Archives for July 2010

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July 31, 2010

EU soon to have uniform cell phone chargers

Starting next year, cell phones will have a one-size-fits-all charger. The uniform model, part of an agreement by at least a dozen cell phone makers, means new phones will no longer comes with chargers, and there will be less electronic waste.

[via Business Week]

emily | 9:44 AM | permalink

Twitter's new feature: Suggesting users you might be interested to follow

Twitter Will Now Suggest People You Might Be Interested In Stalking.jpeg Twitter is now suggesting people you don't currently follow that you may find interesting.

quotemarksright.jpg Today we're beginning to roll out a simple, but powerful new feature to help address that — "Suggestions for You". The algorithms in this feature, built by our user relevance team, suggest people you don't currently follow that you may find interesting. The suggestions are based on several factors, including people you follow and the people they follow. You'll see these suggestions on Twitter.com and the Find People section. If you like a suggestion, click "follow"; if you don't, click "hide," and we'll try not to suggest that user again.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via Gizmodo]

emily | 9:34 AM | permalink

Call to everyone: Check your mobile network security

Black Hat logo, Black Hat.jpeg Mobile phone users are being encouraged to find out if operators are doing enough to keep their calls secret, reports the BBC.

quotemarksright.jpg Security researchers have released tools that, they say, make it easy to see what security systems operators use to stop eavesdropping.

The researchers want to expose those operators that have not updated security systems to prevent others listening in. "We want to enable users to test whether their operator has installed the patch," he said. "If not they should call them up or send a letter." quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:03 AM | permalink

Apple tries to patent travel, hotel, shopping apps

Unwired View has unearthed three patent applications filed on Apple's behalf that cover travel- and shopping-related apps. One for travel booking, one for hotel services, and another for high-end fashion retail.

[via CNet]

emily | 9:00 AM | permalink

I Tweet, Therefore I Am

twitter.jpegA thought provoking piece from The New York Times questioning whether Twitter posts are an expression of who we are — or are they changing who we are?

quotemarksright.jpg ... Back in the 1950s, the sociologist Erving Goffman famously argued that all of life is performance: we act out a role in every interaction, adapting it based on the nature of the relationship or context at hand.

Twitter has extended that metaphor to include aspects of our experience that used to be considered off-set: eating pizza in bed, reading a book in the tub, thinking a thought anywhere, flossing. Effectively, it makes the greasepaint permanent, blurring the lines not only between public and private but also between the authentic and contrived self. If all the world was once a stage, it has now become a reality TV show: we mere players are not just aware of the camera; we mug for it.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 8:55 AM | permalink

Cheaper, Better Satellites Made From Cellphones and Toys

nasa-satellite.jpeg Instead of investing in their own computer research and development, engineers at the NASA Ames Research Center are looking to cellphones and off-the-shelf toys to power the future of low-cost satellite technology. Wired reports.

quotemarksright.jpg The smartphone in your pocket has about 120 times more computing power than the average satellite, which has the equivalent of a 1984-era computer inside.

“You can go to Walmart and buy toys that work better than satellites did 20 years ago,” said NASA physicist Chris Boshuizen.

The biggest challenge of sending cellphones and toys into space is whether the parts can get up there without shaking apart and work in a vacuum at extreme high and low temperatures. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:47 AM | permalink

Nokia spent $150,000 on lobbying in second quarter

From the AP:

quotemarksright.jpg Nokia Inc. spent $150,000 in the second quarter to lobby the U.S. federal government on patents, the use of minerals from rebel-held mines in the Congo and other issues, according to a disclosure report.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: - According to Cellular News, Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the BlackBerry, spent $719,000 in the second quarter to lobby the U.S. government on patent reform and other issues, according to a disclosure report.

emily | 8:39 AM | permalink

July 29, 2010

BT aim to crack down on cable thieves with invisible paint

SmartWater.jpegBT is using an invisible coded paint to crack down on cable thefts throughout the North East and beyond, reports nebusiness.

quotemarksright.jpg The company says that theft of the cable has become a growing problem nationwide, as thieves target the copper within the cables to take advantage of rising scrap copper prices. There was a 9% rise in such incidents last year.

... Bernie Auguste, head of security for BT’s local network business Openreach, said: “Any criminal targeting the BT network in the North East now risks being invisibly ‘tagged’ with SmartWater, meaning that the police can trace them, and any stolen cable or equipment, back to the scene of the crime.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Click here for links to copper cable theft problems around the world.

emily | 10:21 AM | permalink

Mark Zuckerberg gets paparazzi treatment

MZonphone.jpg

Funny piece in Gawker who decided Mark Zuckerberg was fair game for paparazzi treatment, because: "this is the executive who pushed the private information of Facebook's hundreds of millions of users progressively further into the public sphere".

Photographer Nick Stern followed Zuckerberg over a long weekend around Silicon Valley. Hmmm, he seems to spend a fair amount of time on his phone.

[via Gizmodo]

emily | 10:08 AM | permalink

FBI backs record-keeping on prepaid cell phones

FBI Director Robert Mueller has endorsed anti-terrorism legislation that would require prepaid cell-phone sellers to keep records of buyers' identities.

[via Cellular News]

emily | 10:00 AM | permalink

July 28, 2010

Cell phones save lives in Rwandan villages

Rwandapw.jpg CNN reports on a Rwanda government program which gives out hundreds of cell phones in an attempt to save pregnant women and babies.

quotemarksright.jpg Nearly 500 volunteer community health care workers in the rural district of Musanze have been given free phones so they can keep track of all the pregnant women in their villages.

The cell phones are used to register and monitor expecting mothers. If there are any questions, complications or updates, health workers simply send a text to their local clinic and receive a response within minutes.

Rwanda is ranked among the world's worst for maternal mortality. The majority of Rwandan women have their babies at home with untrained midwives. Many die from bleeding or infection, both easily preventable with the right care.

The cell-phone program, or Rapid SMS scheme, was set up in conjunction with various U.N. organizations to bring the number of maternal deaths down.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: - Text Messages Save Pregnant Rwandan Women

emily | 4:07 PM | permalink

Android, iPhone apps accessing sensitive data

Lookout_App_Genome_Project_Infographic_072610_smaller.jpeg

The explosion of mobile apps on Apple iPhone and Google Android has generally been seen as a good thing but opening up our phones to these devices could lead to vulnerabilities and Lookout is trying to raise awareness of potential security threats. IntoMobile reports.

quotemarksright.jpg The company, which makes security and backup software for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, will launch the App Genome Project later this week and this app data set will identify threats and inform customers what type of data apps are accessing.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:55 AM | permalink

Gadget makers forced to investigate war links

Does that smart phone in your pocket contribute to rape and murder in the depths of Africa? Soon, you'll know, writes stuff.

quotemarksright.jpg A new U.S. law requires companies to certify whether their products contain minerals from rebel-controlled mines in Congo and surrounding countries.

It's a move aimed at starving the rebels of funds and encouraging them to lay down their arms.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related articles on the mining of coltan in the Congo and "Blood Tantalum" here and here.

emily | 9:22 AM | permalink

Rape charges dropped after deleted messages recovered from iPhone

gillgrissom.jpg In may be the first time an iPhone's memory has saved someone accused of a serious crime, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Deleted data retrieved by a leading surveillance expert appears to have led to the dropping of five rape charges against a Sydney man.

Interesting:

quotemarksright.jpg ... Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhones since 2007 but few users know how much information they collect. The keyboard logging cache means an expert can retrieve anything typed on it for up to 12 months. Its internal mapping and ''geotags'' attached to photos indicate where a user has been.

An iPhone has up to 32 gigabytes of data that can be ''imaged'' or decoded with the right equipment even if it has been deleted, said Gary Coulthart, a former covert operations policeman and ICAC surveillance expert.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related articles on cell phones and forensic science

emily | 9:01 AM | permalink

July 27, 2010

Defcon hackers target cell phone security

DEFCON 18 Logo.png Attendees at the annual Defcon hacking conference in Las Vegas might be advised to keep their cell phones powered off at the show, where one prominent security researcher says he will demonstrate a way to transparently intercept and eavesdrop on cell phone calls. InfoWorld reports.

quotemarksright.jpg ... Chris Paget of security firm H4RDW4RE, LCC said in a blog post that he would be conducting a "pretty spectacular demonstration of cellphone insecurity at Defcon" - during presentation called The presentation, dubbed "Practical Cellphone Spying," - in which the researcher "will intercept the cellular phone calls of the audience without any action required on their part."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full post

emily | 1:51 PM | permalink

BlackBerry deemed a security threat by UAE

Reuters reports that the United Arab Emirates has declared BlackBerry smartphones a potential threat to national security, saying the devices operate beyond the jurisdiction of national laws and are open to misuse.

quotemarksright.jpg The move raises concerns of another attempt by the government to control the flow of information in the Arab Gulf nation, which actively censors websites and other forms of media seen as harming national security or conservative local values. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related concerns, from around the world:

-- The US Air Force's Blackberry Crackdown

-- Saudi Arabia to regulated Blackberry Messenger for "Security"

-- Belgium ministers requested not to use Blackberry's to exchange confidential information

-- Obama's blackberry brings personal safety risks

emily | 11:54 AM | permalink

SMS slingshot: Digital Text Messages on Urban Facades

SMSlingshot.jpeg Guerilla Innovation on the SMS slingshot, a device designed to create digital augmented realities in urban space.

quotemarksright.jpg The device is shaped as a wooden slingshot with a build-in mobile phone display, a keypad and a laser. Users can type a text message and shoot it straight at a large facade. A projector pointed at the facade will show the message as a colour splash with the message written within.

The project is designed by VR/URBAN, a group of digital intervention-activists based in Berlin. They will demonstrate the device at various media-festival in the next couple of months. Check their website for dates and technical specs. And watch video demo. Fab!quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 10:30 AM | permalink

Now You Can Bump iPhones to Connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

bumpiPhoneApp.jpg Bump, the app that makes it super simple to exchange information with other users by bumping phones, has just released Bump 2.0 for the iPhone.

The app features an updated and refined interface plus the ability to compare calendars, instantly connect on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, and the ability to send messages back and forth without another Bump. Like its predecessor, Bump 2.0 is free.

Read full review in Mashable.

emily | 9:49 AM | permalink

iPhone 4 for sale in Switzerland on Friday

The iPhone 4 will be available in 17 more countries on Friday, July 31st.

The countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

[via Gizmodo]

emily | 9:46 AM | permalink

Citi Discovers Security Flaw in iPhone Application

cityIphoneApp.jpg Citigroup discovered a flaw in its free iPhone citi app that exposed customers' personal information to a secret file on the phone and computer.

The bank urged customers to upgrade to a newer version of the software, which it says will correct the problem.

[via Bits]

emily | 9:42 AM | permalink

How I became a Foursquare cyberstalker

A fascinating read and insightful story in The Guardian by journalist Leo Hickman who follows/stalks a female stranger through Foursquare.

Find out how easy it is to uncover the intimate details of a complete stranger's life. Scary.

emily | 9:31 AM | permalink

New Gov't Rules Allow Unapproved IPhone Apps

Owners of the iPhone will be able to legally unlock their devices so they can run software applications that haven't been approved by Apple Inc., according to new government rules announced Monday, reports Mobile Burn via NPR.

quotemarksright.jpg For iPhone jailbreakers, the new rules effectively legitimize a practice that has been operating in a legal gray area by exempting it from liability.

The new rules will also allow students, professors, and those filming documentaries to break the copy protection on DVDs so that clips can be embedded for teaching and educational reasons. Video game players can also legally break the security on video games to fix security flaws.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: What The New DMCA Copyright Loopholes Mean to You (PC World)

emily | 8:45 AM | permalink

Khmer Rouge Trial tweeted live

Vinh Dao is a Cambodian photographer who tweeted in the official court press room during the trial of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge leader, “Duch,” this morning. The UN-backed war crimes tribunal announced a long-awaited sentence and Fast Company got the scoop on the verdict and twitter in Cambodia, a country where only .5% percent of the population uses the internet.

[via Fast Company]

emily | 8:41 AM | permalink

July 26, 2010

Baidu plans to offer search on mobile phones

Chinese search engine Baidu is in talks with mobile-phone makers about using its search box on handsets sold in China, the Wall Street Journal quoted Robin Li, the company's chief executive officer, as saying.

[via China Daily]

emily | 8:17 AM | permalink

New iPhone app could prove a nightmare for home vendors

A new augmented reality application for the iPhone 3GS and Android smartphone shows nearby development proposals using data collected from councils.jpeg

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a new app for the iPhone 3GS, that allows the user to locate nearby property development proposals just by pointing their mobile at a home, is likely to send shudders through potential vendors and landlords.

quotemarksright.jpg The new app could soon become the weapon of choice for those looking at buying or renting an apartment to find out if the location could become undesirable due to a new development.

It could be used, for example, to learn whether prospective views might soon be obstructed.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article

emily | 8:02 AM | permalink

Graphene OPV - or will T-shirts soon power cell phones

Graphene OPV - or will T-shirts soon power cell phones.jpeg A University of Southern California team has produced flexible transparent carbon atom films that the researchers say have great potential for a new breed of solar cells. Printed Elelctronics World reports.

quotemarksright.jpg ... According to Lewis Gomez De Arco, a doctoral student and a member of the team that built the graphene OPVs, "they could be hung as curtains in homes or even made into fabric and be worn as power generating clothing, I imagine people charging their cellular phone or music/video device while jogging in the sun."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:55 AM | permalink

July 24, 2010

BBC News iPhone and iPad app launches in the UK

BBCNewsAppiPhone.jpg The free apps for Apple products were originally due to be made available in April 2010, writes the BBC.

quotemarksright.jpg The UK launch was delayed while the BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, assessed the proposals and their impact on the rest of the industry.

Apps for other devices such as Android phones will launch later in the year. Similar apps for BBC Sport and iPlayer will also be coming soon.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 11:29 AM | permalink

Trade group sues to stop SF from posting cell phone radiation emissions

Mayor Gavin Newsom's idea to require stores to post how much radio frequency energy is emitted by cell phones hit a legal snag Friday.

The industry trade group CTIA -- The Wireless Association filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

The ordinance, "misleads consumers by creating the false impression that the FCC's standards are insufficient and that some phones are 'safer' than others," the group said in a press release.

Read full article in The San Francisco Chronicle and CTIA press release.

Previously:

-- San Francisco passes cell phone radiation law

-- San Francisco to vote on cell phone radiation labels

-- Main to legislate over cancer warnings on cell phones

-- SF Mayor back mandatory cell phone radiation labels

emily | 10:24 AM | permalink

July 23, 2010

Defence firm launches iPhone for missile training

The Patriot anti-missile system now has its own iPhone app, developed by US defence firm Raytheon. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpg Patriot Crew Drill is a multiple-choice game, designed as a refresher tool for missile troops.

The game, which will not be available on Apple's App Store, will help keep Patriot troops, assigned to other duties, up to speed on the working and mechanics of the system.

Raytheon has said it intends to launch a number of iPhone military apps.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:14 AM | permalink

July 22, 2010

'New York' Mag Hooks Up With Foursquare

eServCartCk.jpeg New York magazine’s Web site has linked up with Foursquare, becoming the latest media property to hook up with the location-based social networking service. AdWeek reports.

quotemarksright.jpg Users of the service can “check in” when they visit local businesses, alerting friends of their location while earning points that can be redeemed for perks. In recent months, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Time Out New York have partnered with Foursquare to distribute news and other editorial content.

New York magazine is using Foursquare to grow the audience for its popular restaurant, bargains and nightlife listings. That database currently drives 10 percent of its Web traffic. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:33 AM | permalink

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