November 23, 2005

Verizon Wireless sues alleged text spammer

Mobile carrier giant Verizon Wireless has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, seeking an injunction against Passport Holidays, a company in Ormond Beach, Fla., that allegedly sent more than 98,000 unsolicited mobile text messages to Verizon Wireless customers last month. [via Telephony online]

"The short messages informed customers they supposedly had won a cruise to the Bahamas, and asked them to call a number to claim their prize".

Last year, in one of the first cases of its kind, Verizon obtained an injunction against a Rhode Island spammer who had been sending numerous text message solicitations to Verizon Wireless customers.

emily | 04:07 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

Actor wins ovation as he stages attack on phone offender

rgr The actor Richard Griffiths has launched a furious tirade against mobile phones after ejecting a member of the audience from his West End play when her ringtone sounded for the third time. The Independent reports.

Griffiths, known for his roles as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films and Uncle Monty in the cult hit Withnail and I, was somewhat less than avuncular when his lines in the tense penultimate scene of the play Heroes were interrupted by the mobile phone call on Saturday.

He stopped mid-scene and asked: "Could the person whose mobile phone it is please leave?"

When he pinpointed the female offender, he addressed her directly, saying: "Is that it, or will it be ringing some more? "The 750 people here would be fully justified in suing you for ruining their afternoon."

As the woman left the auditorium at the Wyndham's Theatre, the audience gave Griffiths a standing ovation before the play, also starring John Hurt, continued."

November 22, 2005

Bush Praised Korean Cell Phones

story.bush U.S. President George W. Bush is said to have been full of praise for a Samsung cellular telephone he took a look at while in Busan for the APEC summit, reports Digital Chosunilbo.

.. "When asked what kind of cell phone he was currently using, the president admitted he had been living without a cell phone for the last three years because calls are always put through to him by others.

Well, here he is with a phone to his ear. President Bush is talking on his cell phone while on a golf course in Waco, Texas. [via CNN]

emily | 04:29 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

Heat-sensitive keypad new Motorola slider phone

5307_large.jpg Chinese blogging sites have unearthed details surrounding the Motorola A732, a slider phone whose keypad may look ordinary, but is touch and heat sensitive, allowing you to essentially scribble directly on the screen. [Mobilemag via Phoneyworld]

"Current incarnations seem to recognize both Chinese and English characters, though a North American version probably won’t do Chinese.

... A shopping helper feature lets you take a picture of a product you find in a store, note the price and which shop you found it at, and files away that information for later reference when you find a similar product elsewhere".

emily | 04:19 PM | Technology | permalink | trackback (0)

Chocolate Cell Phone

Cell_Phone1.jpg

Chocolate cell phone anyone? By Creative Chocolates of Vermont.

Big growth in mobile phone sales

Worldwide mobile phone sales rose by 22% in the three months to September, reports the BBC.

"Handset sales hit 205 million, said research firm Gartner, which forecast total sales of 810 million for 2005.

Nokia continues to lead the market with a 32% share, but Motorola saw a big boost in sales as it sold 12 million of its Razr phones.

Sales grew more slowly than the 26% seen in the same period of 2004 - but surged over 40% in Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America.

... Gartner expects global mobile phone sales to rise a further 10-15% during 2006.

emily | 04:00 PM | Random Stats | permalink | trackback (0)

A cloud of communication

peopleplusbigimage2.jpg Ruth and Erez Kikin-Gil's People+ is a light constellation that reacts to mobile activities and exposes flows of communication in its surroundings.

A cloud of human figures and + sign is hanging from the ceiling, and reacts to mobile phone activities in its vicinity. With every phone call or SMS, the cloud comes alive with streams of light flowing between the objects. The objects glow and dim; a human figure, a plus sign, another human figure, another plus sign ...

reBlogged from WMMNA

emily | 03:51 PM | SMS and the Arts | permalink | trackback (0)

People Hoard Skinny Jeans and Cellphones

tsubi15dk.jpeg According to a new report - a survey conducted by NOP World among 1,000 adult Americans in April 2005 - nearly half of those surveyed (45%) said they were hoarding old cell phones in their homes. There just seems to be something about old electronics that causes us to keep them in our possession versus recycling them. Cellular News reports.

"The survey, which consisted of 573 respondents, shows that roughly 25% (1 in 4) of Americans are still holding on to their "skinny jeans" in hopes of being able to wear them once again. On the other hand, old love letters and pictures of ex-boyfriends and girlfriends are the first to be tossed when cleaning out the closet (only 6% of those surveyed still had those mementos lying around). Aside from old textbooks and yearbooks and the clothes of yesteryear, electronics were the most widely stockpiled item found under the bed and in the closet."

emily | 10:32 AM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

UK. Mobile anti-bully service begins

_39409074_bullying203.jpg A mobile phone service which enables bullied children to discreetly contact their parents is being launched, reports the BBC.

"The Pingalert can be activated by pressing a speed dial button on a child's handset, which can be kept hidden from view. It sends a text message to the parent's phone with a location description and picture message map where possible.

The service, launched by company Mtrack, aims to help children out of difficult situations."

The service locates the sender's phone to within 500 yards in built-up areas and sends the message to the parent's phone within 60 seconds.

emily | 09:55 AM | Bullying by SMS | permalink | trackback (0)

Cellcos failing deaf people, says charity

Ofcom has come under fire from the RNID ((The Royal National Institute for Deaf People) - the charity which represents nine million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK - for failing to enforce legislation that would improve the lives of disabled people, reports The Register.

"As a result, the charity claims, deaf and hard of hearing people are being treated like second-class citizens and are being excluded from mobile service.

... According to the RNID, only one operator - Vodafone - currently has a system in place which is of any real practical benefit for people with hearing problems. Vodafone's service is based on a Nokia Communicator 9210i which includes a built-in keyboard.

November 21, 2005

Kenyans hold peaceful referendum after bitter campaigns

00579638250.jpg So far, there have been no reports of violence in polling stations in Nairobi or the rest of Kenya where a high voter turnout has been reported according to police, reports Monsters and Critics.

"Monday's vote is expected to end a fractious dispute over the country's future ever since President Mwai Kibaki came to power in 2003, promising to pass a new constitution within 100 days. A key feature of that draft was to limit the president's powers by creating the post of a strong prime minister.

... Mobile telephony also seems to be an important part of the landmark vote. The Electoral Commission of Kenya and local media houses are sending short text messages (sms) to subscribers for breaking news about the polling.

Many of the voters spoke to also said that they are in touch with relatives by mobile phone on how the voting process is proceeding in upcountry provinces.

... The Electoral Commission of Kenya said they will announce official results late Tuesday, but final results are expected November 23."

emily | 08:44 PM | SMS and Politics | permalink | trackback (0)

Swedish Post to Go Wireless

Following in the footsteps of commercial package delivery companies like FedEx Corp. or United Parcel Service of America Inc., Sweden Post is in the process of deploying wireless handhelds for delivery workers. The new system is expected to increase efficiency and allow customers to easily track packages online.

... "Currently, drivers ask customers to sign a paper form when packages are delivered and those forms make up the record for deliveries. If customers wish to enquire about the status of a package, they call a customer service line and representatives must look through the paper records to track packages. Drivers carry cell phones and receive SMS (Short Message Service) messages about changing their routes to pick up last minute packages."

[via CIO]

emily | 08:44 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

Suspect sent angry SMS before US mall rampage

shooter_6.jpg A man accused of wounding six people - one critically - when he opened fire inside a shopping mall sent text messages saying he was about to show the world his anger, reports IOL.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "a routine day of shopping turned into a terrifying scene at the Tacoma Mall Sunday, witnesses said, when a young man in a shirt and tie opened fire with an assault rifle, then kept three people hostage for hours before surrendering to police.

At least seven people were injured -- one critically -- and the mall was locked down Sunday afternoon as frightened shoppers scrambled for safety".

"Dominick Sergio Maldonado, 20, surrendered to police on Sunday after he ducked into a music store and took three hostages, all of whom were released unharmed after about four hours, authorities said, reports IOL.

Bret Strickler, who said he was Maldonado's best friend, was quoted as telling the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that he got a text message while Maldonado was holding the hostages that said, "The world will feel my anger."

emily | 08:33 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

Indian Women unite against Muslim divorce by SMS

Though in Malaysia, authorities overturned Islamic Syariah Court's ruling that allows Muslims to end marriages through mobile text messages since 2003, according to an article in Adnkronos International IOL "divorce among Muslims in India has never been easier thanks to new technology that has enabled men to end their marriages through an SMS or mobile phone text message.

Now a group of Muslim women are up in arms against this method of articulating the "triple talaaq", the formal unilateral declaration, repeated three times, with which men declare their divorce from their wives.

Sources among the Muslim community in Mumbai have said that representatives from "dozens of women’s associations", have decided to organise a three-day convention in Lucknow, the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh, on the problems facing women in the world of Islam, including this new method of divorce. The conference is set to begin on Tuesday.

emily | 08:07 PM | SMS and Religion | permalink | trackback (0)

Ringtone as a gift - after a donation to the Red Cross

tomte_ingress.jpg News is pretty slow today. Something interesting though posted on Ringtonia, former ABBA member Benny Andersson has composed a ring tone that will be sent to people who donate money to the Swedish Red Cross' annual Christmas collection drive.

"To get the ring tone, called Red Xmas, Swedes must donate about $6 by sending a text message from their mobile phones to a special number set up by the Red Cross. The donation will then be added to their phone bill, and a link to download the ring tone will be sent to their phones."

[Red Cross press release in Swedish]

Other fund raising schemes involving ringtones:

-- Links to ringtones which raised funds for tsunami relief

-- Downloading ringtones to raise money

-- Ringtones raise money for schools

emily | 05:34 PM | SMS and Charities | permalink | trackback (0)

WAPedia

wapedia_small.jpg WAPedia is Florian Amrhein's mobile encyclopedia. [via everyone's favorite Red Ferret]

In his own words:

Wapedia brings the content of Wikipedia (text) to mobile devices like mobile phones or PDAs.

At the moment it supports three languages: english, german and french. More will follow.

Related: - Semapedia= Semacode+Wikipedia - Semapedia combines the physical annotation technology of http://semacode.org with the availability of high quality information using the free online encyclopedia.

The promise of this system is to provide free relevant ad-hoc high quality information to mobile users in the real world.

Yest Another Study on Mobile Phone Harm in Children

studentstexting.gif Yet another study, Australian this time, will try to determine whether electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones can be harmful to children, reports The Guardian.

"The three-year study, starting this week, will measure the effects on 300 Melbourne children, aged 12 and 13. The Australian Centre for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research will monitor their hearing, memory, sleep, concentration and blood pressure at regular intervals."

Related:

-- Researchers to study information technology impact on children - Michigan State University researchers will use a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to better understand the nature and extent of children's information technology (IT) use and how using IT is affecting them.

-- Japan. Students lack sleep - High school students are experiencing a chronic lack of sleep and worsening health due to long hours on email messages, cell phones and nighttime visits to brightly lit convenience stores, according to a study by a team of researchers in Fukuoka Prefecture.

-- Get off that mobile, expert tells children - An official report into the safety of mobile phones will warn that adults' and children's use of the technology is in danger of “running out of control” despite previous warnings of possible health risks.

-- As kids keep on calling, experts worry - In China, confronted with this new scene on campus, experts from the educational, medical and psychological fields have varied opinions on kids with telephone fever.

November 20, 2005

Parents of bullies to face court

bulliesb.gif Parents whose children attack or threaten classmates could be hauled before the courts and fined £1,000 ($1.700) under UK government school reforms, according to the BBC.

There have been several high profile cases of bullying in recent weeks..

Related: - According to a recent survey by U.K. children's charity NCH, reported by ZDNet, one in five kids has been bullied via digital phone or computer. Bullying by text message was the most common form of abuse reported, with 14 percent of children interviewed saying they had received upsetting messages on their mobile phones. The interactions run the gamut from disconcerting to downright terrifying."

emily | 09:19 AM | Bullying by SMS | permalink | trackback (0)

UR r@ is in the trap

mousetrap.gif UK pest control firm Rentokil has invented a rat trap that sends an SMS when one of the rodents gets caught. [via I4U.com]

According to New Scientist. "Instead of someone having to make regular check of traps to see they if contain a dead rat or mouse, the novel trap sends out a text message to summon a pest controller. By ensuring the trap is emptied as soon as the animal is caught, it can be reset quickly, so ensuring more vermin are caught.".

Related:

-- Connecting a mouse trap to a cell phone - "A company called Wylesss has added a 21st century twist to the venerable mousetrap by installing a chip in the trap. The chip, connected to a mobile phone network, alerts the exterminator company when a rodent has been caught, so the dead creature can be collected and disposed of. "

emily | 08:58 AM | New SMS Services | permalink | trackback (1)

November 18, 2005

Mobile game 'communities' emerge

doom.gif Mobile-game providers are now deploying technology to create wireless "gaming communities," where players can interact with each other, all from their mobile phone, a promising telecom phenomenon that may make a $1 billion market in the next three years, experts tell United Press International's Wireless World. [via Phys.org]

"Mobile phones have been seen as new gaming and content platforms for a few years by industry visionaries. But the idea of creating virtual communities -- borrowed from the Internet -- is taking the trend to a new plane. New handheld technologies are emerging, and third-generation wireless networks are being offered by an array of carriers here and abroad.

... The mobile-gaming communities concept gives consumers access to what is called inter-carrier mobility functionality, which means that they can play games, not just on their own mobile device, but can network"

emily | 10:07 PM | SMS and Gaming | permalink | trackback (0)

nophones.com

9518036_F_store.jpg nophones.com promotes good mobile manners with some common sense reminders on cell phone etiquette.

1. Learn mobile phone etiquette
2 Learn the basic features of your phone
3 Obey the bans and signs
4 Consider other people before using your phone
5 Consider the safety of yourself and other people while using your phone

Above driver bumper sticker comes from their store. Something which will hopefully catch on.

The Vibra Phone

Spotted on boingboing, a vibrator disguised as a cell phone sold at Hustler Hollywood, in LA, of all places. "The Vibra Phone is Your Secret Agent Massager in a Covert Package."

Xeni posted a camphone shot on flickr.

emily | 08:22 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

Carnival Of The Mobilists

This week's Carnival of the Mobilist is hosted by The Pondering Primate. Don't miss it!

emily | 11:10 AM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

Pocket answer to digital divide

Much of the debate about the digital divide centres on getting computers into the hands of budding digital citizens in developing countries. But there are those who are looking to existing mobile phone technologies as the way to connect the world. The BBC reports.

""Everyone is talking about the digital divide, but the real issue is getting phones in everyone's hand," Tom Phillips, the head of GSM Association's policy unit, told the BBC News website.

"The core message is simple; 80% of the world has mobile coverage yet only 25% is accessing it," he said"

It's 10PM, do you know where your cell phone is?

17206.jpg It's 10PM, do you know where your cell phone is?

At last, a chair for your cell phone! This mini beanbag chair is simply irresistible and there'll be no more searching for your cell, you'll always know where you left it resting -- comfortably.

[via Muzik & Pics via Techie Diva's Guide to Gadgets]

More on China's SMS crackdown

More on China's massive crackdown on illegal messaging from China Yout.

"About 46,000 cases of illegal mobile-phone messages have been handled since early this month, when a nationwide crackdown was launched on this rapidly-growing phenomenon.

More than 5,000 illegal phone numbers were cancelled and 50 bank accounts frozen in two weeks, Wu Heping, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), told a press conference yesterday.

The campaign is jointly conducted by the MPS, the Ministry of Information Industry, and the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

Messages that dupe people into turning over personal or financial information, or involve prostitution, gambling, underground lotteries or offer criminal services are illegal. 43 per cent of the cases involve financial fraud. "

Related story and links: - China Unicom To Destroy Illegal Short Messaging

emily | 09:48 AM | SMS and Politics | permalink | trackback (0)

Cell Phone Parking Lot opens Southwest Florida International Airport

celllots-inside.jpg Southwest Florida International Airport yesterday opened a cell phone lot to speed the pickup of arriving passengers, reports News Press.

"Drivers can wait in the designated lot at no charge until their passengers call them by cell phone, at the terminal curb. Pay phones are located in the baggage claim area for passengers who don’t have cell phones.

Waiting drivers must stay with their vehicles in the cell phone lot."

Related: - Other cities with airport cell phone parking lots

China Unicom To Destroy Illegal Short Messaging

China's second largest mobile service operator China Unicom is implementing new measures to eliminate illegal short messages on its network. [via China Tech News]

..."China Unicom says it has also adopted key-word filtering technology to prevent the wanton spreading of unwanted messages or messages containing illegal content.

China Unicom says it has already deleted more than 510,000 mobile phone numbers that had been used to send illegal short messages."

Related story and links - China curbs text messaging, citing its massive influence

Weight Loss wallpaper for your cell phone

114936-1100-101x80.jpg 115039-1100-101x80.jpg 115051-1100-101x80.jpg 114819-1100-101x80.jpg Mocoblog has picked up on Flycell's self help wallpaper collection for cell phones, designed to promote weight loss.

"Flycell’s launches the mobile wallpaper collection in partnership with mypetfat.com, a site whose “pet fat” (like pet rock) products serve as a visual approach to weight loss."

emily | 09:11 AM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

French Regulator Cuts Text-Messaging Charge

It's about time. Price of SMS is finally coming down in France. Cellular News reports.

"French electronic communications regulator ARCEP said Thursday it has decided to lower the wholesale charge for SMS text messaging interconnection through France's three mobile telecom operators to euro .043 ($.050) per SMS from euro .053 ($.052), retroactive to July 1, 2005.

The ruling follows a complaint by one of the operators, Bouygues Telecom, that the two other operators, SFR and Orange, had an unfair advantage, because Bouygues has higher per-customer charges due to its smaller customer base.

November 17, 2005

Artificial Life, Inc. Announces Virtual Penguins

emperorpenguins.gif Hong Kong-based Artificial Life Inc, a leading provider of award-winning mobile technology and applications - and whom we owe Virtual Girlfriend to, has announced the release of its first massive multi-user 3G mobile game called "Virtual Penguins."

"The new game is based on the life and fate of the popular Emperor Penguins. The game simulates the difficult live cycles these penguins endure on the Antarctic ice and establishes a massive multi-user mobile virtual community. It is custom built for 3G phones. However, a single player version will also be released. The game is offered in high resolution 3D animation technology."

emily | 03:05 PM | SMS and Gaming | permalink | trackback (0)

Mobile industry tests the Wi-Fi airwaves

wireless_mmx.jpg The mobile industry is ramping up for a new generation of cell phones and services combining the long-distance strengths of traditional cellular service with the short-distance, low-cost advantages of Wi-Fi. Reuters reports.

" Industry players at the 3G World Congress & Exhibition in Hong Kong this week were buzzing with expectation for future services that would marry traditional cellular with Wi-Fi, a short-range technology often associated with wireless Web surfing in homes, offices and coffee shops.

Traditional cellular's main strengths lie in its mobility, enabling users to make calls while on the move over long distances from nearly anywhere in the world.

Wi-Fi, meanwhile, is only usable within short distances of antennae, often called "hot spots." But it is easily installed in buildings where cellular is often absent, and its high data transmission speeds enable more efficient file transfers and Web surfing.

Use of Wi-Fi could also help companies and consumers save money by transferring their calling and file transfers to local fixed-line networks at home and in the office, allowing them to bypass more costly cellular networks.

Nearly every major cell phone and telecommunications equipment maker at the gathering in Hong Kong is either testing a hybrid Wi-Fi service or handset, or has already launched an early model or two."

Image from Intel

emily | 03:05 PM | Technology | permalink | trackback (0)

Shanghai hung up on phones

selfportrait.gif According to the the Shanghai Communications Administration reported by the Shangai Daily, every 10 Shanghai people own more than 13 phones, including fixed-lines, mobile phones and "Little Smart" phones.

"In 2000, every 100 Shanghai people had 54 phones, and there were 3.5 million handsets in use, according to the report.

Now each fixed-line phone is dialed 11 times a day, and each handset is used for talking 5 minutes a day on average. Every Shanghainese sends two SMS messages a day at least. The newspaper said the use of phones in the city has exceeded the average level of European countries."

emily | 02:54 PM | Random Stats | permalink | trackback (0)

Multimap debuts map to mobile service

Mobile content provider Mobile Commerce has partnered with Multimap to launch a ‘Map to Mobile’ service, letting users transfer maps to their mobile rather than having to print out a copy. [via netimperative]

emily | 02:45 PM | New SMS Services | permalink | trackback (0)

Text message transcripts admitted as evidence in teen murder trial

Image-4.jpg In another example of SMS being used as evidence in a court case, damning text messaging was presented in a Brampton court Wednesday in the case of two teenaged girls accused of drowning their alcoholic mother in a bathtub on January 18, 2003. Toronto's Pulse24.com reports.

"Text messages between the two girls and their friends written that day revealed a detailed plan and a shocking nonchalance considering the chilling subject matter".

Click here to read transcripts of text messages presented in court.

[via Waxy.org]

Italian Designed phone for the elderly

ms2000elderphone_small.jpg

TRF has dug up another simple cell phone for the elderly, designed by an Italian.

emily | 01:12 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

Literary classics become txt msgs

Some of English literature's greatest masterpieces have been condensed into a few lines of text message to help students revise for exams, reports the BBC.

"The service condenses classic works such as Bleak House and Pride and Prejudice into a handy aide-memoire. A university professor claims it "amply demonstrates text's ability to fillet out the important elements in a plot".

The scheme has been developed by student mobile service dot.mobile."

Related stories:

-- Students compare Keats to SMS text

-- Texting is used as a tool for learning Shakespeare,

New Cingular Service Puts Scrolling News Onto Phone

screen3moto.jpg Moco News has picked up this really interesting announcement, where news/weather/sports will scroll by on the bottom of (Motorola) cell phone screens.

I think this time, push technology could really work. Unlike when you are at your computer and where information is so easily available, by simply clicking away in your browser, today, to access anything on our cell phone implies following a series of steps. I think this could really work. And perfect for idle time. It's always on information.

Cingular Wireless and Motorola Thursday are expected to unveil an always-on data service that will send scrolling text and images to the bottom of cell phone screens, reports Investors.com via Moco News.

The feature will work with Motorola's new v557 phone.

"The Live Ticker feature is seen as the latest incarnation of push technology, which was developed by PointCast in the 1990s for desktop computers. Though PointCast's technology fell out of favor, the idea could work well on cell phones, analysts say.

...The Live Ticker service could lure more customers online by giving them a taste of what's available on the Web. If they want to find out more about a Live Ticker headline, they'll have to open their Web browser to read the whole story — for a fee.

Live Ticker will initially offer about 10 content channels for subscribers. CNN, ESPN, E Online, the Weather Channel and Univision are providing the content."

emily | 09:42 AM | Technology | permalink | trackback (0)

Hyundai Perfume Phone

parfume_mobile_phone_cell.jpg The Hyundai MP280 cell phone - retailing for $1,220 - releases Chanel No 5 perfume when you open the clamshell - if that's what you like.

Users can refill the perfume phone with their favorite scent.

More pictures on PhoneDaily.

[via Phoneyworld via I4U]

PS. This is in no way related to last week's Smell Tone story on a gizmo called Keitai KunKun, which emits a "refreshing fragrance that has a relaxation effect" every time the phone receives incoming email, or calls.

emily | 09:31 AM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

Google Adds Two New Features to SMS Service

translation.gif more_2.gif Gary Price for Search Engine Watch reports on two new features in Google's SMS service: translation and currency conversion.

Translation:

"Translate a word or simple phrase to any of the following languages French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish from or to English."

Conversion

"To convert a currency to another currency simply enter the conversion you'd like completed."

[via Search Engine Lowdown]

SMS rids airport of parking woes

The South Africa Airports company is launching a text messaging service enabling travellers to SMS a number and receive a breakdown of parking availability at parking areas at Johannesburg International Airport. A great idea. [via IOL]

emily | 08:46 AM | New SMS Services | permalink | trackback (0)

I Invented ... The Cell Phone

0,1425,i=120081,00.gif Matt Rodbard for SyncMag, interviews Martin Cooper, the man who invented the cell phone.

Excerpts

"The 2.5-pound behemoth, christened Dyna-Tac, took years to design, and when it was eventually introduced in '83 as a retail cell phone, it cost $4,000. Hundreds of Motorola engineers worked to create portable antennas, low-current emiconductors and other mini miracles to make Cooper's wireless dream a reality, all in the name of breaking up a monopoly.

"We needed to prove that a company other than Bell could participate in this new industry, and our people did it," says Cooper.

... Since his brainchild not only slew a corporate Goliath but wound up in the hands of every creature on earth, he must be wealthier and more revered than Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and Carrot Top combined. Right? "I signed away all my patent rights to Motorola for a dollar when I joined the company and don't get any royalties," Cooper says, without putting a shotgun into his mouth. "But I earned a few dollars with stock options and I still have the $1 check they gave me." That might be worth something on eBay. "

Related:

-- Cell Phone turns 30 - On the 3rd of April 1973, thirty years ago, Dr Martin Cooper, today a trim, white-haired dapper septuagenarian who holds eight patents, most of them in wireless communications technology, made the first cell phone call, in a demonstration outside a Hilton Hotel in New York, that became the first step towards a massive change in the way we communicate.

November 16, 2005

Geek Cruises

boatbanner_05.jpg Not related to cell phones, I'm just helping you out if you still haven't made up your mind where to go on your next vacation and the thought of not being able to connect in some wireless wildnerness makes you edgy. How about a Geek Cruise? [via Karina for mobuzzTV]

They've been around for years, but it was news to me. My favorite part, right after the convincing your spouse page, the future cruise notification page where you must fill out a form, pinpointing your (nerdy) interests - with your destination, the secondary choice!

I am interested in the following types of cruises:
Photoshop
Macintosh
Linux
Chess
digital photography
Perl
Web Design
Java
Certification
.NET

I am interested in the following destinations:
Alaska
Mexico
Caribbean
Europe/Mediterranean/Baltic Sea
Hawaii

Helicopter parents

An interesting article by the Journal and Courier Online on how changes in transportation and technology, from cell phones -- nicknamed "the world's longest umbilical cord" by one Georgia university administrator -- to e-mail, give parents an almost split-second way to be involved - even when their kids are away.

"Helicopter parents," is a term coined by university administrators to refer to those who hover over their young adult offspring and hinder their maturation. The mostly well-meaning baby boomers, raised to get their money's worth at any cost, are flexing their muscle around college administrators and pestering professors.

The meddling has become so acute that public universities are creating programs and hiring staff to deal with problem parents, something most private colleges have done for years."

emily | 03:54 PM | SMS and Students | permalink | trackback (0)

students engage in sex while talking on their cell phones.

collegelife.gif Postcards from the Pug Bus writes about a new College student fad: talking on the phone while having sex - with interviews of professors debating the issue. A fun (if not entirely truthful) read.

"According to the dean of the college of education of Millersville University, we can add sex to the burgeoning list of activities that students engage in while talking on their cell phones. [via Postcard from the Pug Bus].

""We're used to seeing students talking on their cell phones while walking across campus, doing research in the library, and eating in the cafeteria," said Dean Kenyata Miller, "but the phenomenon of talking on the phone while engaging in sex is a disturbing trend. It suggests a fear of intimacy and an unhealthy reliance on peer approval."

Denise Miller, an elementary education major, disagrees.

"I don't think sex is anything to be ashamed of," said Miller. "It's something beautiful that I want to share with my friends, like telling them about a new CD or a movie I enjoyed. Besides, if I call my roommate to tell her I'm having sex right now, it avoids the embarrassing possibility of her walking in on us."

Harlan Miller, coach of the men's basketball team, warns that students who use their cell phones to film themselves while having sex "run the risk of overexposure."

PS Make sure you read the notice on the bottom of the : "The editorial content of this site is fictional. Be advised to believe half of what you see and nothing of what you read."

emily | 03:54 PM | SMS and Students | permalink | trackback (0)

Toilet-disposed mobiles menace Helsinki's sewers

This is wild. According to the Register, toilet-disposed mobiles menace Helsinki's sewers.

"More and more mobile phones are turning up in the sewage system of the Helsinki Metropolitan area, according to Helsinki Water, which serves over one million households. It's not known if the phones are purposely or accidentally disposed of.

Helsink Water didn't supply exact numbers, but dropping mobiles down the loo is pretty common elsewhere too. In the UK alone, as estimated 600,000 mobiles are flushed every year. As mobile phones get smaller and smaller, this number will undoubtedly increase, although dropping a cell phone down the pan is still only number six on a list of mobile phone accidents compiled by Swedish retailers."

emily | 03:48 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

Cell Phones Emerge as New Advertising Medium

7-eleven_ad.gif Select firms are now trying to reach customers via a new medium: cell phones, reports TechNews World. "Companies are using text messages to notify customers of special deals and banner ads to sponsor items, such as ring tone downloads," noted Julie Ask, research director at Jupiter Research.

...Increasingly, cell phones are becoming more data oriented and PC-like, reports. " Consequently, there is now space that advertiser can use for marketing. "Cell phone screen size is certainly not optimal but it does provide companies with room to advertise their wares," said David Chamberlain, senior analyst at market research firm In-Stat.

... Because little is known about the impact of cell phone advertising, vendors are moving cautiously. To date, the market is sending a mixed message.

At least initially, only a few consumers are embracing the idea of cell phone advertising: an In-Stat survey found that four out of every five users opposed the idea. The group supporting cell phone advertising seemed open to letting advertisers subsidize the cost of premium services, such as directory assistance, ringtones and messaging."

Image from ciadvertising.

Army enacts car cell phone ban

According to the StarBulletin, the army has banned the use of cell phones by drivers at all of its Hawaii bases, a policy that includes headsets and hands-free devices.

"It's a policy that state lawmakers shied away from adopting this past legislative session.

... The policy applies to military personnel as well as to civilians, visitors and contractors who are allowed to drive on Army posts. Under the Army policy, violators will lose their driving privileges."

Soon, worn by Bush

tactical_40.jpg

Rumor has it that POTUS (President of the United States) himself spotted one of these stylish garments from SCOTTEVEST on a Secret Service Agent and insisted on one of his own - complete with the presidential seal. Click here to view interactive demo.

[via Shiny Shiny]

Swiscom launches Mobile I.M.

Swisscom Mobile announces the launch of Ogo, the first real mobile instant messenger. In addition to the Instant Messaging function of the pre-installed MSN Messenger, the device supports the receipt and transmission of e-mails. [via Unstrung]

emily | 02:55 PM | Technology | permalink | trackback (0)

Motorola ColorNotes Brings Animated Text Messaging

colornotes.jpg Motorola today announced the global release of the Motorola ColorNotes Solution which transforms traditional messaging by allowing mobile subscribers to express their emotions, reports slashphone.

"The innovative messaging service converts traditional voice or short messages (SMS) to multimedia messages (MMS) that incorporate animated graphics and audio.

Subscribers are able to choose from a library of characters, including celebrities, cartoon characters and animated objects offered by the operator to deliver their messages."

emily | 09:37 AM | Technology | permalink | trackback (0)

London uses mobile phone SMS to link citizens with People’s Question Time

The Mayor of London is using a new mobile phone system to link citizens with his People's Question Time initiative, according to Public Technology.

"People's Question Time is a twice-yearly meeting that gives Londoners the chance to ask the Mayor and the London Assembly about their plans, priorities and policies for the Capital. For the first time, Londoners will be able to request tickets to attend the meeting and submit their questions to the panel via text. "

emily | 08:41 AM | SMS and Politics | permalink | trackback (0)

Daily Dilbert cartoons on your cell phone.

productjumpbox_character.gif Verizon Wireless has inked a deal with FunMail to offer daily Dilbert cartoons on Verizon handsets.

Dilbert, the United Feature Syndicate comic strip, is the most photocopied, pinned-up, downloaded, faxed and e-mailed comic strip in the world. Dilbert appears in 2,000 papers in 65 countries and 25 languages. More than 20 million Dilbert books have been sold to date, and more than half of Adams' books have made The New York Times best-seller list. [Cellular News]

Related article: - Dilbert comics on your cell screen

Build-it-yourself cell phones

Frustrated at limitations on mainstream mobile phones, "homebrew" enthusiasts are building their own, reports News.com

... "Cell phone use has already exploded all over the world, but it is only recently that falling component prices have made it practical for homebrew phone hackers to build their own.

Certainly, the phone tinkerers are chafing at the boundaries set by the handset makers and the big phone carriers. They want phones to be programmable, so they can create their own services, either as start-up companies or just for their own use. "

emily | 08:03 AM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

November 15, 2005

Suspected 'cell phone bandit' arrested

NY11211151209-small.jpg According to Cape Cod Times, FBI agents arrested a woman Tuesday who was suspected of robbing four banks in suburban Virginia while appearing to be talking on a cell phone.

"Candice R. Martinez, 19, was arrested just before 4 a.m. at a home in nearby Centreville, Va. after an FBI agent spotted a car nearby with license plates they had been searching for.

Investigators weren't sure whether Martinez was actually talking to someone while she demanded cash or if it was just a cover, Weierman said."

[via Wireless Weblog via Engadget]

Related articles:

-- Cell Phone Bank Robber Still a Face With No Name

-- Woman Robs Banks While Talking on Her Cell Phone

emily | 08:00 PM | | permalink | trackback (0)

Finnish Police may reprimand citizens via SMS

finlandpolice.gif Finnish police may approach unruly citizens via text message, according to Newsroom Finland.

"For example in Salo, the cradle of the Finnish mobile phone industry, police have adopted the practise of sending motorists text messages into their mobile phones about for example faulty lights. Also the highest echelons of the Finnish police administration try to think of ways in which the technology could be utilised to a greater extent than now.

Police administration wants to make absolutely sure that the right person gets the text message. Also the person receiving the message must be sure it really was sent by the police."

Willing To Pay $500 For 'Velvet Glove' Monthly Cell Phone Service? Talk To Voce

voce.jpg Tech Web reports on a new mobile-virtual network operator in town called Voce, targeting the elite and billing its services as upscale, with $1,500 sign-up fee and frequent handset upgrades.

"Created by Faith Inc., a Japanese content provider that made its footprint in the U.S. wireless market through its polyphonic ringtones, Voce says it will provide "first class" personalized wireless services in addition to basic services.

In their own words:

Voce is the first wireless service designed to support people who live exceptionally mobile lifestyles.

Created with a truly customer-centric point of view, Voce is committed to delivering extraordinary service, exceptional style, and absolute ease of use for its clients.

With standard benefits such as 24-7 live support; unlimited domestic voice and data; exclusive handsets from leading manufacturers; automatic data back up; and regular free device upgrades, Voce offers an experience unlike any other mobile services provider.

And because Voce recognizes that true mobility involves more than a wireless handset, Voce also offers ancillary benefits such as travel support, virtual assistant services and partnerships with luxury service providers.

All for a one-time set up fee and a flat monthly fee, with no cumbersome contracts.

emily | 04:34 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

British towns provide a new way to pay for parking

5200_tm.jpg Some cities in Britain have made it easier to pay for parking. You just call a number displayed on the parking meter using your mobile phone, enter the unique number on the meter, and the toll is charged directly to your credit card.

"The system recognizes your mobile number so that you don’t have to use a PIN number or enter credit card information each time you park. You must set up an account first in order to use the system. Once you have made the call, the meter is alerted and asks you how much time you want before printing out a ticket for your dash."

reBlogged from MobileMag

Related Meterless parking services from around the world:

-- Meterless parking on trial - New Zealand's "Phone2Park" system, developed by Parking Solutions, will automatically debit a customer's pre-paid mobile phone account when they send a text to a shortcode, removing the need for parking meters or pay and display machines.

-- LA to test parking meters with SMS and credit-card payments - A new smart parking meter system is being tested in Los Angeles which allows ATM-style meters to accept cash, debit, and credit cards. It can also use SMS to send a message to your cellphone when the meter is about to expire.

-- Florida City Tests m-Parking meters - The automated system allows drivers who subscribe to simply dial in from their cell phone, punch in the number assigned to their parking spot, and the required costs — plus a 25-cent usage fee — will be billed to their credit card. When leaving, subscribers call back and end the billing cycle.

-- UC gets m-parking - The University of California-Santa Barbara with help from IBM, overhauled its parking system, enabling mobile users to pay for their parking meters with their cell phones. (February 2005)

-- Sun-powered parking meters for city - Solar-powered parking meters capable of accepting credit cards and payment via mobile phone are to be installed in central Sydney. (February 2005)

-- M-Parking in Vienna The Austrian capital has just completed its first year of allowing residents to pay for any of its 126,000 short-term parking spaces by mobile phone, under what it calls its M-Parking system (October 2004).

-- Parking Fees to Be Paid by SMS -Sofia municipality (Bulgaria) will introduce a new "Pay and display" parking fee system (October 2004)

-- Austrians purchase car-parking tickets by mobile phones - About 50,000 drivers are now purchasing their car-parking tickets by mobile phone and SMS in Vienna and five other cities in Austria. "M-parking" was introduced a year ago by German IT services provider Siemens Business Services and mobile operator Mobilkom. (October 2004) Austria.

-- mParking - The first scheme in the UK which allows drivers to pay for parking by mobile phone has been launched in Scotland (October 2003).

-- Sydney Council today launched its new mobile phone payment parking system, which not only allows motorists to pay for metered parking using their mobile phone - but also lets them know via SMS that their meter is due to expire. (March 19, 2004)


emily | 01:05 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

GrameenPhone Passes Subscriber Landmark

grameen2.jpg Bangladesh's GrameenPhone says that it has recently crossed the 5 million subscriber-mark milestone, reports Cellular News.

"The company more than doubled its subscriber-base during the first 10 months of the current year. GP started the year with nearly 2.4 million subscribers, reached 3 million in March and 4 million users only in September.

... GrameenPhone presently commands 62% of the mobile phone market in the country. Nearly 80% of population has now been brought under the coverage of the GP network, which covers 400 upazilas of 61 districts.

About GrameenPhone:

-- Technologies 'to aid the poor'

-- GrameenPhone in Bangladesh reaches three million mobile phone subscribers

-- Bank gives beggars phones instead of cash

-- Nokia To Deliver Network Solutions To GrameenPhone

Bullying shifts to mental cruelty

bullyg.gif Bullying in school has shifted from physical attacks to psychological cruelty, say head teachers in the UK, via the BBC.

"Mr Trobe, head teacher of Malmesbury School in Wiltshire, says that when he began his teaching career three decades ago, there was more physical bullying. "Now there are more cases of verbal or psychological bullying. There are so many different avenues for this," he says.

Such psychological tactics have become common in the past five or six years, he says, driven by the near-universal ownership of mobile phones among youngsters. "Mobile phones are used to send threatening messages or to ring people up and not saying anything. It all builds up pressure on youngsters."

As well as phone threats, he says children, particularly girls, have become more adept at ostracising each other and applying social pressure, by ignoring or excluding particular classmates.

... He warned that a series of violent attacks in schools, particularly involving girls, appearing to be a worrying pattern, in which pupils were ready to use extreme violence."

emily | 12:45 PM | Bullying by SMS | permalink | trackback (0)

Text service to help smokers quit

dont_giveup_bannerx.jpg Smokers will be able to receive help and support to quit the habit via text messages and emails. Public Health Minister Caroline Flint announced an expansion of NHS Stop Smoking Services on Tuesday, reports the BBC.

... "After registering a date by which they intend to quit, they will receive a series of supportive direct mail packs, text messages and call backs as they reach the key stages of the giving up process.

The programme can be tailored according to the needs of the individual so they can choose what communication they would like to receive - and change their quit date if needed.

Those who stop trying to quit, or who start smoking again will be encouraged to persevere and to set a new quit date. "

Similar services:

-- Text messages help smokers quit - The British Heart Foundation is launching a new weapon against smoking - sending supportive texts and e-mails to those trying to quit.

-- «Dare To Say No!» - «Osez Dire Non!» or «Dare to Say No!» is a text messaging campaign launched by the European Union, to warn teenagers about the dangers related to smoking and tobacco. Launched April 1st in most European countries, it will continue until 2004.

UNICEF Uses SMS in Global AIDS Awareness Campaign

ufc_projections_thumb.jpg Millions of SMS have been sent as part of a global campaign by UNICEF to raise awareness of the enormous impact of HIV/AIDS on children around the world, reports Mike Grenville for 160characters.org.

"The launch of Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS took place on 25 October 2005 in 50 countries around the world and in two countries SMS has been used to back up the poster campaign.

Uzbekistan

Nearly a million cell-phone subscribers in Tashkent received an intriguing ‘wake-up call’ on 25th October through an SMS message to launch the campaign in Uzbekistan.

The message asked “Why are so many young people contracting HIV?” Each SMS message had a link to the UNICEF website where everyone interested was able find more detailed information about the campaign.

Nigeria

Cellphone provider MTN arranged for an SMS message to be sent to all 9 million subscribers in Nigeria. The message read, in part: “You can stop AIDS from destroying our children and leaving millions of orphans in Nigeria. UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS.”

emily | 12:09 PM | SMS and Charities | permalink | trackback (0)

November 14, 2005

WeddingChannel.com Goes Wireless

weddingplanner.gif Los Angeles-based WeddingChannel.com has launched a new wireless service offering that provides access to WeddingChannel.com's wedding planning information via cell phone.

"The company said that its wedding planning content and tools are now available via text messaging for PDAs and smartphones." [viaSocalTech].

emily | 05:30 PM | New SMS Services | permalink | trackback (0)

Vietnam handset smugglers appear in court Wednesday

Vietnam on Wednesday is set to hear the case involving a smuggling ring that moved thousands of illegal cell phones worth approximately US$9.3 million into the country from Hong Kong, reports Thanhnien News.

"There are 15 other defendants, including 12 ex-customs and airport officials who are accused of taking hush money to ease the ring’s operations.

In 1999 to 2002, the ring led by Thieu smuggled 39,519 cell phones valued at some VND148 billion ($9.3 million) from Hong Kong to Vietnam.

The importers smuggled the contraband into Vietnam via the post and with special help from Vietnam Airlines pilots and flight attendants."

emily | 05:20 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

Sony Ericsson's simple phones

sony_ericsson_j230.JPG Sony Ericsson has launched three new simple cell phones for the stupid people, or putting it another way, for those who like to keep it simple - but who don't know what they're missing.

According to the The Register, "Sony Ericsson chose this morning to launch a trio of new phones aimed at basic consumers. The new handsets are the company's answer to the Vodafone Simply phone which the network launched in collaboration with Sagem earlier in the year. Largely bereft of features – there’s no camera, MP3 player or email – they are designed so that even the most tech-unsavvy users can find their way around them.

... Sony Ericsson's big idea, for two of the phones, the J220 and J230, is to include an option that allows the user to customise the interface to make it even simpler to use. They can either opt for the traditional multi icon interface or go for a single icon menu. This enables them to access their core features - and on these phones there aren't a great deal to chose from anyhow – with one click."

emily | 01:08 PM | News, Buzz | permalink | trackback (0)

New Linux phone standards effort in the works

PalmSource, France Telecom's Orange and several other companies plan to standardize aspects of Linux running on mobile phones. News.com reports.

"The Linux Phone Standard (Lips) Forum wants to standardize Linux interfaces so that higher-level software won't have to be customized for each variation of the open-source operating system appearing in different cell phone models. If successful, the allies believe they'll make Linux a better competitor the fast-growing market."

emily | 01:04 PM | Technology | permalink | trackback (0)

Police warn against false SMS terrorism alerts

Police in New South Wales are warning false reports of terrorist threats against Sydney are being spread by email and text messaging. The alleged threats are unsubstantiated and have diverted police resources away from major investigations, reports LaSalute.

"Police say the messages should be disregarded and officials have assured the public it will be notified of any real danger. Anyone found generating alarmist messages could be fined up to $5,500 and face a jail sentence.

After tsunami, S.Lanka gets phone warning system

I28067-2004Dec26 Next time a disaster such as a tsunami strikes Sri Lanka, officials say they hope to use text messages and the mobile phone system to give people the crucial few minutes warning they need to seek safety, reports Reuters.

..."The scheme will be launched first as a pilot project in parts on the island's south coast, much of which was devastated by the giant wave that killed nearly 40,000 Sri Lankans.

It will use text messages to alert police officers, village chiefs and other important officials to warnings, and can also send a blanket message to all phones in an area through "cell broadcasting" -- more versatile than a normal text or phone call."

Remote control device acts on SMS commands

A flexible and versatile remote control device is now available from Idec. The device, which includes a modem for data connection, is also able to execute commands which have been received via SMS. [via Electronicstalk].

... "It can be used to operate something from a remote location: users can activate the roof windows of the commercial green house, activate the gates to you home or factory, switch on the heating of their country house, or give the go to the air conditioning, start the sprinklers to water the golf greens, or pull the rolling shutters up or down.

There is no limit to the operations that can be managed, provided that they control the electric signal."

emily | 12:44 PM | M2M | permalink | trackback (0)

SMS Spoofing: The new age cyber crime

photo.jpeg The India Times reports on Mobile Spoofing or SMS Spoofing and says there is not much you can do about it.

"Using a web-based software, a cyber criminal can send a message from another person's cell without even touching his/her mobile. And mind you, no cellular service provider can say that it was a spoofed or faked one.

Asian School of Cyber Laws (Pune) recently conducted experiments in SMS spoofing at the national and international level. They were able to successfully spoof SMS messages and make them appear to come from other people's cellular phones.

While the scope for misuse of SMS Spoofing is enormous, it can also be used in a positive manner. For instance, SMS spoofing can help the investigating agencies and law enforcing agencies to trap terrorists and narcotic dealers. SMS Spoofing can be very effective tool for the investigating agencies to trap criminals and underworld gangsters by sending SMS in their cell phones.

There is no one solution to SMS spoofing. The best bet is to remain vigilant and call up the other person when in doubt whether he/she has really sent you the SMS in question."

We are all Mociologists

paperback-cover.gif Joe Trippi likes to open his lectures with a question. "How many mociologists are there in the audience?" No one raises a hand. He then asks, "How many of you have got mobile phones?" Every hand goes up. "You're all mociologists," Trippi says. "You just don't know the word yet - just like you didn't know the word 'blog' five years ago." [via The Guardian]

"Mociology refers to how mobile and wireless technology has changed the way we do things: downloading music on to a mobile phone, for example, or getting the football scores texted through on a Saturday afternoon. To Trippi, however, its potential lies in how it can be used for political purposes - just as he saw and exploited the possibilities of blogs for political campaigning while running Howard Dean's unsuccessful bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

Blogging and mociology, Trippi is convinced, will revolutionise politics.

It's an entirely new development - the arrival of the two-way printing press. We have had the one-way press around for centuries, but when you have a two-way press it means that people can actually have a conversation with each other on equal terms. Mobile technology, blogging technology, gives people the ability to connect with each other from the bottom up. It'll do for 21st-century politics what print did for the 18th." ...

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything by Joe Trippi is published by ReganBooks

emily | 09:04 AM | SMS and Politics | permalink | trackback (0)

Pill reminder text message launched

thepill.gif A young businesswoman has launched a mobile texting service to help prevent forgetfulness when taking the contraceptive pill leading to unplanned pregnancies, reports the Daily Mail.

"Ms Jennings, 31, said she had always set an alarm clock to remind her to take the Pill at 2pm every day, but this led to questions from other people when it went off during business meetings or lunches.

"The idea came from my own experience of trying to remember to take the Pill at the same time everyday."

Related: - Cell Phones Help Couples Become Pregnant