Archives for November 2012

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November 30, 2012

Compulsive Cell Phone Use Similar to Other Consumer ‘Addictions’

Compulsive-Cell-Phone-Use-Similar-to-Other-Consumer-Addictions-SS.jpeg New research suggests that compulsive cell phone and instant messaging use are similar to compulsive buying and credit card misuse. Psych Central reports

quotemarksright.jpgIn the study, Baylor University researchers link materialism and impulsiveness to what they refer to as cell phone and IT “addictions.”

The study has been published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

Behavioral addictions such as compulsive cell phone use or pathological gambling are not currently diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the primary diagnostic reference manual of mental illness used by psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health workers. A new version of the DSM is expected in 2013, and many observers expect that one or more behavioral addictions may be added.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Study: A preliminary investigation of materialism and impulsiveness as predictors of technological addictions among young adults

emily | 7:33 AM | permalink

November 28, 2012

NYPD quietly amassing database of stolen cell phone logs

The New York Police Department has been quietly amassing a database of logs from stolen cell phones, often without the victim’s consent, The New York Times reported Monday [via The Daily Caller]

quotemarksright.jpgThe phone’s call records, which are obtained via subpoena, include a thief’s calls, calls made to and from the victim’s cell phone and whether the number was transferred. That information is entered into a database called Enterprise Case Management System, where each number is hyperlinked and cross-referenced with numbers in other records in the database.

“To date, phone companies have appeared willing to accede to the Police Department’s requests for large swaths of call records,” reported The New York Times, stating that thousands of subpoenas are issued a year. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related: - Met Police set up 16 kiosks in London to extract suspects' mobile phone data (BBC May 2012)

UK's Metropolitan Police has implemented a system to extract mobile phone data from suspects held in custody. The technology is being used in 16 London boroughs, and could potentially be used by police across the UK.

Campaign group Privacy International described the move as a "possible breach of human rights law".

emily | 7:37 PM | permalink

Empowering farmers through SMS

A-farmer-uses-his-mobile--008.jpeg Mobile phone services are improving agricultural yield and profits by providing farmers advice on crops, weather and market prices. The Guardian reports.

quotemarksright.jpg Last year, the GSM Association reported that mobile penetration in Africa had reached 649 million subscribers – equivalent to around 65% of people – and was expected to reach more than 735 million by the end of 2012. It's a similar story in India, which already has 70 subscriptions per 100 people, with 53% of households owning a mobile phone.

The SMS function offered by even the most basic handset can be used to provide data to farmers that they previously would not have had access to. Instant updates on weather and wholesale crop prices, for example, can improve productivity and negotiating positions.

A World Bank report earlier this year described mobile networks as "a unique and unparalleled opportunity to give rural smallholders access to information that could transform their livelihoods".quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 7:25 PM | permalink

Study Finds Rise in Texting Even as Revenue Drops

A new report finds that certain activities that people do on a cellphone, like taking a picture and shooting video, have increased significantly in the last few years. Texting, in particular, has grown considerably — but not texting in the traditional sense. Bits reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Pew Research Center published a study over the weekend that showed that the number of cellphone owners who text on their phones has grown to 80 percent from 58 percent in 2007.

As reported this month, traditional text messaging — the kind where you pay to send messages over the phone network — recently declined for the first time in the United States, following a trend in countries around the world, like the Philippines and Finland, according to Chetan Sharma, an independent mobile analyst. As a result, the money that carriers earn from text messaging has been dropping, too.

So how could texting be on the rise? Instead of sending traditional text messages, cellphone owners are shifting toward Internet-based messaging services, like Apple’s iMessage, Facebook messaging and WhatsApp, Mr. Sharma says. These services are popular because they don’t charge per text; they are gradually redefining what we think of as text messaging.

The Pew study also found that the number of cellphone owners who use phones to send e-mail has jumped to 50 percent from 19 percent in 2007, and the number of cellphone owners using phones to shoot video has risen to 44 percent from 18 percent five years ago. The number of cellphone owners who use their phones to download apps is 43 percent, up from 22 percent in 2009. All these factors are directly correlated with the rise of the smartphone — more than 50 percent of American cellphone owners own one, according to Nielsen.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 5:40 AM | permalink

In China, 25 Million People Use Only Their Cell Phones to Read Books

The Atlantic, on how in China as 25 Million People read books on their cell phones, entire genres of literature may be revived, such as mid-length novels and poems, which have fallen out of favour.

quotemarksright.jpg According to Clifforn Coonan in Beijing for The Irish Times, almost half of Chinese adults read books in different forms and about 25 percent of readers -- some 220 million people read electronic media. Of these, almost 120 million people use their mobile phone to read. 

And almost 25 million people only use their cellphones to read books." Coonan quotes Zhang Yiwu, a respected literature professor at Peking University, who said "the appearance of mobile phone literature may revive the declining mid-sized novel and poem in China."

Coonan notes that the concept came from Japan, but for Chinese readers it has the advantage of avoiding censorship, which remains a factor in traditional book formats. "Tens of thousands of writers publish their works for free online," he writes, "to be downloaded by readers on to their phones.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article

emily | 5:35 AM | permalink

Researchers use mobile phone technology to tackle disease, malnutrition in India

Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 5.13.24 AM.png

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia, working with Indian partners, are using mobile phone technology to tackle disease and malnutrition in remote parts of India.

Data from the World Bank indicates that 63 out of every 1,000 Indian children die before reaching the age of five, with undernourishment taking a heavy toll. NewsTrack India reports.

quotemarksright.jpgTogether with Michael Dibley from the Sydney School of Public Health, she is piloting a project through the South Asian Infant Feeding Network to tackle child hunger in India.

Building on the pioneering efforts of Professor Archana Patel from the Lata Medical Research Foundation and the Indira Gandhi Medical College, the scheme encourages better infant feeding practices by using mobile phones to provide information and counselling to rural families.

A midwife checks up on new and expectant mothers by ringing them each week, and as the infant grows women are sent customised text messages each day.

Work is being conducted in the eastern part of Maharashtra State around Nagpur.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full release.

emily | 5:10 AM | permalink

November 25, 2012

Cellphones reshape prostitution in India, imperil AIDS fight

pindia.jpeg Cellphones, those tiny gateways to modernity, have recently allowed prostitutes in India to shed the shackles of brothel madams and strike out on their own. But that independence has made prostitutes far harder for government and safe-sex counselors to trace. And without the advice and free condoms those counselors provide, prostitutes and their customers are returning to dangerous ways. Mercury News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgStudies show that prostitutes who rely on cellphones are more susceptible to HIV because they are far less likely than their brothel-based peers to require their clients to wear condoms. In interviews, prostitutes said they had surrendered some control in the bedroom in exchange for far more control over their incomes.

... India has been the world's most surprising AIDS success story.

An important reason the disease never took extensive hold in India is that most women here have fewer sexual partners than in many other developing countries. Just as important was an intensive effort underwritten by the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to target high-risk groups like prostitutes, gay men and intravenous drug users.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Photo by John Hurd on Freakonomics

emily | 9:02 AM | permalink

November 24, 2012

WATCH: Walmart Shoppers Fight Over Cell Phones on Black Friday

Two viral videos appear to capture Black Friday shoppers pouncing on a crate of cell phones at a Walmart in Moultrie, Ga., on Firday.

There's something very wrong with these people...

[via Time]

emily | 3:43 PM | permalink

November 23, 2012

Bombs activated by cell phones prompts Pakistan to shut down cell phone network


Reuters reports that Pakistan is suspending phone coverage in many cities this weekend, an important one in the Shi'ite Muslim calendar, after a series of bomb attacks on Shi'ites triggered by mobile phones.

quotemarksright.jpg"All the blasts that occurred in the last 15 days were mobile phone-based," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters on Friday.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:44 PM | permalink

‘Where’s my wife?’ Electronic SMS tracker notifies Saudi husbands

640x392_66003_251255.jpeg Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements. Al Arabiya News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgSince last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.

“The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said columnist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: Is the Saudi Government Monitoring Women? (Riyadh Bureau - November 22, 2012)

Update: A discovery that Saudi male guardians are automatically getting text messages about cross-border movements of female dependants has caused a Twitter uproar. (BBC)

emily | 8:24 AM | permalink

November 20, 2012

ZYX - iPhone Performance App


ZYX is an iPhone app that turns the user into a performer.

The app instructs users to do slightly bizarre things with their iPhone, like jumping with it, pushing it, turning it and shaking it.

[via Guerilla Innovation]

emily | 4:32 PM | permalink

NYC Pay Phones Pivot To Become Information Hubs


A plan to ransform 250 of New York's city phone booths into touchscreen information hubs begins today, following a succesful pilot. The initiative is a collaboration between New York, Cisco and City 24/7, and will eventually reach all five boroughs in the Big Apple.

[via FastCompany]

emily | 4:03 PM | permalink

November 19, 2012

Mobile Web overtakes desktops in China as over 50% of new Internet users come from rural areas

33560832.jpeg Mobile phones have become the most common way for Chinese citizens to connect to the Internet, meaning the mobile Web has surpassed desktops. This is largely thanks to rural areas, which are driving over 50 percent of new Internet users in the country, reports TheNextWeb.

quotemarksright.jpgThe latest numbers come from a report issued by the state-linked China Internet Network Information Centre (CINIC) and cited by On Device Research.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:27 PM | permalink

How Friction May Someday Charge Your Cell Phone

The phenomenon that causes a painful shock when you touch metal after dragging your shoes on the carpet could someday be harnessed to charge personal electronics. MIT Technology Review reports.

quotemarksright.jpgResearchers at Georgia Tech have created a device that takes advantage of static electricity to convert movement—like a phone bouncing around in your pocket—into enough power to charge a cell phone battery. It is the first demonstration that these kinds of materials have enough oomph to power personal electronics.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:16 PM | permalink

‘Donate’ Unused Apps To Charity With The Touch Of A Finger

A group of advertising students have created a fake promo ad for Apple for a new app called “Donation Box.” PSFK reports.

quotemarksright.jpgApple users are encouraged to donate to charity using this simple app that donates the price of an app to the Salvation Army. Unwanted apps are traded in at their purchase price and Apple will donate cash to charity.

The students from Miami Ad School came up with this brilliant idea after seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. quotesmarksleft.jpg

According to the promo video (above) spotted on Creativebloq, Apple users simply drag and drop unwanted apps into the Box and Apple will donate cash to the charity. Amazing... except unfortunately it's not real.

emily | 2:47 PM | permalink

New 'People's Operator' Network gives 25% of it's profits to charity

The People's Operator (TPO) is a new mobile phone network which plans to give away 25 percent of its profits to charity, while allowing customers to give an extra 10 percent to a charity of their choice if they want to.

The TPO network went live in the UK this morning and customers can sign-up for a pay-as-you-go SIM card through The People's Operator website.

[via ibtimes]

emily | 2:40 PM | permalink

Xperia waterproof phone ties in with James Bond's 'Skyfall' in marketing stunt

During the opening weekend of James Bond movie Skyfall, Sony Mobile carried out a stunt in true undercover manner to promote the waterproof smartphone Xperia acro S. There is a phone ringing in the theater. It might be yours...

emily | 12:35 PM | permalink

November 18, 2012

Sculpteo's app lets you create your own 3D printed iPhone case


French 3D-printing company Sculpteo developed a free app called "3DPCase" that lets users design or customize their unique iPhone case.

quotemarksright.jpgNow, a new feature called Photo Background allows users to choose any picture and have it 3D printed directly in the case. It comes with the most popular Curves and Shadow Profile cases. The new Background Option gives access to more than a hundred design possibilities for your iPhone case, and you can also add your own image.quotesmarksleft.jpg


emily | 7:48 PM | permalink

Israelis warned not to answer SMS from Hamas - they're being used to locate cell phones to calibrate rocket trajectories

Over the weekend the Israeli army warned the country to avoid answering any SMS messages from unknown senders. It turned out Hamas and its terrorists allies were trying to use the location of cell phones to calibrate their rocket trajectories. Israel Today reports.

quotemarksright.jpgHamas and other Gaza-based terrorists were also reportedly making heavy use of Facebook and Twitter to discover the exact impact location of rockets they had already fired, again, to help re-calibrate the next wave of missiles.

Meanwhile, Israel also made use of cell phones in the ongoing Gaza conflict, but did so in order to save lives. As part of its effort to avoid collateral damage, the Israeli army made well over 20,000 calls to the cell phones of Palestinians living in Gaza to warn them of impending aerial strikes on nearby terrorist targets.quotesmarksleft.jpg

emily | 2:20 PM | permalink

November 16, 2012

Qeexo’s Touch Screen Tech Can Distinguish Fingernails from Knuckles


Increasing the ways users can prod touch screens could open up new features on mobile devices. MIT Technology Review reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAs smartphones skyrocketed in popularity, we got used to using our fingertips to navigate their touch screens with pokes, taps, swipes, and two-finger pinches. There’s more to our fingers than just the tips, though, and a startup called Qeexo aims to take advantage of this with technology that can differentiate between fingertips, nails, and knuckles.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 9:12 AM | permalink

November 15, 2012

Blackberry introduces free wi-fi calls on BBM chat tool

_64142103_bbss.png Blackberry has become the latest smartphone to offer free wi-fi calls to users via its own software. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgResearch In Motion (RIM) has added the facility to its Blackberry Messenger (BBM) app, which already offered an alternative to text messages.

BBM Voice will only work if both caller and recipient are using the program.

It marks the firm's latest effort to keep users loyal to the platform ahead of the much-delayed release of the Blackberry 10 operating system.

The Blackberry 10 system is due to launch on 30 January, with the first devices running it available the following month.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:43 AM | permalink

SMS is not the issue with fraudulent bank transfers, telcos are: Experts

Despite its widespread use, SMS technology has lost its luster as a safe means of verifying the identity of an individual during a banking transaction. Armnet reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThis is what the lobby group for Australian telcos is claiming in the wake of a recent fraud incident.

The said incident involved an Australian family who had $35,000 stolen from a bank account following an identity theft.

In this case, the victim had their mobile number ported to another provider without their apparent knowledge or approval.

This action allowed the criminal to then change the bank PIN and withdraw $35,000 before a stop was put on the breached account.

The identity theft was eventually traced back to key logging malware on the victim’s PC that recorded the account details, and since one-use SMS access codes for the account are required, the criminal then used the acquired details to port the phone number to another account.

Securing SMS

While the lobby group and consumers may be up in arms about the perceived security of SMS, SecurEnvoy CTO, Andy Kemshall, said the real issue is not the security of the mobile technology.

Instead, he lays the blame at the ease that Australian telcos allow hackers to request a number be ported to another phone, as highlighted in the recent incident.

“This has far wider consequences than just SMS, as a hacker can setup a premium rate call line and run-up extortionate bills by calling these numbers after porting over the number,” Kemshall said.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:38 AM | permalink

The Thermometer Meets the Smart Phone: Technology that Help Moms and Saves Lives

Baby-Phone21.jpeg A new patent granted to Fraden Corporation of San Diego, may in the future allow smart phone become an accurate medical diagnosing instrument that, without physical contact, can instantly measure someones temperature and detect environmental hazards. Forbes reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThere are two ways of taking temperature. One is by contacting the body, like by a tip of an oral thermometer touching under the tongue. The other is a non-contact method by detecting intensity of the invisible infrared light that naturally emanates from every surface in this Universe.

This light is proportional to the surface temperature, so by measuring its brightness a microprocessor can compute the temperature.

... According to the patent, the infrared sensor is positioned inside a smart phone next to the digital camera lens. To measure temperature, the camera works as a viewfinder for a correct positioning the smart phone at about 1 inch from the patient’s temple. When the phone detects that its position is just right, it instantly takes the body temperature with a clinical accuracy sufficient for any diagnostic purpose. Thus, a doctor, nurse or mom no longer needs to carry a thermometer – it will be just there – inside their smart phone. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Download press release (pdf).

emily | 8:27 AM | permalink

Don't Credit iMessage for the Texting 'Decline'

12bits-texting-tmagArticle.jpeg News outlets everywhere are citing a study by Chetan Sharma that suggests Apple's iMessage is causing texting to decline when in fact, according to PC Magazine, it's all just a publicity stunt.

Stop the presses!

quotemarksright.jpg There is really no significant difference in these numbers to warrant a breaking news story. The real question is being overlooked, and that is: why are people texting so much? These are crazy numbers. Who exactly is sending nearly 700 texts a month? And this is apparently the average! This is over 20 texts a day, every day of the year.

To jump the chasm of credulity, the New York Times goes on to report:

"Mr. Sharma said it was too early to tell whether the decline here would continue, but he noted that Internet-based messaging services, like Facebook messaging and Apple's iMessage, had been chomping away at SMS usage."

Puh-leeze. These off-label messaging systems have been around forever. Why point out iMessage? Why not Twitter? As far as I know, the whole iMessage communication is between iOS users and does not connect into the bigger networks. What good is it? Where does Google Voice come into play? It does connect to the bigger network with actual free SMS messages. Does that count? And nowhere is it noted that texting is free nowadays with most plans.

So, suggesting this sketchy 2.6 percent drop-off has something to do with iMessage seems fishy—like a publicity grab, if you ask me. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:18 AM | permalink

November 14, 2012

Afghan women learn literacy through mobile phones

web-umobile.jpeg Afghanistan has launched a new literacy programme that enables Afghan women deprived of a basic education during decades of war to learn to read and write using a mobile phone, reports

quotemarksright.jpgThe phone is called Ustad Mobile (Mobile Teacher) and provides national curriculum courses in both national languages, Dari and Pashto, as well as mathematics. All the lessons are audio-video, with writing, pronunciation and phrases installed in Ustad Mobile phones—and they are distributed free to students.

The Mobile Teacher software was developed by Paiwastoon, an Afghan IT company, with $80,000 dollars in US aid and is designed to tackle one of the worst illiteracy rates in the world by riding the growing wave of mobile phone use.

... The free app can be installed on all mobile phones with a memory card slot and a camera. Individual lessons, which will also be made available on the ministry of education website, will teach new words and phrases. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

Related: New app tackle women's illiteracy in Afghanistan

emily | 3:52 PM | permalink

Nokia Unveils a Map Service that Lives in the Cloud

Nokia introduced a new cloud-optimized version of its mapping technology on Tuesday. The company hopes the Web service and associated apps, rebranded as Here, will be a hit across different devices and software platforms—including on the iPhone and Android phones.

[via MIT Technology Review]

emily | 12:05 PM | permalink

Charge your cellphone with a tap or a shake


Giving your cellphone a shake for an extra burst of power is the idea behind a new cellphone charger that turns movement into energy.

quotemarksright.jpgShashank Priya and his colleagues at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg are designing an emergency onboard charger that draws energy from the piezoelectric force generated by your fingertips clicking the keypad, your voice - or just by giving the phone a good old shake.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article in New Scientist.

emily | 11:47 AM | permalink

Worldwide Sales of Mobile Phones Declined 3% in Q3; Smartphones Increased 47%

Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users reached almost 428 million units in the third quarter of 2012, a 3.1 percent decline from the third quarter of 2011, according to Gartner. Smartphone sales accounted for 39.6 percent of total mobile phone sales, as smartphone sales increased 46.9 percent from the third quarter of 2011.

Gartner press release via Cellular News.

emily | 11:41 AM | permalink

Pizza chain Papa John's faces $250 million spam lawsuit

papa.jpeg Popular U.S. pizza chain Papa John's faces a $250 million class-action lawsuit for blasting customers with illegal text messages. CNN reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe plaintiffs allege that Papa John's franchises sent customers a total of 500,000 unwanted messages in early 2010. The spam texts offered deals for pizza, and some customers complained they were getting 15 or 16 texts in a row, even during the middle of the night, according Donald Heyrich, an attorney representing the class.

The pizza franchises sent the text blasts through a mass text messaging service called OnTime4U, which is also a defendant in the case. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:10 AM | permalink

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