of wives checked their husbands' emails, 13 per cent snooped in their significant others' text messages and 10 per cent checked their spouses' browser histories.

As for the men, only eight per cent read their wives' emails, six per cent their text messages and seven per cent their browser histories.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:05 AM | permalink

Apple says no to iPhone apps as political attack ads

AriDavid.jpg An interesting read, the opinion piece in the LA Times on the Apple store's rejection of Malibu Republican congressional candidate Ari David's iPhone app.

From Ari David's blog:

quotemarksright.jpg A few weeks ago I hired a company to create an I Phone Application for my congressional campaign. My designers told me when we started that Apple would take about two weeks to approve the app after they finished the design and coding. They submitted the app and then we waited and waited and waited. Recently the designers contacted Apple to find out what was taking so long. A couple days ago Apple responded and told us that they were rejecting the submission and told us that they were doing so on the grounds that content in the app is defamatory of my opponent, incumbent Henry Waxman.quotesmarksleft.jpg

And yesterday David attacked Apple in another blog post , noting that the company had approved applications that display "irrational quotes from the Bible" and provide a multimedia biography of Che Guevara but blocked one that offered controversial excerpts from the Koran.

Read full article.

emily | 8:52 AM | permalink

iTee: T-shirt for iPad


After pants for iPad, here comes T-shirt for iPad.

[via Techeblog]

emily | 8:31 AM | permalink

"Talking Art" Interactive Installation


If a work of art could talk, what would it say? Right now visitors at the Göteborg Museum of Art are encouraged to give voice to selected works of art in the interactive installing "Talking Art".

Upon entering the museum, the visitor downloads an application on his mobile phone. The phone then acts as a tour guide to the works, giving background information. At given intervals, the visitor is asked to interpret a work of art by sending a text from his cell phone to a physical sign equipped with a LED display.

The "Talking Art" exhibition consists of three themes that are running in series; "Power & Beauty", "Love & Horror" and "Art History 2."

The participants answers and commentaries are saved in a database, and there are plans to create a exhibition summarizing them after "Talking Art" is concluded.

The exhibition opened in January, runs through the summer.

[via and e-mail press release.]

emily | 8:01 AM | permalink

TCoder allows journalists to easily log press conferences

TCoderiPhoneApp.jpgTCoder is an iPhone app that allows TV and radio journalists to easily log press conferences, speeches, etc. using their iPhone or iPod Touch.

TCoder enables journalists to take notes during press conferences, presentations, speeches, etc. perfectly synchronized with the time code of their recorder, miniDisc or TV camera.

No need to pay constant attention to the counter of your recorder, or constantly asking to the camera operator: as long as you have TCoder with you, your notes will automatically include the right time code.


emily | 7:50 AM | permalink

Mobile phone helps reshape Indian politics and the poor

cell_phone_india.jpeg The number of mobile subscribers has surged from just 1.2 million in 1999 to almost 600 million. About 20 million new subscribers are being added every month, making India the world's fastest growing phone market. The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

quotemarksright.jpg In 1987 there were only 0.3 phones for every 100 Indians, now there are 51.

Analysts say mobile phones have affected every strata of Indian society like few tools ever have. Advertisers have portrayed the mobile phone as a household essential for the poor - alongside shelter, food and clothing.

Because mobiles do not require literacy they have become a powerful tool for poor, self-employed people such as small traders, farmers, fishermen and rickshaw drivers to get information that helps save time and boost earnings.

Studies have shown how mobiles have helped poor Indian farmers to avert losses and improve yields. With buyers just a phone call away, they can adjust their production to suit demand; easily accessible weather forecasts help with crop planning.

It's likely mobiles have also influenced electoral politics.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:42 AM | permalink

Mental Health Apps: Like A 'Therapist In Your Pocket'

A %22mood map%22 on a mobile device lets a user record his or her anxiety level.jpeg As the computing power of cell phones increases, more and more sophisticated mobile apps are being developed for the mental health field. NPR reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThey're seen as a way to bridge periodic therapy sessions — a sort of 24-7 mobile therapist that can help with everything from quitting smoking to treating anxiety to detecting relapses in psychotic disorders.

These mobile technologies let users track their moods and experiences, providing a supplemental tool for psychiatrists and psychologists.

"It gives me an additional source of rich information of what the patient's life is like between sessions," says University of Pennsylvania researcher Dimitri Perivoliotis, who treats patients with schizophrenia. "It's almost like an electronic therapist, in a way, or a therapist in your pocket."

Here's how one of the apps, called "Mobile Therapy," works: Throughout the day at random times, a "mood map" pops up on a user's cell phone screen. "People drag a little red dot around that screen with their finger to indicate their current mood," says Dr. Margaret Morris, a clinical psychologist working at Intel Corp. and the app's designer. Users also can chart their energy levels, sleep patterns, activities, foods eaten and more, she says.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: Mobile Therapy: Case Study Evaluations of a Cell Phone Application for Emotional Self-Awareness

emily | 7:30 AM | permalink

May 23, 2010

How Tetris conquered the world

Tetris.jpeg The Telegraph on Tetris, one of the most enduringly popular games of all time, selling millions of copies and famed for its addictive qualities.

quotemarksright.jpg Tetris' ability to transcend cultures, decades and consoles belies its humble Soviet roots – the game was originally created at the height of the Cold War by the prestigious Academy of Science in the old USSR.

It's been around for 15 years and is the biggest selling mobile game of all time, but our love affair with Tetris shows no signs of abating. The puzzle game, which first rose to prominence on Nintendo's Gameboy platform in the late 1980s, has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, and has been downloaded more than 100 million times on to mobile devices since 1995.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:28 AM | permalink

YouTube Preview of New CBS Twitter Sitcom


CBS has released a preview of their new Fall show $#*! My Dad Says staring William Shatner that is based on the popular Twitter account @shitmydadsays.

It's viewable here for Americans. Geo-blocked for the rest of the world.

[via LaughingSquid]

Previously: - Twitter gets a sticom on CBS

emily | 9:48 AM | permalink

Bangladesh's bicycle riding InfoLadies

Two-wheel triumph.jpeg

Armed with a GSM phone, a netbook, a blood pressure monitor and pregnancy kit, medical supplies and a bicycle, Bangladesh's InfoLadies are giving millions of poor people access to crucial information on their doorsteps that will improve their chances in life. The Guardian reports.

quotemarksright.jpg "An InfoLady's netbook is loaded with content especially compiled and translated in local Bangla language," says Mohammed Forhad Uddin of D.Net, a not-for-profit research organisation that is pioneering access to livelihood information. "It provides answers and solutions to some of the most common problems faced by people in villages."

In Bangladesh this means nearly three-quarters of the nearly 160 million that live in rural areas. From agriculture to health, sanitation and disaster management, the content follows simple text, pictures and engaging multimedia animations to include all users, many of whom are illiterate.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

[via boingboing]

emily | 9:38 AM | permalink

May 22, 2010

Facebook in Real Life

What would it be like if Facebook happened in real life? Spotted on

But this one is still my favorite. From

emily | 10:11 PM | permalink

Bugnets Could Spy on You via Mobile Devices

196856-xxx_andypotts1_original.jpeg Recent research from two universities suggests that remote-eavesdropping scenario may soon be possible. PC World reports.

quotemarksright.jpg Imagine sitting in a café and discussing the details of a business proposal with a potential client. Neither you nor the client has a laptop; you're just two people having a conversation. But unbeknownst to you, someone half a world away is listening to every word you say. Later, as you leave, you receive a text message referring to the proposal and demanding money in exchange for silence.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:18 AM | permalink

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