Archives for September 2011

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September 30, 2011

The Moon Jump iPhone app

MoonJump.jpg Spotted on Adverblog, the Moon Jump iPhone app.

quotemarksright.jpgThe idea is very simple and it’s basically a physical crowdsourced experience. Download the iPhone app (for free), you will get a message, the message will tell you when you should jump. Everyone who has got this app receives the same message, so let’s jump all together at the same time.

If you jump at the exact time while holding your iPhone, the device can calculate how high everyone jumps at the same time. When total distance of jump reaches to the distance from the earth to moon, the brand behind the app (still unknown) will give you a special gift.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Wild.

emily | 9:39 PM | permalink

Scandinavian Airlines launches TimeKiller app

TheTimeKilleriPhoneApp.jpg Scandinavian Airlines just launched “The TimeKiller”, an iPhone app for all of those who don’t fly with SAS and therefore get frustrated with delayed flights and long waits at the airport.

Watch TimeKiller's promo video. Brilliant.

[via Adverblog]

emily | 8:38 PM | permalink

Bill Introduced To Let Robots Call Your Cellphone

Since '91, it's been illegal for telemarketers to use autodialers and other robot-like devices to call your cellphone. Last week, reports The Consumerist, a bill was introduced to change that.

While in the past email hoaxes have gone around saying that your cellphone could be opened up to telemarketers, bill HR 3035 seeks to let businesses contact your cellphone "for informational purposes."

Here is a letter written by various banking associations supporting the bill.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Be afraid.

emily | 8:22 PM | permalink

Could Cell Phones Benefit Women Entrepreneurs in Developing Countries?

cell-phone_women.jpeg The ExxonMobil Foundation has a long history of investing in women worldwide, committing nearly $50 million to date toward programs that have benefitted thousands. The foundation recently announced a $1.5 million grant awarded to The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women for research into how mobile phone technology can aid women’s business efforts in developing countries. TriplePundit reports.

quotemarksright.jpgInternet access is very scarce in many parts of the world, so many people rely on mobile phones instead. They have already proven to help economic development in developing countries, but currently there are 300 million more male subscribers worldwide, and a woman is 21 percent less likely to own a phone than a man in low- and middle-income countries.

“We know that mobile technology has great potential for placing women in low-income countries on a higher economic trajectory,” said Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in a press release. “Mobile phone use doesn’t just help women earn more money, it can also bring great benefits to businesses and therefore to the wider economy as well.”quotesmarksleft.jpg

Full news release.

emily | 8:08 PM | permalink

The Fed Wants to Know What You're Tweeting

twitter.jpeg If you've been badmouthing the Federal Reserve on Twitter and thinking no one cares, be warned: That's not going to be the case much longer. The Fed is already planning to ensure that it knows exactly what you're saying about it on all forms of social media, reports TIME Techland.

quotemarksright.jpg Responses were due Thursday to a Request for Proposal issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is looking for "a Sentiment Analysis and Social Media Monitoring Solution [to] identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers," in addition to monitoring any and all public online conversations about the Fed, as part of the FRBNY's "Social Media Listening Platforms" initiative.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:24 AM | permalink

Secret memo reveals which US telecoms store your data the longest

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The US' major mobile-phone providers are keeping a treasure trove of sensitive data on their customers, according to a newly released Justice Department internal memo that for the first time reveals the data retention policies of America’s largest telecoms. They go from 4-6 months for Verizon to 18-24 months for Sprint.

The document, marked “Law Enforcement Use Only” and dated August 2010, illustrates there are some significant differences in how long carriers retain your data.

Read full article in arstechnica.

emily | 8:40 AM | permalink

Study examines mood cycles shared on Twitter

twitter.jpeg An innovative study that used Twitter streams from 2.4 million people around the globe to take their emotional temperature found that people start the day in a good mood. But it decreases as work starts, then improves when work ends. Researchers studied 509 million messages sent between February 2008 and January 2010 in 84 countries. USA Today reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe research, published Thursday in the journal Science, is an important part of an ongoing revolution in the social sciences, says Nicholas Christakis, a professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School. Instead of talking to tiny numbers of subjects, researchers can follow the digital expressions of millions of people. "It's a whole new way for social scientists to understand human beings," he says.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:27 AM | permalink

India. Jail inmates go on hunger strike to protest raids on mobile phones

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The Central Prison of Coimbatore witnessed a hunger protest by over 350 inmates on Thursday in response to a massive crackdown on those convicts who use mobile phones. Times of India reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAccording to prison officials, successive raids for contraband goods had made some prisoners furious. They turned against the prison authorities for seizing the banned materials. On Wednesday night, over 350 convict prisoners from 3, 4, 5 and 8 blocks of the central prison had started their hunger protest. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:07 AM | permalink

Kids' Author Writes Book For Mobile Phone

Best-selling children's author Terry Deary has launched a text novel which he wrote on his mobile phone - in an attempt to get kids reading. Sky News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Perfect Poison Pills Plot is a black comedy for young adults which has been narrated by rapper Chipmunk.

Inspired by the popular Japanese 'keitai', the Horrid Histories author typed the story on his Nokia E6 phone with each chapter only 70-100 words long.

Deary told Sky News: "This is an attempt to meet young readers on their own ground. They're so comfortable with texting and mobile phones. "They don't own books, they don't want to read books, they don't even know where to buy books.

The novel, which is 1,500 words long, can be read directly on mobile phones.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related articles about cell phone novels.

emily | 7:54 AM | permalink

DHS Demos Cell Phone-Based Chemical Detector

st_snapshots_cell_all_highres.jpeg

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate demonstrated in front of invited media and webcast guests the first-ever cell phone capable of detecting life-threatening chemical exposures, dubbed the Cell-All.

The S&T worked with commercial vendors to miniaturize environmental sensors and embed them in commercial devices. The cell phone’s capabilities were demonstrated by the Los Angeles Fire Department, which used them to detect a mock carbon-monoxide incident.

Watch video va IWCE.

Previously: Cell-All Could Put Chemical Sensors Everywhere

emily | 7:44 AM | permalink

September 29, 2011

Wall Street protesters use social media app Vibe to communicate anonymously

vibe.jpg A people’s revolution? There's an app to help with that, writes The New York Daily News.

quotemarksright.jpgA leaderless group of "Occupy Wall Street" protesters living in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park are using a smartphone app to communicate with each another – anonymously.

The “Vibe” app allows users to post tweet-like messages to other users' mobile phones without revealing their identities, as no registration is required.

Users can decide how long their “vibes” will exist - 15 minutes, an hour, a day, seven days, or forever. After the selected time is up, the message disappears.

Users can choose how far their messages will travel. A “whisper” can only be seen within 150 feet of the user’s mobile phone; a “speak” can be seen up to 1,500 feet away; a “shout” 3 miles away; a “whistle” 30 miles away; a “yell” 300 miles away – and a “bellow” can be seen worldwide.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:34 PM | permalink

Blood In The Mobile: Film exposes suffering of workers producing parts for our phones

A new documentary titled Blood In The Mobile, which gets its first showing in Scotland last week at the Edinburgh Filmhouse, reveals the origins of minerals such as cassiterite, that are essential to produce some phones and other electrical equipment. The Daily Record reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe documentary shows the appalling conditions children as young as 12 have to work in, often forced at gun point to remain underground doing mining work.

In a situation similar to the blood diamonds of Sierra Leone, armed militias have been waging warfare funded by mining operations, and the film's director has called on the mobile phone industry to ensure all components are conflict-free.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[@Ken Bank]

emily | 9:22 PM | permalink

September 28, 2011

Tweets tell stories that become part of historical record

twitter.jpeg When historians look through the Library of Congress’ Twitter archive years from now, Andy Carvin’s tweets will be among those that help tell the story of the Arab Spring. Poynter.org reports.

quotemarksright.jpgCarvin recently acquired his own archive of tweets, which he plans to turn into a database with the help of his NPR colleagues. Carvin worked with Twitter for six months to get the archive, which includes his 96,000+ tweets dating back to February 2007.

... We may think of our tweets as real-time snippets of information. But collectively, tweets tell stories — about media scandals, natural disasters, political speeches and more. Over time, these stories become part of an important historical record — one that’s made up of a multitude of voices, opinions and ideas. If journalism is the “rough draft of history,” Twitter is the “raw draft of history” — imperfect and less polished, but important nonetheless.

While reported stories often explain what happened, tweets capture news without delays. Similar to the wire dispatches of the past, tweets relay real-time information as it unfolds.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:21 AM | permalink

September 27, 2011

IPhone app flies mini drone plane from 3,000 miles away

Researchers at Boeing and MIT used smart phones to control miniature unmanned aerial vehicles in real time – despite being separated by 3,000 miles.

quotemarksright.jpgThese applications could allow [drones] to be used more effectively for tasks that are dirty or dangerous, as well as for missions that may be too long and tedious to have a human be continuously at the controls,” the company said on its website.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via The Los Angeles Times] Watch video.

emily | 8:20 PM | permalink

India imposes text message

According to the BBC, the telecoms regulator in India has put a cap on the number of text messages which can be sent from a mobile phone to deter tele-marketers.

quotemarksright.jpgUnder the new rules, no-one will be able to send more than 100 texts in a day, officials say.

The ruling is expected to be a big relief for millions of mobile phone users who have to deal with dozens of unsolicited text messages every day.

India has made several attempts in the past to rein in tele-marketing firms who bombard mobile phone users, all unsuccessful.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 12:51 PM | permalink

Rogue mobile phone apps run up huge bills without users’ knowledge

TextingCloseupSMALL.jpeg Mobile phone applications sometimes pose “hidden threats to consumers” and could be subject to greater control, regulator PhonepayPlus has said, reports The Telegraph.

quotemarksright.jpgThe UK regulator of premium rate telephone services said that it had already taken action on apps which maliciously charge consumers without their knowledge or consent.

In one example, a ‘free battery saver’ app contained malware – identified by PhonepayPlus monitoring – that accessed the phone’s text message function and allowed texts to be automatically sent and received. Text messages were then sent that subscribed consumers to a premium rate subscription service without their knowledge or consent.

The service was immediately shut down and an independent tribunal subsequently imposed a fine of £135,000 ($210,000).quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 12:42 PM | permalink

September 26, 2011

Foundation gathers cell phones for Cuban youth

en.jpeg

A group of students and young professionals is looking to strengthen relations between Cuban youth and those in the U.S.

Miami-based Roots of Hope, a nonprofit focused on empowering youth in Cuba, has launched Cell Phones for Cuba (C4C), a campaign to gather and send cell phones to Cuban youth to help them connect with one another.

[via CBS News]

emily | 8:25 PM | permalink

[Infographic] When is the best time to Tweet?

When is the best time to Tweet? According to Adverblog's Infographic "Tweet vs Time", the heaviest twitter traffic is between 9 am and 11 am and between 1 pm and 3 pm.

twitter-vs-time.jpeg

emily | 8:04 AM | permalink

Toy helicopter full of mobile phones fails to make prison drop

312606.jpeg A remote-controlled helicopter that crashed near a prison in Ratchaburi in Thailand was being used to smuggle mobile phones and phone parts to inmates, police said yesterday, according to Asia One.

quotemarksright.jpgSeven mobile phones, four satellite mobile phones, a number of SIM cards, eight mobile phone batteries and three mobile phone screens were found among the wreckage of the helicopter, Ratchaburi provincial police said.

Police said the wreckage of the remote-controlled chopper was found 500 meters from Khaobin Central Prison, but there was no sign of its operator.

The objects intended for smuggling were stored inside a shockproof box attached beneath the helicopter, they said.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[Image from The Bangkok Post]

Related: - Police in Brazil foiled a plot in 2009 to smuggle mobile phones into a high-security prison using a remotely-controlled model helicopter.

emily | 7:51 AM | permalink

September 25, 2011

Mexico Turns to Social Media for Information and Survival

Before the police or news reporters had even arrived at the underpass outside Veracruz where gunmen held up traffic and dumped 35 bodies at rush hour last week, Twitter was already buzzing with fear and valuable information.The New York Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpg... According to scholars and many Mexicans, social media has become a necessity in Mexico, with a mission far different from what has emerged in the Arab revolutions, or in China. In those countries, social networks have been used to route around identifiable sources of repression and to unify groups dispersed over large areas. In Mexico, Twitter, Facebook and other tools are instead deployed for local survival.

... Cellphones are as common as keys; Twitter has more than four million users in Mexico, according to tracking companies; and among the more than 30 million people with regular Internet access, 95 percent have profiles on Facebook.

Many Mexicans now say they trust Twitter more than local news outlets, and in some areas, parents and grandparents are being taught by their children how to get online — specifically so they can be safe.

... "Social media is filling the gap left by the press,” said Andrés Monroy-Hernández, a doctoral candidate from Mexico at the M.I.T. Media Lab. “In different regions of Mexico, both the state and the press are weak, while organized crime is becoming stronger and, in some places, replacing the state.”quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 5:09 PM | permalink

September 23, 2011

A New Academic Study Says Twitter Really Did Play a "Central Role" in the Arab Spring

egypt_protestor_flag_113111-cropped-proto-custom_2.jpeg A new study from the University of Washington suggests that social media, in the form of millions of tweets, played a "central role" leading up to the revolutionary movements that toppled dictators in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year. TPM reports.

quotemarksright.jpgPhilip Howard, an associate professor of communication at UW, headed the research team that analyzed more than three million tweets along with several thousand videos and blog posts to produce the study, titled "Opening Closed Regimes: What Was the Role of Social Media During the Arab Spring?"quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more. @Josh Marshall

emily | 4:34 PM | permalink

Abortion reminders by SMS criticised as 'morally squalid'

Plans by UK abortion clinics to send text-message reminders to women planning terminations have been criticised as "morally squalid", reports The Telegraph.

quotemarksright.jpgBritain's largest abortion provider said it is introducing reminders because some girls and women had forgotten about their procedures.

Critics said the move, by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), gave a disturbing insight into casual attitudes to abortion.

BPAS, which carries out almost one third of NHS-funded terminations, likened the service, which begins in November, to reminders sent out by dentists before check-ups.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 4:30 PM | permalink

USAID Grants to Create a Mobile Banking System That All Afghans Could Use

AfghanistanMobileMoney.jpg In 2002, fewer than 200,000 people in Afghanistan had access to telephones. Today, some 15 million Afghans use mobile phones and a full 85% of the population lives within the combined network coverage of the four major telcos. Cellular News reports via USAid Blog.

quotemarksright.jpgThis technological leap connects Afghans to each other and to the economy in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. And the mobile phone now opens up a world of possibilities for finding solutions to some of the challenges that Afghans face every day.

One important use that is quickly becoming a reality in Afghanistan is the creation of a nationwide mobile financial services sector – using mobile phones to transfer money safely and instantly, reducing the need for cash and giving millions of Afghans who may never see the inside of a bank the ability to use their handsets to conduct basic financial transactions.

Three USAID grants totaling just over $2M, are meant for the development of applications in this field and to begin to create a mobile banking system that could include all Afghans.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Watch video on Afghanistan’s emerging mobile money sector.

emily | 9:32 AM | permalink

NTT Docomo to launch Smartphone jackets that measure radiation

0922020-thumbx300.jpeg Japanese mobile phone giant NTT DoCoMo is developing a smartphone that will measure radiation levels, reports the BBC.

quotemarksright.jpgThe design was inspired by worries over the health implications of the radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The phone will come with changeable "jackets" fitted with sensors, to monitor body mass as well as level of skin-damaging ultraviolet light.

It will be showcased at a tech show in Japan next month.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from Kyodo News.

Related:

-- Silicon 'nose' turns cell phones into toxin detectors - San Diego's The University of California and a startup called Rhevision, are working a tiny silicon chip that can be embedded in cell phones that will detect and then map the location and extent of gas leaks and toxins in the air.

-- Cell-All could put chemical sensors everywhere (2009) - New technology that would add chemical sensing capabilities to cell phones.

-- Radiation detectors in your cell phone (2008) - Purdue University is developing sensors which fit inside a cell phone that can detect radiation, and thus perhaps stop the detonation of a nuclear bomb by terrorists is a bit outlandish to my way of thinking.

-- Saving the World With Cell Phones (2005) - As cell phones evolve to include souped-up games, streaming video and MP3 players, some University of California at Berkeley professors and graduate students want to slip a pollution detector into the mix.

-- Phones that detect terrorist attacks (2003) - A newly opened research center at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA is developing a cell phone that can also detect "dirty bombs" by containing detectors that then upload their information to a central database.

-- PCell phone could warn of gas leaks (2003) - A mobile phone able to warn against fire, leakage of methane or other types of toxic gas has been submitted to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for patent.

-- :Cell Phones - For so much more than just talking (2003) ... And down the road, research is working on cell phones which can warn of gas leaks (thanks to sensors that verify changes in the atmosphere) and cell phones that will be able to warn about the presence of bacteria and viruses (thanks to bio-sensors) or detect dirty bombs (thanks to detectors that can upload information to a central database).

emily | 8:55 AM | permalink

FCC Moves Toward Texting, Video for Emergency Calls

The FCC on Thursday took the first step toward updating the nation's 911 emergency dialing system to receive text messages, pictures and videos, in addition to voice calls. PC World reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe FCC voted to launch a notice of proposed rulemaking, or NPRM, to create a next-generation 911 system that would allow mobile phone users to send text messages, pictures and videos to emergency response agencies by dialing 911.

An updated 911 system will help police and fire departments better respond to emergencies, said James Barnett, chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.

"The ability to send text messages, photos and video clips has become commonplace for users of mobile devices, but our legacy, circuit-switched 911 system does not support these forms of communication," he said. "Adding these nonvoice capabilities to our 911 system will significantly improve emergency response, save lives and reduce property damage.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:44 AM | permalink

September 22, 2011

National Safety Council Answers Distracted Driving FAQ in New Video Series

NSCSafedriving.jpgThe National Safety Council (NSC) has released a new video series that gives the full story on the distractions of cell phone use while driving. EHS Today reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe 2- to 3-minute videos in the “Understanding Distracted Driving” series feature NSC Senior Director of Transportation Initiatives David Teater, who explains the science behind cognitive distraction, why cell phones are a dangerous distraction to drivers, how companies can implement workplace policies for distracted driving and more. He calls the use of cell phones while driving “a dangerous, and oftentimes deadly, combination.”

Teater has a personal tie to distracted driving’s potential for tragedy: In 2004, his 12-year-old son, Joe, was killed in a crash caused by a driver using a cell phone. Today, Teater is a frequent speaker on the topic of distracted driving, has testified before Congress and has appeared before several state legislatures to advocate for restrictions on cell phone use while driving.

“You lose a child and it changes your life forever,” Teater said of his son in one of the videos. “The hardest thing to reconcile is that he died because of a phone call. There was no other reason.”quotesmarksleft.jpg

Watch videos on YouTube

emily | 7:18 PM | permalink

Cell phones may not work in London during The Olympics, warns mayor

Logo_LondonOlympics.jpeg The public may not be not be able to use their mobile phones because of extreme overloading of phone capacity in London during the 2012 Olympic Games the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has warned, reports The Telegraph.

quotemarksright.jpgJohnson said he had been concerned about mobile phone capacity for more than two years but the increasing reliance on smartphones to transmit data, pictures, access the net and the booming use of tablets like iPad was making the task increasingly difficult.

He said: "We are doing a huge amount of work to ensure there is enough coverage. "But we have got to be realistic, in the men's 100m final people want to download huge quantities of data which will put a massive strain on the networks. We are looking to install enough masts and have enough physical infrastructure and coverage for the huge demands, I am confident we will crack it."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:02 PM | permalink

Twitter introduces photo sharing via text message

twitter.jpeg Twitter has added the ability to share pictures through SMS message on select carriers around the world

quotemarksright.jpgStarting today, you can share photos on Twitter by including a photo in your text message," the post reads.

"It's simple: just enter the text of your Tweet as you normally would, attach a photo to the message and send to Twitter.

This feature is currently available with the following carriers: AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Cellular South in the US; Vodafone, O2 and Orange in the UK; Vodafone Italy; Rogers Communications in Canada; VIVA Bahrain; and, TIM Brazil. quotesmarksleft.jpg

[Twitter Blog, SlashGear via TechRadar]

emily | 9:59 AM | permalink

Podcast. Browsing the Web by SMS text messages

In the NYTimes.com Weekly technology Podcasts, Stefan Gromoll, a co-founder of DOTGO, explains how his company’s technology allows users to browse the Web by SMS text messages (about 20 minutes in).

Listen here.

emily | 8:45 AM | permalink

Twitter Starts Selling Political Ads

Twitter starts selling political advertising to Republican presidential candidates and national party committees under a pilot program that allows specific posts to appear in the timelines of people who follow campaigns and to pop up when certain search terms are used.

[via The NY Time's Caucus Blog]

emily | 8:41 AM | permalink

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