Archives for February 2012

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February 29, 2012

Mobile phone running low on battery? Charge up with water

thepowertrek.jpeg The PowerTrekk charger, which converts water into electricity to power a mobile phone, is seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Swedish group myFC says its water-powered charger could be the fix anywhere while battery giant Duracell is championing a push for cars and even stadiums to be built with energy "mats" that would power up phones.


emily | 9:11 PM | permalink

Google+ app' Instant Upload feature is enabled by default. Pics from your iphone upload to Internet without your consent

Google+.jpg While checking my Google+ page, I noticed a photo taken on my iPhone last week that I has no intention to post online. It had been automatically uploaded to my Google+ account via the Google+ app that has an Instant Upload feature that is enabled.

Worse, I checked "Photos from your Phone" and there are 7 other photos that have been automatically uploaded to Google in February.

According to Google, these photos and videos were uploaded from your phone via Instant Upload after you enable it. They are visible only to you until you share them.

Google also says: To get started, enable Instant Upload for Android or iOS. Once you've enabled Instant Upload, all photos taken with your phone will appear in your Photos tab in Photos from your phone. These photos are only visible to you until you post them or move them to an album that you've shared.

I never enabled Instant Upload.

I don't care if "These photos are only visible to you until you post them or move them to an album that you've shared", I never meant for them to be online.

I'm furious.

To disable this feature, Open your Google+ app on your cell phone, click on Settings (wheel-like icon top left), then select Instant Upload and then OFF.

UPDATE 29.02.2012 One day after deleting my photos from Google+, in a vanity search for "Emily Turrettini", personalized results in Google bring up the same images. They have not been deleted!

emily | 6:58 PM | permalink

February 28, 2012

Study: Airbags turn cellphones into projectiles during crashes

Texting and driving can be deadly, but many drivers don't think about how cellphones can injure them during a crash. KSDK reports.

quotemarksright.jpgYou could be poking eyes out and cracking skulls, all kinds of things if that is happening," says Dallas Police Department Senior Cpl. Kevin Navarro.

The department's traffic division said it sees a lot of minor accidents with major injuries to drivers.

"The cellphone is usually right in front of the airbag," Sgt. Paul Hinton says.

Hinton and his team set up a dummy demonstration to illustrate the impact when an airbag going 100 mph hits a cellphone.

Hinton deployed three airbags. Each time, the cellphone hit the dummy in the neck or square in the face.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 6:36 PM | permalink

Facebook is used 19x more than Twitter, 135x more than Google+


quotemarksright.jpgIn December 2011, comScore released a report that concluded Facebook accounts for 1 in every 7 online minutes.

Now, the Internet marketing research company has put those numbers into a social network perspective. Facebook is still completely dominating, of course, but the order of the runners up might surprise you: Tumblr and Pinterest tied for second place, Twitter in third, LinkedIn in fourth, Myspace in fifth, and Google+ in sixth, according to comScore data cited by The Wall Street Journal.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via ZDNet]

emily | 8:15 AM | permalink

Vodafone boss calls for moratorium on mobile phone regulation

The chief executive of Vodafone, Vittorio Colao, has called for a "moratorium on regulation" in the telecoms industry, warning that unless Europe stops imposing price cuts, mobile companies will slash investment in networks. The Guardian reports.

quotemarksright.jpgOn the eve of a European vote to cut the cost of using a phone while travelling, Colao told reporters at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona that the move would cost jobs in the wider economy and that lawmakers faced a choice between a "heaven and hell scenario".

"Does Europe need employment or does Europe need rate cuts? We should stop having this continuous intervention on prices and let the industry reinvest the money."

In the last year, operators across Europe have seen revenues fall in line with reductions on the wholesale price of calling a mobile from a landline, so-called mobile termination rates. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:11 AM | permalink

From Cellphones To Cigarettes: The Long Arm Of The Chinese Government

statecapitalism.jpeg The streets of Beijing and Shanghai feel like an entrepreneurial free-for-all, full of mom-and-pop stores and street vendors selling snacks and cheap toys. npr reports.

quotemarksright.jpgBut when you pull back the curtain, you see a different picture: a country where the government still controls huge swaths of the economy..

When you're in China, there's a good chance you're doing business with the government every time you:

-- make a call on your cellphone (the government owns the country's biggest cellphone network)

-- buy gas for your car (the two biggest oil companies are owned by the government)

-- smoke a cigarette (biggest tobacco company, also state-owned)

-- get money from an ATM (from any of the nation's four biggest banks, all of which are state owned)

-- fly on a plane (the government owns the country's three biggest airlines)

This system, known as state capitalism, has worked well for China so far. Over the past three decades, the country's economy has grown by an astonishing 10 percent per year..

But that kind of growth can't last forever, and it becomes particularly hard to sustain as China's economy reaches what economists call the "technological frontier" — the point at which growth comes from new innovations, rather than from adopting innovations created elsewhere.

So in the coming years, the Chinese government must loosen its grip or risk strangling the economy.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:09 AM | permalink

February 26, 2012

When the worst happens-Army wife gets news via text message

when-the-worst-happens-army-wife-gets-news-via-text-message-photo.jpeg According to The Examiner, Megan Born, wife of deceased Army Sgt. Joshua Born, was notified of her husband’s death via a text message. This is exactly the scenario the military tries to avoid in this age of instant messaging and social networks.

quotemarksright.jpgIn the not-so-distant-past, 2005-2006, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, foreign base communications were shut down when there was a troop loss until next-of-kin were notified back home; before the sad news leaked out through unofficial channels.

Today, things are decidedly different.

In the interview with WPSD-TV, Megan Born spoke from her home in Olive Branch, Illinois, where she said she had received a text from another Army wife on post who had already seen the news on Facebook.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:11 PM | permalink

Photo of phones before and after the iPhone


Imitation is the sincerest form of imitation. boingboing via Josh Helfferich @Digerati.

emily | 3:48 PM | permalink

SMS celebrates it's 20th anniversary this year: 10 fun facts

smsreceived.jpg This year marks text messaging's twentieth anniversary, and unlike practically every other technology, it’s hardly changed at all in two decades. To celebrate its astonishing impact upon the world, Nokia Connects, has unearthed 10 astounding facts about the humble SMS.

quotemarksright.jpg1. The father of SMS is Matti Makkonen, a Finnish engineer. He came up with the idea of a Message Handling Service for GSM digital mobile phones in 1984 in a pizzeria in Copenhagen, during a conference on the future of mobile communications. Unfortunately, he never received a penny for his pioneering work, because he didn’t apply for a patent.

2. The format of 160 characters was determined a year later by a communications researcher, Friedham Hillebrand. While trying to standardize the technology that would allow cellphones to transmit and display messages, he discovered that the average sentence or question needed just 160 characters.

3. The first SMS ever sent was in 1992 by Brit Neil Papworth who texted ‘Happy Christmas’ to Vodafone director Richard Jarvis at a staff Christmas party. Papworth sent the Short Messaging Service from his work computer to an Orbitel 901 handset.

4. Today, text messaging is the most widely used mobile data service, with 74% of all mobile phone users worldwide, or 2.4 billion out of 3.3 billion phone subscribers communicating via text message.

5. In 2010, we sent an astonishing 6.1 trillion text messages or 192 000 per second! Our obsession earns the telecoms industry $114.6 billion a year.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read on for 6. 7. 8. 9. and 10.

emily | 2:47 PM | permalink

Horse Statue At Mobile World Congress Is Made Out of 3000 Huawei Smartphones


At the world's largest cell phone event, Mobile World Congress 2012, a sculpture of Huawei’s winged horse mascot made entirely out of 3000 smartphones.

[via micgadget]

emily | 2:40 PM | permalink

Facebook is accessing smartphone users' personal text messages

facebook_logo.png Facebook admitted reading text messages belonging to smartphone users who downloaded the social-networking app and said that it was accessing the data as part of a trial to launch its own messaging service, The (London) Sunday Times reported via

quotemarksright.jpgOther well-known companies accessing smartphone users' personal data - such as text messages - include photo-sharing site Flickr, dating site Badoo and Yahoo Messenger, the paper said.

It claimed that some apps even allow companies to intercept phone calls - while others, such as YouTube, are capable of remotely accessing and operating users' smartphone cameras to take photographs or videos at any time.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:07 PM | permalink

Facebook is accessing smartphone users' personal text messages

Facebook admitted reading text messages belonging to smartphone users who downloaded the social-networking app and said that it was accessing the data as part of a trial to launch its own messaging service, The (London) Sunday Times reported via

quotemarksright.jpgOther well-known companies accessing smartphone users' personal data - such as text messages - include photo-sharing site Flickr, dating site Badoo and Yahoo Messenger, the paper said.

It claimed that some apps even allow companies to intercept phone calls - while others, such as YouTube, are capable of remotely accessing and operating users' smartphone cameras to take photographs or videos at any time.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:07 PM | permalink

February 25, 2012

Crowdsourcing improves predictive texting

Smartphones may soon get a lot better at finishing your sentences for you - with the help of words and phrases gleaned from crowdsourcing. New Scientist reports via @jranck.

quotemarksright.jpgThe software packages in today's phones often struggle with texts and voice commands if a user attempts words or phrases that aren't included in the phone's database.

To see if the crowd could help, Keith Vertanen of Montana Tech in Butte and Per Ola Kristensson at the University of St Andrews, UK, called upon workers of the Amazon Mechanical Turk. The plan was to try and improve a predictive system used in Augmented and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, which help disabled people to communicate by painstakingly typing out words interpreted from their muscle twitches or blinks.

The researchers paid 298 Mechanical Turk workers to imagine phrases they might need if they had motor neuron disease or cerebral palsy. Their responses produced nearly 6000 useful phrases. Next, by trawling through Twitter postings and other social media texts the workers extracted sentences and phrases with similar structures to the initial phrases, expanding the corpus to tens of millions of entries.

The result is a system that needs 11 per cent fewer keystrokes than a standard AAC device. For anyone struggling over every word it is a big improvement, says Kristensson. It should also work when applied to more standard text and speech recognition systems, he says. The work appears in the Proceedings of the 2011 Conference on Empirical Method in Natural Language Processing.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:40 PM | permalink

Smart baby pyjamas send text messages when diapers need changing

exmobaby.jpg The Guardian reports on some of the innovations that will be unveiled Monday in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress 2012, including smart baby pyjamas that will send a text message or e-mail when a baby's diapers need changing - but will also be able to monitor heartbeat, emotional state, temperature and activity level.

quotemarksright.jpg Exmobaby will demonstrate a wearable baby monitor that can detect an infant's vital signs and relay them to phones, PCs and tablets. The sensors are hidden under layers of fabric, which the manufacturer says makes them virtually undetectable to human touch.

The washable pyjamas pick up humidity, movement, skin temperature and heart rate. They connect to the internet using low-power digital radio… and are, of course, rechargeable.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 7:22 PM | permalink

Paris Hilton sings about the dangers of drunk texting

For reasons that must go far beyond the boundaries of conventional art, Paris Hilton creates a music video that seems to warn people of the dangers of texting while inebriated. It also warns of Twitter's dangers too.

[via CNet]

emily | 8:09 AM | permalink

February 23, 2012

First Live Tweet of an Open Heart Surgery


There are many times when it is inappropriate to tweet. At dinner, for one. In the middle of a movie. And, in most cases, open heart surgery. TIME Techland reports.

quotemarksright.jpgDr. Paresh Patel, however, had a good reason to tweet during a 57-year-old patient’s double-coronary artery bypass — to create awareness for Heart Month, an initiative to prevent heart attacks and strokes in the United States.

Dr. Michael Macris, medical director of cardiovascular surgery at Memorial Hermann Northwest in Houston, performed the surgery while Patel performed the important duties of tweeting, taking photos and answering live questions from some of @houstonhospital‘s 4,910 followers, according to Texas Monthly.

The hospital then put together a Storify of the whole affair, which is both informative and very, very graphic.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

Related: As Doctors Use More Devices, Potential for Distraction Grows

emily | 1:41 PM | permalink

Tech giants agree to new privacy rules

Mobile apps will have to disclose how private data will be used before download under new agreement, reports The Guardian.

quotemarksright.jpgSix of the world's top consumer technology companies – including Apple, Google and Microsoft – have agreed that apps will provide greater privacy disclosures before users download them so as to protect consumers' personal data, California's attorney general said on Wednesday.

The move comes amid increasing criticism over "data grabs" by a number of third-party applications which don't offer clear disclosure about how much of a user's personal data such as their address book they will store on their servers.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 9:01 AM | permalink

'Nightline' report on Foxconn factories: Interesting Facts

applechina.jpg The Verge, on what they learned from watching the 'Nightline' report on Foxconn factories (full episode available here if you are connecting from the US):

-- It takes 141 steps to make an iPhone, and the devices are essentially all handmade

-- It takes five days and 325 hands to make a single iPad

-- Foxconn produces 300k iPad camera modules per day

-- Foxconn workers pay for their own food — about $.70 per meal, and work 12 hour shifts

-- Workers who live in the dorms sleep six to eight a room, and pay $17.50 a month to do so

-- Workers make $1.78 an hour

-- New employees at Foxconn undergo three days of training and "team building" exercises before they begin

Read full article.

emily | 8:08 AM | permalink

February 22, 2012

Text messaging numbers down as people use free social messaging apps?

Phone companies missed out on $13.9 billion last year as more people opted to send free texts through SMS (short message service) applications like Blackberry Messenger and Facebook Mobile Messenger, according to a report. This follows a $8.6 billion loss in phone company provided text revenues in 2010. Mashable reports.

quotemarksright.jpgSMS revenues are down as people communicate through chat boards and within other applications like Words with Friends. Mobile communication is also surging on Facebook, Twitter and smartphone email clients.

The Ovum report estimates that there will be further losses in profit if the “legacy services” — big phone companies companies — don’t start investing in bringing new and improved services to the table.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related article: - Social messaging apps 'lost networks $13.9bn in 2011' (BBC)

emily | 9:26 PM | permalink

Power Felt: Fingers as cell-phone chargers

620x350.20120215.jpeg Simply by touching a small piece of Power Felt – you could power a weather radio or charge a prepaid cell phone,” says David Carroll, director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake University. “Literally, just by sitting on your phone, Power Felt could provide relief during power outages or accidents.”

A promising new thermoelectric device developed by team of researchers has converted body heat into an electrical current.

Comprised of tiny carbon nanotubes locked up in flexible plastic fibers and made to feel like fabric, Power Felt uses temperature differences – room temperature versus body temperature, for instance – to create a charge.

The research appears in the current issue of Nano Letters, a leading journal in nanotechnology.

[Wake University press release via The Atlantic Wire]

emily | 8:48 PM | permalink

Left Brain Dominant Persons Use Their Right Ear for Cell Phones and Vice Versa

manwalkingtalking.jpeg A new study has found a strong correlation between brain dominance and the ear used to listen to a cell phone, such that a left brain thinker will most probably use his right hand to hold his cell phone to his right ear. International Business Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAccording to a study from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, most left brain dominant people use the phone in their right ear, despite there being no perceived difference in their hearing in the left or right ear, in the same way that right brain dominant people are more likely to use their left hand to hold the phone in their left ear.

The researchers said that their findings have several implications, particularly for mapping the language center of the brain.

Dr. Seidman notes that the study also may offer additional evidence that cell phone use and brain, and head and neck tumors may not be linked.If there was a strong connection, he says there would be a far more people diagnosed with cancer on the right side of their brain, head and neck - the dominate side for cell phone use.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:31 PM | permalink

Mobile phone smoking cessation interventions recommended by US Government Task Force

Recently, the Community Preventive Services Task Force made a positive recommendation for using mobile phone-based tobacco cessation interventions. iMedicalApps reports via @jranck.

quotemarksright.jpgThe committee indicated that there was sufficient evidence for effectiveness of these interventions in increasing tobacco abstinence among people interested in quitting smoking. It made its determination based on findings from “six studies in which mobile phone-based interventions were implemented alone or in combination with Internet-based interventions.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 4:40 PM | permalink

Mobile phone SMS could be used for malaria control in Africa

3420714787_cfea103cd8.jpeg Scientists have suggested that text messaging can be used to control malaria in Africa. ZeeNews reports.

quotemarksright.jpgDejan Zurovac and colleagues from the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Program, Nairobi, Kenya described six areas where text messaging could improve the delivery of health services and health outcomes in malaria in Africa.

These include three areas transmitting information from the periphery of the health system to malaria control managers and three areas transmitting information to support management of malaria patients.

... The study, Mobile Phone Text Messaging: Tool for Malaria Control in Africa appeared in this week`s PLoS Medicine.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

Related articles on how cell phones are helping to fight malaria, blogged by textually over the years.

emily | 8:49 AM | permalink

Mobile money: Using your phone to transfer cash

By the start of next year, every bank customer in the country may have the ability to transfer cash between bank accounts, using an app on their mobile phone. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpg... The banking industry clearly thinks that mobile payments are the coming thing that will revolutionise personal banking habits.

Although telephone and internet banking are now well established, the use of smartphones - mobile phones that can access the internet - has been astonishingly fast.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom says that about 47% of all teenagers and about 25% of all adults in the UK own a smartphone.

Dave Birch, a payments expert at Consult Hyperion, says the biggest impact may not be on individuals but on small businesses such as shops.

"This could be adopted very quickly in the small business space - it may turn out to be more convenient and cheaper than accepting credit card payments," he says.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:37 AM | permalink

Get It and Forget It: Smartphone Users' Fickle Taste for Their Apps

RTXE9MS-615.jpeg People with iPhones or Android phones may download a lot of apps, but they tend to use very few of them after a while. The Atlantic reports.

quotemarksright.jpg... Anindya Datta, founder of Mobilewalla, an app analytic firm, told USA Today that there are about one million apps available for the four most popular mobile operating systems -- Android, Apple, BlackBerry, and Microsoft -- but only 10 percent of them have been "discovered."

Another Pew report showed that half of cell phone users have apps, but only 16 percent of U.S. adults have ever paid for an app, and among those that own apps, only half report using them on a weekly basis. Kristen Purcell, the Pew researcher responsible for the most recent comprehensive report on apps, found that the overwhelming majority of smartphone users open five or fewer apps once a week, and that the novelty of apps tends to wear off relatively quickly.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:23 AM | permalink

Social messaging apps 'lost networks $13.9bn in 2011'

Social messaging applications cost mobile network operators $13.9bn in lost SMS revenue last year, according to Analysis firm Ovum which studied global use of popular services like Whatsapp, Blackberry Messenger and Facebook chat. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgHowever, the study did not factor in the extra income networks received from mobile data costs because of increased internet usage resulting from social messaging.

A study conducted in April 2011 by research firm Comscore suggested that 4% of UK smartphone users had sent a message on Whatsapp that month.

Another survey, carried out in June 2011 by YouGov, showed that the huge majority of smartphone users - 81% - still considered SMS the key way to send messages on a mobile. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:17 AM | permalink

February 20, 2012

NEC smartphone tech knows how fast you're moving when you take a call

subway-school-lg.jpeg NEC smartphone tech knows how fast you're moving when you take a call and will switch to voicemail or email. MobileEnternainmentreports.

quotemarksright.jpgNEC will preview the tech next week at Mobile World Congress and expect it to be commercially available by June 2012.

The solution analyses data to establish, for example, if the user is on a train, at a walking speed or stationary. The software then automatically recommends the most appropriate path for incoming calls, such as a standard ring, voice message or email.

Keiko Matsunaga, VP of NEC Corporation, said: "A person's activity, whether they are driving, in a meeting or exercising, has a significant impact on the best way to take a call. NEC's new solution facilitates smoother, less intrusive communications by automatically recommending the most appropriate contact method."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image credit.

emily | 6:32 PM | permalink

For The Young, Smartphones No Longer A Luxury Item


New data from Nielsen released this morning takes a look at the typical U.S. smartphone user, specifically their age and income, as well as the penetration of smartphones into various demographic groups. [via TechCrunch]

quotemarksright.jpg .. While overall smartphone penetration stood at 48 percent in January, those in the 24-34 age group showed the greatest proportion of smartphone ownership, with 66 percent saying they had a smartphone. In the same age group, 8 of 10 of those that had gotten a new device in the last three months chose a smartphone. Among those who chose a device in the last three months, more than half of those under 65 had chosen a smartphone.

But age isn’t the only determinant of smartphone ownership. Income also plays a significant role. When age and income are both taken into account, older subscribers with higher incomes are more likely to have a smartphone. For example, those 55-64 making over 100K a year are almost as likely to have a smartphone as those in the 35-44 age bracket making 35-75K per year.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full Nielslen release.

emily | 4:04 PM | permalink

Is Your Cell Phone Making You a Jerk?

Cell phones keep us socially connected, but new research suggests they actually reduce users’ social consciousness. In fact, the study showed that cell phone use was linked to more selfish behavior. TIME reports.

quotemarksright.jpgResearchers from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business found that after a short period of cell phone use, people were less likely to partake in “prosocial” behavior — actions that are intended to help another person or society — compared with a control group. For example, after using a cell phone, study participants were more likely to turn down volunteer opportunities and were less persistent in completing word problems, even though they knew their answers would provide money for charity.

Why would an innocuous thing like making a cell phone call make a person less giving? The researchers think it has to do with feelings of social connectedness. All humans have a fundamental need to connect with others — but once that need is met, say by using a cell phone, it naturally reduces our inclination to feel empathy or engage in helping behavior toward others. “The cell phone directly evokes feelings of connectivity to others, thereby fulfilling the basic human need to belong,” said study author and marketing professor Rosellina Ferraro in a statement.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 3:07 PM | permalink

February 18, 2012

BrailleTouch keyboard allows typing on a phone without looking

120217145324-large.jpeg Imagine if smartphone and tablet users could text a note under the table during a meeting without anyone being the wiser. Mobile gadget users might also be enabled to text while walking, watching TV or socializing without taking their eyes off what they’re doing.

quotemarksright.jpgGeorgia Tech researchers have built a prototype app for touch-screen mobile devices that is vying to be a complete solution for texting without the need to look at a mobile gadget’s screen.

The free open-source app, called BrailleTouch, incorporates the Braille writing system used by the visually impaired. It has been conceived as a texting tool for any of the millions of smartphone phone users worldwide.

For sighted users, the research team is exploring how BrailleTouch could be a universal eyes-free mobile texting app that replaces soft QWERTY keyboards and other texting technologies.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[Georgia Tech release via arstechnica. Video demo on YouTube]

Related articles on braille technology for cell phones blogged by textually over the years.

emily | 7:59 AM | permalink

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