Archives for March 2011

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March 31, 2011

Rebecca Black to Sing About Text Messages in Second Single 'LOL'

Of course this blog does not like it when mockery is made of text messaging, so Aceshowbiz news that Rebecca Black is coming out with new text-messaging-themed single called "LOL" is cause for great concern...

The 13-year-old American singer's first single "Friday" was collectively coined “an abomination” and “worst song ever”. After the first two week on YouTube, the video racked and in over 66.9 million views and 1 million comments.

emily | 5:21 PM | permalink

First Facebook App for Texting and Tweeting Via SMS

heywire-marketing-copy.jpeg

HeyWire Facebook App lets Facebook users text worldwide for free and Tweet via SMS from within Facebook, all in one app.

For the first time, Facebook users worldwide can use a real phone number to send and receive unlimited texts with friends and family worldwide using the HeyWire Facebook App or the HeyWire app for iOS and Android devices.

Texting conversations follow users from the HeyWire Facebook App to their smartphone or tablet and vice versa. Read a message from anywhere and respond on any device.

Read full press release.

Previously, about HeyWire: - HeyWire - Text for free around the world

emily | 4:59 PM | permalink

March 30, 2011

Beginning of the end for Congo’s conflict minerals?

conflict-minerals.jpeg Conflict minerals dug from the hillsides of eastern Congo are key components in electronic gadgets bought by Western consumers but a new financial act in the US that comes into force this week may help bring an end to an illegal trade that fuels the fighting in eastern Congo. Global Post reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe ‘Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’ is designed to clean-up banks and prevent a repeat of the recent financial crisis, but in among its provisions is a section specifically on Congo’s conflict minerals requiring American companies to audit their supply chains to ensure that they are not using conflict minerals in their products.

Coming into effect on 1st April the new law is expected to have far-reaching effects from Wall Street to Congo.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from gottabemobile.

Related links to articles on conflict minerals blogged by textually over the years.

emily | 6:40 PM | permalink

Four jailed in China for sending phone text

Four Chinese men have been sent to prison for sending millions of spam text messages without having a licence from the government telecommunications body. [via TwoCircles.net]

quotemarksright.jpgThe four men sent 300,000 group messages to mobile phone users every week for their clients without a license from China Telecom, a court was told.

The spam messages included advertisements for housing, furniture, downloads of ring tones and mobile games, the China Daily reported.

The accused admitted sending the mass texts but said they never sent anything related to pornography.

The four men made over 300,000 yuan (around $45,750) from their illegal operation. They have been jailed from periods ranging from 13 to 18 months.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Full article.

emily | 6:36 PM | permalink

Bronx Zoo's missing cobra speaks out on Twitter

BronZooCobraTwitter.jpg

The Bronx Zoo may still be looking for its missing cobra, but a tongue-in-cheek Twitter user called BronxZoosCobra is charting its supposed progress to a quickly growing number of followers (117,560 at the time of this post).

One entry riffed on the weather and New Yorkers' fears of the slithering escapee:

quotemarksright.jpg"It's getting pretty cold out. I think it's probably time to crash. Oh look, an apartment window someone left open just a crack. Perfect!"quotesmarksleft.jpg

Another,

quotemarksright.jpgCity may not sleep, but I'm ready to. Ooh a chimney! I bet you bragged to your friends about having a working fireplace in NYC. Hi roomie.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Fun!

Read full article

emily | 11:38 AM | permalink

Nearly 50% of tweets consumed are from tiny fraction of Twitter users

twitter.jpeg According to USA Today, a mere 20,000 Twitter users steal almost half the spotlight on Twitter, which now ropes in a billion tweets every week.

quotemarksright.jpgThat means only 0.05% of the social network's user base attracts attention, according to a new Yahoo Research study titled, "Who Says What to Whom on Twitter."

Of the 260 million tweets with URLs that the study's authors analyzed, nearly 50% of the tweets consumed were created by what they called "elite" users who fall into four categories: media, celebrities, organizations and bloggers. "Ordinary" users encompass everyone else.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 11:33 AM | permalink

March 29, 2011

Federal Courts Worry Your Smartphone Might Be a Bomb

The Good Wife: Alicia in court.jpeg Smartphones could offer journalists and the public an easy and cost-effective method to provide online updates of court proceedings — which is why it’s always been frustrating that many federal jurisdictions don’t allow the devices into courthouses. Now, thanks to a newly issued document, we know why.

Terrorism.

Read full article in Wired.

emily | 9:03 AM | permalink

GPS check-ins taking off

Check-ins from GPS-enabled apps are wildly popular. But what happens when people start faking their coordinates?

New Scientist reports.

emily | 8:54 AM | permalink

March 28, 2011

The smart phone that knows when you're driving

texting_D_20110324161437.jpeg A mobile phone that can sense when it is in a car and severely limit its functionality will go on sale in the US later this year, writes stuff.

quotemarksright.jpgUS telecommunications giant Sprint says it will soon add software called ''Drive First'' to its Android-based mobile phones that will dumb them down to encourage their owners to focus on driving, and not the phone, while they’re behind the wheel.

According to Sprint, the software developed by a company called Location Labs will lock the mobile phone’s screen and redirect all calls to voicemail.

It will also automatically block text messages and alert the sender that the driver is unavailable, and limit access to three key contacts and three applications, such as GPS-based navigation.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image above from the AP of a sign over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston.

Related:

-- Smart-phone aids to reduce distraction (Consumer Reports magazine April 2011)

emily | 7:35 AM | permalink

March 27, 2011

Mobile phone charges drain text donations to charities

Text ASIA to 30333.jpeg Mobile-phone companies have been criticised for charging fees to process charitable donations made via text message, an increasingly popular way of giving. Many people who give money using their mobile phones are unaware that some of the cash may end up going to the operators, with smaller charities complaining they can lose as much as 20% of a donation via text message. The Guardian reports.

quotemarksright.jpg... In a sign that the mobile-phone operators are anticipating a backlash from consumers, 02 and Vodafone have scrapped all charges.

"We're seeing a lot more charities use text donations and our customers keep telling us it's an easy and simple way of supporting charitable causes," said Vodafone UK chief executive Guy Laurence.

... Separately, pressure has been mounting on Apple to allow donations via iPhone apps. Apple's guidelines stipulate donations must be collected through a website or in a text message, not via an app. An online petition urging Apple to change its guidelines has attracted almost 40,000 signatures from around the world.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from Lite959.

emily | 8:08 AM | permalink

March 26, 2011

Teachers in England to search pupils' mobile phones

Plans to allow teachers in England to search pupils for mobile phones and examine the phones' content have been called "reckless" by a teaching union, reports the BBC.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Education Bill for England will give the teachers a legal right to search pupils and take their phones - and also look at and delete any messages and pictures they deem necessary.

But the Teachers Trade Union (NASUWT) says it will create conflict between teachers and pupils and their parents.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 5:07 PM | permalink

Apple Wins Skirmish in Nokia Patent War

Apple Inc won a round in its patent fight with Nokia on Friday as a U.S. trade panel judge ruled that the U.S. company did not violate any of five Nokia patents.

[via The New York Times]

emily | 10:24 AM | permalink

Google Releases Group Messaging App Called Disco

DiscoiPhoneApp.jpg Yesterday, Slide, Google's social gaming company, quietly released Disco, an iPhone app that allows group SMS messaging. The app, which was first revealed by TechCrunch, enters a crowded market -- it seems like half the new apps debuted at SXSW earlier this month involved group messaging.

Read full article.

emily | 10:16 AM | permalink

U.S. develops "panic button" for democracy activists

Some day soon, when pro-democracy campaigners have their cellphones confiscated by police, they'll be able to hit the "panic button" -- a special app that will both wipe out the phone's address book and emit emergency alerts to other activists. Reuters reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe panic button is one of the new technologies the U.S. State Department is promoting to equip pro-democracy activists in countries ranging from the Middle East to China with the tools to fight back against repressive governments.

The U.S. technology initiative is part of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's push to expand Internet freedoms, pointing out the crucial role that on-line resources such as Twitter and Facebook have had in fueling pro-democracy movements in Iran, Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:12 AM | permalink

March 25, 2011

World champion chess players accused of cheating by text

Chess Set 43.jpeg According to The Independent, the world of international chess has been thrown into uproar by accusations of intricate "cheating by text message" against three senior French players.

quotemarksright.jpgTwo grandmasters and an international master have been found guilty by their own national organisation of "violating sporting ethics" at the Chess Olympiad – world team championships – in Khanty-Mansiysk Siberia in September.

The trio, who deny the charges, were accused of devising an elaborate scheme – using text messages and choreographed movements around the competition hall – to convey advice from a computer programme while matches were in progress.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related:

-- Iranian chess player expelled for cheating by SMS at Dubai Open Chess tournament (April 2008)

-- Indian chess player banned for 10 years after cheating with Bluetooth (December 2006)

emily | 9:29 AM | permalink

Competing for Summer Internships, Using a Twitter

More than 300 applicants submitted 13 comments on Twitter in 13 days. The agency chose 32 finalists from that group, who were interviewed for six spots.

[via The New York Times]

emily | 9:10 AM | permalink

March 24, 2011

Cell phone wristwatch confiscated in Solano prison

article.jpeg

This cell phone wristwatch was among 1,800 phones confiscated at Solano prison in Vacaville between 2006 and 2009.

[via The San Francisco Chronicle]

emily | 8:17 PM | permalink

Why It Might Take Three Months for Your Text Donations to Get to Japan

text-to-donate.jpeg Donations by SMS worked well for Haiti. But donations by SMS may not reach Japan until three months later. Gizmodo explains why.

quotemarksright.jpgBecause Japan has been deemed a non-emergency situation and is under a different policy than what happened with Haiti. Here's the deal. For non-emergency donations, the carriers will only give the money you've donated once they have your money in their pocket, which means they have to wait until you pay your monthly bill (with the tacked on donation) before any money goes to Japan. Some say the process can take anywhere from 30-90 days.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

Related: - Americans Pledge Millions to Haiti, but Cash Flow Takes Weeks - depending on carrier

emily | 7:48 PM | permalink

Cell Phone Exposure May Cause Bone Weakening

Now cell phones are being blamed for bone weakening, according to a new study study in the March Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.

Add this to the wide variety of afflictions - such as making children fat, affecting brain activity - but not in a good way, hurting your vocal chords, harming your body cells and damaging your DNA, bringing on RSI, giving a headache or an earache, triggering the onset of Alzheimer, creating an addictive disorder, undercuting male fertility, encouraging teenage promiscious sex or leading to sexually transmitted diseases and my favorite, using a cell phone while pregnant 'can lead to behavioural problems in children' - to name just a few.

But back to this new study. According to Newswise, "men who routinely wear their cell phone on their belt on the right side have reduced bone mineral content and bone mineral density in the right hip, according to the study by Dr. Fernando D. Sravi of National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina."

Actually, this is not new. A study by Turkish researchers, published in the September 2009 issue of the very same Journal of Craniofacial Surgery and reported by Health US News, suggested that "electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones may have a harmful effect on bone density".

emily | 6:53 PM | permalink

Taliban stop cell phone signals in key Afghan province

taliban1.jpg Mobile phones have fallen silent in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province on the orders of the Taliban, reports Reuters.

quotemarksright.jpgAcross Afghanistan, insurgents have destroyed network towers of companies that refuse to shut them down when ordered, arguing foreign forces use the signals to monitor militants.

Night-time blackouts have become a fact of life for Afghans in more insecure areas, but a total stoppage is unprecedented.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related:

-- Fighting the Taliban, one text message at a time

-- Cell Carriers Bow to Taliban Threat

-- Mobile Phones combat Taliban's Afghans "Information Wastelands"

-- Radio, cell phones to help US in Afghanistan?

-- Once media-shy Taliban go hi-tech in propaganda war

-- British Intelligence bomb Taliban with SMS in psychological warfare

More on the Taliban and cell phones

emily | 1:05 PM | permalink

Anti-Virus Vendor Accused of Installing Viruses Onto Mobile Phones

A Chinese anti-virus software company has been accused of deliberately installing viruses onto people's mobile phones in order to charge them to remove it, reports Cellular-News.

quotemarksright.jpgA report by the Chinese State-TV service claimed that NetQin - which has recently filed for a stock market listing in the USA - would covertly install a malware app into a handset whenever its own anti-virus program was installed.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:37 AM | permalink

March 23, 2011

Donations to Japan via text, Web more popular among those under 40

Americans under 40 are now "just as likely" to give donations to disaster relief via electronic means as through more traditional avenues, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. And giving in the wake of Japan's disaster is evidence of that. MSNBC Technology reports.

quotemarksright.jpgMore than a third of those who have already donated (36 percent) say they made their contribution digitally — online, through text messages or email," Pew said in its report.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:23 PM | permalink

Tiger Woods Talks About His New Swing App

iPhone Screenshot 1.jpeg Tiger Woods has launched an instructional iPhone app.

quotemarksright.jpgTiger Woods: My Swing app allows someone to record your swing using your iPhone and for Tiger to give you virtual feedback by comparing your swing to one of his swings. CBS talked to Tiger about the idea and the execution.

The app cost $9.99 with all of the proceeds going directly to Woods charity to impact kids.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 10:16 PM | permalink

Customers can withdraw Bank cash with just a cellphone

South Africa's First National Bank, which is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday announced the launch of a new service that allows customers to withdraw funds from ATMs using their mobile phones instead of their bank cards. Self Service World reports.

quotemarksright.jpgTo use First National Bank's cell phone banking, customers must log onto Cellphone Banking and select a banking option. They then must choose withdraw cash and the account from which they want to take the funds, such as checking or savings.

Once the customer completes this step, the bank sends an SMS text message with a temporary PIN. The PIN is good for 30 minutes to make a cash withdrawal from one of the bank's more than 4,500 ATMs. Customers only can use the temporary PIN once.

First National Bank initially launched cell phone banking in 2005, and the financial institution has more than 2.7 million customers, said a bank spokesperson.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. FNB press release.

emily | 9:53 PM | permalink

Airport seating charges your phone with PowerKiss

Mobile charging airport.jpeg

VentureBeat reports on Finnish startup PowerKiss that builds wireless chargers into furniture. The company has just announced a partnership with airport seating supplier Zoeftig, to enable mobile users to charge their phones while they wait to board a plane or train.

Ring_White.gif

quotemarksright.jpgPowerKiss makes a small receiver (the Ring), which plugs into mobile phones, and an electrical transmitter, which is built into a piece of furniture like a table (the Heart). You place your device on the table and it charges wirelessly. Currently, the Ring is only available for phones, but PowerKiss plans to add new receivers for laptops.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:59 PM | permalink

As Phones Become Wallets, Many Have Hands Out

The New York Times in a lengthy article on mobile wallets and the players involved: mobile phone carriers, banks, credit card issuers, payment networks and technology companies - all vying for control. And how now, the pieces are finally starting to fall into place.

emily | 8:21 PM | permalink

Is this the death of the telephone?

Ava Gardner.jpeg The Guardian on the death of the telephone.

quotemarksright.jpgBT's plans to hike up charges for landline use, coupled with our modern reliance on mobiles, texting and email, could spell the death of the traditional phone call. And our lives will never be quite the same

... The demise of the landline has gone almost unnoticed. After all, the din of mundane phone chatter is all around us – on the bus, at the next table in Pret. What difference does it make whether the cables lie underground or not?

A lot, actually. The death of the landline is a cultural shift that affects our personal and public lives.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Just for fun, a photo gallery of actresses calling on the phone.

Related sort of: - Don’t Call Me, I Won’t Call You

emily | 3:54 PM | permalink

MTN launches life insurance via cell phones in Ghana

Cellular service provider MTN said on Wednesday that it has launched a mobile phone life insurance scheme in Ghana in a bid to expand mobile financial services for low-income markets. The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The South Africa-based company touted the service as "the first of its kind in the world" - not true though - South African insurance company Metropolitan Life introduced a service called Cover2Go in 2007, using Clickatell mobile messaging technology, to offer insurance cover to those on lower incomes in South Africa.

quotemarksright.jpgThe MTN he service lets mobile phone users buy life insurance by sending a text message to a number that will take them to a series of menus, or by going to an MTN service centre to register for a policy that can then be managed by phone.

Clients will pay their premiums through the company's mobile money service.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

Links to other Insurance policies b SMS.

emily | 3:35 PM | permalink

Bill to bar prison cellphones passes key vote in California Senate

Prison Inmate.jpeg After adding the threat of jail time for prison workers caught supplying cellphones to inmates, the Public Safety Committee approves the bill (SB 26 Padilla), sponsored by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). The Los Angeles Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpgA proposed law against taking cellphones into California prisons passed a key vote Tuesday, but the measure would exempt prison employees — considered a main source of phones used to arrange crimes from behind bars — from screening by metal detectors as they go to work.

Requiring prison guards to stand in line for airport-like security checks would cost the state millions, according to legislative analysts. That is because members of the politically powerful corrections officers union are paid for "walk time" — the minutes it takes to get from their cars, or the front gate, to their posts inside the prisons.

... In 2009, a corrections officer garnered $150,000 in a single year by smuggling phones to prisoners. He was fired but was not prosecuted because it is not against the law to take cellphones into prison, although it is a violation of prison rules for inmates to possess them.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 1:34 PM | permalink

US senators urge end to drunk driver 'apps'

US senators on Tuesday pressed Google, Apple, and Blackberry maker Research in Motion to pull the plug on applications - like Phanthom alert - that can help drunk drivers use smart phones to elude police checkpoints.

[via The Telegraph]

emily | 10:38 AM | permalink

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