Archives for November 2011

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November 30, 2011

Mobiles for conflict management in Yemen

Yemen-Hadramout3_2.jpeg An interesting post from on how virtual meetings using mobile phones are helping to resolve tribal conflicts in Yemen.

quotemarksright.jpg... A tribal dispute hotline was created to receive notifications about developing disputes in order to address them before they escalate and become violent. After the dispute notification is received, the trained tribesmen in that area are contacted to react to the complaint, and resolve it in its early stages.Tribal leaders on both sides are called to start a negotiation process and propose an arbitrator to resolve the dispute.

This process has been largely effective and in many cases prevented wider conflicts from emerging. In fact, many of the regional and tribal wars in Yemen were initially a result of small disputes that due to the lack of communication channels between tribes, turned into brutal conflicts that in some cases lasted for decades. And although the use of mobiles in conflict resolution in Yemen relies on the most basic of its functions, the outcomes are promising.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image.

emily | 6:18 PM | permalink

Facebook’s Phone Revealed!

Easy target. Fun! from All ThingD.


emily | 9:26 AM | permalink

Researchers shrink 3G phones' power needs with proxies in cloud

Researchers at a Finnish Aalto University wanted to make Internet access easier for developing countries with less-than-reliable power grids. But the proxy system they developed can work anywhere, and reduce the drain on smartphone's batteries by as much as 74 percent.

[via arstechnica]

emily | 9:18 AM | permalink

Is Siri Pro Life? Apparently Yes

Apple iPhone 4S' Siri can find you hookers in your neighborhood. Siri can find you Viagra. Siri can find you a local surgeon to give you breast implants. But if you ask Siri for an abortion clinic in New York City, it will tell you "Sorry, I couldn't find any abortion clinics." [via Gizmodo]

Good grief, give Siri a break.

emily | 8:47 AM | permalink

Researcher’s Video Shows Secret Software on Millions of Phones Logging Everything

An Android developer has produced a video of how the Carrier IQ software secretly installed on millions of mobile phones reports most everything a user does on a phone. Wired reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThough the software is installed on most modern Android, BlackBerry and Nokia phones, Carrier IQ was virtually unknown until 25-year-old Trevor Eckhart of Connecticut analyzed its workings, revealing that the software secretly chronicles a user’s phone experience — ostensibly so carriers and phone manufacturers can do quality control.

But now he’s released a video actually showing the logging of text messages, encrypted web searches and, well, you name it.

Eckhart labeled the software a “rootkit,” and the Mountain View, California-based software maker threatened him with legal action and huge money damages. The Electronic Frontier Foundation came to his side last week, and the company backed off on its threats. The company told last week that Carrier IQ’s wares are for “gathering information off the handset to understand the mobile-user experience, where phone calls are dropped, where signal quality is poor, why applications crash and battery life.

The company denies its software logs keystrokes. Eckhart’s 17-minute video clearly undercuts that claim.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 7:59 AM | permalink

November 29, 2011

Cell Phone Apps to Get Age Ratings

esrb.pngThe US wireless trade association and the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) have announced a new rating system for cell phone apps.

quotemarksright.jpgThe CTIA Mobile Application Rating System with ESRB will utilize the well-known and trusted age rating icons that ESRB assigns to computer and video games to provide information about the age-appropriateness of applications.

AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless are the founding members of the rating system, and other storefronts have indicated their interest in joining.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[Bloomberg Businessweek via Cellular News]

emily | 8:45 PM | permalink

Smartphones Are Just 27% Of Mobile Phones Worldwide

Worldwide, smartphones represent a minority of mobile devices, accounting for just 27% of the market.

[TheNextWeb via PSFK via @JRanck]

emily | 8:35 PM | permalink

TED App comes to the iPhone


TED has just lanched an iPhone app. Adapted from their award-winning iPad app, the new TED iPhone app allows users to browse and watch TEDTalks, videos ranging from 3 minutes to 18 minutes in length. TEDTalks feature great ideas from speakers on everything from genetics and geopolitics to sculpture and creativity.

[via TED blog]

emily | 8:30 PM | permalink

To self-diagnose, spit on an iPhone

Handheld gadgets could one day diagnose infections at the push of a button by using the supersensitive touchscreens in today's smartphones. New Scientist reports.

quotemarksright.jpgMany believe that in the future collecting samples of saliva, urine or blood could be performed using a cheap, USB-stick-sized throwaway device called a lab-on-a-chip. The user would inject a droplet of the fluid in the chip, and micropumps inside it would send the fluid to internal vessels containing reagents that extract target disease biomarker molecules. The whole device would then be sent to a lab for analysis.

But Hyun Gyu Park and Byoung Yeon Won at the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology in Daejeon think touchscreens could improve the process by letting your phone replace the lab work. Park suggests the lab-on-a-chip could present a tiny droplet of the sample to be pressed against a phone's touchscreen for analysis, where an app would work out whether you have food poisoning, strep throat or flu, for example.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:15 PM | permalink Wants Teens To Text For Social Good

inline-teen-text-for-good.jpeg Through a new membership model Do Something is counting on text messages to create a movement of 5 million teenage activists by 2015. Can they get Generation Text to care about poverty, hunger, homelessness, and disease? FastCompany reports.

quotemarksright.jpgCellphones, Nancy Lublin, CEO and chief “old person” at, believes are the key to getting teens to act. isn't asking for donations, it simply wants to continue to grow its platform to get more youth fired up about social causes. And targeting those under 18 can have a formidable impact on social change.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:08 PM | permalink

Cell-Phone Devices to Track Shoppers Halted After Complaints

A trial of technology that uses shoppers' cell phones to track their movements through malls was halted amid Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat's concerns that the practice violated privacy.

[via The San Francisco Chronicle]

Previously: - Malls track shoppers' cell phones on Black Friday

emily | 8:07 AM | permalink

Twitter buys Whisper Systems Which Creates Privacy Tools for Activists

redphone.png textsecure.png According to The Wall Street Journal, Twitter on Monday announced the acquisition of a two-person startup called Whisper Systems, whose technology protected people’s mobile-phone calls and text messages from being obtained by third parties such as governments.

quotemarksright.jpgWhisper Systems created a suite of services for human-rights activists or other privacy-conscious individuals, which were used by activists during the recent “Arab spring” actions.

... One piece of software from Whisper Systems, called RedPhone, encrypts people’s voice communications, while another called TextSecure scrambles text messages. A third Whisper service let people download applications from the Android Market without sending private information to the application developers, who sometimes require it.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:00 AM | permalink

November 28, 2011

Savvy stars turn tweets into gold

quotemarksright.jpg... Kardashian's fee is not disclosed but her less-famous sister Khloe is rumoured to earn $US8000 per tweet to promote jeans, jewellery and, er, wind turbines. Other celebrities, including actor Lindsay Lohan and rapper Snoop Dogg, are reported to charge up to $US10,000 per tweet.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via The Sydney Morning Herald]

emily | 9:08 PM | permalink

Arabic the fastest-growing language on Twitter with 2000% growth

twitter.jpeg English is the most used language on Twitter, but Arabic is by far the fastest-growing language on the service, with a growth rate of more than 2000% over the last year.

quotemarksright.jpgA study of all tweets made last month showed a daily rate of more than two million Arabic posts, up from 30,000 in 2010, making the language the eighth most-popular on the service, behind Korean, Dutch, Malay, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and English.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via TIME Techland]

emily | 8:47 PM | permalink

Uganda launches 'Stop Corporal Punishment Now!' SMS campaign

P1010087%20%282%29_0.jpeg TextToChange reports on their text messaging campaign in Uganda which aims to stop corporal punishment against children.

quotemarksright.jpg At the moment there is no law that stipulates and enacts a full ban on corporal punishment in Uganda. As a consequence, children all over the country report that the practice continues without much consequence for the perpetrator.

The overall aim of the campaign is twofold:

-- To increase awareness on the effects of violence against children in general and physical and emotional (corporal) punishment in schools and communities in particular

-- To hold duty bearers in schools and communities to account for their (in-) actions to end violence against children and physical and emotional punishment.

As final activity on December 10th children are able to hold their community leaders accountable for the SMS messages they sent themselves. These results will be submitted in a petition in Kampala.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via @mobileactive]

emily | 8:23 PM | permalink

Disruptions: Fliers Must Turn Off Devices, but It’s Not Clear Why

28disrupt-tmagArticle.jpeg Millions of Americans who got on a plane over the Thanksgiving holiday heard the admonition: “Please power down your electronic devices for takeoff.” Bits reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAnd absolutely everyone obeyed. I know they did because no planes fell from the sky.

Yet, in 2010, no crashes were attributed to people using technology on a plane. None were in 2009. Or 2008, 2007 and so on.

Surely if electronic gadgets could bring down an airplane, you can be sure that the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, which has a consuming fear of 3.5 ounces of hand lotion and gel shoe inserts, wouldn’t allow passengers to board a plane with an iPad or Kindle, for fear that they would be used by terrorists.

New technologies are often greeted with fear and that is certainly true of a disruptive technology like cellphones. Yet rules that are decades old persist without evidence to support the idea that someone reading an e-book or playing a video game during takeoff or landing is jeopardizing safety.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

Related articles on cell phones (not to be) used on planes blogged by textually over the years.

emily | 7:58 PM | permalink

Your cell phone, Congo's misery

CNN reports on a new documentary film, "Blood in the Mobile," powerfully addresses both the limits of the imagination and our sense of connection to atrocities committed on the other side of the world.

quotemarksright.jpgThrough a shaky camera in the damp and dark mines of eastern Congo, filmmaker Frank Poulsen introduces us to some of the young men (and even children) toiling at the first stage of Congo's lucrative business in tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. But the wealth of this industry doesn't really benefit the Congolese miners for their back-breaking, perilous and poorly paid work -- not by a long shot.

Militia groups and factions of the Congo's army control many mines, imposing heavy "taxes" on miners for whom there are few alternatives for making a living. Juxtapose these gritty images of Congo with shots filmed at the headquarters of Nokia, the electronics powerhouse that sells these minerals in its consumer products, and you have a message that is difficult to ignore: the cell phones, laptops, digital cameras and other products we have come to rely on link all of us to the conflict in Congo.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

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

emily | 7:48 PM | permalink

November 27, 2011

Delta Air Lines Adds Bag Tracking on Smart Phone App

In the early Internet days, circa 1996, one of the most impressive features and success story was FedEx's website that allowed customers to track their packages. Now Delta Air Lines is offering an app that allows you to check on your bag. Seattle PI reports.

quotemarksright.jpgOnce you enter your bag’s code (with the iPhone you can scan it) you are able to watch it board your plane and find out what carousel it will show up on after you land. Or you might also be able to watch as it goes to Hawaii as you fly to Ohio. Even though that would be a negative experience overall, at least, it allows you to plan ahead of time. You won’t have to stand at baggage claim for an hour waiting for your bag, just to find out that it did not make it. You can go straight from your flight to a customer service representative.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more and watch video.

emily | 6:17 PM | permalink

November 25, 2011

'Electro-oversensitive' man in mobile phone blackout threat

A Swedish man who sometimes wears a silver-coloured suit to protect himself from mobile phone mast radiation had demanded that local officials in Dalarna in central Sweden create a “radiation-free zone” to protect his health that may leave half the county without mobile phone coverage.

[via The Local]

emily | 7:36 PM | permalink

China is world's largest smart-phone market

China passed the United States to become the world's largest smart-phone market by volume in the third quarter as the devices became cheaper and more widely available, research firm Strategy Analytics said, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.

quotemarksright.jpgShipments in China reached a record 23.9 million units, up 58 percent from the second quarter, it said. That compares with a 7 percent drop to 23.3 million units in the United States.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:17 AM | permalink

November 24, 2011

In new ad, Samsung takes stab at Apple fans

Spotted on Adverblog, Samsung's new ad making fun of "self-hypnotising" iPhone fans.

emily | 9:49 AM | permalink

Twitter adds location to messages


Twitter has announced the addition of Places on and, letting users tag their messages with their location, the company said in a blog post Monday.

Over the next week, Twitter will roll out Places to users in 65 countries. Users should keep an eye out for the "Add your location" link.

[via ComputerWorld]

emily | 9:43 AM | permalink

CSi: Crime Scene iPhones Yield Forensic Evidence, Confusion About Data Handling

What smartphone and tablet data can be captured and analyzed? How does one do that correctly? And how reliable is the information, anyway? These are other questions beguile law enforcement officials as they confront mobile forensics. FastCompany reports.

Related articles on mobile phone forensics blogged by textually over the years.

emily | 9:29 AM | permalink

20-Year Sentence for Text Messages Against Thai King

King-Bhumibol-460_794319c.jpeg A retired truck driver was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday for sending cellphone text messages that a court deemed insulting to Thailand’s monarchy.

quotemarksright.jpgThe conviction is the latest in a growing number of cases in Thailand under a law imposing harsh penalties for making insults or threats directed at King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 83, and his family, even in private communications.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via The New York Times]

emily | 9:02 AM | permalink

Billboards Feature Anti-Texting Safety Message

20111122222655ENPRNPRN19-OUTDOOR-ADVERTISING-TEXTING-1y-1322000815MR.jpeg The Ad Council launched a national public service campaign about the dangers of texting while driving. via The Sacramento Bee.

The multi-media campaign includes TV, radio, outdoor advertising, and online banner ads. One fourth of the overall production budget was allocated for out-of-home media, and nearly 800 billboards have been ordered.

Read full release.

emily | 8:52 AM | permalink

Psychiatrists are integrating texting in their practices

Forbes reports on how psychiatrists are integrated texting in their practices.

quotemarksright.jpgSome psychiatrists, like Dr. Alan Manevitz, at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, encourages his patients to text message what’s happening in their lives in real time.

Once upon a time, Manevitz says, people came to their psychiatrists to lie on the couch and free-associate, ratting off whatever was on their mind. Now, texts let us do this from the field. “Texts allow us to capture people’s voices in the situations they’re in, right when they’re in them. Then when they come in to the office, we talk about what’s happened, but I’m already aware of it through their texts in the preceding week. The events are captured instantaneously. This is not from memory (which can pose accuracy problems), it’s in real time.”

Texts also allow patients to be more comfortable opening up about their experiences than they tend to be in person. They’re more willing to reveal the thoughts they’ve had, says Manevitz, or the choices they’ve made, which is particularly true for teens who are experimenting with new activities and substances that they might be ashamed to reveal on the couch.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article .

emily | 8:46 AM | permalink

Iridium brings satellite connection to your iPhone

Default.png Iridium is offering its first iOS app called the Iridium AxcessPoint Mail & Web App to bring satellite connectivity to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Slashgear reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe app itself is free, however, you still need to purchase one of Iridium’s satellite phones to act as the hotspot access point to share the satellite data connection with your iOS devices. The phone itself will cost about $1,000 to $1,500 while the bandwidth is charged at $1 per minute of usage.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more via engadget.

emily | 8:39 AM | permalink

November 23, 2011

SMS Data Link Keeps Tabs on the Lions

africa_x220.jpeg As mobile phone use soars in Africa, even Kenyan lions are sending SMS messages. MIT Technology Review reports via @jrank.

quotemarksright.jpgCollars worn by the lions send out messages to a computer system that maps their location. The project is aimed at cutting conflict with local Maasai herders to keep locals, lions, and livestock safe.

Research company Ground Lab, based in New York City, made the collars and worked with nonprofits Living with Lions and Lion Guardians to fit them to lions and cattle in southern Kenya.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

Related article on texting wildlife, including moose, geese, baby seals, panthers, elephants, zebras, bears, dolphins, great whites, fish from the East Rive, wild dogs, pigeons and groundhog Punxsutawney Phil.

emily | 5:36 PM | permalink

Safaricom unveils mobile health service

Safaricom has teamed up with 'Call-a-Doc' to launch a service that will enable people to access medical services over the phone, according to the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation website. [via Telecom Paper]

quotemarksright.jpgThe service is called 'Daktari1525' and will enable Safaricom's subscriber base of over 18 million to call doctors at any time of the day and receive expert advice on health issues.

Dialling 1525 will connect the user to the Safaricom call centre, and a doctor will be on hand to assist. The service will be charged at KES 20 a minute and is expected drastically to reduce hospital visits and medical expenditure.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 5:28 PM | permalink

Unlikely that 'Sleep-texting' is a growing phenomenon or exists at all

e5eb55ed45ef8ecd0ed716bc4214.jpeg According to The Telegraph, an growing numbers of cell phone users are “sleep-texting” - text messaging friends while asleep.

quotemarksright.jpgSleep experts said the phenomenon was a natural extension of the younger generation's reliance on modern technology.quotesmarksleft.jpg

All that while sleeping? I seriously doubt it. To send a text message on an iPhone for example, you would have to:

-- activate your phone from sleep mode
-- swipe for it to open
-- click on the SMS app
-- click on the "write a message" icon
-- scroll to find a contact
-- type a message
-- send

Sleep texting has been in the news before, in 2008 - and was met with the same scepticism.

emily | 12:00 PM | permalink

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