Archives for November 2010

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November 30, 2010

Columbia's "Social Experiment"

Columbia University, sensing that its students have grown too introverted, ignoring each other has they text or talk on their cell phones, has tried to encourage casual interactions amongst them with a game called The Social Experiment. The winner got $500. Inside Higher Ed reports.

quotemarksright.jpgEach day of the week all students on campus were given a random word as a prompt. A subset of students were assigned to keep one of several passwords, which they disclosed to any student who addressed them with the prompt word. At the end of the week, the person who had collected the most passwords won the cash. The idea was that in the process of foraging for passwords, seekers would be forced to interact with fellow students whom they did not know.

Some media reports have framed the experiment as an attempt to counteract a mobile media culture in which a student walking across campus is more likely to be buried in her Blackberry than poised to greet passers-by. Others have simply implied that Columbia students avoid casual cordiality, Blackberries or no.

Columbia’s media relations office declined to comment.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article and see the winners.

emily | 1:07 PM | permalink

Mobile Games Revenues to Surpass $11 Billion Globally by 2015

cutheropeiphoneapp.jpeg Revenues from in-game purchases are forecast to overtake the traditional pay-per-download model as the primary source of monetising mobile games by 2013, reports Juniper Research.

With Apple's in-app billing mechanism showing the way forward, total end-user revenues will surpass $11 billion annually by 2015, nearly double what they were in 2009 ($6bn).

[via Cellular News]

emily | 1:00 PM | permalink

First-Ever DMCA Conviction of PrePay Phone Trafficker

A US court has convicted a man of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by removing the SIM lock on thousands of prepaid wireless telephones. Cellular News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgMajed, who was arrested by FBI agents last November, pled guilty to illegally circumventing technological protections that are built into TracFone prepaid wireless devices to protect its copyrighted proprietary software.

Majed's conviction marks the first time a phone trafficker has been found criminally liable under the DMCA. Majed was accused of shipping several thousand prepaid wireless phones to co-conspirators in Michigan and Hong Kong.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 12:56 PM | permalink

PayPal looks to cash in on mobile

Although PayPal believes that its future growth hinges on mobile payments, the payment solutions provider expects to handle only about $700 million in mobile transactions this year, less than 1 percent of all money processed through its system.

[The New York Times via FierceMobile Content]

emily | 10:21 AM | permalink

November 29, 2010

Can Mobile Phones Think?

Om Malik for GigaOM on an experimental application developped by Nokia called Situations which users can “use to define how you want your phone to behave in different situations, like ‘In a meeting,’ ‘Sleeping,’ or ‘Playing with the kids.’”

quotemarksright.jpgWith the application running in the background, the device “automatically senses the situation you are in (e.g. based on time, day, location, available networks) and adapts to it according to your preferences.”

With this app you can do the following: Change Ringtones, answer missed calls with SMS, aave power, change UI theme / wallpaper, open a Web bookmark or application.

... This kind of context awareness is going to become a big deal in the future, mostly because we are entering a world of infinite app options.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

Related:

-- Next Generation DoCoMo phones predict your every move (2008) - Their next gen phones will be stuffed full of senors that will be able to identify the movement that you're making.

-- Phones predicting user's behavior (2004) - A new mobile phone which learns people's daily habits could be used to predict what someone is about to do and judge how close they are to their friends. The phone may also help track how diseases spread and societies form.

emily | 8:27 AM | permalink

Smartphone app monitors your every move

Can't be bothered to tell your Facebook friends what you are up to? According to New Scientist, a smartphone app called Jigsaw - developped by Dartmouth College and the Nokia Research Center - can help.

quotemarksright.jpgJigsaw figures out what you are doing by monitoring your phone's microphone, GPS and accelerometer for patterns characteristic of routine activities - and it could be set to send the results to social networking sites.

More importantly, Jigsaw can log how active you are each day, producing records that could be useful to a doctor or fitness trainer. Its pattern-recognition algorithms can identify a range of behaviours, making its logs more detailed than those of similar apps.

... The app, due for release next year, runs on Apple's iPhone and Nokia smartphones quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:10 AM | permalink

Mobile Banking in the Emerging World

The New York Times in a legnthy article rounds up Mobile Banking options available in the emerging world.

quotemarksright.jpgIn Tanzania, a hospital sends money by text message to women in remote areas so they can pay for bus fare to travel for critically needed surgery. In Afghanistan, the government pays its police officers by text message to skirt corrupt middlemen. In Pakistan, the biggest financial network is not a bank, but a unit of Telenor, the Norwegian mobile phone operator.

In parts of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, more than 90 percent of people typically carry at least one mobile phone, a technological tether that mobile operators are exploiting to become retail bankers to the emerging world.

While storefront bank branches and online banking are ubiquitous in the United States and most developed countries, in less-developed countries only a small fraction of the population is served by banking services.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:59 AM | permalink

4% of online Americans use location-based services

foursquare-logo.png In its first report on the use of “geosocial” or location-based services, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project finds that 4% of online adults use a service such as Foursquare or Gowalla that allows them to share their location with friends and to find others who are nearby. On any given day, 1% of internet users are using these services.

According to The New York Times:

quotemarksright.jpgIt is not unusual, of course, for an online service to slowly pick up steam, especially one that depends on a network of plugged-in friends.

The Pew report pointed out that only 6 percent of online adults used Twitter or a similar service in August 2008; that figure has since quadrupled.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 7:51 AM | permalink

November 28, 2010

Farewell, Digital World. (It’s All for a Cause.)

PROTO-1-b.jpeg The New York Times reports that on Wednesday December 1st, World AIDS Day, a long list of celebrities will be posting their last tweet, only to be revived if their fans send a donation of $10 in their name to 90999.

quotemarksright.jpg For the "Please buy back my life" campaign celebrities will stop communicating via Twitter and Facebook. They will not be resuscitated, they say, until their fans donate $1 million. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:12 PM | permalink

Panthers in Florida are texting

trackingpanthers.jpegThe panthers are sending text messages that scientists hope will teach them more about the endangered species.

quotemarksright.jpgDave Onorato, associate research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), said two of the texting panthers are males that roam near Bear Island in Big Cypress. Scientists recently put a texting collar on a female that was collared on private land just north of Bear Island.

The collar gathers information about where the panther is every hour and stores the data, which are transmitted to wildlife biologists every time the animal passes near a cell tower.

“Some of the collars have a text message with location data,” said Mark Lotz, a biologist with FWC. “It gives us location coordinates and dates.”quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:03 PM | permalink

Egypt court cancels restrictions imposed on SMS news alerts

An Egyptian court overruled on Saturday a decision by the telecommunications authority to impose restrictions on media companies that send out news alerts to cell phones. Monsters&Critics reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe daily al-Masry al-Youm said that to keep SMS rights they 'were expected to pay' 500,000 Egyptian pounds (87,700 dollars) for the permit and an additional 500,000 Egyptian pounds for insurance in case they were found violating the new regulations.

The Administrative Court said the government's action were a restriction on freedom of expression and an unjustified intrusion on the SMS alert services. It is not yet clear if the government will try to appeal the verdict.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 1:39 PM | permalink

November 26, 2010

During boring classes, texting is the new doodling

A recent study shows that texting at the school has surpassed doodling, daydreaming and note-passing to become the top classroom distraction. The Wall Street Journal reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe anonymous survey of 269 Wilkes students found that nine in 10 admit to sending text messages during class — and nearly half say it's easy to do so undetected.

... "If it's a really boring class, texting is a nice alternative to having to sit there and focus," said Markley, a senior computer science major at Wilkes. But, he conceded, "there are definitely times when it takes away from your concentration. Suddenly you'll be at the end of the period and say, 'What did we do today?'"quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 6:16 PM | permalink

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

turkey-and-tech-its-a-little-weird-when-your-family-gets-geeky.jpeg

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

[Norman Rockwell from Gizmodo]

emily | 8:12 AM | permalink

Foursquare releases "Baggage Handler" Badge

Baggage Handler badge.png As millions of travelers prepare for the US’s busiest travel weekend of the year, foursquare has released a new badge picking up on America’s latest punchline, the TSA. It’s called Baggage Handler.

To unlock the badge, all you need to do is check in at any airport and include something like “TSA,” “grope” or — my personal favorite — “Don’t touch my junk, bro!” in your shout. The unlock text reads:

quotemarksright.jpgLooks like you’ve had your baggage handled. Happy Holidays and have a safe flight! quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via Foursquare]

emily | 8:02 AM | permalink

November 24, 2010

Give thanks not thx on Thanksgiving

NotThx_Ad_3.jpeg A pair of New York ad executives are asking families to “give thanks not thx” on Turkey Day and just turn off the cell phones. [via Lehigh Valley Parenting]

quotemarksright.jpgMark DiMassimo and Eric Yaverbaum even will send free turkeys to select people who sign the pledge to go offline on Thanksgiving at Offlining a website they created to encourage people to take a break from electronics and reconnect with the family.

Experts have said that families who eat dinner together have better communication and stronger connections – but not if no one’s talking to each other.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 4:43 PM | permalink

Statue of an Angel with a Cell Phone orns Cathedral in Holland

angelwithcellphone .jpeg

Spotted on Portablegear, a statue of an angel holding a cell phone on St. John's Cathedral (Sint-Janskathedraal), Den Bosch in the Netherlands.

I knew of Saint Isidore of Seville as the Patron Saint of the Internet, could this be the patron saint of cell phones?

According to Tom, Editor of Portablegear, the mobile phone of the angel has only one button. That is because, according to the artist, "the angel only has to call God".

emily | 3:39 PM | permalink

November 23, 2010

Text Messages link to choking game

Parents are being urged to be vigilant after text messages encouraging a lethal choking game were sent to two South Auckland girls, prompting one to accidently kill herself, reports the New Zealand Herald.

quotemarksright.jpgInspector Gary Hill, of Counties Manukau police, yesterday said another 12-year-old girl was involved in a "self-harming incident" the same day.

Both girls, who attended different schools, are believed to have received text messages that detailed how the "choking game" - where a person attempts to self-strangulate to receive a brief high - was done.

Six primary and intermediate schools are affected.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:37 PM | permalink

Hizbullah Says Israel Planted Secret Lines in Its Members Cell Phones

Naharnet reports that according to senior Hizbullah MP and Lebanon's telecommunications minister, Israel has bugged the mobile phones of members of Hizbullah, allowing it to send false text messages and to track the phones' movements.

quotemarksright.jpgLebanon has filed a complaint to the United Nations over the Israeli spy networks. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:07 PM | permalink

The politics of cell phones

funphone.jpg The Pew Research Center has performed an important piece of analysis that ought to shape the way we look at polls over the next two years. And its findings have real political impact, so please read on even if you're not obsessed with public opinion surveys. [via The Washington Post]

quotemarksright.jpgThere has been much debate in recent years over whether telephone surveys conducted only on landlines have produced distorted findings because so many Americans, particularly the young, now use only cell phones only. Pew has shown that this fear is justified. And it notes that this problem is growing. In essence, landline-only polls give the Republicans a measurable advantage.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related articles on cell phones and polling results.

emily | 8:59 PM | permalink

Indian Banks Introducing Instant Mobile Retail Payments

A new mobile retail payment system backed by some large banks in India will allow fund transfers between different banks and the use of SMS to make transactions from even low-end phones -- features that are expected to make the system popular with consumers. PC World reports.

quotemarksright.jpgBecause the Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) from National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) can support transactions from even low-end phones, the service will be accessible to a larger number of Indian consumers, A.P. Hota, managing director and CEO of NPCI, said on Tuesday.

Until now mobile phone banking transactions in India were mainly possible between account holders of the same bank, Hota said. The new service will give a boost to mobile phone banking, as customers will be able to conduct transactions with account holders in other banks, he added.

... To initiate a mobile payment, all that a sender has to do is key in the beneficiary's mobile number, the beneficiary's MMID, the amount to be sent and the MPIN. The sender will get SMS confirmation for the money sent.

The disbursal of funds to recipients of such services can be facilitated by banks at ATMs or through business correspondents.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 5:12 PM | permalink

India. Ban on mobile phones for unmarried girls

panchayat.jpeg A village panchayat (or assembly) in Muzaffarnagar, of the India State of Utter Pradesh, has banned the use of mobile phones by unmarried girls, a move they feel would prevent them from eloping with their lovers. Times of India reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe all caste and community panchayat met at Lank village of the district on Tuesday and discussed the "bad effects" of mobile phones on youngsters and passed the order.

"The panchayat has imposed a ban on the usage of mobile phones by unmarried girls to prevent them from eloping with young boys against the wishes of their parents," panchayat spokesman Rajender Malick said.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:49 PM | permalink

FCC Updating 911 for the Texting Generation

{92A44731-1438-4FFE-9757-94B8EE4C30B3}.gif In a bid to bring the life-saving emergency service 911 into the 21st century, the FCC is looking at letting citizens report crimes through text messages and even stream video from their mobile phones to emergency centers. Wired reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe 911 system still can’t handle text messages, multimedia messages or streaming video, all of which could be very helpful to first responders. A system that could handle those messages would also allow people to report crimes without being overheard, which could be useful in situations ranging from kidnapping to seeing someone being robbed on the street.

In a press release announcing Tuesday’s changes, the FCC pointed to the now-infamous shooting rampage at Virginia Tech as an example of how a more modern system could be useful.

... “The technological limitations of 9-1-1 can have tragic, real-world consequences,” the release said. “During the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting, students and witnesses desperately tried to send texts to 9-1-1 that local dispatchers never received. If these messages had gone through, first responders may have arrived on the scene faster with firsthand intelligence about the life-threatening situation that was unfolding.”quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related:

-- Alcatel-Lucent unveiled its new emergency system for cell phones. BMC

-- NOVES: Non-voice emergency services

emily | 2:35 PM | permalink

eBay for iPhone adds barcode scanner

ebayiphoneapp.jpg eBay's latest version of its iPhone app will allow you to access a new 'Quick View' home screen to see your various buyers and sellers and instant updates on items.

quotemarksright.jpgeBay, a leader in mobile commerce and the world's largest online marketplace, today released a new version of its main iPhone application that adds selling functionality and leading RedLaser barcode-scanning technology," explains eBay.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via TechRadar]

emily | 8:56 AM | permalink

Apple Offering Free “Find My Phone” Feature

FindMyPhone.jpg Among a number of updates to Apple’s iPad software announced Monday, the company is also offering a free feature that can help locate a missing iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Bits Blog reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe software, which is called “Find my iPhone,”will be offered at no charge for customers who have upgraded to the latest iOS 4.2 mobile software. In the past this feature was bundled into the Mobile Me suite, which costs $100 a year. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:34 AM | permalink

November 19, 2010

Reuniting refugees? There’s an app for that

refugeesunited.png

With inspiration from the likes of Facebook, two Danish brothers have harnessed the power of the internet for a greater social good. Business Review Europe reports.

quotemarksright.jpgChristopher and David Mikkelsen founded Refugees United, an NGO that uses secure web and mobile technology to enable refugees to find loved ones throughout the world.

The existing web-based system allows refugees to create and search profiles in order to find loved ones by name or identifying characteristics.

By expanding the program from web-based to mobile phones, the organisers hope to reach people in areas with poor computer access and training. Now, people can utilise the Refugees United system over simple SMS or WAP-enabled phones.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Previously:

-- Refugees to reunite with their families through mobile platform

-- Mobile application reconnects refugees with loved ones

-- Refugees in Uganda use mobile phones to trace family


emily | 6:17 PM | permalink

UK. Twitter use 'could lead to mistrials'

LordJudge.jpg Court-based tweeting is likely to increase the risk of a mistrial and misuse of the internet by jurors must stop if the jury system is to survive, Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice has said. The Telegraph reports.

quotemarksright.jpg"We cannot stop people tweeting, but if jurors look at such material, the risks to the fairness of the trial will be very serious, and ultimately the openness of the trial process on which we all rely would be damaged," he said.

"We have to remember that tweets stay on the internet and to allow court-based tweeting is likely to increase the potential for prejudicial material regarding a defendant or a witness to become available on the internet."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related:

-- Internet and cell phones raise new jury concerns

-- Khmer Rouge Trial Tweeted Live

emily | 6:07 PM | permalink

Wristband recharges your cellphone

Clunky wristband provides emergency power for your gadgets.jpeg

Spotted on Dvice, a wristband that will recharge your cell phone.

[via Gizmodo.fr]

emily | 9:39 AM | permalink

Deaf inmates Allowed to use Videophones in Virginia Prison

alcatraz-prison-picture-3.jpegFollowing a lawsuit for discrimination by deaf and hard of hearing inmates at Powhatan Correctional Center in Virginia, the prison will become the first major institution in the country to install a videophone so that hearing impaired inmates can communicate with family and friends.

[via The Washington Post]

emily | 8:57 AM | permalink

Cell Phone 'Telemonitoring' May Help Control Blood Pressure

Researchers are exploring a new mobile phone monitoring system that automatically picks up patients' home blood pressure readings, which is then sent out wirelessly via radio signals from monitoring equipment outfitted with Blue-tooth technology. Business Week reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe cell phones are pre-programmed to transmit the blood pressure readings and receive appropriate feedback (which appear instantly on the cell phone screen).

Good readings may prompt a message of "Congratulations," while problematic results may trigger a message advising the patients to make a check-up appointment with their doctor. The interactive system may also instruct patients to take more readings over a specified period of time to get a more reliable overall reading.

What's more, if any two-week or three-day period exceeds a pre-set average reading threshold, the patient's doctor would be automatically notified. In addition, doctors would be able to log online to check their patient's readings.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Relateld:

-- Cellphones monitor glucose, weight and blood pressure

-- D.I.Y. Diagnostics as close as your cellphone

-- An app to check your glucose

emily | 8:36 AM | permalink

November 18, 2010

Bill Gates on Cell Phone Science

448x252.jpeg A short post by Bill Gates on some very interesting work utilizing cell phones to improve health care where resources are limited.

quotemarksright.jpg... For example, Mark Thomas will be leading a team at VaxTrac to field test a mobile phone-based vaccination registry that uses fingerprint scans to track people who have received immunizations. The goal is to reduce redundant doses and increase coverage levels in developing countries.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full post in gatesnotes

emily | 8:10 AM | permalink

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