July 03, 2004

Italian operator condemned for sms spam

11:48 AM >> market : MOBILE OPERATORS | society : POST PRIVACY ERA

A student girl from Naples was receiving up to 5 sms spams per day. First she complained to her carrier call center who answered that they were authorized to use her personal data. Then, she went to court. And won.

Italian operator Tim has been condemned to pay a 1000 € fine.
It's the first time in the country that a firm is charged for mobile unsolicited messages.

From La Repubblica, via Adverblog

Take a coffe, get free Wi-fi

10:17 AM >> market : SERVICES | society : TRENDS | technology : WiFi

While the larger coffehouses (Starbucks, Tully's, Ladro, etc.) propose for-pay wireless services, an increasing number of Seattle's independent coffeehouses are now offering free Wi-Fi as part of their basic business model.
And althought free hotspots can be unreliable or even unsecure, many consumers are willing to assume the risks to avoid paying for WiFi.


For a guide to Seattle's free wireless coffee shops and
Details in Seattle Post Intelligence, via

Poor customer service could cost U.K. carriers £3B

10:08 AM >> market : MOBILE OPERATORS

According to a survey by LogicaCMG, over a third of UK mobile users are considering dumping their current providers due to poor quality of service and this dissatisfaction could cost the UK mobile operators £3bn this year.

More in VUNet.

A 1,000-year documentary

09:51 AM >> research : ENTERTAINMENT

Sam Raimi, the Director of the "Spider-Man" movies, wants to build the "Century Cam," this network of cameras would be placed above all major US cities to shoot one frame each day at noon. Once gathered, the frames would gradually create a continuous chronicle of each city's development.

At a frame a day, a year's worth of shots over a particular city would add up to 15 seconds of film, a full 1,000 years of film would last just over four hours.

From CNN, via Interactive Media Division Weblog.

July 02, 2004

MMS challenge on BBC1 every Saturday

07:49 PM >> market : ENTERTAINMENT

A BBC1 TV primetime live show ‘Johnny & Denise – Passport To Paradise’ will feature viewers MMS images judged on air.

The system from CAT AND MOUSE downloads pics and text messages and gives producers workflow tools to quickly find the best pictures, edit the text and stack them ready for transmission.

Before reaching screen, built in tools include manual and automatic grading and gamma correction and where necessary, rapid censorship utilities allow ‘undesirable’ elements to be removed or obscured from pictures.

Every week Johnny and Denise and the studio audience will pick their favourite photo. This week's Phone Photo challenge will be dedicated to silly hats.


From 160 Characters.

Blast Theory workshop

07:30 PM >> events : workshops | market : ENTERTAINMENT | market : LOCATION BASED SERVICES | research : ENTERTAINMENT | research : LOCATIVE MEDIA | research : PERVASIVE GAMES

From Tuesday 31 August ­till Friday 3 September, Blast Theory and Nottingham's Mixed Reality Lab are organizing "Mixed Reality Performance and Wireless Gaming Workshop. Advanced interdisciplinary training for artists and scientists." Participants will engage with code, hardware and with other off the shelf software and scientists will be familiarized with artistic practices.

The eight places are subsidised by Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England, London and bursaries are available of £300 to cover travel and daily expenses. Accommodation is provided. Details here: Download file.

Deadline for applications: Friday 23 July.

The Blast Theory Ars Electronica winning game, CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?, will invade the streets of DAMPF, Köln from 3-9 July.


Related entry: Blast Theory.

Sky Ear

05:29 PM >> research : ART

Sky Ear, by artist Usman Haque, involves launching 1000 helium balloons in the sky. As these balloons are sensitive to the environment, the red, blue and yellow lights inside them changes colour and intensity according to the amount of electromagnetic radiation nearby (see how it works.)

The audience will be able to change the ambient radiation and thus the colours by making calls using their mobile phones to mobiles contained within the cloud of balloons.


Sky Ear will take off on July 4 at the Belluard Bollwerk Festival 2004 in Fribourg, Switzerland, and on September 15 at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Park, London.

From Coin-operated.
Related entry: Electromagnetic sky.

Into the Blogosphere

05:18 PM >> society : LIFE ONLINE

The University of Minnesota has released Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs, a series of essays exploring the discursive, visual, social, and other communicative features of weblogs.

The collection is online and allows readers to comment.

From Many 2 Many.

Custom eBay feeds

04:38 PM >> technology : SOFTWARE

Auction addicts (hello, Sathia!) will be able to monitor closely eBay bids via RSS using Auction Scout, a new software from Texas startup Pluck.

The software is free, but Pluck hopes to customize ads to the feeds, so users get pitches related to the items they're craving.

A collaborative feature will also allow them to set up shared folders so family and friends receive the same updates and can advise buyers to buy the product or not.


From USA Today, via Micro Persuasion.

Video projectors inside mobile devices

03:49 PM >> research : LABS and RESEARCH CENTRES

Researchers from Cambridge and Light Blue Optics have developed a prototype pocket-sized video projector that would easily be fitted into future mobiles phones and pda's.

The system creates a projection by displaying a hologram on the microdisplay, and the projected image is formed by shining a laser beam through the microdisplay, which scatters the light into a particular pattern.

From Esato, via Unmediated. See also TRN Mag.

A treacherous bilboard

03:30 PM >> small talks

A Nextel billboard in Cleveland Ohio has been blamed for causing five accidents in the past few months. Drivers slam on their brakes in front of it, believing that someone is trying to jump off the board and perhaps commit suicide.

Police said that the billboard would remain up since the responsibility rests with the motorists.

nextelbillboard-53875[1].jpg ==> 3477536_200X150[1].jpg

From Adrants.

Kodak kiosks in British drugstores

03:13 PM >> market : SERVICES

In UK, over 1,000 Boots drug stores will provide printing Kodak kiosks with infrared or Bluetooth capabilities for uploading camera phone photos.

The kiosks also can accept pictures on memory cards, either from a camera phone or a digital camera.


From Reiter's Camera Phone Report.
Press Release.

Yellow tech cabs

12:43 PM >> technology : LOCATION_AWARE

New York city asked companies to submit ideas on how best to use technological enhancements inside yellow cabs.

The enhancements that would go in each cab include Global Positioning Systems, credit/debit-card machines, text-messaging abilities and electronic maps in the back seat so passengers can track their location.


From the NY Post, via Textually.

Bluetooth music matching software

12:15 PM >> market : ENTERTAINMENT | technology : BLUETOOTH | technology : SOFTWARE

IcyPole”, from AgentArts, uses Bluetooth technology to seek out other IcyPole enabled mobile phones within your vicinity, and then communicates with them to see if they have any content (music, videos, photos etc) that corresponds to your own profile.

From Blueserker.

Technology to "bury" data on printed images

11:47 AM >> research : LABS and RESEARCH CENTRES | technology : BREAK-TROUGH | technology : MOBILE GADGETS

Fujitsu Laboratories are working on a new technology to "invisibly" embed numeric characters (such as a telephone number or a URL conversion code) in a printed colour image.

The picture can be taken into a phone camera and decoded by specific software for the user to make a phone call or access a Web site.

This technology would enable users to make a phone call by reading a phone number from a picture on a business card; download ring melody data for their mobile phone by scanning a picture on a CD jacket; collect information on a shop while reading about it in a magazine.

Fujitsu still has to consider when and how to commercialize the technology.

From NE Asia.

Smallest PDA for blind people

08:29 AM >> technology : MOBILE GADGETS

Pulse Data just unveiled the smallest PDA for blind people.

The BrailleNote PK pocket sized PDA supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and can sync with Microsoft Office and Outlook, or play MP3, Windows Media, and other audio files. It should be shipped early in the fourth quarter of 2004.


From Geekzone.
Related entries: Mobile phone for blind people, Location-based game for blind people, GPS for visually impaired, Voice-based guidance system for mobile phones.

Partisan games

07:52 AM >> society : LIFE ONLINE

"While traditional forms of political communication treat voters as passive recipients of rhetoric, games entice the potential voter to interact with the message."

More in New York Times article on online game used as a political marketing tool in the USA.


Suspects often return to the crime scene, they say

07:31 AM >> society : POST PRIVACY ERA | technology : LOCATION_AWARE

New technologies will become more of a tool for law enforcement as government catches up to the technological curve and questions about how and when it is appropriate for law enforcement agencies to use these tools will likely arise.

Before Scott Peterson was charged with the murders of his wife and their unborn son, police put a tail on him -- a GPS device to track his whereabouts.

During the surveillance, Peterson allegedly traveled twice to where the victims' bodies were later found. The information gathered from the GPS tracking may be presented to a jury as part of the case. But first, a judge will decide whether that information is admissible, and whether the technology is reliable.

The technique has been used before. In Washington state, police placed a device on the car of a man accused of killing his daughter. The suspect, unknowingly, led them to the victim's grave, and was convicted of the murder.

The defense sought to have the case thrown out -- claiming the premise on which police were granted the warrant to use the GPS device was flimsy. The prosecution argued two things: One, police didn't need a warrant in the first place, and two, they could have obtained a conviction even without the evidence gained with the GPS technology.

The case went to Washington's Supreme Court, which ruled that police did need a warrant to attach such a device and that the warrant was correctly issued in the case. The case is considered precedent-setting in extending rights to suspects. In previous cases involving conventional means of surveillance, such as with a vehicle or binoculars, courts have ruled there were no rights of privacy.

The Washington case differentiates between those methods and the placing of a GPS device.

What weighted heavily on the judge's decision was that the use of GPS tracking devices is a particularly intrusive method of surveillance.


3G location technology will probably emerge as a law enforcement tool as well.

The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act already requires carriers to implement electronic interception capabilities in their networks to provide law enforcement with wiretaps and information about calls from mobile devices.

If law enforcement agencies want to use wiretaps, they are obligated to get a court order.

As 3G location technology increasingly finds its way into mobile phones, the days of the triangulation technology that tracks general location by cell towers may be numbered, and individual users' privacy will have to be addressed.

Of course, privacy questions have to be considered, and it is hoped that users will be able to maintain control over his/her location and push a button on the phone that says, 'Don't tell anyone my location now.'"

More details in Government Technology.

July 01, 2004

About the primary factor moving technologies

05:33 PM >> small talks

While Steve Rubel suggests that the reason that RSS and newsreaders haven’t caught on is a lack of “mass adoption by b-to-b and b-to-c e-commerce sites”, Alex Halavais argues the author of Micro Persuasion "has fallen into the trap that many commentators on communication technologies do: ignoring the primary factor moving many such technologies from the innovators to the early adopters. Porn."

From Micro Persuasion.

Blended in a mirror

05:15 PM >> research : ART

In an empty space, MirrorSpace by Nicolas Roussel, Helen Evans & Heiko Hansen behaves like any household mirror.

But since it is made of a one way mirrored film mounted onto a glass surface, a USB camera and a sensor, and is linked to other mirrors located elsewhere, it captures who ever is in front of the mirrors and superimpose the live streamed video, so that all the faces can merge in the same space.


Via Btong Phlang.

RFID to track suitcases

04:56 PM >> technology : RFID

As nearly a million of the 80 million or so bags Delta Air Lines handles per year do not land at the same time as their owners, locating and delivering misdirected luggage costs the airline about $100 million annually.

That's why Delta considers using disposable radio tags to track all luggage it processes at domestic airports. The airline would have to invest up to $25 million to deploy the RFID technology, but they believe the investment would quickly pay for itself by reducing luggage handling costs.


From New York Times.

A Chinese system to monitor and record SMS

04:35 PM >> society : POST PRIVACY ERA

Call me naive (or stupid) if I have difficulties to believe that, but since everything is possible in this crazy world, I am blogging the news....

In April, the Chinese Telecommunications Bureau of the Ministry of Information Industry issued new regulations dealing with systems to better control spam and illicit SMS messages.

Now, it is reported that the Ministry of Public Security has licensed China's first system for monitoring and recording SMS.

This filtering system can search SMS using either keywords or keyword groups, it can also record text files, other data and the origins of SMS messages.

Designed specially for SMS providers, it would enable them to block and record SMS messages deemed inappropriate.

From Interfax, via China Digital News.

Moblogging as "easy as pie"

04:14 PM >> market : MOBLOGGING

MoblogUk is a very moblogger-friendly application (plus, it supports Creative Commons licenses).
You register for free* then here you go: email images, audio, or text from your mobile device, to your own mobloguk email address, and it automatically gets posted on the site.

From the Creative Commons Weblog.

*registration page didn't function when I tried.

EyeQ on board

03:48 PM >> research : MIXED REALITY

Pattern recognition specialist MobilEye has developped EyeQ vision system-on-a-chip to reduce road accident reduction and assist drivers.

The low-cost (that's what the company says) computer chip works with cameras mounted all around a vehicle and analyzes data to alert you to a car in your blind spot, pedestrians crossing, apply more brake pressure if a crash seems evident, only deploy one air bag if there is just one passenger, things a computer can do faster then us.

Yessss, invent me more gadget like this, guys, and I might try to get a driving licence one day...


From Engadget, via Infogargoyle.


03:26 PM >> market : MOBLOGGING

By simplifying the process of sending photos from the phone to the web and using GPRS rather than MMS, Cognima Snap could stimulate usage of camera phones. The technology allows users to upload images or video clips on the press of a single button.

Because of MMS file size limitations, the quality of pictures posted to web blogs or albums may shrink to 30k as opposed to the 300k in the original.

Cognima Snap gets round this by using GPRS, making also the operation swifter and more reliable. From the operators point of view, lower cost of GPRS data rates could be counterbalanced by increased usage.

A previous consumer trial revealed that Cognima Snap increased the number of photos uploaded from camera-phones to online photo albums by 14 fold.

Users also visited the online photo album more than twice as often and made more use of the album services, including sending pictures from the album to other phones. Two weeks into the trial over 70% of Cognima Snap users were still actively using the service, compared to only 18% of the participants using standard MMS to upload their photos.

From 160 Characters.

Digital moves on Potsdamer Platz

02:56 PM >> research : ART

Starting on July 9th, the [DAM] Digital Art Museum will screen digital animations and software art on the large LED Screen at Sony Center, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

Screenings last about 20 minutes and start at 12 AM, 3 PM and 6 PM, everyday. The program will change every two months.


Spanish tech party

01:13 PM >> events : conferences

This year NetWeekend will be held in Benicarló (North East of Spain) on August 19 20, 21 and 22. This mix of technology conferences and parties invites everyone to come and collaborate, learn, teach, play.... to a bunch of activities ranging from conferences about secuity and GNU/Linux to modding competitions or demonstrations of how to build wireless antennas.

NetWeekend is a free event organized "by everyone for everyone", not by corporations nor media group.


Video phones satisfy our vanity

12:30 PM >> market : ADVERTISING

Talking to the vanity component that lurks in everyone of us, the Samsung "Show Your World" US ad campaign, heralds the new age when video phone owners can record their daily lives and become the director and star of the movie of their own life.

In one of the first commercials, a gorgeous blonde walks around staring into her phone screen framing shots of her love story, a rain storm, flambéed meals, a fashion show, a boardwalk game arcade, a night in clubs and a hotel balcony overlooking the Empire State Buildingno... ignoring the world that does not evolve strictly around herself.


From Adrants.

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