Archives for October 2010

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October 31, 2010

Mail bombs were wired to cell phones, timers and power supplies

Terror-investigators-seek-2-dozen-more-packages-747644.jpeg Details are surfacing on Friday's Friday's bomb plot where explosives-filled packages were mailed to Chicago-area synagogues and found aboard cargo jets. NY1 reports.

quotemarksright.jpg... Investigators say the bombs were wired to cell phones, timers and power supplies. It's still unclear whether the explosives could have gone off while the planes were in the air or when the packages were in the U.S.

British officials believe the device found in England was intended to detonate aboard the plane, and was powerful enough to take it down.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from Times Union.


-- Mobile phones crucial in London and Glasgow attacks in 2007

-- Body Cavity Bomb Detonated by SMS

-- Mobile phone calls failed to trigger London blasts

-- Terrorists in Kashmir Using Moble Phones to Trigger Blasts

-- Al Qaeda's network-connected mobile phones can remotely detonate over the Internet simultaneous explosions hundreds of miles apart

-- More articles on how terrorists cell phones

emily | 6:36 PM | permalink

India: Where more people have cell phones than access to a toilet

slumdogmillionaire.jpeg In the Mumbai slum of Rafiq Nagar there is not a single toilet or latrine for its 10,000 people. Yet nearly every destitute family in the slum has a cell phone. Some have three.

The AP reports on a study entitled "Greater Access to Cell Phones than Toilets in India" (pdf), published in April 2010 by The UNU Institute for Water, Environment & Health, the UN's Think Tank on Water. Blogged previously in textually.

emily | 6:14 PM | permalink

Teenagers Caught Texting while Driving in Oklahoma Risk Losing License

In a new Oklahoma law that will take effect on Monday, teenagers who send text messages while driving could lose their license.

[via Oklahoma City News]

emily | 8:50 AM | permalink

October 30, 2010

Apple Working on Scratch-Proof iPhone

According to Mobiledia, Apple has filed a patent to make stainless steel iPhones more durable and scratch-resistant.

emily | 9:56 AM | permalink

Playstation phone


I guess I haven't been paying attention, I didn't know there was a Playstation phone in the works. Read all about it in engadget,: codename "Zeus", running Android 2.2, 17mm thick...

emily | 9:44 AM | permalink

iPhone apps on sale for Halloween

TUAW reviews some Halloween iPhone apps going on sale this weekend.

emily | 9:43 AM | permalink

Indian government plans to introduce SIM cards with digital certificates

The Indian government is planning to come up with guidelines to issue encrypted SIM cards with digital signatures unique to an individual or company. ZDNet reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe encrypted SIM cards will allow secure interaction over email and SMS from a cell phone. Phone banking has picked up in India and the enterprises make use of emails that they would prefer secure to avoid any breach of security. Digital certificates for SIM cards in such use-cases will be helpful.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:11 AM | permalink

3G mobile heads to Mount Everest

roofworld.jpeg The Washington Post reports that Nepalese telecom group Ncell has established a high-speed phone base station at an altitude of 17,000 feet near Gorakshep village in the Everest region, enabling voice and video calls.

Related: Cell phone calls made from the summit before:

-- Success for Everest Mobile Effort - In 2007, British climber Rod Baber set a world record by making a mobile phone call from the top of Mount Everest.

-- SMS and MMS from the roof of the world - In 2003, joined forces with telecoms operator China Mobile to bring text and photo messaging to Everest using phones donated by US firm Motorola.

emily | 7:59 AM | permalink

Where to Vote, Via Text Message

You now officially have no excuse for not voting on Tuesday. Mobile Commons has created the Mobile Polling Place Locator, a free SMS service that tells you where your polling station is. Just text “where” to 30644. You can also text “donde” to get your answer in Spanish.

According to a report from the New Organizing Institute, about 1.9 million people didn’t vote in 2008 just because they didn’t know where to go.

[via Fast Company]

emily | 7:46 AM | permalink

October 29, 2010

Inmate calls Chronicle from prison to find out about new cell phone jamming legislation

A cell phone smuggled in a body.jpeg The San Francisco Chronicle received a call yesterday from a man who was concerned about efforts to jam cell phones in prisons.

He had every reason to be concerned, he was an inmate calling the Chronicle from prison.

quotemarksright.jpgThe called who said he acquired his phone six months ago -- provided some insider knowledge: The devices go for $800 to $1,200 on the black market, he said, with higher prices for smart phones. Maybe 5 percent of his fellow prisoners have them.

Though prison officials say phones are often smuggled inside in packages, our guy said, "It's mostly the guards, man. You know what's up."

How often does our inmate tipster talk on the phone?

"All day long, man, as long as I can."

Who does he talk to?

"Everybody -- girls mostly. I'm not a gang member, I don't do no gang s--- or drugs. Just family and girls."

We told him there hadn't been any big changes in the jamming effort. The federal legislation, introduced in January 2009, has been stuck in a House subcommittee since March of that year.

Good, he said.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:22 AM | permalink

October 28, 2010

Unsollicited political text messages sent to cell phones via e-mail address is allowed

index12.jpeg Text messaging is just one more way candidates and political groups get their messages out to voters. But not everyone is happy. MPR News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgSo far, most of this texting happens between a political campaign and its supporters, who have voluntarily provided their cell phone numbers. But some outside groups have started sending unsolicited text messages to cell phone numbers. Recipients who don't subscribe to a flat rate text message service are charged if they open the messages.

One recipient, filed a complaint with the FCC after receiving a political text, but it's unlikely the FCC will be able to do anything about it. Political messages sent from an e-mail address to a wireless phone are allowed under federal rules.

Americans in Contact's text message to Aimee Kline, of Rochester and others across the country in other congressional races were sent from, not from a phone number. Had it been from a phone number using an autodial service, it would have been prohibited by the FCC.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:32 PM | permalink

How SMS bridges the deafness divide

A 2004 research paper, Everyone Here Speaks TXT: Deaf people Using SMS in Australia and the Rest of the World, by Mary and Des Power, predicted that SMS has a similar ability to improve communications between deaf communities, and wondered whether this would extend to relationships with hearing people. Dr Pieter Streicher, MD at BulkSMS explains that technology can help. Gadget Magazine reports.

quotemarksright.jpgSix years later headway has been made in some countries - with organisations such as the Child Africa International School in Uganda using SMS to teach deaf children alongside hearing children - but there is still some work to do in South Africa.

... It makes sense that so many deaf people have adopted SMS as a preferred communications channel around the world. It is text-based, easy to use, affordable and is mobile. The vibrating function of the handset alerts the user about a message. Unlike other technology designed specifically for Deaf people, such as teletypewriters (TTY), it does not require each party to have bespoke equipment or rely on an expensive, time-intensive and intrusive intermediary to translate messages back and forth.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:26 PM | permalink

AT&T Will Let Customers Buy Digital Music, Movies with Phones

boku.jpeg AT&T announced a deal today with mobile-payments company Boku that allows subscribers to buy music, movies, news stories, and other digital goods by typing in their phone number instead of using a bank card or PayPal account. Charges will show up on the customer's phone bill. Business Week reports.

quotemarksright.jpgBoku, a San Francisco-based startup, and rivals such as Zong have gotten the bulk of their earnings from virtual-goods sales on Facebook applications, where low production costs let developers make money even with the carrier fees.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 4:50 PM | permalink

Bnter Offers a Way to Share and Save Text-Message Conversations

bnter.png Bits on Bntr, a new website offering a way to “add context to text messages.”

quotemarksright.jpgWhile Texts From Last Night - a site that publishes anonymous text submissions from users capturing the hilarious and often unspeakable moments from the prior evening- Bntr allows them to post entire exchanges between two people.

Texts From Last Night grew into a multimillion-dollar empire, which includes a popular iPhone application, and deals for a book and a television show.

Right now Bnter exists only as a Web site, but according to Lauren Leto, one of the founders, a similar iPhone app will have its debut as soon as it is approved by Apple. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 3:45 PM | permalink

Peel-on protection from cell phone radiation

Peel-on protection from cell phone radiation.jpeg

A product from Israel deflects cell phone radiation from your body and claims to reduce electromagnetic exposure by 98 percent. The Jerusalem Post reports.

quotemarksright.jpgIn July, Wise Environment began selling a do-it-yourself kit to protect iPhone owners from radiation. The company claims that its product, dubbed Cell La Vie, reduces electromagnetic exposure from the phone by 98 percent.

Cell La Vie can be a bit daunting to install - it's not a one-click software app, but a physical product - a thin film you apply to the front, back and sides of your iPhone with adhesive. The Cell La Vie kit also includes a spray and pump to make sure your phone is totally clean before you get started. Once affixed, the film acts to redirect radiation away from the body.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Photo above left by digital Watch YouTube video demo below.


-- Clarins Cosmetics to launch protective spray for cell phones - Called expertise 3p, it claims to "reinforce skin's resistance to the harmful effects of artificial electromagnetic waves, thanks to, get this, "White Tea and Succory Dock-Cress, - which grows near motorways despite car emissions".

-- Anti radiation products with some science in them - The New York Times Gadgetwise blog looks into two companies that are developing products that neutralize environmental radiation coming from laptops and cell phones.

Protective clothing concepts:

-- Belarus authorities to introduce radiation safe school uniforms - The uniform features a dedicated pocket that can store the phone and make it safe for those who wear it.

-- Special clothing protects unborn babies in womb from cellphone radiation - MummyWrap, a sleeveless, loose-fitting garment for pregnant women made from a light-weight copper-based cotton fabric known as Swiss Shield.

-- New men's underwear protects from harmful cell phone rays - Swiss clothing manufacturer Isabodywear is launching a special line of men's underwear that claims to protect "men's sperm from harmful cell phone radiation".

-- A New York based store sells dress shirts and caps designed to protect people from electromagnetic fields -- or radiation -- given off by cell phones and electronic devices.

-- Singapore-based garment manufacturer Crocodile International launched smart pants or "Radiguard' specialty trousers" for cell-phone buffs who exposed exposed to the ultra magnetic emission from the cell-phones.

-- In September 2002, Levi Strauss announced the launch of a new Dockers' model with anti-radiation-lined pockets, prompted by customers' concerns about the possible health risks of mobile phone use.

emily | 8:46 AM | permalink

October 27, 2010

UPDATE: App pulled from Android Market. Secret SMS Replicator app lets you secretly monitor incoming SMS

SMS Replicator for Android.jpeg

quotemarksright.jpgUpdate: The New York Times reports the app was pulled from the market. According to a Google spokesman via e-mail, the application had been suspended effective Wednesday evening because it “violates the Android Market Content Policy.” quotesmarksleft.jpg

This sounds scary. Secret SMS Replicator, a new app for Android lets you secretly monitor incoming SMS messages on another phone.

Once installed on the phone of your choosing, the app runs surreptitiously and constantly in the background, secretly forwarding incoming SMS messages to the numbers you select.

The app is unique because there is no visible icon or shortcut to access it, so once it's installed, it will continue to monitor without revealing itself. The only access to the settings panel to deactivate the app is by texting that phone a secret password which is chosen at installation.

Only the phone under surveillance needs to run Android.

[via email press release. Watch video demo DLP Mobile]

emily | 7:56 PM | permalink

Is the clock ticking for the wristwatch?

Timeless: But fewer people wear wristwatches today, thanks to an increase in alternative tiime-telling gadgets.jpeg One in seven of us say we have ‘no reason’ to wear a watch, according to a survey, reports The Daily Mail.

quotemarksright.jpgThe change has been attributed to the rising number of time-telling gadgets we carry around, such as mobile phones, iPods and laptops. Most of those surveyed by market researchers Mintel said they relied on their mobile or PC, rather than a watch, to tell the time.

Although 86 per cent of people still own a watch, more than nine in ten own a mobile. And those aged 25 or younger were twice as likely as those in their forties or fifties to have stopped wearing a watch, with 28 per cent not having one.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Cell phones are also replacing alarm clocks.


-- Two-Thirds Read Time From Cell Phones Over Watches (2007)

-- Watches lose ground to cell phones (2007)

-- Wristwatches Get the Back of the Hand (2006)

-- Who needs a wristwatch? (2005)

-- Watchmakers cast nervous eye on mobile phone challenge (2005)

- Will cell phones replace watches? Time will tell (2005)

emily | 9:46 AM | permalink

October 26, 2010

Scientists develop quick, accurate, real time facial recognition for mobile

Scientists at the Univeristy of Manchester have developed facial recognition software which could eventually tell how you are feeling, opening up new avenues for the technology of the future and scare the pants off Luddites. TechEye reports.

quotemarksright.jpgFacial recognition software is not exactly new, but the Manchester scientists say that their method is “unrivalled for speed and accuracy” and believe it could be used to replace passwords and PIN numbers for logging into websites and mobile phones.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 7:56 PM | permalink

Cell phone app to help track troops' mental health

261010blogLeophoto01.jpeg According to Stars and Stripes, late Monday, Pentagon officials announced the release of a free Android application called the The T2 Mood Tracker, designed to help service members and veterans to track their emotional health, with a focus on their return from deployments.

quotemarksright.jpgThe program allows users to quickly chart their stress and happiness levels on a daily basis. That information can be later shared with doctors and therapists, who can use the trends in their treatment recommendations.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:39 PM | permalink How an Afghan News Agency Retools Mobile Technology

In Afghanistan, a documentary media company and an independent news agency have teamed up to integrate mobile phones and SMS into news reports. From election day text messages to stories of homemade airplanes, one news agency shows how a willingness to adapt mobile platforms to the landscape can contribute to a successful intersection of technology and media.

Read full article in

emily | 7:17 PM | permalink

'Text A Star''

Text a Star.jpeg Tennis player Lleyton Hewitt and his former actress wife Bec announced at the weekend the birth of their third child, a girl. The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

quotemarksright.jpgFans who want to find out the baby's name can subscribe for $ 2 to a SMS service called ''Text A Star''.

The service, which costs $2 a message, was set up to allow sports fans to ''get a unique insight into the life of your favourite player … without any media filter'', its creators say on its website.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 6:07 PM | permalink

Mapping Egyptian street harassment

342xSectionMain.jpeg Salon reports on a new website which will compile user texts and tweets to illustrate the parts of Cairo that are riskiest for women.

quotemarksright.jpgCairo is about to get its own form of Hollaback, the American website where women share stories, videos and photos of street harassment. The Egyptian version, which is set to launch in the next few months, is called Harassmap. It will be a website where women can send tips via text or tweet about all the nasty come-ons and cat-calling that they come across. The information will then be compiled on a map to convey harassment hotspots.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from Chron.

emily | 8:54 AM | permalink

Tipping Point for Apps on Facebook

According to a recent study, an application needs roughly 55 installations a day to take off in popularity.

[via The New York Times]

emily | 8:26 AM | permalink

October 25, 2010

Organizing for America App Version 1.5 for iPhone

OFAiPhoneApp.jpgThe latest version of the Organizing for America iPhone app is a groundbreaking tool that now provides volunteers everything they need to talk face to face with voters in their neighborhoods about November's elections.

You have everything you need to canvass in the palm of your hand:

-- Lists of neighbors to talk to

-- Interactive maps

-- Share news, photos, videos, and information right at the door

-- Real-time reporting of how many doors you've knocked and how the conversations went.

emily | 9:07 PM | permalink

NJ Lawmakers Unveil Bipartisan ‘Anti-Bullying Bill Of Rights’

Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle today unveiled the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” – bipartisan legislation designed to combat harassment, intimidation and bullying among students. NJ Today reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights is designed to raise awareness of bullying, harassment, and intimidation in schools and prevent instances of abuse.

"The most frightening realization is that bullying no longer has to be face-to-face, as the Internet and cell phones have allowed tormenters to reach their victims at any hour of that day from any place,” said Buono. ”The sooner we can change the culture of youth to reject all forms of bullying, the better. Kids will be kids, but we cannot afford to look the other way when playful teasing becomes something much more sinister and threatening."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:26 PM | permalink

Ushahidi: How to 'crowdmap' a disaster


CNN in a very good article on the power of Ushahidi, using online volunteers to map out disaster areas more quickly and effectively than governments can.

Articles related to Ushahidi blogged by textually.

emily | 8:17 PM | permalink

Study: Cell phones may cause heart irregularities

Radiation from cordless phones — including cell phones — may lead users to experience heart irregularities, according to a study published Saturday in the European Journal of Oncology. The Hill reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe study showed that cordless phones increased the heart rate in its subjects by up to 93 beats per minute. The authors, from Trent University in Canada, say it is the first study to show "such a dramatic change brought about immediately and lasting as long as the subject was exposed."

The authors say subjects reacted dramatically even when exposed to radiation at levels just .5 percent of federal guidelines.

The development provides a new angle on health concerns related to cell phones. Critics have previously said that cell phones may raise rates of cancer and brain tumors, but heart concerns have been rare. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. The study, “Provocation Study using Heart Rate Variability Shows Radiation from 2.4 GHz Cordless Phone Affects Autonomic Nervous System”

emily | 6:53 PM | permalink

Red Cross sends hygiene information on Cholera via SMS


According to the Red Cross Blog, to help fight against the Cholera outbreak in Haiti, the Red Cross has sent vital medical supplies to the main hospital in Saint Marc, in the affected area, and is trucking tens-of-thousands of litres of clean water, along with chlorine, to help stop further transmission of the disease.

quotemarksright.jpgFor such a formidable disease, treatment is simple. Rehydration with clean water, salt and sugar should be enough to save someone’s life.

Red Cross teams have also been reaching people with hygiene information, including through mass SMS messaging.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full post

emily | 2:27 PM | permalink

October 24, 2010

Now You Can Follow Stocks On Twitter. Stocks, Not People.

StockTwitsFeature.jpg StockTwits just turned on a new feature a few days ago that lets you follow stocks on Twitter, not just the people talking about them. TechCrunch reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAll of a sudden, it is not about trying to figure out who you trust, it is about getting all the buzz on the stocks and companies you care about in realtime. This ability to follow stocks instead of people is a perfect example of how to take Twitter’s interest graph and put it on steroids.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:17 PM | permalink

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