Archives for September 2010

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September 30, 2010

Solving eco challenges with grassroots messaging

kiwanja_palo_alto_texting_5.jpeg National Geographic interviews favorite-of-this-blog Ken Banks of Kiwanja.net.

Excerpts:

quotemarksright.jpgHow can mobile technology help us find solutions to the world's eco problems or help make our use of the world more sustainable?

Ken Banks: Mobile technology is proving increasingly useful to conservationists and environmentalists around the world. In addition to bringing down the cost of traditionally expensive animal tracking initiatives (which relied largely on satellite technology), mobile phones are also being used to provide alerts to communities living on the edges of national parks, helping mitigate against human/wildlife conflict.

Phones and PDAs can be used in the field as data collection tools, replacing note pads and allowing teams of researchers to gather and share data simultaneously. Photos can be taken of incidences of poaching and transmitted to the Internet, or evidence of chemical or oil spills recorded with a specific location and then uploaded to a map.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:06 PM | permalink

Jamaican Farmers wait for RADA SMS alerts following tropical storm Nicole

The Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries along with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is currently conducting an impact assessment of the damage to the sector wrought by Tropical Storm Nicole last night, and the continuous rainfall over the past four days.

Farmers are encouraged to check their mobile phones for text alerts from RADA’s text messaging system, for useful tips on how to secure and store agricultural produce at this time.

[via The Jamaican Observer]

emily | 7:50 PM | permalink

Tomorrow's Youth Organization partners with Clinton Global Initiative for mobile project

7484.tyo.jpg-200x0.jpeg Tomorrow's Youth Organization (TYO), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that focuses on disadvantaged areas in the Middle East, has partnered with The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Souktel in a project that aims to empower women entrepreneurs by supplying them with the latest mobile technologies. Palestine Note reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAlong with the technology, TYO will also provide the women with "business tips, financial management advice and also knowledge related to women’s health, motherhood and personal development."

Souktel has offered to develop a network for the female entrepreneurs allowing for them to "have real-time and low-cost access to knowledge and advice by sending a question via SMS to the entire group, and receiving replies for free directly on their mobile handset."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:39 PM | permalink

September 29, 2010

Cell firm adds electronic jamming to Iraq risks

American forces have for years used electronic jamming to protect against homemade bombs in Iraq, some of which were triggered remotely by cell phones. But the disruption can cause mobile phones to stop working altogether - and is hurting sales for it's mobile operator.

Read full article from the AP.

emily | 10:32 PM | permalink

Facebook, Skype close to a deal

According to D All Things Digital via USA Today, the two companies are planning a "significant and wide-ranging partnership that will include integration of SMS, voice chat and Facebook Connect."

emily | 10:19 PM | permalink

Cellphones' role in activism in Africa is threatened

0929-OMOZ-MOZAMBIQUE-Riots_full_600.jpeg

According to The Christian Science Monitor, some countries have taken steps to block cellphone use during unrest, eliminating a key tool for African activists and organizers.

quotemarksright.jpgWhen rioters took to the streets of Mozambique's capital, Maputo, in Sep tem ber, the government swiftly called out the police. When investigators discovered that protesters mobilized via text messaging, the government called on private cellphone firms to turn off text messaging.

... Mozambique is not the first country to shut down or block information services in the interest of security. China and about 24 other countries block access to Google search, and Dubai and other countries have cut off Internet access on BlackBerry phones under the argument that radical groups could use such technology.

Read full article.

emily | 10:04 PM | permalink

Text Messages May Be Way to Improve Eczema Management

Joseph Kvedar, director of the Center for Connected Health and colleagues have published a pilot study suggesting that text messages can be an effective way to encourage eczema patients to take medications and otherwise manage their condition. The Wall Street Journal reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe study was small — 25 adults and adolescents aged 14 and up — and didn’t have a control group. But researchers wanted to get a preliminary idea of whether the messages boosted self-reported treatment adherence, self-care behaviors, disease severity and quality of life. All improved significantly after the six-week study.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Other studies with similar findings:

-- Text messaage reminders help teen transplant patients

-- Study correlates improved glucose levels in teen diabetics with SMS reminders

-- A Jewish Mother in Your Cell Phone

-- SIMPill: Medication Reminders via SMS

-- Mobile aid for diabetes patients

-- Gluconet monitors diabetes by Text messaging

A study that claims the opposite:

-- Text messages no good in reminding women to take birth control

emily | 8:18 AM | permalink

September 28, 2010

Texting bans for drivers increases crash rate, study shows

HLDIstudy.jpg Here's a shocker. According to the NY Post, laws banning texting while driving may actually increase the risk of road crashes.

quotemarksright.jpgThe findings from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) published today showed crash rates rose in three out of four states after texting bans were put in place.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:54 PM | permalink

Kosovo destroys Serbian telecommunication towers; 80,000 without working phones

The Kosovo Regulatory Agency for Telecommunications has been removing Telekom Srbija transmitters in central and southern Kosovo over the weekend, claiming that the Serbian business does not have a liscence to operate in Kosovo. Examiner.com reports.

quotemarksright.jpgRadio-communication equipment was "...'destroyed a 23 sites, which were owned by illegal operators. The main goal of this campaign was to turn off mobile phone connections that still broadcast signals from Serbia.'" This operation has left some 80,000 Kosovo-Serbs without a cell phone and a few thousand without a working landline.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Previously: Serb Phone Networks Disabled

quotemarksright.jpgIn April 2010, 14 mobile 063 and 064 network stations were disabled in other parts of the province. Ambulances and medical workers cannot work because they cannot receive calls. Patients can be treated, therefore, only if they come to the hospital or ambulance building directly.

The Kosovo government supports the disabling of Serbian networks, stating that the action is "establishing legality on the telecommunications market in the Republic of Kosovo." quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 8:23 PM | permalink

Pakistan. Using SMS to pinpoint humanitarian needs

PakistanLocation.jpg

Innovative mobile phone technologies and applications are poised to help save lives and bring relief to millions of people in Pakistan affected by floods since late July, reports Relief Web.

quotemarksright.jpgTo meet the need for timely information, to identify requirements in flood-hit areas and to determine the precise locations of displacement, a portal called Pakreport Sshahidi was set up by a group of individuals soon after the calamity began.

The map on the portal pinpoints areas where assistance is needed and enables affected individuals (and organizations working to help them) to directly report and access information. Information can be sent in by sending an SMS to 3441. The reports are then verified by administrators.

Pakreport.org is not the only initiative of this kind.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related articles on Ushahidi blogged by textually.

emily | 1:57 PM | permalink

Twitter's Promoted Tweets Sell for $100K and Up

Twitter is now selling its Promoted Tweets for $100,000, according to The Wall Street Journal via ReadWriteWeb.

quotemarksright.jpgPromoted Tweets, which allow companies to buy the top spot on Twitter's search results page, is just one of the microblogging network's new advertising initiatives as of late. The idea behind these digital ads is that the service allows companies to associate themselves with a certain trend or keyword. For example, launch partner Starbucks bought their brand name so that anyone searching Twitter for "starbucks" would see an advertisement for the coffee company at the top of the results page.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:43 AM | permalink

A Badge That Tells Consumers, ‘Trust This App’

TrustEforapps.jpg

TRUSTe, a company that gives Web sites a privacy stamp of approval, will start doing just that for mobile sites and apps on Monday.

[via Bits]

emily | 8:38 AM | permalink

September 27, 2010

iphones coming to the Army

According to the Federal News Radio, the Army may soon begin distributing Apple's iphone to new recruits.

quotemarksright.jpgThe goal appears to be giving young people effective training tools and tools that are fun. ... Several hundred iphones have been isued as a part of a preliminary study to see if smart phone delivery of training material works better with this generation of recruits.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related: - Apps that answer military needs: Like helping to locate snipers

emily | 10:16 PM | permalink

Medical students given iPhone's for field work experience

iphone-med-student-leeds-zaw2.pngZDNet reports that five hundred medical students in their final two years at the University of Leeds, UK are being given iPhone’s to assist them in field work away from the university campus.

quotemarksright.jpgThe students will be lent a 16GB iPhone 3GS for the duration of their off-campus tenure to ensure they can access up to date medical resources, reference material as well as other training tools when working in local hospitals and clinics.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Via Silicon.com

emily | 9:31 PM | permalink

NBC's Community season premiere experiments with Twittersode

For the second season of Community premiere last Thursday NBC tested its luck with a Twitter experiment called a “Twittersode”. Using faux Twitter feeds for the show’s characters, a scene was acted out consisting of 80 tweets in all.

[Slashfilm via Mobile Behavior Blog]

emily | 9:29 PM | permalink

Women in Egypt go hi-tech to beat sexual harassment

Virtual .jpeg Fed up with being taunted, touched and followed in the streets of their cities, a group of Egyptian and foreign volunteers are preparing to launch HarassMap, a multi-faceted initiative they believe can change the culture of street harassment in Egypt. Care 2 reports.

quotemarksright.jpgWhen a woman is harassed, she will be able to send a text message report to a central computer, which will respond with referrals and resources, like how to make a police report, how to find legal aid, where to get counseling and where to enroll in self-defense classes.

The locations where women are harassed will become part of an open-source map, which will record the details of each instance, demonstrate the pervasiveness of the problem, and reveal harassment "hotspots."quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via The Guardian]

emily | 9:24 PM | permalink

Daffy's "Text Models to Undress" Campaign

In celebrating last week's "Fashion's Night Out," Daffy's "Undressing Room" featured live models standing in the store's windows on Herald Square in New York. People in the street texted them which outfits to change into while exposing themselves for everyone to see.

In total, more than 1,500 text messages were received between 6:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Many incoming text messages included comments to the models, which were posted on a giant flat screen TV placed in the window for all to read.

[Full press release via Mobile Behavior]

emily | 7:24 PM | permalink

Cell Phones and Cancer: A Muckraking Scientist's Persuasive New Book

Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family.jpeg Disconnect — the result of an investigation into the data on cell phones and cancer, as well as the wireless industry's efforts to stave off regulation — is convincing enough to give you pause before you fire up that iPhone. TIME reports.

quotemarksright.jpgJust as she saw with tobacco and lung cancer, Davis discovered that the wireless industry — often with the help of governments — had discouraged independent scientists who studied cell phones, and helped produced questionable science that effectively clouded the issue. "This is about the most important and unrecognized public health issues of our time," says Davis. "We could avert a global catastrophe."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 3:14 PM | permalink

Small Text Loans - A Simple SMS for your Cash Need

TextLoansUK.jpg According to Text Loan UK's press release, if you own a cell phone then you can avail this help anywhere in the UK. You just need to send one SMS from your mobile and money will be credited in your account within a few hours.

quotemarksright.jpgThese advances offer the cash help of £100 ($158.-) for the time period of 7 days. It is small time period in which you need to return the borrowed amount with the interest. At the repayment time, the borrowed money will be deducted from your account electronically.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Coincidentally, GoMoNews today reports that UK mobile operator O2 is offering a "Lend Me" service to pre-paid top up customers.

SMS loans created havoc years ago in several countries with some lenders charging up to 1,000 percent interest. Mostly young people ran into huge debt problems. Read related articles:

-- SMS loans are becoming a national problem for Estonia

-- Mentally ill person can take a SMS-loan in Estonia

-- Young Estonian became a drug mule for a large SMS loan

-- Finns struggling with SMS loans

-- Loans by text message send young Swedes spiralling into debt

-- $300 Loans by Simply sending a Text Message

-- SMS loans could be ruining your Christmas season

-- Finland Should Ban Late-Night SMS Loans, Justice Ministry Says

emily | 2:48 PM | permalink

Computer Face. Screen time leads to saggy faces for women

Quelle horreur. Women are developing saggy jowels, 'turkey necks' and deep set wrinkles as a result of spending the day at their computers. A leading cosmetic surgeon has identified the growing phenomenon as 'computer face'.

[via The Telegraph]

emily | 9:22 AM | permalink

Indian Government to Receive "Negative News" SMS Alert

india.jpeg The Indian Information & Broadcasting Ministry has asked its officials to send an SMS alert informing higher-ups whenever a negative news item appears in any media, particularly TV, as soon as possible.

[via Indian Express. Image from Travels of India]

emily | 8:55 AM | permalink

European Union Drops Anti-Trust Probe into the Apple iPhone

The European Union has dropped an anti-trust probe into Apple after it amended its iPhone apps store policies as well as the warranty terms covering Europe. The latter in particular puts an end to the difficulties experienced by European consumers who need repair services for an iPhone purchased in a Member State other than their country of residence.

[via Cellular News]

emily | 8:52 AM | permalink

'Bombiles' or exploding cell phones create panic in N-E India

In Assam in North East India, reports of mobile phones suddenly exploding are creating panic. Sify reports on what sounds like a rumor that's spreading.

quotemarksright.jpgAn estimated 30 cases have been reported so far with more than 20 people admitted to various hospitals in Assam during the past week. Most of the victims complained of nausea and a splitting headache.

According to witnesses and victims, the explosions took place soon after receiving calls from numbers that appeared in red on the handset screens. They are being referred to as 'Bombiles'.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Numbers in red on the screen?

Related rumors

-- Rumors in Nagpur India are scaring cell phones users, claiming that calls from certain numbers cause instant death when the call is answered.

-- Prank of virus causing death through cell phones creates panic in Pakistan

-- Cell phone death threat "virus" hits Angola

emily | 7:27 AM | permalink

September 25, 2010

Mercy Corps Mobile Money Turns Phones Into Wallets for 100,000-Plus Haitians

Gonaïves,_Haiti.jpeg


Fast Company reports that international aid non-profit Mercy Corps is bringing mobile financial services to Haitians without bank accounts.

quotemarksright.jpg Mercy Corps is using mobile money in our cash-based programs in the Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite regions of Haiti--running cash-for-work programs, offering cash grants and vouchers....," Mercy Corps' spokeswoman Joy Portella tells Fast Company. "Mobile money is easier--people receive the money on their phones and can withdraw/store money when they want to, and the security risks are far lower." quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related:

-- Syria. WFP rolls out SMS food vouchers for refugees

-- Food Vouchers on Cell phone for Iraqi refugees

emily | 8:58 AM | permalink

September 24, 2010

Texting Bank Teller Accused of Working With Robber

An Arlington bank teller who first appeared to be a victim in a high-dollar robbery is accused of orchestrating the crime from the inside, even sending the accused bandit text messages telling him not to forget his sunglasses and warning about a co-worker who "screams at scary movies.".

[News.com via NBCdfw]

emily | 9:54 AM | permalink

T-Mobile: Text messages aren't phone calls

Text-message network operators aren't subject to the same regulations as voice operators, T-Mobile argues in a court filing defending itself against a lawsuit. News.com reports.

quotemarksright.jpg Last week T-Mobile was sued by EZ Texting, a company that runs marketing campaigns for various clients that want to send group text messages. In the suit, EZ Texting claimed that T-Mobile pulled the plug on its service after learning it was running a campaign for a client called Weedmaps.com.

... The debate involves whether text messages should be subject to the same rules as voice calls. The FCC doesn't allow voice operators to block specific calls under the "common carriers" provision of the Federal Communications Act of 1934, and T-Mobile argued that text messages aren't protected by that law.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:49 AM | permalink

September 23, 2010

SYRIA: WFP rolls out SMS food vouchers for refugees

iraq_refugees.jpeg The UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Syria is rolling out an electronic food voucher scheme for Iraqis after a successful pilot phase with 1,000 families which started in October 2009. [via Irin]

quotemarksright.jpg The initiative using cell phone technology will reach 9,600 families, comprising around 32,500 refugees, across Syria.

Iraqi families eligible for e-voucher food assistance are given a SIM card and receive a text message with a code during each two-month food distribution cycle. The voucher can be redeemed in selected government shops. After each transaction an updated balance is sent by SMS. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from Amman Center.

Previously: Food Vouchers on Cell phone for Iraqi refugees

emily | 4:58 PM | permalink

Harkins Theatres Launches 'No Texting During Movie' Campaign

NoTxtngHarkins.jpg Scottsdale-based chain Harkins Theatres is launching a campaign against texting during movies. AZCentral reports.

quotemarksright.jpg The campaign includes replacing promotions of coming attractions in poster cases with "No Texting During Movie" signs.

The chain has heard from "plenty of people" whose moviegoing experience was ruined by texters, he said.

Harkins' nationwide campaign will run through Christmas.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article via Switched.

Previously: - Text Messaging Teens asked to leave their seats at the movies

emily | 10:26 AM | permalink

'Off-grid' cellphone towers could save lives

a>.jpeg Electricity from rural cellphone towers in poor countries could chill vaccines, saving 5 million lives every year, say Harvey Rubin and Alice Conant in New Scientist.

quotemarksright.jpg Vaccine-preventable deaths do not occur for lack of vaccines, but because of inadequate distribution. To work properly, most vaccines must be kept cold.

Although the cold chain is not the only impediment to immunisation, it is a major one. A technology that allows the cold chain to better penetrate rural regions would have a big impact.

The Energy for Health project, based at the University of Pennsylvania, proposes to tackle this problem by hitching it to stand-alone cell towers powered by diesel generators and, increasingly, solar and wind.

These represent a potential new energy infrastructure in locations with no access to the electrical grid.

The Energy for Health proposal is simple: use surplus energy from off-grid cell towers to power cold chains and water purification systems.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:09 AM | permalink

NC Guards find cell phone inside NC inmate's rectum

There's really nothing to add.

[via Cellular News]

emily | 9:42 AM | permalink

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