Saturday, March 31, 2007

Brazil rainforest internet plan

In 'Brazil rainforest internet plan' it is described how there is a project planned to provide free internet access to native Indian tribes in order to help protect the Amazon rainforest from illegal logging:

Environment Minister Marina Silva said land protection was the key aim of the plan, which will provide satellite access to 150 isolated regions. Indigenous communities were the true protectors of their areas, she said. Brazil has struggled to protect the Amazon forest from illegal activities, including mining and ranching.

Under the plan, the central government will provide the satellite internet access, but state and local governments must first provide the necessary computers.

I wonder how the local tribes will respond to the Internet??

BBC going Mobile

The BBC has recently announced that its TV and radio channels will be available on some mobile phones for a trial period. They write that:

For an initial 12 months, a range of broadcast output will be syndicated to the Vodafone, Orange and 3 networks. Subscribers to their TV packages will be able to watch BBC One, BBC News 24 and BBC Three, with the exception of some sport and bought-in programmes. The BBC said the trial would test both the effectiveness of the 3G network and the demand for BBC channels...

...Subscribers will be able to listen to up to eight BBC radio stations including Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, 6 Music, BBC 7 and Asian Network. The trial will start before the end of April. Bosses said the trial would help shape future mobile strategy at the BBC.

Read more on 'BBC offers its shows via mobiles'

Friday, March 30, 2007

Wi-fi buses

Now here's an interesting hybrid use of transport and technology - the BBC reports in 'Wi-fi buses drive rural web use' that buses equipped with wi-fi are being used to deliver web content to remote rural villages in the developing world:

In rural India and parts of Rwanda, Cambodia and Paraguay, the vehicles offer web content to computers with no internet connection.

The buses and a fleet of motorcycles update their pages in cities before visiting the hard-to-reach communities. As well as offering popular pages, the United Villages project also allows users to request specific information.

A small box, with an antenna, onboard the buses and motorcycles communicates with the rural computers.

Another example of innovative thinking...

Boeing's Fuel Cell Plane

Recent reports show that Boeing's engineers have been working to use fuel cells to power newly designed manned airplanea. A company statement explains:

The demonstrator aircraft is a Dimona motor glider, built by Diamond Aircraft
Industries of Austria, which also performed major structural modifications to
the aircraft. With a wing span of 16.3 meters (53.5 feet), the airplane will be
able to cruise at approximately 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour)
using fuel cell-provided power...

The Boeing demonstrator uses a Proton
Exchange Membrane fuel cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system to power an
electric motor, which is coupled to a conventional propeller. The fuel cell
provides all power for the cruise phase of flight. During takeoff and climb, the
flight segment that requires the most power, the system draws on lightweight
lithium-ion batteries. Flight tests, which will take place in Spain,
will demonstrate for the first time that a manned airplane can maintain a
straight level flight with fuel cells as the only power source.

Read in full at Danger Room

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cutting mobile connection fees

This report states that Ofcom is cutting mobile connection fees - hopefully mobile phone users could enjoy cheaper calls:

Following a review, Ofcom has announced limits on the amount mobile phone companies can charge other operators for connecting calls on their networks. Limiting tariffs is expected to lead to an annual cut of between £400m and £500m in wholesale charges.

Ofcom said the controls on connection fees should lead to "significant savings" for consumers. The new limits on termination charges are set to come into force on 1 April and will last for four years.

Read the report from the BBC -'Ofcom cuts mobile connection fees'

Hi-tech 'threat' to private life

This is an informative piece by the BBC on 'Hi-tech 'threat' to private life' that discusses how bombs could be triggered by the presence of people with specific biometric traits: CCTV cameras in London, Getty

Written by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the report looks at how technology is eroding personal privacy.

It shows how abuse of technology can expose people to harm by, for instance, terrorists crafting bombs that use the biometric data stored on passports to target specific nationalities.

It urges people to get more involved in the ways data about them is gathered

A Smarter Web

TechReview has a two-part post on 'A Smarter Web' - Part 1 - Part 2 -

The "3.0" claim is ambitious, casting these new tools as successors to several earlier--but still viable--generations of Net technology. Web 1.0 refers to the first generation of the commercial Internet, dominated by content that was only marginally interactive. Web 2.0, characterized by features such as tagging, social networks, and user-­created taxonomies of content called "folksonomies," added a new layer of interactivity, represented by sites such as Flickr,, and Wikipedia.

Analysts, researchers, and pundits have subsequently argued over what, if anything, would deserve to be called "3.0." Definitions have ranged from widespread mobile broadband access to a Web full of on-demand software services. A much-read article in the New York Times last November clarified the debate, however. In it, John Markoff defined Web 3.0 as a set of technologies that offer efficient new ways to help computers organize and draw conclusions from online data, and that definition has since dominated discussions at conferences, on blogs, and among entrepreneurs.

A great set of posts on new developments on media technologies...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

'Making the invisible visible' (MTIV)

A good arguement on the "making the invisible visible" (MTIV) debate is made by Jamais Cascio of Open The Future who takes a look at driver behaviour:

illuminating the processes and systems that are normally too subtle, complex or elusive to apprehend -- is a fundamental tool for enabling behavioral change. When you can see the results of your actions, you're better able to change your actions to achieve the results you'd prefer. I've come to understand, however, that it's not enough to make the invisible visible; you also have to make it meaningful.

The canonical example of how MTIV works is the mileage readout standard in hybrid cars. Almost invariably, hybrid owners see a gradual but noticeable improvement in miles-per-gallon over the first month or so of hybrid vehicle ownership. This isn't so much the car being "broken in," but the driver: because of the mileage readout, the hybrid driver can see what driving patterns achieve the best results.

A growing number of non-hybrid cars now include miles-per-gall
on readouts; will we see similar improvements in driver behavior as a result?

I agree that fundamental for human behaviour to adapt and learn for the new social landscapes are feedback mechanisms - similar to how bio-feedback works - that enable an individual to better adjust their actions in order to maximise results - the strategem of cybernetics.

Read in full - Information, Context and Change

Telemedicine initiative for sub-Saharan Africa

Pilot projects have been proposed for Telemedicine initiative for sub-Saharan Africa:

Satellite solutions delivering information and communication technologies can help improve health in sub-Saharan Africa; this was the main conclusion of a dedicated telemedicine task force which met recently in Botswana. To make these solutions a reality, some short-term, concrete actions have been suggested in a pilot projects proposal.

Three activities are proposed: one focussing on the health workforce (scaling-up numbers, improving performance, increasing quality); a second on clinical services (increasing health service coverage, reaching isolated areas) and a third aimed at strengthening the intelligence gathering capacity of health systems and their ability to use information for decision making.

FUll story here

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

GPS to give blind people greater mobility

An Italian technology company is pioneering a GPS satellite system that will give blind people greater independence and mobility:

The Easy Walk service has been developed by Il Village, a firm in Turin in northern Italy. It is currently being tested by a group of 30 people from the Italian Blind Union who are providing feedback.

Easy Walk uses a mobile phone that runs the Symbian operating system, a small Bluetooth GPS receiver, text to speech software called Talks (though rival products are also compatible) and a call centre that will operate around the clock seven days a week.

It requires just two dedicated keys on the mobile phone - one which, when pressed, tells the user their exact location including the house or building number and the other one alerts the call centre that the person needs assistance with navigation. An operator will then call the blind person, find out where it is they need to go and stay on the line with them providing step by step instructions.

A good use of location-awareness, surely? Some people might benefit from being tracked...

Full story - GPS navigation plan to help blind


Public to shape smart tag policy

It seems that European citizens will finally get the chance to shape policy on smart tags!?

The European Commission is setting up a group made up of citizens, scientists, data protection experts and businesses to discuss how the tags should be used.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags store data about the objects they are attached to, and are already used by some firms and supermarkets.

The new group is a result of a year-long consultation to assess European feeling towards radio tags.

Read in full - 'Public to shape smart tag policy'


Phones for the over-50s

The Life phone has just been showcased at CeBit and is aimed at those aged 50-plus:

Instead of a camera or music player it has a loud speaker tuned for those who are either partially sighted or use a hearing aid, a big screen and buttons....The Life phone only has the most basic functions onboard and only lets its owners make and take calls, send and receive text messages or manage their directory of numbers. The dualband Life phone can be programmed with up to five emergency numbers.

On the rear of the phone is a big red button that can be pressed in the event of an emergency and which will call one of the stored emergency numbers to summon aid.Text messages that should be sent in the event of an emergency can also be created and stored on the handset.

Maybe this will help to bridge the digital divide?

Read in full - 'Mobile targets the 50+ generation'

British Digital Divide

The Office for National Statistics has said that there's a growing gap between older people and lower income households who have little or no access to new technology and higher income households who are far more likely to have internet access:

Overall, the ONS study found that Britain is fast becoming a nation that is better connected; the crossover year is seen as 2003, with more households having an internet connection than not having one. The number of broadband connections also overtook narrow band connections two years ago. However, the study showed that 55% of over-50s had not used a computer in the past three months, compared with 13% of people aged 16 to 30. More than 90% of households in the highest income group have internet access, dropping to less than 20% for low earners.

"We live in an increasingly connected society, with the rapid advance of information and communication technology in business and in the home," the ONS said. "But by no means everyone has joined the digital age."

Read in full - Digital divide grows for older Britons as others connect to new media


Cities Under the Streets

The Independent has a story on 'Mayor plans new city under Moscow's streets' that describes that Yuri Luzhkov, Moscow's powerful Mayor, has complained that only 8 per cent of the land beneath the city has been developed. So - he wants to develop it:

Under the grandiose scheme, many of Moscow's main public squares and roads would get underground "doppelgängers". Shopping centres, entertainment complexes, sports halls, parking facilities, roads, museums, warehouses, and even pavements, would be built beneath the city's surface.

The authorities have identified 25 sites where they want underground construction, including Moscow's main thoroughfare, Tverskaya Street, and some of the city's most famous public squares.

Will this lead to a new 'fashion' of new underground cities?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Vehicle peer-to-peer system

In this interesting report BBCNews tells of a vehicle peer-to-peer technology that was unveiled at CeBit in 'Vehicle warning system trialled':
Traffic on the M42
Cars or bikes will pass useful information to vehicles behind them

A German research project on show at hi-tech trade fair Cebit envisions a peer-to-peer network for vehicles on a road passing data back and forth.

Cars or bikes experiencing problems would pass data that would ripple down the chain of vehicles behind them.

Information would be conveyed to drivers via a dashboard screen or through a mobile phone headset.

Friday, March 16, 2007

New Bedouins

So are the 'new bedouins' those who move and flitter from cafe to cafe and do their work from wireless laptops amidst coffee cups?

This article titled 'WHERE NEO-NOMADS' IDEAS PERCOLATE' tells of

A new breed of worker, fueled by caffeine and using the tools of modern technology, is flourishing in the coffeehouses of San Francisco. Roaming from cafe to cafe and borrowing a name from the nomadic Arabs who wandered freely in the desert, they've come to be known as "bedouins." San Francisco's modern-day bedouins are typically armed with laptops and cell phones, paying for their office space and Internet access by buying coffee and muffins....

...The move toward mobile self employment is also part of what author Daniel Pink identified when he wrote "Free Agent Nation" in 2001. "A whole infrastructure has emerged to help people work in this way," Pink said. "Part of it includes places like Kinkos, Office Depot and Staples." It also includes places like Starbucks and independent coffee shops, where Wi-Fi -- wireless Internet access for laptops and other devices -- is available. "The infrastructure makes it possible for people to work where they want, when they want, how they want,"

Are these the new mobile infrastructures of the office?

Didn't TS Eliot say in Prufrock that 'I have lived my life in coffee spoons'...


Digital Age report

'FOCUS on The Digital Age' is a report from UK government statistics which states that

We live in an increasingly connected society, with the rapid advance of information and communication technology (ICT) in business and in the home. But by no means has everyone joined in the digital age. There is a clear divide between small and large businesses, while in the home, ICT ownership and use is closely linked to household income.

This report has sections on:

* Use of ICT at Home

* e-Education

* e-Business

* e-Economy

* International ICT

* e-Government

* e-Security

Thanks to Smartmobs for this

The growth of RFID

This report states that No regulations planned for radio ID tags in that the EU 'would not curb the growth of the tiny radio transmitter tags that transportation companies, retailers and manufacturers use to track goods and purchases, saying it was confident that the RFID tags could be designed to protect consumer privacy':
According to the commission, the RFID market in Europe, worth €500 million, or $662 million, this year, will grow to €7 billion by 2016. Worldwide, more than one billion RFID tags were sold in 2006.

Reding said the full commission had endorsed her decision. Last year at Cebit, she raised the possibility of RFID regulation, citing "a future of ubiquitous surveillance, identity theft and low trust."

Yet without regulation, can security really be protected??

Via Smartmobs


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Digitising the Real World.

Boxes appear on the phone’s screen, highlighting known businesses and landmarks, such as the Empire State Building. The user can click one of these boxes to download information about that location from the Web. In Nokia’s mobile-augmented-reality prototype, a user can point a phone’s camera at a nearby building; the system calculates the building’s location and uses that information to identify it. Credit: Jean Probert

The concept of digital augmented reality will be a hot topic for mobile platforms in the coming years. This article from TechReview discusses some of the research coming out of Nokia:

Finding your way around a new city can be exasperating: juggling maps and guidebooks, trying to figure out where you are on roads with no street signs, talking with locals who give directions by referring to unfamiliar landmarks. If you're driving, a car with a GPS navigation system can make things easier, but it still won't help you decide, say, which restaurant suits both your palate and your budget. Engineers at the Nokia Research Center in Helsinki, Finland­, hope that a project called Mobile Augmented Reality Applications will help you get where you're going--and decide what to do once you're there.

Last October, a team led by Markus Kähäri unveiled a proto­type of the system at the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality. The team added a GPS sensor, a compass, and accelerometers to a Nokia smart phone. Using data from these sensors, the phone can calculate the location of just about any object its camera is aimed at. Each time the phone changes location, it retrieves the names and geographical coördinates of nearby landmarks from an external database. The user can then download additional information about a chosen location from the Web--say, the names of businesses in the Empire State Building, the cost of visiting the building's observatories, or hours and menus for its five eateries.

The future looks set to converge relational space, time, awareness, and information -

Read more here

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Using Pictures to Mobile Web Search

There are some interesting innovations now emerging on using mobile phone applications to search the Web.

Microsoft's Lincoln 'is a way of finding information on the Web using images instead of keywords." The software works by matching pictures taken on phones with pretagged pictures in a database. It provides the best results when the pictures are of two-dimensional objects, such as magazine ads or DVD covers' - read in 'Mobile Web Searches Using Pictures'

Also, 'the Nokia research team has demonstrated a prototype phone equipped with MARA software and the appropriate hardware: a global positioning system (GPS), an accelerometer, and a compass. The souped-up phone is able to identify restaurants, hotels, and landmarks and provide Web links and basic information about these objects on the phone's screen. In addition, says David Murphy, an engineer at Nokia Research Center, in Helsinki, Finland, who works on the project, the system can also be used to find nearby friends who have phones with GPS and the appropriate software' - read in 'Hyperlinking Reality via Phones'

Also - read about how new technologies will make online search more intelligent - and may even lead to a "Web 3.0." as the 'hype' goes! - read in 'A Smarter Web'

Animated Surveillance State and Trusted Computing

An intelligent animated video on the surveillance state and trusted computing - if you consider it worth spending 4 minutes of your time - watch...

Thanks to Smartmobs

DIY television 'revolution' comes to Britain

The Guardian reports in 'Al Gore brings DIY television 'revolution' to Britain' that Al Gore has unveiled the British version of his Current TV network...which he claims is the first example of "television for the internet generation":

He said the new service, which relies on viewer-created content for more than a third of its schedule, marked a media revolution that would prove as pivotal as the invention of the printing press. Current TV, which launched yesterday on the Sky and Virgin Media pay-TV platforms, is aimed at the 18- to 34-year-olds increasingly turning to the net, mobile phones and a myriad of digital channels to complement mainstream media habits.

Instead of a traditional schedule, programming is made up of various branded "pods" of three to eight minutes in length designed to be "snacked on". Subjects may veer from a first person report from Somalia to a polemic on Britishness via coverage of a "guerrilla gardener" who plants flowers in public spaces, all interspersed with more conventional segments covering music, news and adventure travel. Through a tie-up with Google, the channel airs a three-minute news bulletin every hour based on what users of the search engine are looking for.

Sounds like it could be either a good platform for collaborative media or another example of quick-fix youth sound-bites...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Inter-planetary Internet

ITWire reports in 'Inter-planetary Internet expands to Mars and beyond' that Internet 'guru' Vint Cerf is working with NASA to build a permanent Internet link to Mars by 2008:

InterPlaNet (IPN) will serve as a backbone for a future inter-planetary system of Internets, said Cerf during a visit to Bangalore, reports Indo Asian News Service.

A collaboration between NASA and the Advanced Research Project Agency, the InterPlaNet project is underway at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Houston, Texas. The InterPlaNet protocol is designed to cope with delays caused by the vast distances of space, with data taking up to 20 minutes to travel between the Earth and Mars depending on how far apart the two planets are.

Is this the beginning of humanity's shift towards solar colonisation... the ultimate in mobilities?

Geological knowledge to go online

Here is a good consequence of geology and technology combined - Guardian reports in 'Geological knowledge to go online' how there is an international effort to bring together online all the known geological information about every country in the world:

By making the data freely available and allowing researchers to track geological features across national boundaries, the project will make it easier to plan international projects, predict earthquakes and locate natural resources such as oil and gas.

Once the project, called OneGeology, is up and running the data will be searchable via the internet. "Geology has no respect for national frontiers," said Ian Jackson, who is coordinating the project for the British Geological Survey (BGS). "The data exists, but accessibility is the key." The project will also highlight parts of the globe where there is scant geological data. "We potentially know more about the surface of Mars than we do about some parts of the world," said John Ludden, BGS executive director. The team also want to give the site an educational angle, by explaining interesting geological features such as the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

This sounds like a great project - kudos!

SMS for Mobile Social Networking

Website Library Clips has complied a very useful list of SMS groups and services. They say that:

Groups SMS is in vogue at the moment as there are lots of services popping up. These services all have the main purpose, sending a group of people or your contacts a message they can access on their phone, and being able to reply to the group or sender…but these services do differ in the details.

Some have a web and mobile web presence (even a social network), some you can send text via a webform or email, and even send and receive text by RSS, email or IM.
Some of these services are more leader to group (one to many) one way communication, whereas some are many to many, eg. one to group (or contacts) or group to group (or contacts) SMSing, and replying.

Some have group voicemailing, and there are a few that have a Text-In information service.

Read the Library Clips list here

Via Smartmobs

Thursday, March 08, 2007

3D social networking

And now Sony have gotten in on the act - in order to compete with Second Life Sony have created a feature called Home so that Playstation 3 gamers will be able to meet, chat and share content with friends inside a 3D universe:

Home is similar to Second Life, the popular 3D universe for PCs and Macs. Gamers can create avatars - online versions of themselves - and buy new clothes and create their own homes.

Mr Harrison described Home as a 3D social networking service. Dynamic advertising - including high definition video - can be pushed into the 3D universe. The service launches in the autumn and Sony hopes it will answer critics who feel the firm has been overtaken by Microsoft in the online gaming arena.

Image from Home
Home players will be able to buy clothes and furniture

Sony is hoping companies outside of gaming will want their own spaces inside Home

What I see in this is just another opportunity for a corporation to cash-in on user's consumption: so now we not only buy material goods, we now trade in the virtual...

Read in full - Sony unveils its new 3D universe

Chip + Pimp my ride?

The Guardian in 'Pimp my ride - or just its chips' looks at how modern cars are controlled by computers, as was shown by the polluted petrol debacle of last week in the UK:

Last week's outbreak of fuel contamination showed how very dependent modern cars are on the computers hidden inside them. Because of a small quantity of silicone in a batch of petrol from an Essex refinery, hundreds of motorists found their cars would only run very slowly, if at all. This wasn't because the petrol had damaged the engines - older cars drove on perfectly well - but because a chip on board had decided that there was a danger and gone into nanny mode, shutting off most of the engine's power.

These electronics, and the chips that hold their programs, are everywhere in a modern car - the top-of-the-range Mercedes has 57 different sensor systems - but any car will have at the very least its engine, brakes and suspension controlled by embedded computers. At the moment, such chips seem to give drivers much greater control - and that is certainly how the advertisements sell them. But they are just computers. They belong to whoever can program them.

Makes you realise that so much more is going on under the bonnet/hood of the car - and the article goes on to suggest some of the 'not-so-free' implications of this.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mobile money transfer

Some good links coming out of the mobile-society list. Here's some of the most recent:

SMS Money Transfer Goes Live In Kenya

A BBC article and the video that goes with it that shows M-Pesa first hand as well as the impact of mobile phones on Kenyan society:

From Matatu to the Masai via mobile

Thanks to Mike Grenville

ALSO - money transfer via the mobile is being used in the third world. It may be that the mobile as an electronic wallet comes there first.

Safaricom, Kenya's biggest cell phone firm, on Tuesday launched a money transfer service that will use short message services, which it said was the first of its kind in the world. Reuters reports. "The product allows its 5.8 million subscribers to use their cell phones to send money in the east African country where it is commonplace for one family member working in the city to support a whole family living in rural areas. ... Kenyans will deposit or access the money through Safaricom agents like supermarkets or shops situated all over the country. Kenya's Minister for Communication, Mutahi Kagwe, highlighted the opportunity for remote communities: "This will help people in far-flung parts of the country who have no banking services, now anyone can have a bank in their pocket."

Read more here

Thanks to Rich Ling

SMS alerts for foreigners in the UK

The Home Office has announced today that text messages will be sent to foreigners who might overstay their visas to remind them to leave Britain - this is another hyped sound-bite for politicians. How will they track the phone numbers of people who overstay their visa when they'll most likely get a cheap SIM replacement on the street? Hype, hype, and media soundbite:

A three-month pilot scheme is due to begin next month and is part of an attempt to get police, local authorities, health care trusts and government departments to co-operate with one another to deny people who overstay their visas access to work, benefits and services in the UK.

The home secretary, John Reid, defended the text messaging plans saying they were a "tiny" part of a new enforcement strategy designed to "block the benefits of Britain" to those who have overstayed their right to be in the country.

Read SMS alerts to remind foreigners to renew visas



Our own home site of hot-research and hive-activity is advertising for a new member - see below:




Applications from outstanding individuals are invited for a new post to develop synergies between Lancaster's Mobilities.lab and imagination@lancaster. The person appointed will have a strong academic record in researching new media based on mobile platforms, past achievement or good prospects of externally funded research, and a capacity to develop and teach, particularly on new postgraduate programmes. The person appointed will be based in the Institute for Advanced Studies and returned in either the Sociology or Creative Arts RAE.

Closing date: 30 March 2007
Starting date 1 October 2007
Further details see:
Salary information: Lecturer (Grade 8) - £32,795 - £39,160 pa
Senior Lecturer (Grade 9) - £41,544 - £46,758 pa


Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Wireless sensor networks are a hot topic in research - this article from Roland Piquepaille - Less power needed for wireless sensors - has some good info on sensornets:

In recent years, wireless sensor networks have been deployed in inaccessible and unwired places, for example to monitor wildlife activity in wilderness parks. But all the sensor units are battery powered. So it's crucial to use as less power as possible to operate these sensor networks, or "sensornets." Now, Californian researchers have implemented a new communication protocol for wireless sensor networks which is ten times more energy-efficient than existing protocols. In current sensornets, each individual unit needs to be active at least 30 minutes everyday while this new protocol requires less than two minutes of activity per day.

Games 'make drivers go faster'

BBCNews reports in 'Games 'make drivers go faster'' how more than a third of young drivers are more likely to go faster on the roads after playing on-screen driving games:

And 27% of motorists aged under 24 admitted more risk-taking on the road after a gaming session. A thousand drivers were questioned on behalf of driving school BSM.

BSM's road safety consultant Robin Cummins said the results showed an 'indisputable' link between gaming and dangerous driving. A quarter of drivers even said they imagine they are in a driving simulation game while driving for real - men are the worst offenders for this.

The poll also found that 34% of the 1,000 young drivers questioned think computer games can improve real-life driving ability, with two in five reckoning the games can help their reflexes.

So, another survey that shows the effect of the digital realm onto the physical...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The rise of technology addiction

The BBC site Click has a piece on 'The rise of technology addiction':

The seemingly exponential growth of portable technology has sparked fears that people are becoming addicted or swamped by gadgets and their uses. One major consequence of this phenomenon is that the line between work and private life is much more blurred, now that e-mail and phones provide a 24-hour link between employers and staff.

Experts believe that even the decision-making process of the average person can be adversely affected. However, others think that the bombardment of various communications can enhance the brain's ability to process information.

Over-reliance, or required relationship?

A new mobile-society site

The well-used Mobile-Society text based sharing list has been upgraded by Rich Ling to a multi-media social networking site called Mobile communication - this new site allows readers to share much more than text, and is a great addition to how news can be shared.

A recommended site to visit!

BBC Digital Planet February 27 2007

A few days late, yet here is the most recent BBC Digital Planet podcast: it looks at what the future holds for 'Citizen Journalists'.

Download here

Online journal 'Re-public' - has a special issue on Time & Governance as 'Time has been for too long a relatively “hidden” concept in mainstream discussions about politics, more often presupposed rather than clearly articulated.'

One of the short article contributions is from myself, and is titled - 'Real-time and the politics of presence' - in this piece I discuss how

processes are increasingly dynamic as they shift relations within systems beyond the individual such that “what matters is not technology itself, but its relationship to us“. Developments in computerization have taken relationships away from fixed locations as in the stand-alone PC, to laptops that could be carried around, to wireless PDAs, to Internet connectivity on mobile phones. This trend in distributed computing fundamentally alters how events, people, and places are constituted and enacted within time.

Maybe it's worth a quick plug...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Novel antenna for in-car satellite receivers

The ESA reports on satellite multimedia system for cars. Another ESA Telecommunications project, NATALIA, is designing a mass-producible antenna for this and similar systems:

The satellite multimedia system for cars works in a similar manner to a satellite receiver for television channels. However, a car cannot have a large dish antenna on its roof. The demonstrator vehicle uses a specially designed mobile antenna, reduced in height to make it practical for mobile use.

To receive the signals, the antenna must be pointed towards the satellite. For mobile receivers, the antenna direction must be adjusted as the vehicle orientation changes. On the demonstration vehicle this is accomplished by using a motor to turn the whole antenna.

NATALIA concept

NATALIA concept

The New Automotive Tracking Antenna for Low-cost Innovative Applications (NATALIA) project aims to design an antenna that is electronically steerable in both azimuth (compass direction) and elevation (height above the horizon). The design is intended to be suitable for mass production.

Read in full in Novel antenna for in-car satellite receivers