Sunday, July 31, 2005

Increasing connection in China

The International Telecommunication Union newslog has the China Internet Network Information Center's, 16th China Internet Survey Report."According to the report,through the end of June 2005,China had 103 million Internet users,up 18.4 percent year on year.The number increased by nine million from January.Broadband users increased 23.8 percent year on year to 53 million, according to CNNIC.The number of computers in China connected to the Internet hit 45.6 million, said the report,up 25.6 percent year on year".

16th China Internet Survey Report

How will increased connectivity affect the lives of so many people in China - will the economic sphere be matched by increasing developments in the virtual?

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Mobility of information + ideas = contribution economy

In the contribution economy, sharing information and ideas may enrich our lives in ways we can’t measure—yet.

Today's Fortune Magazine features an article by editor David Kirkpatrick on what he calls "the contribution economy:"

"Who would have thought that your customers would work as volunteers on behalf of your company?" asks Scott Cook, founder and chairman of software firm Intuit. The trend, which Intuit calls "user contribution systems," helps the company constantly improve the quality of its products, he says.

I suspect that the value that can now be produced through collaboration is vastly greater than in the conventional top-down process. Wikipedia, for instance, is bigger and more up-to-date than the Encyclopedia Britannica. "Wikipedia clearly makes the world better off," says Cook, an enthusiast of this new tendency towards volunteerism. "But economists measure dollars. People generally assume that GDP and quality of life go up together. Maybe a chunk of the economy is going underground."

Via Smartmobs

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Power of the Blog

This article, Internet study warns politicians on power of the blog, says that "websites played an important role in swinging public opinion against Europe's constitutional treaty,according to an internet study by two researchers at the University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC)".

Below is a "visualization demonstrating how two-thirds of the websites & blogs devoted to France's recent referendum about the European Constitution favoured the 'No' campaign.The original dataset contained 12.000 sites,of which only 295 sites commented on the referendum.The graph shows the hierarchy of hyperlinked connections between those blogs, & explores the potential influence of blogs on the referendum & its aftermath".The blue dots are "OUI",the red are "NON".

blog impact visualization

Via Smartmobs

Video in the Blogosphere is the new mobility of information

This article, Blogging + Video = Vlogging , from Wired said:

"It was inevitable:Bloggers who previously wrote endlessly about everything from politics to tech tips to how to fry an egg on a hot sidewalk can now take their commentary,advice and random experiments to the next level by filming and broadcasting their work, thanks to the latest web trend -- video blogging.Video blogs -- also known by their shorter, clunkier name, vlogs -- are blogs that primarily feature video shorts instead of text"

Individuals are now not only text-posting to share and connect, and/or podcasting - they are now broadcasting and distributing their own videos. The 'New Media' is truely becoming grassroots and distributed.

Internet Structure

This article in Technology Research News(TRN) says "the Internet is big by any measure:The Internet Systems Consortium pegged the number of Internet hosts as of January, 2004 at 233 million.Global Reach counted 729 million users online as of March, 2004.And a University of California at Berkeley study showed that,in 2002,532,897 terabytes of new data flowed across the Internet,440,606 terabytes of email was sent, and the Web contained 167 terabytes of data that was accessible to all users,plus another 91,850 terabytes in the deep Web where access is controlled.A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes, or 1,000,000 megabytes,or the amount of information that can be stored on 213 DVDs,or one tenth the amount of information stored in the entire Library of Congress print collection".

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Here is an interesting MIT project group: House_n

House_n is a Department of Architecture research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.From the website."The widespread adoption of digital technologies is leading to profound changes in how we communicate with others,shop for goods and services,receive news,manage our finances,learn about the world, participate in politics,deliver and receive medical care,conduct business,manage resources,find entertainment,and maintain autonomy as we age.Increasingly,these activities will take place directly in the home.As our notion of banks,bookstores,universities,communities,and cities change in response to new technologies,the home will take on extraordinary new importance".

It might change the 'home' forever!?

Future Innovations

The AO2005: The Innovation Summit:

The webcasts from this summit provide some excellent coverage about what industry insiders and thinkers are stating about the future of technosocial spaces, including the web, software, phones, ubiquitous connectivity, infrastrucutres, and more.

Well worth a visit - a July summit at Stanford.

Social Machines and All Things Digital

Wade Roush analyzes in the August editon of MIT's Technology Review the impact of Constant connectivity and Continuous Computing.

After a decade of hype about "mobility," personal computing has finally and irreversibly cut its bonds to the desktop and has moved into devices we can carry everywhere. We're using this newly portable computing power to connect with others in ways no one predicted--and we won't be easily parted from our new tools.

This information field enables people to both pull information about virtually anything from anywhere, at any time, and push their own ideas and personalities back onto the Internet--without ever having to sit down at a desktop computer. Armed with nothing more than a smart phone, a modern urbanite can get the answer to almost any question; locate nearby colleagues, friends, and services; join virtual communities that form and disband rapidly around shared work and shared interests; and self-publish blog entries, photographs, audio recordings, and videos for an unlimited audience.

Via Smartmobs

Tuesday, July 26, 2005





5-6 September 2006

Hosted by
Asia Research Institute
National University of Singapore

Co-organised by

Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Dept of Tourism, University of Otago, New Zealand

This event precedes the workshop;
ASIA, (Hosted by Asia Research Institute, 7- 9 September 2006)

In collaboration with the University of Otago, the Asia Research Institute is hosting a graduate workshop on Research Methods in Tourism in Asia. This two day workshop will provide students enrolled on either Masters or PhD programmes with the opportunity to discuss, and reflect upon, a range of methodological issues and the problems of conducting tourism fieldwork in Asia. Abstracts should be submitted for 10 minute presentations on the difficulties, dilemmas, struggles, successes or failures of doing tourism research in Asia. In addition to these presentations, the workshop will feature a series of roundtables and group discussions focusing on specific issues concerning tourism methodology in Asia.

What challenges does the nature of tourism pose for integrating or independently using qualitative or quantitative approaches? What role should academic research play in shaping tourism policy? What ethical dilemmas does researching sex tourism pose? How well can localised case study based fieldwork interpret processes of globalisation? Can the researcher transcend his or her own tourist gaze to interpret ‘situated knowledge'? With tourism studies dispersed across a number of disciplines how does the researcher define theoretical and methodological rigor? What challenges does regional/domestic tourism in Asia pose to existing theories and approaches in tourism studies?

Sessions exploring these questions, and many more, will be led by a team of academics from Asia and beyond, all of whom have researched and published extensively on tourism in the region. This workshop will directly connect with the workshop ‘Of Asian Origin’; Rethinking Tourism in Contemporary Asia, which is taking place immediately afterwards (7-9th September). Students accepted for the Questions of Methodology workshop will also be entitled to observe, and potentially present, in this path-breaking event examining tourism in Asia by Asian tourists. For further details of ‘Of Asian Origin’; Rethinking Tourism in Contemporary Asia, along with a downloadable registration form, please visit:


  • When to tick, when to listen; quantitative versus qualitative approaches
  • Gossip or narrative; what exactly does data look like?
  • Research ethics and tourism
  • Playing the field; negotiating relationships and the politics of identity
  • Researcher, exile or tourist?; Undertaking cross cultural research
  • Journeys of Rigour; epistemological departures and methodological arrivals


Graduate students should submit a 200-word abstract of their proposed paper using the attached PROPOSAL FORM no later than 1 December 2005. Successful applicants will be advised by 1 February 2006. The abstract should clarify the substantive issues which your paper will address and be firmly grounded in your own research project. Applicants are also encouraged to submit abstracts for the ‘Of Asian Origin’; Rethinking Tourism in Contemporary Asia workshop. See link above for details.

Please include your name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address and other contact information. One confidential letter of recommendation from a supervisor should also be forwarded to this address by the same date.

Papers will be selected and assigned to panels. Each verbal presentation (max. 10 mins) will receive comments and suggestions from a discussant and will be followed by a broader panel discussion.

Graduates selected have to submit full length papers, of around 5,000 words in length, by 1 August 2006. These are not expected to be final drafts but will be circulated to participants by e-mail beforehand to enable fruitful roundtable discussions. For this reason, the argument of the paper needs to be clear enough for comments and discussion by others.

Please send abstracts to Dr Tim Winter at:

Further enquiries should be directed to Dr Tim Winter, email: or Dr Nir Avieli email:


On campus shared accommodation will be provided for students presenting travelling from overseas. Applicants accepted for Questions of Methodology (5 - 6 September 2006) will also have accommodation provided for the duration of the subsequent ‘Of Asian Origin’: Rethinking tourism in Contemporary
Asia workshop (7 - 9 September 2006). A limited number of travel subsidies will be available for non-Singaporean residents travelling from within Asia. Priority for financial assistance will be given to students from less-advantaged institutions in Asia where such funding is not available. Lunches, refreshments and a workshop dinner will be provided over the course of the workshop.

Applicants seeking financial assistance should first seek funding from their universities or from other sources, and should also indicate when submitting their abstracts that they may be applying for a travel subsidy.


High quality papers will be selected for the ARI working paper series, with possible inclusion in publications arising from the ‘Of Asian Origin’ workshop.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Driven to distraction by technology

This is an interesting antidote to the mobility-acceleration path of thinking:

"The typical office worker is interrupted every three minutes by a phone call, e-mail, instant message or other distraction. The problem is that it takes about eight uninterrupted minutes for our brains to get into a really creative state, reports

mug_mouse_drinking.jpg "The result, says Carl Honore, journalist and author of "In Praise of Slowness," is a situation where the digital communications that were supposed to make working lives run more smoothly are actually preventing people from getting critical tasks accomplished .

.. . For years, technology has worked to get people more connected. In the office there's e-mail, instant messages and the phone. On the road, cell phones and BlackBerrys enable workers to stay in touch with colleagues.

There is a mini rebellion under way, however. Desperate for some quiet time to think, people are coming up with low-tech strategies to get away from all their technology . That has Microsoft and others taking note and looking for ways to create software that can be more adept at preventing interruptions.

... Businesses could benefit from introducing a collective effort to switch off, Honore said. He points to the marketing department at Veritas Software, which last year instituted "E-mail-free Fridays" for its marketing department.

... Although technology can and should make it easier to slow down, part of the change needs to be a different set of priorities.

"Technology has kind of turned the tables on us," Honore said. "We move to its speed and its rhythm."

Via Smartmobs


While the Thai government continues to push the country towards an information-based economy and society, over in South Korea they're already looking at the next stage, plotting plans for so-called ubiquitous communications, or "u-Korea," where people can communicate and access information anywhere and anytime.

For ubiquitous communications, the government introduced what it refers to as its IT839 strategy, which covers eight services, three types of infrastructure and nine products...

..."Wibro is for city usage. It is designed for using Internet on the move," Dr Chin said. The available speed is as high as 30Mbps and the connection can stay active while driving at less than 60 kilometres per hour...The other seven services included in the IT 839 strategy are digital multimedia broadcasting, which will be launched nationwide next year; home networking; telematics; W-CDMA; Internet telephony, nationwide digital mobile TV; and RFID services.

Read full article at Bangkok Post

Via Smartmobs

Work is where you hang your coat

Sun Microsystems is on the leading edge when it comes to "telework" -- a coinage that nowadays replaces the term "telecommuting" because it encompasses not just working from home but working from anywhere: a client's office, a coffee shop, an airport lounge, a commuter train. With cell phones, broadband at home, WiFi, virtual private networks and instant messaging becoming ubiquitous, telework has become easier than ever.

Read full article at San Francisco Chronicle

Saturday, July 23, 2005

RFID’s Infant Protection thwarts kidnapping

An interesting RFID story here: I increasingly feel that RFID technologies are a rapidly increasing area that begs for more analysis and study from a sociological/mobility perspective:

"In Charlotte, N.C., an abduction of a baby from Presbyterian Hospital was thwarted thanks to an RFID infant protection system, reports Wireless Week.

Last week, the Hugs system sounded the alarm when an infant was removed from the hospital's seventh-floor nursery. Nurses and staff responded to the "Code Pink" alert, and security officials recovered the infant unharmed and returned him to the maternity ward.

VeriChip Corporation, a subsidiary of Applied Digital, a provider of security and identification technology, supplies the "Hugs" Infant Protection. Each infant wears a Hugs tag on his or her wrist or ankle that contains a tiny radio transmitter. Hospital exit points are electronically monitored to detect unauthorized removal of an infant."

Via Smartmobs

Friday, July 22, 2005

eCampus at Lancaster

A new exhibition, funded by the Friends Programme at Lancaster University and Welfare State International, is part of a much larger Lancaster University project called eCampus - a unique public display infrastructure which will ultimately see multiple interconnected screens
scattered across the University campus displaying information, interactive installations and real-time performance. Later this year Metamorphosis will be used as part of the eCampus project. It will be projected on multiple screens in the University's underpass - a concrete
underpass where cars, trucks and busses will trigger the image rather than people.

Read more about this through Lancaster's Interactive Art

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Munich sociological congress

The Munich sociological congress (author meets critique session) published paper is referenced as:

John Urry, Sven Kesselring, Matthias Junge, Hermann Schwengel. (2005).
Global Complexity. Some remarks to the "Author meets Critics session" at
the DGS congress in 2004, Munich. In: Karl Siegbert Rehberg (ed.):
Soziale Ungleichheit - Kulturelle Unterschiede. Verhandlungen des 32.
Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in München 2004.
Frankfurt: Campus.

The last word in tagging?

As part of its spring 2006 collection, Lauren Scott of California will launch a line of kid's pajamas sewn with RFID tags. Readers positioned at the house doorways and windows will be able to scan the tags within a 30-foot radius, and an alarm will be triggered when boundaries are breached.

Parents can sign up to access a database that contains photos and information the parent may wish to provide law enforcement in the event their child is missing. Within seconds, the information can be transmitted to law enforcement or Amber Alerts.

Read full article on 'RFID pajamas'

Via Smartmobs < Information Week

Mobile phones as the ultimate mobile device?

According to a recent BBC article titled 'Mobiles head for sales milestone':

One billion mobile phones will be sold in 2009, according to analysts.

Research firm Gartner said that the world's appetite for mobile phones had exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.

"Mobile phones could go on to be the most common consumer electronics device on the planet," said Gartner analyst Ben Wood.

By the end of 2009, some 2.6 billion mobiles will be in regular use around the world, Gartner predicts.

The findings are based on a study that looked at sales figures from 62 countries around the globe.

Survival of the fittest

It is expected that some 779 million mobile handsets will be sold by the end of this year, 50 million of which will be smartphones.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Theory, Culture & Society - Special Issue on Complexity

Text Box: Theory, Culture & Society Special Issue on Complexity

Thought this new special issue might be of interest to people following mobilities:

Theory, Culture & Society is at the cutting edge of recent developments in social and cultural theory. The journal has helped to break down some of the disciplinary barriers between the humanities and the social sciences by opening up a wide range of new questions in cultural theory. Theory, Culture & Society builds upon the heritage of the classic founders of social theory and examines the ways in which this tradition has been reshaped by a new generation of theorists.

Complexity Special Issue Editor John Urry Lancaster University, UK

Articles in the special issue include:

· The Complexity Turn John Urry

· Coping with Complexity: On Emergent Interfaces Between the Natural Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences Helga Nowotny

· Complexity and Life Fritjof Capra

· The Problem of the Attractor: A Singular Generality Between Sciences and Social Theory Adrian MacKenzie

· Reflexing Complexity: Post-Genomic Knowledge and Reductionist Returns in Public Science Brian Wynne

· Complexity, Configurations and Cases David Byrne

· Complexity, Science and the Public: The Geography of a New Interpretation Cristian Suteanu

· Complexity, Ecology and the Materiality of Information Chris Jenks and John Smith

· Ex-orbitant Globality Nigel Clark

· Complexity and Social Movement: Process and Emergence in Planetary Action Systems Graeme Chesters and Ian Welsh

· Complex Global Microstructures: The New Terrorist Societies Karin Knorr Cetina

· The Complexities of the Global John Urry

· Complexity, Deconstruction and Relativism Paul Cilliers

ISSN: 0263-2764

Amazing Statistics of children in Israel Using Mobile Phones

An interesting article at Ynetnews has various cell phone usage stats for children in Israel. The statistics are revealing. Here are some details:

  • 10% of children ages 5-7 have cell phones
  • 45% of children ages 8-9 have cell phones
  • 66% of children ages 10-11 have cell phones
  • 90% of children ages 12+ have cell phones

According to the article, escalating violence and concern for safety a major reason behind growing phenomenon.

Via 'Mocoblog'

Monday, July 18, 2005

Cities of the Future

According to a recent BBC article: 'Globalisation has done its best to push constant migration deeper into the urban from the rural with the promise of work. But cities have failed to cope with it, physically, emotionally or mentally. They cannot sustain the flow and they are not sustainable and fair places to live.'

Read full article at '
Eco-designs on future cities'

New 'Mobilities' journal

The new 'Mobilities' journal for 2006, edited by Kevin Hannam, Mimi Sheller, and John Urry, will have its first issue Janurary 2006:

Mobilities encompasses both the large-scale movements of people, objects, capital, and information across the world, as well as more local processes of daily transportation, movement through public space, and the travel of material things within everyday life. Recent developments in transportation and communications infrastructures, along with new social and cultural practices of mobility have elicited a number of new research initiatives for understanding the connections between these diverse mobilities.

Mobilities will publish original, theoretically-informed research which is international in scope as well as in authorship. The journal seeks to address topical issues and foster scholarly debate. All submissions will be subject to double-blind peer review.

Areas of Interest
Papers in the following areas would be considered for publication in Mobilities:

  • Travel and communications
  • Migration, diasporas & families
  • Tourism and business travel
  • Mobile risks
  • New social networks
  • Transportation & communication technologies
  • Mobilities and new social exclusions

Notes for Contributors
Manuscripts should be between 8,000 and 12,000 words, and should be sent electronically to: (Harvard layout).

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Green Car Congress: Texting (SMS) for a Shared Taxi

A seed-stage company in the UK has developed a system that collates requests for point-to-point travel from a dispersed set of travellers via SMS (they text-message by cellphone their destination postcode to the system), and then packages travellers going in the same direction into one vehicle at a discounted fare.

Texxi (“Texxi, the taxi you text”) is a demand-responsive transit brokerage (DRT Brokerage) system.

Prospective passengers send their postcode to the Texxi SMS number. The system then aggregates other passengers wanting to go to the same area and confirms details of the taxi driver’s name and badge number to the passengers.

Passengers are instructed to go to pre-determined pickup points to meet the driver who will have received a text confirming each passenger’s booking reference.

In the prototype demonstration in Liverpool, each passenger will pre-pay a flat fee of £5.

Benefits of this approach include:

  • Lower passenger fares for point-to-point travel.

  • Increased revenue for the taxi driver for essentially the same work.

  • Reduction of potential CO2 emissions and fuel consumption as the total number of trips are reduced.

See project at

Texting (SMS) for a Shared Taxi: Demand Responsive Transit Brokerage

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Transparent Society?

Following on from David Brin's work of 'The Transparent Society', recent articles such as The Gurdian's 'The age of sousveillance ' discusses how ordinary people using their ability for someone to be in someplace at all times, have the true mobility of surveillance using their own tools - such as phone-cameras and other recorders.

If surveillance becomes part of people's everyday mobility, will this lead to increased transparency - as in the recent case of the Korean "dog-shit-girl" - a test of the Internet's Power to Shame:

According to Japundit, "it began in a subway train with a girl whose dog made a mess on the train floor. When nearby elders told her to clean up the mess, she basically told them to f... off. One of the train riders took pictures of the incident with a camera phone of her and posted it, without any masking, on a popular website which started a nationwide witchhunt.

Within hours, she was labeled gae-ttong-nyue (dog-shit-girl) and her pictures and parodies were everywhere. Within days, her identity and her past were revealed. Request for information about her parents and relatives started popping up and people started to recognize her by the dog and the bag she was carrying as well as her watch, clearly visible in the original picture".

Is mobility merging with forms of social transparency and self-organising order?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Perplexed? Virtual gaming in the physical world

Here's something I thought was interesting - and somewhat 'mobility' related: the first major alternative-reality game that combines to such a degree virtual movements with 'physical gaming' in daily life. Perplex City is a collaborative puzzle game that combines online adventure with adventure on the streets.

It says: "Imagine a game played by thousands of players around the world. A game played through websites, text messages, billboards, magazine adverts, sky-writing"

And there is a £100,000 prize for the one who solves the puzzle and finds the 'Cube' - now are we moving into the realm where the virtual and physical blurs....?

Time for some sociological research on the gaming world?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

It’s official: more cellphone lines than landlines in the US

The FCC just released a report confirming that as of late last year the number of cellphone lines in the U.S. officially surpassed the number of landlines, [via Engadget]

According to the LA Times, the number of mobile-phone users in the U.S. surpassed the number of conventional land-based phone lines in the second half of 2004, the government said Friday.

"By the end of the year, there were 181.1 million cellphone subscribers, compared with 177.9 million access lines into U.S. homes and businesses, the Federal Communications Commission said in a biannual report."

Some other countries where cell phones outstrip landilines:

-- Cellphones outstrip landlines in India

-- More mobiles than fixed phones in China

-- Mobile users overtake landlines in Arab Countries

-- Norway's Mobile Telephony

and wild:

-- More cell phone subscriptions than inhabitants in Sweden

Via SmartMobs

Going Wireless in the Air

Airbus will allow passengers to use their mobile phones during commercial flights starting next year the IHT reports."Airbus last year completed its first in-flight trial of phones that use the global system for mobile communications,or GSM,which is the dominant wireless technology in Europe and Asia.Passengers' phones will hook up to a base station placed behind the ceiling panel of a plane, which will also allow for reception of wireless data from personal computers or hand-held devices,Siemens said.The signal from the base station on the plane will then be routed via satellite to the ground".

See full article via International Herald Tribune

Monday, July 11, 2005

Castells on 'The mobile communication society'

Rich Ling offers us Castell's latest research, and says this long PDF is "a pretty massive analysis of research on mobile communication. If you don't have any books for the beach, this might be the one." I know Castells to be thoughtful, insightful, and thorough. Castells, M., Fernandez-Ardevol, M., Qiu, J. L., & Sey, A. (2004)
The mobile communication society: A cross-cultural analysis of available evidence on the social uses of wireless communication technology.

Via 'Mobile Society' digest

The way to go for Business Social Networking?

This article from CIO - 'Who Knows Whom, And Who Knows What?' - looks at the new ways in which a company's knowledge base can be 'smartened' through innovative use of RFID tagging to form contacts:

At first glance, it looked like your typical networking event. Three hundred research scientists from packaged-food giant Mars gathered in a Las Vegas ballroom last June, wearing name tags and working the floor. But instead of discussing the latest in M&M packaging or pet food nutrition, the scientists were roaming the room like a band of eager salespeople. Their RFID-enabled name tags lit up each time they met someone they didn't know, and their eyes widened as they watched diagrams of their social networks form on giant screens at one end of the ballroom. The diagrams expanded like giant molecules each time a manager spoke with a person new to him or her. To encourage the networking, Mars promised prizes to those with the most contacts or "points." The scientists—a largely introverted group from separate divisions in Los Angeles and New Jersey—were moving in a blur of handshakes, nods and cards changing hands."

Virtual mobility in a Virtual Country?

This post may not be purely about mobilities, but I feel it's interesting enough to warrent attention: the Los Alamos research labs in the US are creating the most sophisticated simulation computer programs to inhabit them with virtual cities, virtual people and track all possible movements, habits, and lifestyles...why?

An extract:

"Deep inside the cave-like laboratories of the legendary research center that created the atomic bomb, scientists have begun work on a Manhattan Project of a different sort.

In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, they have been constructing the most elaborate computer models of the United States ever attempted. There are virtual cities inhabited by millions of virtual individuals who go to work, shopping centers, soccer games and anywhere else their real life counterparts go. And there are virtual power grids, oil and gas lines, water pipelines, airplane and train systems, even a virtual Internet.

The scientists build them. And then they destroy them.

On a recent weekday at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, researcher Steve Fernandez took several power-relay plants in the Pacific Northwest offline with a few clicks of his keyboard while Kristin Omberg and Brent Daniel were working up mathematical models that calculated the worst places to release biological agents in San Diego."

See full article at: 'Computers Simulate Terrorism's Extremes'

We are all reporters now

This time the Guardian writes about how mobile phone picture and video captured the eye-witness accounts of the recent London events:

"It was a new kind of story. Not in the sense of what happened, which was thoroughly and depressingly as anticipated, but in the way it was reported and disseminated. The mobile phone photographers, the text messagers and the bloggers - a new advance guard of amateur reporters had the London bomb story in the can before the news crews got anywhere near the scene."

A rise of citizen journalism - of 'mass amateurisation'? Is this an indication of street mobilities substituting for traditional hierarchical flows?

See full article at:
'We had 50 images within an hour'

UK Mobility Roadshow

At the UK Mobility Roadshow a new vehicle is the star of the show:

A new British-made motorcycle for wheelchair users was the start of this year's Mobility Roadshow in the UK.

See the BBC article: Wheelchair bike is star of show

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Jim Parsons at Mexens technology has recently released AlwaysOnGPS - which successfully blends GPS positioning and Wi-Fi positioning together into one accurate system.

When GPS signals are available, the software uses them to construct a map of the Wi-Fi "landscape" around the receiving device. When GPS signals are lost or dropped (which occurs frequently with client vehicles, assets and cargo in big cities, indoors, etc.) this WiFI map
provides accurate geo-positioning information to maintain an accurate track and location determination -- all the time and in every situation.

In a recent email, Jim said that "So far, all our tests and real world applications have produced amazing results . AlwaysOnGPS has proven itself to be an indispensable companion for customers who simply can't afford to be without GPS signals when entering and operating within big cities or large buildings (warehouses, distribution centers, etc)."

It seems that mobility is now about never being lost again!

You can find Jim and more details on his product at:

Car System Lets Voice Drive the Web

In an attempt to explore the safety issues surrounding Internet navigation while behind the wheel, Meirav Taieb-Maimon, a faculty member at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, designed a voice-activated search engine.

The system allows drivers to dictate a query and navigate the results while keeping their hands on the wheel.

Read full article on

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Cities Without Borders: Digital Culture and Decentralization

Paul Hartzog, a political scientist and creator of the theory of Panarchy, rethinks sociologist Saskia Sassen's idea of the Global City and how it may or may not apply to digital culture. The article can be found at Mindjack.

Mobiles in a Crisis: 'pocket journalism'

Much has been said on the response to the London attacks: here I wish to focus attention on the role of mobile phones in feeding back information to the news channels and emergency services in a way that allowed direct access to witness information.

A BBC article -Mobiles capture blast aftermath states:

"Within minutes and hours, news of explosions filtered through other blog sites and many moblogs - blogs which use mobile phone photos - collected the images.

The BBC News and Sky News websites, among others, immediately responded and called for readers to send in their images, footage and accounts of the events.

Around 1,000 photos and 20 pieces of amateur video were sent in to the BBC News website, with many being featured on the site.

"Within minutes we were receiving people's written accounts and their still pictures," said BBC News Interactive editor Pete Clifton."


The L.A. Times has an article: Cellphones Change the View of Disaster :

"Shortly after bombs ripped through London's transportation system Thursday morning, U.S. and British television networks began airing the first footage of the aftermath — dim images of shaken commuters streaming through a smoky underground tunnel.

The video provided an immediate and intimate look at the scene but was hardly polished or professional. That's because it was shot by passengers with mobile phones — the first widespread use of that technology in covering a major breaking news story."

Obviously, technologies of collective particpation are changing not only the face of journalism and news gathering, but also the networks of information flow and cooperation.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

BT's 21st Century Network

BT plans to replace the old phone network - used for almost 100 years - with a broadband-based connection - a 21st Century Network

Up to £10bn is being spent over five years, and eventually every exchange in the UK will be updated.

The eventual plan is to move all BT subscribers from the traditional PSTN (public switched telephone network) to a new IP (internet protocol) network.


The Complexity of City Street Networks

City street networks are similar to other information networks, such as the Internet or social networks. Street and roads are the links while the crossroads are the nodes of these networks. So it is tempting to use physics to map city complexity, as is reporting Technology Research News.

Several physicists from Sweden and Denmark have compared the complexity of finding an address in Manhattan and in several Swedish cities. Not surprisingly, Manhattan, with its checkered grid plan, is easier to navigate than the older European cities. The scientists think their model could be "used to allow city planners to see how street changes affect navigability."

Via 'SmartMobs'