Archives for October 2011
October 31, 2011
Civil liberties group raises concerns over Met police purchase of technology to track public handsets over a targeted area, reports The Guardian.
Britain's largest police force is operating covert surveillance technology that can masquerade as a mobile phone network, transmitting a signal that allows authorities to shut off phones remotely, intercept communications and gather data about thousands of users in a targeted area.
Read full article.
October 29, 2011
Worst Halloween costume ever? via adverblog on Facebook.
San Francisco may have gone too far in mandating warnings about the radiation coming out of cell phones, a federal judge ruled on Thursday, reports CNet.
The ruling, reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, called for San Francisco to tone down its message and to remove the requirement for retailers to post warnings on their walls.
Mobile will play a big role for eBay as it migrates to an open ecommerce ecosystem that will enable developers to create new services and apps that enhance online and mobile shopping. MobileCommerce Daily reports via Paul Swanson+.
At its Innovate Developer Conference yesterday, eBay announced its new X.commerce open commerce ecosystem, a deeper integration with Facebook and PayPal Access, which lets consumers use their PayPal login information to pay on retailers’ sites. The moves point to eBay’s desire to play a bigger role in all types of commerce, including mobile commerce.
October 28, 2011
The Opinion Page of The New York Times has an interesting article on how the Canadian Foodgrains Bank is providing Somalians with paper vouchers that they can use in shops of selected local merchants - instead of waiting in long lines in designated areas where sacs of grain are distributed.
It made me think of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Syria that rolled out not paper, but electronic food vouches for Iraqis, using SMS.
Iraqi families eligible for e-voucher food assistance are given a SIM card and received a text message with a code during each two-month food distribution cycle. The voucher can be redeemed in selected government shops. After each transaction an updated balance is sent by SMS.
US car maker Ford has added a 'Do Not Disturb' feature to "My Key" that will block mobile phones whilst driving. The Inquirer reports.
MyKey launched in September in Europe, enabling parents to pre-program a master key that sets various limits on the vehicle, like speed, the volume of music or or failure to fasten seatbelts .
In what Ford is calling an industry first, the feature will be able to block phone calls and text messages to a driver's mobile phone whilst they are driving with the My Key system. It is designed to give parents peace of mind and encourage younger drivers to concentrate on driving.
Click here to enlarge.
The Washington Post on a new grievance reporting service to use for sending complaints via text message to the Indian government about problems in villages.
lmost everyone in this village in central India has a complaint. Electricity comes only three hours a day. The road has potholes. Widows’ pensions arrive late. The school lunch program often runs low on food.
October 27, 2011
An analysis of mobile financial services usage in the US shows that 32.5 million Americans accessed mobile banking information on their devices at the end of Q2 2011 in June, representing 13.9 percent of all mobile users.
The comScore study also revealed that 12.7 million mobile users reported using banking apps, showing a notable increase of 45 percent from Q4 2010.
Voice is the new black when it comes to interacting with our gadgets - and Google and Microsoft aren't about to let Apple's Siri personal assistant hog all the limelight.
A Canadian lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, was brought on behalf of all Blackberry owners in the country, and accuses RIM of breach of contract. A similar complaint has been filed in the US.
Read full article.
October 26, 2011
Fifty-year-old Brit Trevor Prideaux, a catering manager from Somerset, England, who was born without a left forearm, came up with the idea to integrate a smartphone into his prosthetic. News.com and Cellular News report.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Prideaux of Wedmore, Somerset describes how he sought help from medical experts and communications chiefs at Nokia to build the special prosthethic. "I think this is the first time this has ever been done in the world - and it is brilliant. "I can now take calls and make texts just by using my one hand, while the phone sits inside my arm.
Next week, for the first time, as an alternative to calling or texting in a vote for a singer on “The X Factor,” Twitter will make it possible to vote with a message to the show’s account. The New York Times reports.
The voting option is the result of a new technological investment by Twitter and is a reflection of the company’s symbiotic relationship with the television industry.
Read full article.
John Volakis, the director of the ElectroScience Laboratory at Ohio State University is working on “smart textiles”: wearable fabrics with embedded electronics that can collect, store, send and receive information. They could be used in military apparel, everyday t-shirts, or hospital gowns.
... An antenna hospital gown could transmit data like heart rates to a health professional’s computer. Such wireless monitoring could be used not only in hospitals, but also in people’s houses, to remotely keep tabs on the sick and elderly while they move about unencumbered.
[via The New York Times]
-- BAE body wearable antenna takes smart phones to war - British military company BAE Systems has developed different types of wearable antennas to reduce the load that soldiers have to carry.
-- Antennas in Your Clothes? New Design Could Pave the Way - Ohio State University researchers are finding ways to incorporate radio antennas directly into clothing, using plastic film and metallic thread.
October 25, 2011
It’s one of the latest gee-whiz advancements in runner-tracking technology within the past decade. It started with text messages of finish times to runners and their supporters, evolved into more sophisticated systems that relayed the pace of participants at several points during the race and has now reached social media platforms, along with mobile phone apps and GPS devices that allow spectators to follow every step of the way.
Read full article.
Spotted on Barack Obama's 2012 Tumblr, a campaign volunteer packaging up cell phones to be sent out to the Ohio offices.
In early September, 29 community health workers began using Nokia cell phones as the latest tool in the fight against cholera. The specially programmed phones help track information about cholera patients in isolated communities throughout Haiti’s Central Plateau – an important step in gathering the up-to-date infection data that could prevent more deaths.
Fans of Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber looking for more than their 140-character tweets may soon be able to follow and hear their idols chatter over a new online service. Reuters repors.
Voice microblogging service Bubbly, which allows people to send Twitter-like short sound messages, has grown to reach more than 12 million clients in Asia in just 18 months and plans to take the service global this year.
Read full article.
A wonderful article by Jeremy Wagstaff in The Guardian on why Siri's voice was male in the U.S. and female in the UK.
MPs have accused Vodafone, Everything Everywhere, Three and O2 of using mobile phone theft as a "stealth tax" and urged them to slash charges for calls made on stolen mobiles. The Telegraph reports.
In an Early Day Motion (EDM), a cross-party group of more than 20 MPs said that mobile operators should charge customers the wholesale rate for calls made after phones are stolen, rather than the "much higher" retail charges that they currently face until the theft is reported.
According to consumer research organisation Which?, nearly 6m people in Britain have had their mobile phones stolen in the past five years.
October 24, 2011
Still in beta testing mode, Estonian Qminder is a queue management system that spares consumers the need to wait in line in person, not just at hospitals and doctor’s offices, but also at banks, restaurants and stores. Springwise reports.
After downloading the app, customers can “take a number” remotely, which marks their place in the virtual queue. In return, Qminder estimates how long the wait promises to be and sends a notification when the user’s turn approaches.
The Health Metrics Network (HMN) priority strategic initiative called MOVE-IT aims to improve monitoring of vital events ― births, deaths and causes of death ― through innovation and the use of information technologies.
Tens of millions of births and deaths go unrecorded each year and reliable data on causes of death are lacking for the majority of the world's population. MOVE-IT aims to contribute to reversing the lack of progress over several decades by supporting the development of standards and tools, advocacy, and innovative country projects.
This is an e-mail I received from one of my readers, under the cover of anonymity, reporting first hand on how text messaging was successfully used in the Tunisian elections.
Am contacting you hoping you will kindly accept to write a short post about the fact that SMS texting has been very massively used in the Tunisian elections, the elections has finished today (23 October) and it lasted 4 days, from 20 to 23 October).
First launched to assist with the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, Person Finder offers tools that allow people to publish missing person reports and other individuals or organisations to offer information that helps find them. The tool can also be embedded in third-party websites.
Local transactions by Kenya’s mobile money service, M-Pesa exceeds Western Union’s global transactions
Launched in March 2007 by Kenyan telecoms operator, Safaricom, the service which now has over 14 million users in Kenya is currently the world’s most successful mobile payments system. The NextWeb reports.>
Local transactions by Kenya’s mobile money service, M-Pesa currently exceeds transactions made by Western Union globally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports. According to the IMF, “M-Pesa now processes more transactions domestically within Kenya than Western Union does globally, and provides mobile banking facilities to more than 70 per cent of the country’s adult population.
October 23, 2011
San Francisco’s cell phone law mandating cell phone retailers to disclose the radiation from the devices has been delayed, as CTIA has sued to overturn the law and moved to block the implementation, reports IBTimes.
The CTIA, a trade group representing cell phone companies, has sued the law saying it is a violation of their First Amendment rights.
October 22, 2011
EU MEP Tiziano Motti (Italy), wants everything you do online to be logged and saved, for the sake of the children. Like a black box installed on every computer. He proposes an early warning system of criminal activity, specifically whenever an image of sexually abused children is detected, an alarm, goes to the authorities to be able to see who uploaded it. activepolitical.com reports.
His proposal involves a technology called Logbox. And just as with an aircraft's black box, Logbox is installed on computers, laptops, smartphones, and e-readers because yes, all that can be connected to the internet.
This clip from Sunday's 60 Minutes profile gives us a rare opportunity to hear one of the most serendipitous moments of Jobs' life—from his own voice. [via Gizmodo]