Friday, September 30, 2005

Moroccans and the mobile phone

"Blogging on Joi Ito's blog, Thomas Crampton reports on his experiences with Moroccan customs around the use of mobile phones; i.e., they don't answer if they don't like what they see on caller-id. Is this true in general? Or does this custom differ from one culture to another?In reporting stories in Casablanca this week I have faced a unique problem due to Moroccan mobile phone habits.More than any other country I have ever visited,Moroccans used caller ID.It seems to be part of the phone answering process to closely look at the number of the person calling before deciding whether or not to answer. Often they will let it ring if they can't figure out whose number it is.In most places people look at caller ID and then answer.From my point of view the result has been that my money-saving tactic of using a local pre-paid card does not work.Three times now (I am a slow learner) people whom I was supposed to meet for an interview simply did not answer their phone until I called using my French mobile phone on costly roaming. It was a fairly good cross section of society: One was a politician, the other a university academic and the other a musician."
[Moroccan Mobile Phone Customs]

Arab Mobile Communication Studies blog

[Arab Mobile Communication Studies blog]

[Good blog on Arab mobile communication studies]

Your interactive beer mat

New Scientist reports that "a beer mat that knows when a glass is nearly empty and automatically asks for a refill has been created by thirsty researchers in Germany.Andreas Butz at the University of Munich and Michael Schmitz from Saarland University came up with the idea while out drinking with their students.The disc-shaped mat can be attached to a normal beer mat so that it still soaks up spilt liquid and displays an advertisement. But it also contains a pressure sensor and radio transmitter to alert bar staff of the need for a refill".Further,"they say the mat could also be used for interactive TV events, as it contains an accelerometer capable of sensing when it is being waved in the air."I've been discussing this with a friend of mine who is an expert pub goer," Butz told New Scientist. "He mentioned that the pay-TV companies who broadcast soccer games are desperately looking for ways to make TV an interactive experience. Betting on actual sports events with the mat could add such interactivity."

[Is the glass half full or half empty?]

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Renewed focus on disaster communications

When first responders arrived in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, one of the biggest dangers they faced was their inability to communicate with each other.

"I think Americans should be angry that we failed our responsibilities, partciularly after 9/11...many lives were lost, because first responders couldn't communicate."

Short article on MSNBC

However, this does raise the issue of mobile communications during disasters: a field being looked into, for example, by NYU's 'Centre for Catastrophe Prepardness & Response'

Friday, September 23, 2005

Institute for the Future

An interesting blogsite is the Institute for the Future, which looks at 'Emerging technologies and their implications for the future'.

I 'quote' from them their: 'Quote of the day'

Easy to take out of context and misunderstand, though. From Chapter 1 of Kevin Kelly's New Rules for the New Economy:

The surest way to smartness is through massive dumbness.

Play "that explains why [insert name of celebrity / technology / company / rock band / political party / novel] is so successful" game now.

Their link is now in sidebar.

Blog activism handbook released

A recent BBC article discusses a new Blog-handbook:

"A handbook that offers advice to bloggers who want to protect themselves from recrimination and censors has been released by Reporters Without Borders.
The media watchdog said it gives people who want to set up a blog tips on how to do so, how to publicise it, as well as how to establish credibility.

It also offers advice about writing blogs from countries with tough media restrictions, such as Iran and China.

The handbook was part-funded by the French government.

Key international bloggers, experts and writers helped to produce the guidelines, such as US journalist Dan Gillmor and Canadian net censorship expert, Nart Villeneuve.

"Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure," Reporters Without Borders said on its website.

"Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest."

Read full article

Bloggers are making waves!

The Upgraded Digital Divide

In this interesting article titled 'The Upgraded Digital Divide: Are We Developing New Technologies Faster than Consumers Can Use Them?', it argues that:

'TiVos and Treos and BlackBerrys. Wi-Fi and HDTV and plasma screens. Picture phones, digital cameras, iPods and now iPod cell phones. Using sophisticated products and keeping pace with their new features requires significant time, interest and a certain amount of smarts on the part of consumers. It also takes a lot of energy to sort out the bells and whistles you really need from those you sort-of need and those you don't need at all.'

Are we driven smarter through increasing mobile technologies? Is this a healthy relationship? Again, the techno vs. social evolution debate.

But I ask - are we becoming smarter, or only more reliant upon smart relationships? Is the hybrid the way to go?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Logging the details across the EU

Mobility of information flows finding some static interference, I wonder??

"The European Commission has adopted proposals to log details of all telephone, Internet, and e-mail traffic",the ABC reports."The Commission proposes storing data related to mobile and fixed telephone traffic for a year, to allow the police to trace the time, place, and numbers used.Internet data such as e-mails would be kept for six months.The Commission's text aims to harmonise the current patchwork of data retention practices across the bloc".

Security or tracking?

Read at ABC News Online

2005 Seoul Conference on Mobile Communication

Korean Association of Broadcasting Studies (KABS) is hosting the Second Seoul Conference on Mobile Communication in cooperation with Institute for Communication Arts and Technology (iCat) and SK Telecom, on November 1-2, 2005 in Seoul, Korea. Researchers from every corner of the world are encoraged to participate to present and discuss on all issues related to the mobile media development and its impct upon the future of the media environment. A more developed information on the conference will be posted on the website of the Institute for Communication Arts and Technology soon.

One-page abstract (with authors' brief bio) deadline: September 30, 2004
(Early submission of abstract is strongly encouraged for scheduling purposes.)
Presentation paper deadline: October 15, 2005


This Financial Times article says "the sedentary art of software development and the extreme sports of kitesurfing, sailplaning and canyoning would appear to have little in common".However,"as related* by Eric von Hippell, professor of management and innovation at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, followers of extreme sports have become expert at adapting and refining the equipment they use. Sometimes, the way these informal communities work can look very similar to the way open source software developers create their elaborate products.Kitesurfers, for instance – who stand on surf boards holding kites which whisk them over breaking waves, producing acrobatic leaps and twists – have taken to using sophisticated computer modelling software to design the most efficient kites. They then share their ideas over the internet, refining their concepts before sending them to a manufacturer.Sophisticated tools that let individuals take part in the process of creation, the internet as a means to draw together communities of like-minded people, a willingness to share ideas for the common good – these are the basic ingredients of a new approach to innovation.The information technology industry has not merely created the means for these practices to take root. In the form of the open source software movement, it has also provided one of the most powerful examples yet of distributed innovation. And, thanks to the experiments in software licensing behind Linux and other open source programs, it has created a new framework for defining intellectual property rights when the brain power comes from a broader community".

[Distributed innovation]Via smartmobs

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mobile in the Skies

"Two European airlines will allow passengers late next year to use their own cell phones on commercial flights within western Europe",this article in Wired says."TAP Portugal and British carrier bmi both have agreed to introduce OnAir's voice and text service for cell phones in separate three-month trial runs.The planes, which will be the first to allow passengers to make and receive calls with their own cell phones while onboard,will give OnAir the chance to assess its service ahead of its general release in 2007 for everywhere in the world but North America.Users of mobile phones and other handheld wireless devices with roaming capability will be able to make and receive calls using a base station within the airplane. They will be allowed to turn their phones on after the plane reaches 10,000 feet, when other electronic devices such as portable music players and laptops are permitted".

Full article at Wired

2.2 million entries in 120 languages

"This article in the SMH takes a look at the first international Wikimania conference held in Frankfurt last month and says "in less than five years,Wikipedia has become one of the web's greatest success stories.The online encyclopedia and its sister projects,including Wikiquote,record 60 million hits a day and have amassed more than 2.2 million entries in 120 languages,making Wikipedia the most detailed collection of information in history".

Via smartmobs
[The most detailed collection of information in history]

Spam blog = splog

This article in Online Media Daily looks at the splog."A splog is a spam blog,-that is, a fake blog that is created for the sole purpose of getting a high search engine "page rank" to reap profits through ad clicks,or to drive customers to an otherwise obscure e-commerce site. Just like e-mail spam,splogs don't take a rocket scientist to create, but can be built by simple automatic scripts or programs that abuse services like Blogspot, Moveable Type, Wordpress,or Google's keep itself alive,a splog will crawl the Internet using directories, search engines, RSS feeds,etc.,collecting information to give the appearance that a real person is adding content.In many cases,this involves automated "theft" of original and often copyrighted content from other authors, without their knowledge, permission, or even attribution.There are lots of different kinds of splogs that have different ways to disguise themselves as real blogs, but commonly they contain key search terms repeated dozens or even hundreds of times".

Via smartmobs
[The splog]

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

SENSEable City

From the site."The increasing deployment of sensors and hand-held electronics in recent years is allowing a new approach to the study of the built environment. The way we describe and understand cities is being radically transformed - alongside the tools we use to design them and impact on their physical structure. Studying these changes from a critical point of view and anticipating them is the goal of the SENSEable City Laboratory".

Visit the 'Senseable City Lab' at MIT

Indoor mobile phone tracking

Services that track your position via your cellphone can locate the nearest post office or pizza parlor or indicate which of your friends are nearby, but they don't work indoors.

Researchers from Tartu University in Estonia, the University of Toronto and Intel Research Seattle are aiming to change that. They have developed an indoor localization system that picks up cellphone signals. The ability to track people room by room is a key requirement for ubiquitous computing, allowing, for example, co-workers to find each other easily and location-specific information to be delivered to a person's cellphone.

The system uses Global System for Mobile telecommunications (GSM) technology that transmits communications to cellphones using the six strongest signals from base station antennas. The system uses as many as 29 other signals from base station antennas that are too far away to be useful for communications but can be used to help identify the location of a cellphone.

The method is as accurate as using indoor wireless communications networks for localization -- about 5 meters -- and offers three advantages: it uses widely available signals, ubiquitous cellphones, and works in buildings with no power.

Via TRN Research

Mobile phone subscribers pass 2 billion

THE number of mobile phone subscribers in the world has surpassed the 2 billion.

"The bulk of the new growth now is coming from large, less well-developed markets such as China, India, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa," said Wireless Intelligence, an information service set up by industry body GSM Association and consulting firm Ovum. Nokia last month said it expected the 2 billion mark to be reached in the final quarter of the year and 3 billion to be reached by 2010.

"The total number of mobile connections is now equivalent to nearly a third of the estimated world population of 6.5 billion," Martin Garner, director at Wireless Intelligence, said in a statement.

Via Wireless Intelligence

Camera phones will be high-precision scanners

New software, developed by NEC and the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) in Japan, goes further than existing cellphone camera technology by allowing entire documents to be scanned simply by sweeping the phone across the page.

Commuters in Japan already anger bookstore owners and newsagents by using existing cellphone software to try to take snapshots of newspaper and magazine articles to finish reading on the train to work.

This is only possible because some phones now offer very rudimentary optical character recognition (OCR) software which allows small amounts of text to be captured and digitised from images.

Full article at New Scientist

Dutch to Open Electronic Files on Children

The Dutch government plans to open an electronic file on every child at birth as a tool to spot and protect the troubled kids of the future

Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, all citizens will be tracked from cradle to grave in a single database — including health, education, family and police records — the health ministry said Tuesday.

As a privacy safeguard, no single person or agency will be able to access all contents of a file. But organizations can raise "red flags" in the dossier to caution other agencies about problems, ministry spokesman Jan Brouwer said.

Full article at Yahoo News

TECHNONATURES - Call for Papers


2006 Meeting of The American Association of Geographers, March 7-11 2006, Chicago, IL

Call for Papers:

In an era marked by accelerating environmental change,deepening battles over co-technological and bio/nano/medico technological transformations, the nature
of 'Nature' and the politics of the environment appears increasingly to be up for grabs.

Ongoing debates concerning productions of nature, contested natures, or socio-natures continue to draw attention to the irreducibly cultural and political qualities of contemporary socio-environmental relations and processes.

Elsewhere, Haraway's cyborgs and 'companion species', or Latour's emphasis on 'quasi subjects/objects' and 'actants' continue to stress that hybridity and the complex spaces of the inbetween is the place of (a)modern politics.

In these proposed sessions we would like to reflect on the extent to which technonatural, hybrid and cyborg discursive practices continue to be constructive and
productive means to disrupt and rework environmental politics and debate.

We would like to draw colleagues together whose work is attempting to develop critical geographies and sociologies of changing environment-technology-society relations.

Topics of interest might include (but are not limited to):
* Technonatural landscapes and environmental histories;
* Urban/suburban technonatures;
* Technonatural Discourses and the Politics of 'Race', Ethnicity, Sexuality, Gender
* Techonatural human / nonhuman bodies;
* The politics and pathologies of technonatural time/spaces;
* Limits and limitations of technonatural and cyborg discourses.

Expressions of interest and abstracts By: 3 October
should be sent to:

Erik Swyngedouw, Geography and the Environment, Oxford
University or

Damian White, Dept of Sociology and Anthropology, James
Madison University

Friday, September 16, 2005

Receiving information from RFID readers

NTT DoCoMo will introduce a new feature called Toruka for thier RFID-chipped wallet phones",RFID in Japan reports.Toruka will allow wallet phones to receive information from RFID readers."This feature can be used to get discount coupons,store information,ads,etc.that are sent from reader devices.The received information is then stored in a special "folder" on a mobile phone.Once stored in the folder, the information can be exchanged with others by using a infrared port,external memory device, or email".

[Phones receiving information from RFID readers]

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cities Under Siege

Many essays dealing with the urban city in response to disaster, commissioned by the SSRC, are now on a special web site on Understanding Karina through the social sciences.

'Cities Under Siege:Katrina and the Politics of Metropolitan America' is one such essay on this site.

"Even Hollywood, so skilled in fantastical depictions of urban apocalypse, would have struggled to imagine the horrors of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. As well as resonating unnervingly with staples of urban doom in popular culture, the tragedy has remorselessly exposed some of the darker sides of metropolitan USA in the Bush era. It has acted as a window revealing how decades of Federal urban disinvestment, exurbanization and White Flight have helped leave large swathes of the central cores of US cities demonised, neglected and increasingly abandoned. The tragic consequences of Bush's recent efforts to radically reduce the public service efforts of the Federal State in the mitigation of natural catastrophes have emerged in startling focus. Katrina has revealed the deep and troubling politics surrounding varying definitions of the 'security' of metropolitan America with uncompromising clarity. Finally, Katrina has underlined the ironies and contradictions that run through the politics and geopolitics of the Bush administrations' post 9/11 strategy with unprecedented power."

From hi-tech to my tech

In today's edition of the Guardian, Richard Adams measures the impact of the rapid transformation and the fundamental change in the way we live now.

"To be afraid of speaking on the phone seems now to be comical. Yet the narrator of Proust's In Search of Lost Time records his maid's mistrust of the new technology and her refusal, "however important, however urgent the occasion might be, to make use of the telephone. She would manage to disappear whenever anyone tried to teach her how to use it, as people disappear when it is time for them to be vaccinated."

Full article on the Guardian site

European Cars to Have 'ECall' System

European car makers will soon make cars equipped with an automated emergency call system, but EU governments are lagging far behind in embracing the technology, the European Commission said Wednesday.

By 2009, all new cars in the EU will come off the conveyer belt with an ''eCall'' system, which in case of an accident will automatically dial 112 --the EU-wide emergency number.

''I am generally pleased with the progress of eCall, in particular on the industry side,'' EU Technology Commissioner Viviane Reding said.

''However, if EU Member States don't react, and fail to invest in the necessary emergency service infrastructure, we shall face a delay in the introduction of eCall technology,'' she added, in comments at the Frankfurt international car show.

The European Commission launched an initiative to speed up steps by national and regional governments to invest in the eCall technology.

Full article at New York Times (subscription may be needed)

Mobile phone lands aircraft in wrong airport

An airline passenger who used a mobile phone may have disrupted the planes navigational system, forcing the pilot to land the plane at a different airport.

Read via Mocoblog


Will small local virtual communities, cut off from the web, attract certain users? If so, who, and why?

Enter Neighbornode:

Neighbornodes are group message boards on wireless nodes, placed in residential areas and open to the public. These nodes transmit signal for around 300 feet, so everyone within that range has access to the board and can read and post to it. This means that with a Neighbornode you can broadcast a message to roughly everyone whose apartment window is within 300 feet of yours (and has line of sight), and they can broadcast messages back to you. Boards are only accessible from computers that go through the local node.

Additionally, Neighbornodes are linked together, making up a node network to enable the passing of news and information on a street-by-street basis throughout the wider community.

With access to your local Neighbornode, you can post messages to your local group board, as well as forward messages to other nodes in your vicinity. These other nodes can in turn forward messages to your node, resulting in a network of neighborhood message boards.

Via Smartmobs

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Motorola develops ‘polite’ phone which analyzes driving conditions

With concerns mounting over the safety of cell phone use while driving, Motorola’s Driving Simulator Lab in Tempe is testing mobile phones that can analyze driving conditions and avoid distracting the driver.

The phone uses software to sense when you are driving or parked and reacts accordingly.

The software programmed into the phone can detect if the car is parked or cruising or in complex driving situations.

-- If the car is parked, all incoming calls are are allowed through to the speaker phone . It also senses if the driver has entered the car and automatically transfers any ongoing calls to the speaker phone.

-- If the car is cruising on the highway, the only calls that are accepted are those from a pre-programmed phone book list — the ones the user wants to go through. All other incoming calls are routed to voice mail. ...

Call for Short Papers

New Orleans and Other Urban Calamities
Space and Culture Special Issue

Deadline October 1 2005

Submissions to:

While the flooding of New Orleans is supposedly a natural disaster and perhaps a foretaste of the implications of climate change, it is also a disaster made by people, and institutions. Social and infrastructual failures, the almost apparent breakdown of an economic market and social solidarity in favour of survivalism intersect with questions of race, class, trauma, the vulnerable, historic cultural identity and memory, risk, technology, media spectacle, governance the state and the attitude to possible, future cities on the site of New Orleans. ‘Events overturn theory’, was one aphorism of Henri Lefebvre. What have we learned? How does New Orleans reveal shortcomings in theoretical positions and in accepted social attitudes and practices? What new questions should be asked?

Space and Culture is seeking immediate, short (1000 word) reactions that advance a specific argument rather than general comment. We also welcome images and photo-essays. Papers will be refereed by the editors of and editorial board of the journal. We aim to publish with the shortest possible delay.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Spy Hunter: RFID technology for personal tracking

A South Bay legislator is trying to jam the emerging use of RFID technology for personal tracking.

Joe Simitian boils the issue down to one sentence: "The fundamental question that must be asked and answered is: Should state and local governments compel their citizens to carry government-issued identification cards that have the ability to broadcast their personal information to others. That's a tough question to answer."

From Metro Santa Cruz, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper

Smart cars could cut accidents

Whether it is wafting lavender or citrus scents to calm drivers and keep them awake, or vibrating seat belts to get them to slow down, smart cars in the future could help reduce road accidents.

See full article from Yahoo News

The defining features of 'high civilization'

The defining features of 'high civilization' in Freud's view could be
clearly observed

In such countries rivers which threaten to flood the land are regulated in
their flow, and their water is directed through canals to places where there is
shortage of it. The soil is carefully cultivated and planted with the vegetation
which it is suited to support; and the mineral wealth below ground is
assiduously brought to the surface and fashioned into the required implements
and utensils.

Freud 1933/1963:29

Thanks to Ian Welsh from Cardiff University

Saturday, September 10, 2005

London-based social workers go wireless

Hundreds of UK social workers are issued with internet-enabled PDAs to give them fast access to clients' case notes and increase worker safety

Via New Scientist

ID revolution - prepare to meet the new you

Our digital identity is becoming more important than our physical identity. Soon, biometrics will transform what it takes to prove who you are

Mobile phones at 35,000 feet

Is the clamour to allow in-flight cellphone calls threatening to endanger airline passengers' lives? New Scientist investigates

open standards for information technology

Leading government officials from thirteen nations meeting at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society are releasing a report calling for the international adoption of open standards for information technology. "The Roadmap for Open Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Ecosystems" (.pdf) describes concepts and best practices for the implementation of open standards.

"If you're using technology to alleviate poverty, then openness is a compelling alternative," said David Satola, a senior counsel at the World Bank. "There are key elements in this report that could be used to shape national policies on technology standards."

The document is being presented to the World Bank.

Friday, September 09, 2005

BBC's Born Abroad

This article says "BBC news website readers can see an immigration map of Britain based on the most comprehensive set of figures yet assembled about people born outside the British Isles,where they come from,where they live and how they're doing.Readers can find out what proportion of the population where they live was born abroad,and where they are most likely to come from.Information is also available for each country of birth, plus there are economic figures for different immigrant groups".


110.01 million in a billion-plus population

Yahoo news reports "over 10 percent of Indians now own phones,with the combined subscriber base for fixed lines and mobile phones reaching 110.01 million in a billion-plus population,India's telecommunication regulator said Thursday".Further,"sale of broadband Internet connections also witnessed growth in August,when 80,000 connections were sold,TRAI said.Now,530,000 out of 5.5 million Internet users have broadband connections.Only 17 million people own computers in India,but annual sales have reached four million units".

Read at Yahoo News

The Connection Between the War Against Terrorism, Economics and Media-Art

Researchers, activists and media-artists meet on the Trans-Siberian train
from Moscow to Beijing for the first ephemera conference; September 11th -
20th 2005.

The conference "Capturing the Moving Minds" gathers a pack of people...artists, economists, researchers, philosophers, activists ... who are interested in the new logic of the economy, the new form of war against terrorism and in the new cooperative modes of creation and resistance, together in a space moving in time. Spatially moving bodies and bodies moving in time (through the different time zones) creates an event, a meeting that not really 'is' but 'is going on'.

Is this project about economics, is it political activity or a work of art?
This "boundlessness" or "indeterminacy", which always characterizes the creation of new, is where the energy of the project is coming from: The enterprise expresses and exposes the "knowledge economy" in which it exists. It is something the orthodox conceptions about work, action, economy and art are unable to grasp. In this organizational experiment everybody is "alone together" like a pack of wolves around a fire having neighbours to the left and to the right but nobody behind their backs exposed to the desert.

There are 50 participants on the train involving well known media-artists, frontline contemporary thinkers and political activists. The project has been invited to participate in the International ARS2006 biennial at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki and to arrange an exhibition at the Villa Croce Museo d'arte contemporanea di Genova during summer 2006.

Mobicasting brings the event directly to all: The Trans-siberian conference is documented and broadcasted through an audiovisual mobicasting platform to the internet. The documentarists, photographers, artists and researchers produce discussions, ideas, interviews, texts and films along the route. The documentation will be projected in Kiasma during the journey and it will also be available on several international www-channels. The mobicasting webpages will be opened on September 7th.

There will also be a moving radio station on the train; See

Further info on the conference and the participants: (contact Akseli Virtanen +358400-302010 or Steffen Bohm +44 794 111 0998 directly on the train)

The event is organised by ephemera, Tutkijaliitto, Kiasma, Frame, m-cult,
Helsinki School of Economics and the Chydenius Institute

Semapedia in action

Check out [Semapedia] "actions in the wild at Semapedias'
[Flickr Feed]" and of course there is the [ blog]

[Semapedia in action]

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Cracking the "six degrees of separation"

University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers have developed an algorithm that helps explain the sociological underpinnings of the "six degrees of separation" theory. From the press release." Participants in the Travers and Milgram study who efficiently sent the message probably acted intuitively by combining two human traits that apply to computerized network-searching as well,say the researchers. People tend to associate with people who are like themselves,and some individuals are more gregarious than others. "Searching" using both of these factors, one can efficiently get to a target even when little is known about the network’s structure. The tendency of like to associate with like,or homophily, means that attributes of a node—an individual in the Travers and Milgram study—tend to be correlated.Bostonians often know other Bostonians,and the same holds true for qualities such as age or occupation. The second important characteristic of these networks is that some people have many more acquaintances than others. This "degree disparity" leads to some individuals acting as hubs. Taking these factors into account simultaneously results in a searching algorithm that gets messages to the target by passing it to gregarious individuals who are most like the target. Or in the language of network-searching,it favors nodes that maximize the probability of linking directly to the target, which is a function of both degree and homophily,say the scientists".

Read the theory explained on the Amherst website

Workforce mobility

Nokia has announced the results of a study into the state of workforce mobility eFinland reports.The survey conducted from January through April of this year,questioned 6,000 enterprise mobility decision makers and employees in the United States,Germany and China in an effort to gain insight into the use of mobile technology,its purchase and implementation,and staff usage and habits related to mobility.From the State of Workforce Mobility paper (available as pdf)."Among the findings is the determination that,overall,China is leading the way in deploying and using mobile technology.According to decision makers,Chinese employees leverage their mobile phones for email and Internet access,not just voicemail,SMS and PIM,as is the general usage pattern in the U.S. and Germany".

Read more at eFinland

Open source carpooling software

Travel mobility is becoming supported by a map-converging software:

Project MumbaiCar
offeres completely free and open source carpooling software, which can be customized with Google Maps for any city. Users can offer seats in their car or request seats in someone else's car.

"The main aim of this website is to facilitate communication between those who wish to carpool voluntarily. The idea is simple. Create a central repository of all people wishing to carpool and let modern technology take care of the rest. This site is built using open-source tools and is completely free."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

cosmobilities - latest

The German Research Foundation DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) supports the cosmobilities network with a funding of more than 50.000 Euros thoughout the next three years. The money helps to organize three conferences and a number of workshops. This series of events starts in October 2005 with the "Fluidities and Stabilities" workshop in Berlin (see the announcement on this website). In 2006 will be a conference at Lancaster University with the preliminary title "Airspaces". It thematizes the growing relevance of air travel and airports in a world of global complexity. For 2007 a conference on European Mobility Research is planned in Paris.

Besides this "meetingness" a number of publications is planned throughout the next three years. The website will be developed as an information plattformand source for all, who are interested in cutting edge mobility research.

For more information, please, contact the cosmobilities organization team @

A surge in Sat phones

Satellite phones -- one of the least successful product introductions of the late 1990s -- are in fresh demand in the wake of Hurricane Katrina from storm-ravaged communities without functioning cellular and wire-line networks.

But while sales are up sharply in recent days, retailers say it remains difficult to get handsets where they're needed.

Full article at Wired

Food for thought - building local links

Farmer Brown's Journal is an online community aimed at the flattening of food supply chains. In Kent, the "garden of England", local farmers' markets are an example of decentralised food supply chains and the preservers of local tradition.

By providing an online space with direct communication between producers and consumers, Farmer Brown's Journal tries to build links between local consumers, producers and the public. The goals are to help local producers/ farmers sell their produce outside the grip of supermarkets, give consumers real choice and understanding in what they buy, and help them find quality local produce. The data extracted from users will be visualised on a map of Kent as an indicator of the growth of community. The figures present the social relationship between the user and local markets; and also reveal the possibility of business.

Train ticket tracks kids

Another story relating to increasing use of RFID - especially in Japan where it is becoming more common in relation to child welfare.

Three railway companies in the Kansai region of Japan are about to test a service that uses their RFID-enabled train ticket gates for tracking kids.

When a kid passes through RFID-enabled train ticket gates using an PiTaPa train pass, which is an RFID card, an SMS message is automaticaly sent to their parents.

Details via RFID in Japan

The internet circa 2010

This news article says a report written by Trevor Barr,Alex Burns and Darren Sharp looks at the future of the internet and "quotes internet heavy-hitters".One of whom is Mr Howard Rheingold.Professor Barr's report,(PDF) Smart Internet 2010,"explores four schools of thought on the next five years of internet evolution.The Adaptive User Environment suggests that the most successful technologies will be those that can fit user needs;proponents of Not the Smart Internet want a simple,user-friendly web;Rich Media advocates want to be able to see "any content,on any device,in any format,at any time";and the Chaos Rules school holds that the internet "may be in a continual state of decay and worsening disorder".The report says "ubiquity will be the byword of the net's future.Said Professor Barr:"Instead of the net society,it's about the net in society.It will become this indispensable lifestyle tool".

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Seven Challenges to Our Shared Mobile Future

Nokia's Marko Ahtisaari has posted an insightful look at the future of mobile communications. With nearly 2 billion mobile phone users in the world expected next year, he starts with a simple question: What made this astounding growth possible?

If you believe there is a greater shared mobile future (and you probably do if your reading this), what obstacles are necessary to overcome?

Ahtisaari suggests:


Sometimes Off vs. Always On


Social Primitives




Via Smartmobs

Arab Open University Goes Mobile

Arab Open University in Bahrain has signed a deal with Hot Lava Software to create a “mobile learning library” for students and professors, reports Moco News.

”The new offering will include mobile study aides and job aides providing students with a unique package of value-added services to further enhance their studies at Arab Open University”.

That's 100 billion text messages

"Since those early days,figures have gathered momentum year on year and July 2005 marks another major text messaging milestone.Just as we spend 100 billion annually on food,there are 100 billion neurons in the average human brain and 100 billion stars make up the Milky Way Galaxy,we have now sent more than 100 billion text messages in the UK", reports."Person-to-person texts sent across the UK GSM network operators during July show an increase of 23.5% on the total sent during the same period in 2004 with 87 million messages being sent per day,the highest average daily figure recorded to date".

[100 billion text messages in the U.K] Via [smartmobs]

connecting the preteen

"Forget the Barbie Dream House.Today's 9-year-old wants her own cell phone — and Mattel will be happy to provide one",USAToday reports."The toymaker is one of many companies vying to connect with the preteen and younger market through mobile phones,services and accessories.The goal is not just to tap new revenue — it's also to establish brand loyalty early".

[Cell phone marketers calling all preteens]

Monday, September 05, 2005

Dutch hooligans rounded up by text

Some of the Netherlands' most wanted football hooligans handed themselves in to police after being sent text messages telling them their mobile telephones had been logged as active at a riot in Rotterdam after a match between Feyenoord and Ajax in April.

Rotterdam police asked mobile phone operators to hand over the numbers of all handsets active near the stadium at the time of the violence. The resulting list amounted to 17,000 numbers. The police sent them a terse message, informing users that they were known to have been in the vicinity of the riots, giving them the address of the Rotterdam-Rijnmond police website, and asking for their assistance. The website has been used since shortly after the riot to display images of some 200 suspected hooligans, or spectators who actively egged on the violence.

Police had already identified and charged 143 people, but had been unable to identify a last batch of alleged offenders. Within hours of the text being sent out, 12 people came forward to say they were pictured on the website.

Full Article from the Telegraph

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Storm blogs offer Katrina insight

In today's BBC Online it outlines how blogging is becoming a more available source for information. It states that in New Orleans it has been invaluable for people wishing to learn of people in their community and also to use it as a community board for posting messages. Another example of the increasing functionality of mobile information networks.

From the BBC:

"The web has once again proved its worth as a news source as blogs offered a vivid description of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.
As the storm carved a path through southern US, weblogs provided first-hand accounts of those affected.

Mainstream media outlets in New Orleans found the web an invaluable asset as their offices were flooded.

Web tracking firm Technorati reported that seven of the top 10 search terms were hurricane-related on Tuesday.

According to internet measurement firm Keynote Systems, some websites were unable to cope with demand for Katrina-related news.

Wikipedia, the user-generated net encyclopaedia, provided video coverage of the hurricane and regularly updated reports on the storms history and effects."

Read full article
Intel hosted these forums in 2003 The Meaning of Place: technological imagination and human experience.
"New technologies are reconfiguring our relationship to the places we inhabit.With the near ubiquitous presence of cell phones in many cities, the rise of wireless networks,hybrid games,the use of geographical information systems, and the emergence of an embedded computing research agenda in many labs, physical location has re-emerged as an important construct in the imagination of and creation of new technologies.But humans think of place quite differently than our technologies might demand. We inhabit places, not physical coordinates or zones of reception. Places are imbued with meaning through cultural practice; places are bounded and denoted in ways that may or may not match physical or technological means. This forum is intended to understand how the human construction of place both affects and is affected by new technologies...."

[Meaning of Place Forum and Workshop]

ITU on the future mobile information society

"The combination of mobile with Internet and IP-based technologies, and the integration of fixed and mobile technologies, raises a host of possibilities for innovative applications and new modes of interaction,"the ITU says at the site below.

[Shaping the future mobile information society]