Archives for May 2011

Displaying entries of 126
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May 23, 2011

The Imaginary iPhone

PalmPhone.jpg The “imaginary phone” determines which iPhone app a person wants to use by matching his or her finger position to the position of the app on the screen. MIT Technology Review reports.

quotemarksright.jpgGerman Researchers in Potsdam Germany from the Hasso Plattner Institute are working on a system that would let you perform actions without even holding the phone—instead you'd tap your palm, and the movements would be interpreted by an "imaginary phone" system that would relay the request to your actual phone.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:20 AM | permalink

May 22, 2011

Social Networks Distract at Work. Seriously

The proliferation of collaboration and social tools designed to increase productivity is actually costing businesses millions of dollars per year in lost productivity, according to a survey of more than 500 employees in U.S. businesses of all sizes conducted by online market research firm uSamp and commissioned by social email software provider

quotemarksright.jpgNearly 60% of work interruptions now involve either using tools like email, social networks, text messaging and IM, or switching windows among disparate standalone tools and applications.

In fact, 45% of employees work only 15 minutes or less without getting interrupted, and 53% waste at least one hour a day due to all types of distractions.

That hour per day translates into $10,375 of wasted productivity per person annually, assuming an average salary of $30/hour.

That is more than the average U.S. driver will spend this year to own and maintain a car. For businesses with 1,000 employees, the cost of employee interruptions exceeds $10 million per year.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Full press release via PC World.

emily | 8:44 PM | permalink

The Sunday Times Launches "The Social List"


Social media users will no longer have to guess blindly who among them is the Number One social networker. UK-based newspaper the Sunday Times has unveiled "The Social List", which determines a social networker's "worth" through an algorithm designed to calculate social media across four major sites: Twitter, Facebok, LinkedIn, and Foursquare.

[via International Business Times]

emily | 2:26 PM | permalink

Telephone tree in Afghanistan. Jan Chipchase profiled in FastCompany


TELEPHONE TREE: “These four mobile phones are all active and are all owned by one person, and he carries all of them on him. In Afghanistan, if you want to be polite, you get one phone for each of the operators that your friends are using, so when they call, their costs are lower.”

This image and text are part of Jan Chipchase's slideshow on Afganistan published in FastCompany which profiled Jan Chipchase, textually's favorite person and the James Bond of design research.

emily | 1:42 PM | permalink

May 19, 2011

Yet Another Study on Cell phone use reducing male fertility

sperm.jpeg Feels like 2005 again. Yet another new study claims mobiles phones have a negative impact on men's fertility.

quotemarksright.jpgMen who have been diagnosed with poor sperm quality and who are trying to have children should limit their cell phone use. Researchers have found that while cell phone use appears to increase the level of testosterone circulating in the body, it may also lead to low sperm quality and a decrease in fertility.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article in Science Daily and click here for similar studies published in textually over the years.

Also: Clothing manufacturers take no chances:

-- Smart pants for Cell-Phone users - Singapore-based garment manufacturer Crocodile International, will be launching smart pants or "Radiguard' specialty trousers" for cell-phone buffs.

-- Not-so-hot pants keep cell phones cool - Levi Strauss announced the launch of a new Dockers' model with anti-radiation-lined pockets.

emily | 7:29 PM | permalink

Facebook security feature uses text messages


Facebook is launching a new security feature that helps prevent unauthorized use of your account. WEWS reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe optional security feature only works if you opt in. It’s called Login Approvals. When you login into Facebook from an unrecognized computer, you need to enter a code that’s sent to your mobile phone. If you don’t have your phone with you, you won’t be able to access Facebook until you go to a recognizable computer.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 6:00 PM | permalink

Social Flights offers Group Deals on Private Jets


Social Flights taps into your social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and allows you to organize flights on private jets with a group of your friends. This can cost as little as $400 a person, depending on the luxuriousness of the plane, the number of passengers and the destination.

[via Bits]

emily | 4:09 PM | permalink

Journalists increasingly using social media as news source, finds study

Social media is being used more and more in newsrooms as a tool for newsgathering and verification, according to a new study. reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe fourth annual Digital Journalism Study, published by the Oriella PR network, polled 478 journalists from 15 countries and found that 47 per cent of them used Twitter as a source, up from just 33 per cent last year.

The use of Facebook as a source went up to 35 per cent this year from 25 per cent in 2010.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 3:32 PM | permalink

JustTextGiving allows any charity to receive donations by SMS


JustTextGiving is a new service that allows any charity in the UK, big or small, to receive donations via text message. It’s completely free to set up and run, and 100% of the donation, plus Gift Aid, goes to charity.

According to an article in The Guardian, substantial set-up costs have also been a barrier to entry, but the launch of the free text donation service, JustTextGiving, a partnership between Vodafone and JustGiving, may well be what we've all been waiting for.

emily | 3:18 PM | permalink

Amazon Launches Trade-In Program Cell phones and Gadgets

You can now trade-in your old tablet, cellphone, camera and MP3 on Amazon's trade-in website. You simply print the shipping label Amazon has provided, stick it on the box and mail it for free.

Once Amazon receives your gadget, they will deposit store credit direct into your Amazon account.

Read How to Trade In Your Items for more information.

[via GizmoCrunch]

emily | 9:45 AM | permalink

PayPal Android App Gets Check Deposit Feature


The official PayPal Android app now lets users add funds to their online money account by snapping a picture of a check. The feature is the latest in mobile banking apps that offer remote check deposits.

PayPal added the functionality to its iPhone app last year.

[via AppScout]

emily | 9:18 AM | permalink

May 18, 2011

India. Ralway launches SMS campaign to curb trespassing


Here's an unusual SMS alert from India.

Western Railway has launched an SMS campaign to spread awareness against the dangers of crossing the railway tracks.

Sent out monthly, these SMSes will contain warning, emotional appeal as well as request to use foot over bridges or subways.

[via the HindustanTimes. Image from the WSJ.]

emily | 10:38 PM | permalink

Lady physcially removed from train for talking on cell phone in Amtrack quiet car and "Annoying Cell Phone Guy"


A woman has the Internet cheering her fate after she was escorted off an Amtrak train by the police this weekend. She allegedly refused to stop talking loudly on her cell-phone, according to Yahoo News.

ABC News, reporting on the incident on TV, included a segment on "Annoying Cell Phone Guy" from He's featured in a series of videos where he talks VERY LOUDLY in public places on an oversized cell phone. Rude? Yes. Point well taken. Watch Annoying Cell Phone Guy on a Train - and in other situations.

emily | 9:39 PM | permalink

Fears Iran hacked IAEA mobile phones

Accordig to The Huffington Post, the UN nuclear agency is investigating reports from its experts that their mobile phones and laptops may have been hacked into by Iranian officials looking for confidential information.

Apparently the equipment was left unattended during inspection tours in the Islamic Republic, diplomats have told The Associated Press.

Read full article.

emily | 9:08 PM | permalink

India. Illegal constructions? Just send an SMS

Times of India reports on a SMS service launched by The Jaipur Development Authority, enabling users to file a complaint against any illegal construction in their locality.

emily | 8:10 AM | permalink

May 17, 2011

Jail solves cell phone problem: Landlines in every cell with restricted numbers. Brilliant.

LowdhamGrPris.jpeg Phones smuggled in prisons are a recurring issue all over the word, with stories of inmates using the phones to carry on their business from the inside. But accessing phone booths in jail - too few for too many - leads to violence amongst inmates, frustrated not to be able to reach their families.

quotemarksright.jpgBut now, reports The Guardian, an English prison has come up with a brilliant yet simple idea:

At Lowdham Grange, a category-B prison in Nottingham, prisoners can make phone calls from landlines in their cells 24 hours a day. Prisoners there submit a list of numbers to be approved, then pay in advance for their calls, which can be monitored.

"The introduction of in-cell telephony at Lowdham Grange was followed by significant improvements in prison security, including a marked reduction in attempts to smuggle mobile phones into the establishment," says Vicky O'Dea, prisons operations director at Serco. "The number of prisoners failing random mandatory drug tests also fell following the introduction of the scheme."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more. Image from the Independent.

emily | 10:07 PM | permalink

Caught stealing a cellphone, taliban force children to become suicide bombers

The Guardian reports on how young Afghans are being coerced into joining jihad with threats of violence and promises of martyrdom.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Taliban gave Noor Mohammad a simple choice – either they would cut off his hand for stealing or he could redeem himself and bring glory on his family by becoming a suicide bomber.

Held in Taliban custody in a different village from his parents, after allegedly stealing mobile phones during a wedding party in his village, the 14-year-old boy went for the second option.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:00 PM | permalink

Mobiles for Women: The Darker Side

WomanMobileMarket.jpeg Targeting women with mobile phones and mobile-based projects can bring great benefits and opportunities, as Mobile outlined in Part 1 of a series on women and mobiles. But, there is a “darker side” to this world, which includes changes in gender relations and power dynamic, a potential increase in violence, substitution of money or a change in expenditures, invasion of privacy, and increased control by a male partner.

Read full article.

emily | 9:58 PM | permalink

Texting still going strong in Canada

In Canada, texting on cellphones is bigger than ever. The Globe and Mail reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAccording to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, 56.4 billion texts were sent in Canada in 2010, up 60 per cent from the 35.3 billion sent the previous year.

Of those texts sent in 2010, about 2.3 billion were of the common short code text variety, which are often used to interact with businesses and charities. That was up 36 per cent over 2009.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 9:35 PM | permalink

App Developper: "The Age Of Social Sharing Has Reached Its End"

Jason Schwartz, cofounder of Matchbook, a bookmarking app for places, isn't embracing social. Instead, he's purposely snubbing the whole concept in lieu of something "classier."

quotemarksright.jpgThe age of social sharing [and broadcasting everything] has pretty much reached its end," Schwartz says. "I think moving forward we will see a new era of more classy social sharing that's more indicative of people's real social interactions in the real world. Social interactions online aren't like the real world at all.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article in Business Insider.

emily | 9:19 PM | permalink

Art Installation Uses Audience's Text Messages As Inspiration

TheAttendent.jpg SimonSays.jpg

Passersby communicate with performance artists via text at the Lower Manhattan installation of “The Attendants.” NY1 reports.

quotemarksright.jpg“If you have an urge to communicate with performers inside the cube, you can communicate by texting a message into the cube and the performers can respond to that message. The message, once you text it in, turns up on the screens and it can be seen by both the audience outside the cube and also by the performers inside the cube.

There was also a live stream online with a spot for sending a message in from anywhere around the globe.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Watch video.

emily | 7:13 AM | permalink

May 16, 2011

Tapping into smart health

healthapp.jpeg Use of mobile applications, many medical professionals believe, could make an important difference in patient compliance, reports The Boston Globe.

quotemarksright.jpg... Researchers at the University of Washington provided eight diabetic patients with services such as feedback on glucose levels and connection to care providers through cellphones and game systems. The study, published last month in the journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, found patients liked using the system and felt more aware of their health needs as a result.

In Toronto, a study of more than 100 heart-failure patients reported that many were comfortable using mobile apps to manage their conditions

And because even people in some of the world’s poorest, least-developed areas often have cellphones, studies are looking at mobile tools to support HIV care, health education, and more. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:19 AM | permalink

May 15, 2011

Head of IMF/DSK sexual assault scandal broke on Twitter first


Head of IMF/DSK sex scandal broke on Twitter first with a tweet by French student Jonathan Pinet. Jonathan Pinet tweeted at 5 pm EDT, an hour before the story hit the press. Translation below:

quotemarksright.jpgA friend in the US has just told me that #DSK has been arrested by the police at a NYC hotel an hour ago.quotesmarksleft.jpg

In a second tweet Pinet replies to @NSEmpire :

quotemarksright.jpg@NSEmpire : "I don't know, but apparently he knows from a friend who works in this hotel. We will see if the news is confirmed.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Following which French paper LePost spinned a story on Pinet claiming he was implicated in a conspiracy to harm DSK. This accusation has been discredited as ludicrous. More on conspiracy theories.

@GilleKlein. Related article in Europe1 (in French)

emily | 2:56 PM | permalink

How to Dial a Rotary Telephone

A blast from the past, a film on how to dial a rotary telephone.

As dial telephones were introduced - replacing operator service - instructions were shown in movie theaters as to how to use the new instruments.

Watch also a film explaining The revolution Internet in 1993.

[via FastCompany]

emily | 2:30 PM | permalink

Burkina Faso: Texting to help child domestic workers

children work as domestic.jpeg In Burkina Faso, domestic workers - mostly children are underpaid, sometimes work up to 18 hours per day, and often experience exploitation and abuse.

One person is doing something about it - thanks to text messaging. Humanitarian News and Analysis reports.

quotemarksright.jpgNaba Wangré, manager of the child labour project at the Burkina Faso Red Cross, sends bluntly worded text messages to government officials, employers, traditional leaders, teachers, business owners and housewives several times a year, trying to reduce the widespread exploitation of domestic workers by raising awareness of their rights.

... Sending text messages via cellphones is one of the most effective ways of passing information to a mass audience, said Ken Banks, founder of FrontlineSMS, which tries to help non-profit organizations deploy mobile technology.

Project Masiluleke in South Africa was one of the most successful examples of behaviour change as a result of an SMS campaign, in which text messages with HIV awareness and testing information organization were sent out, resulting in a spike in voluntary testing.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from the BBC.

emily | 10:36 AM | permalink

Compared to asbestos, a ban on mobile phones and wireless networks in schools is proposed by European leaders

A Council of Europe committee examined evidence that the technologies have "potentially harmful" effects on humans, and concluded that immediate action was required to protect children, reports The Telegraph.

quotemarksright.jpgIn a report, the committee said it was crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes made when public health officials were slow to recognise the dangers of asbestos, tobacco smoking and lead in petrol.

Fears have been raised that electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices can cause cancers and affect the developing brain.

... The conclusions contradict advice from the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health, which says exposure to electromagnetic fields poses little or no risk to human healtquotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Council of Europe full report:The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment

emily | 8:07 AM | permalink

May 14, 2011

FaceTime consultation apps for physicians

Teladoc_logo_CMS.jpeg This summer telehealth services provider Teladoc plans to launch a group of iPhone and iPad medical apps for physicians that will enable them to collaborate using Apple’s FaceTime videocalling app. MobileHealth News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgTeladoc offers consumers consultations with licensed physicians for routine medical issues. The visits are on-demand and can be scheduled any time — day or night — and any day of the week. Currently the consultations can take place over the phone or via a video chat online.

Teladoc has completed 80,000 consultations, which last about 12 minutes on average.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more


-- Drug Makers Replace Reps With Digital Tools (WSJ) - Tens of thousands of pharmaceutical sales reps have been eliminated in the U.S., creating a void that drug makers are now increasingly filling with websites, iPad apps and other digital tools to interact with doctors who prescribe their treatments.

Doctors can use the tools to ask questions about drugs, order free samples and find out which insurers cover certain treatments. Sometimes drug-company representatives will engage them in live chat, or phone them back if they have more questions.

emily | 9:25 AM | permalink

Google launches "News Near You" for mobile

Google News for mobile lets you keep up with the latest news, wherever you are. Now Google has added a new feature in the U.S. English edition called “News near you” which surfaces news relevant to the city you’re in and surrounding areas.

Now you can find local news on your smartphone. Here’s an example of a “News near you” mobile section automatically created for someone in Topeka, Kansas:

topeka screenshot.png

[via Google News Blog]

emily | 8:42 AM | permalink

In Japan, Twitter Users "Tap to Follow" Friends Using NFC

twitter.jpeg Japan's largest mobile operator NTT DoCoMo and Twitter have announced a partnership that allows the operator access to Twitter's database. As a part of the deal, users will be able to tap phones in order to follow each other on Twitter.

Read full article in ReadWriteWeb]

emily | 8:07 AM | permalink

May 13, 2011

Africa: mobile phones, radio promote rights, says Amnesty International

Much needs to be done to secure human rights in Africa, but "the tide is turning" and mobile phones and FM radio have arguably done more than most other conventional methods to pursue this objective, reports Amnesty International in its annual report. [via The Guardian]

quotemarksright.jpg... Technology will serve the purposes of those who control it – whether their goal is the promotion of rights or the undermining of rights. We must be mindful that in a world of asymmetric power, the ability of governments and other institutional actors to abuse and exploit technology will always be superior to the grass-roots activists, the beleaguered human rights advocate, the intrepid whistleblower and the individual whose senseof justice demands that they be able to seek information or describe and document an injustice through these technologies.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full report.

emily | 9:55 PM | permalink

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