Thursday, December 29, 2005


I will be away for 8 days. So 'New Mobilities' will be quiet for a while as I will be having a break in co-absence.



A semantic grid for virtual collaboration

In a recent Emerging Technology Trends blog - a piece called 'A semantic grid for virtual collaboration':

"The InteliGrid European project, which started a year ago, wants to deliver the full potential of grid computing by building an intelligent network aware of all its components. This 'smart grid' approach is intended to suit the needs of complex industries, such as aerospace, shipbuilding or construction, where a large number of partners need to collaborate to solve a single problem. One of the requirements for this grid project is 'data comprehension.' In other words, the computers on the grid must learn to 'know' what data 'means.' And the promoters of the project think that they're on a successful path to help to build safer airplanes, buildings or bridges.

"We hope that we can augment Grid technology to provide a stable and secure collaboration platform on one hand, and a platform into which players can plug in and get out rather quickly on the other," says Professor Žiga Turk, coordinator of the InteliGrid and researcher at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia."

The convergence big bang

From a recent post at Smartmobs:

"The Korea Times says "this year’s telecom market was dominated by digital convergence,the high-tech buzzword on everyone’s lips over the past 12 months.Video-on-the-go services,dubbed digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) as a cross between telecom and broadcasting,commercially debuted in May.The government also wrapped up a two-year stalemate for WiBro by issuing two licenses for the homegrown portable Internet that will bring landline access speed to a wireless terminal,in January.The nation’s major telecom operators also started a pilot run of the broadband convergence network (BcN) project in the latter part of this year.The BcN is an ultimate network aimed at igniting the convergence big bang in the future because it integrates traditionally separated telecom,Internet and broadcasting pipelines,seamlessly switching over to a wired or wireless connection."The article also points out that "more than 38 million of the country’s total 48 million population are subscribed to mobile telephony services and the number of landline phone users is stuck at about 22 million,"while,"the number of high-speed Internet clients,another wireline growth phase, also hit the saturation mark with roughly 12 million of 15.5 million households are hooked up to the always-on connection.""

New airline navigation system is displayed

Until now, an autopilot could only fly a plane in a straight line or around a gentle curve. But the one shown off Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration was following a path as sinuous as the river beneath.

But now at National, and a handful of other airports around the country, autopilots can fly planes safely over terrain that no one on board can see, including around mountains. Use of the new system is expected to cut the number of times that airplanes have to divert because of weather.


Carnival of the Mobilists - Best of the Year!

The end of year edition of the Carnival of the Mobilists is up at MobHappy - a collection of the very best writing about mobile on the planet.

This week, they asked for writers to nominate their best writing of 2005, so it's well worth a visit!

Traffic Avoidance

A recent article in Technology Review talks of the new technologies being developed for such events as traffic jam avoidance:

"In the interminable battle against traffic, a growing number of government and private initiatives offer U.S. drivers high-quality real-time traffic data and even short-term predictions of travel time from, say, one freeway intersection to the next.

But most of the forecasts don't extend beyond 15 or 20 minutes. Though a veritable traffic jam of companies has sprung up to offer data, they generally inform commuters of snarls as they occur, which is often too late for drivers to change their plans.

Now, actual traffic prediction -- forecasts of congestion levels hours and even days in advance -- is on the horizon. It's coming from Kirkland, WA-based Inrix, founded in 2004 by former Microsoft executives Bryan Mistele and Craig Chapman and former Expedia executive Seth Eisner.

The company uses algorithms that originated in the labs of Microsoft Research; its technology is the first fruit of Microsoft's initiative to license intellectual property to venture capitalists and startups."

Friday, December 23, 2005

Business cards obsolete with high-tech handshake reports on the use of exchanging data through the hands, whether it be for business information or for telling a door to open: information is now being encoded in the power of touch:

The ritual of exchanging business cards could beome a thing of the past after Japanese researchers devised a way to swap data just through a handshake, writes Baku Today.

If two people each wear a 50-gram (1.75-ounce) device the size of a matchbox, they could receive each other's details into their cellphones or other mobile gadgets simply through body contact.

The "RedTacton" device, under development by NTT in Japan, uses optical electric field sensors that look for similar electric fields on other bodies. When contact is made, the data goes through the body with a small amount of voltage, winding up in a portable handsets.

"As the information has the date it was obtained just like e-mails, it would help you remember who the person was. It would also make it easier to make an address book," said Tadashi Minotani of the laboratory.

The technology, which the NTT group aims to put into practical use in two to three years, could have many uses, such as being embedded into medicine bottles that send messages to mobile terminals such as a cellphone. "The terminal would buzz or say 'Don't take this' if it is the wrong medicine. There are so many drugs that it is difficult to judge which must not be taken together with which," said Tadashi Minotani of the laboratory.

Other uses of the technology include allowing people to unlock a door by touching the door knob.

British Airways rolls out mobile messaging strategy

British Airways has launched its global mobile messaging strategy for customers and staff, reports Netimperative.

The customer service benefit of mobile was proved this week, with BA using it to help cope with disruptions caused by the Hemel Hempstead oil fires. With 155 planes cancelled or delayed as a result, messages were sent out to customers in 59 countries, in local languages, containing telephone details for customers to find out further information.

The first three services being rolled out by Incentivated under the strategy are passenger notifications, cargo logistics alerts and staff communications.
BA has been collecting mobile numbers from customers over the last year from its online booking service at

The airline has installed an Internet telephony system and sees mobile as ideal for staff communications, with employees receiving SMS notifications of voicemails and other telephony communications. The company has many further plans for rolling out mobile communication for both marketing and customer communications.


Earthquake Alerts Straight to the Phone -- On or Off reports on the news that Japan's Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry wants to implement a program of emergency messaging over cellular phone networks, particularly in the event of earthquakes. The SMS messages would provide emergency instructions, evacuation routes, and the like.

This post notes that if a plan to piggyback the emergency alert system on top of a broadcast video for phones technology works out, the emergency alerts could also include animations and graphics.

This is not the first instance of such a plan yet what is novel about the system is that the Ministry also wants to be able to turn phones on by broadcasting a special signal, so that citizens can get the emergency messages even if they've shut their phones off for the night. They're working on the necessary technology in hopes of including it in future phones.


Forbes 2006 Sneak Peek

Forbes 2006 Sneak Peek - Technology, Voip, Wireless, Media and more

Forbes editors and writers take a look ahead at the coming year, weighing in on what they think will be the big trends in 2006. This is a great year-end read that covers predictions in technology, Voip, telecom, mobile wireless, gaming, digital entertainment, and media.

On Digital Entertainment, Peter Kafka writes:

"So everyone who didn't get it a year ago gets it now: Very soon, just about every type of content is going to be sliced, diced and presented to consumers in whatever format they want, whenever they want it, wherever they want it."

Forbes 2006 predictions also cover politics, economy, Automotive, Banking, Financial Services, Health Care, Retailing, Sports, and Transportation. Don't miss this.

Sneak Peek 2006 -

Via DigitalTech News

UK to monitor all car journeys

The Independent reports that Britain will begin tracking and recording the movements of every vehicle on the road system.

Britain is to become the first country in the world where the movements of all vehicles on the roads are recorded. A new national surveillance system will hold the records for at least two years.

Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years.

Via BoingBoing

Kiddie smart mobs

David Pogue’s column in today’s New York Times Circuits is a round-up of the cell phones being marketed for the kindergarten-early grade school set. These parent-programmed handsets introduce children at an early age to life as a node in a virtual network. Typical other parent-determined nodes in their first small net-world include the parents’ cellphones, grandma and grandpa, friends of the children, neighbors, and 911.

With children growing up under networks, how will this affect social networking in the future - pre-conditioned?

Via Smartmobs

Monday, December 19, 2005

Touch research project

From the website of the Touch Research Project:

"Touch is a research project at the Interaction Design department at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, looking at user-centred applications for Near Field Communication (NFC).NFC is a technology that enables connections between mobile phones and real-world objects:bridging the gap between the real and the virtual.

NFC is interesting for us because it enables connections between mobile phones and real-world objects: bridging the gap between the real and the virtual. The project offers the possibility of radically simplifying existing applications and providing a new spectrum of local services through the mobile phone. At AHO we have multiple disciplines, including interaction design, industrial design, urbanism and architecture; a group with significant interest in the areas possibilities of NFC technology."

Perhaps worth keeping an eye on this touchy project?

Thanks to Smartmobs

The Future of Work?

Here is an extract from the latest article on Gizmo Emerging Technology Magazine on the issue of the future of work:

"As companies become accustomed to seamless global telecommunications , we will eventually see companies with thousands of employees and no central office. Indeed we may even see a companies with no employees at all - just electronically-connected freelancers who live and work wherever they want across the globe. Imagine that this freedom allows people to get more of what they want out of life - money, engaging work, or time with their families. It’s not for everyone, but it is certainly the future for the likes of many Gizmag readers and our writers – the early adopters of the world. The Greater Richmond Technology Council, in partnership with Sprint, is exploring this topic in depth at TechSummit 2005, to be held on December 15 at the Richmond Marriott. TechSummit 2005 will look at the strategies, tools and applications being used successfully - nationally and locally - to change the definition of "work" and "office". One of the highlights of the event will be a keynote address by Thomas H. Davenport entitled "Thinking For A Living," designed to ask and answer the question "How can you tell whether your employees are working when their job is to think?" Mr. Davenport, a nationally recognized management expert, speaker and author, is listed by Consulting magazine as one of the nation's top 25 consultants. His most recent book, "Thinking For A Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers" was named one of Fortune's top three books of 2003. He holds the President's Chair in Information Technology and Management at Babson College in Massachussetts, and is an Accenture Fellow..."

Australia: SMS sentences 'too harsh' reports that A ten-year jail sentence for people who send text messages that incite violence has been labelled as "excessive" by civil liberties groups. That's some escalation, a few days ago, the The Australian reported that "authors of racial SMS faced a $5,000 fine and 6 months in jail".

"Using the new powers rushed through the NSW Parliament last week, police confiscated at least 22 mobile phones, some with SMS messages urging Arabs to "arm up and get ready for war".


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Carnival of the Mobilists # 10

This week's Carnival of the Mobilists is at C Enrique Ortiz, as usual not to be missed if you want to stay tuned on the latest opinions on what's hot in mobile.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Ethical Maps

I thought this new use of mapping was interesting...and worth a blog:

Maplecroft is a UK organization specializing in the coverage of the non-financial performance of global corporations and governments. Issues of convern include human rights, corporate governance and responsibility, the environment, and resource sustainability. Maplecroft crafts standard report documents, but presents its findings in an unusual way: it makes maps.

Maplecroft maps encompass the results of their work on responsibility and sustainability, along with material from more specialized groups like Amnesty International, the UN Development Program, and International Telecommunications Union. The maps appear to be updated relatively frequently, so few will contain substantively out-of-date information. They do require Flash, and I found the links to data explanations to be unresponsive on two different browsers. Nonetheless, most of the material is either self-explanatory or explained in the sidebar, and clicking on a given country will pull up an additional menu of information.

Some maps worth checking out include hunger, natural disasters, and human rights -- just updated for International Human Rights Day.

As with any information resource, it's important to pay attention to what sorts of interpretations are in use. The Landmine Risk map, for example, doesn't emphasize the number of deployed landmines nearly as much as whether or not a given nation is a signatory to anti-landmine treaties. This results in the somewhat non-sensical presentation of the United States as having an equivalent landmine risk to Cambodia.

Read article here

Via Worldchanging

No need to waste space

From the official Google Blog - this was posted by Andy Ku, their International Product Marketing Manager

"Next time you’re at the airport, scan the waiting area and see what people are doing. You’ll be shocked by the number who are doing absolutely nothing -- other than staring glassy-eyed at other people who are doing absolutely nothing. Naturally, these people had rushed in a mad frenzy an hour prior in order to get to the airport on time, only to sit and stare.

This observation is what spawned Google Space. We thought it would be useful to set up an area to give travellers unfettered Internet access so they might make use of that otherwise wasted time. Plus Googlers would get to talk to Google users, and hear what they like and don’t like about our products. Kind of like Google Labs, but with face to face feedback. Google Labs goes material.

We've been testing this concept for nearly a month at Heathrow Airport in London.
The response has thus far been enlightening and unexpected. Enlightening in that we’ve been learning tons about how to make our products more useful. Unexpected in the ways that people are using Google. One sales guy, David MacDonald, emailed this to the entire UK office:

“Yesterday whilst on the Google Space stand at Heathrow T1 I was approached by somebody who asked me if I worked for Google, as soon as I confirmed he smiled. He went on to explain that he had been in Pakistan as part of an International Disaster Response Team to help in the aftermath of the recent earthquake. They had been desperate to use what resources / maps they could find and that Google had been invaluable in helping. It turned out they had used Google Earth to trace the geography of the landscape, locate villages and roads.

He was so happy to see me and to show his appreciation, I really felt humbled and proud.”

No space - or time - should ever go wasted!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Phone stress and absent presence

Here are some articles regarding the idea of mobile phone stress and absent presence.
The articles may resonate with the recent event called Technology, Time and Everyday Life convened by Judy Wajcman at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Thanks to Mobile-society list and Rich Ling

Public transparency or surveillance?

Recently in Asia Media:

"Surveillance equipment will be installed across the restive South with images broadcast over the internet,Deputy Prime Minister Pol Gen Chidchai Wannasathit said yesterday. According to Pol Gen Chidchai,the closed-circuit television surveillance equipment will be installed at 9,000 locations across the four provinces of Songkhla,Pattani,Yala and Narathiwat.Images from the cameras will be broadcast on a website so the general public can help monitor the situation,Pol Gen Chidchai said.The deputy prime minister called this form of surveillance "public control" and noted that CCTV surveillance equipment was already being installed in Yala."We're also considering the number of cameras that need to be installed in Bangkok," he said."

Is this a form of public control...a beginning to RFID tracking/mapping? Or what David Brin refers to as the 'Transparent Society'?

Via Smartmobs

Go Digital 12th December 2005

This week's podcast talks to founder of French blog site Agoravox, new & exciting computer interfaces and look at "podslurping", using mobile gadgets to steal company secrets.

Download and listen here

Also - Extended interview with the founder of French Citizen Journalism site, Agoravox. Tell us what you think of Joel's forthright views on traditional media vs. user generated content - listen here

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ubiquitous information and communication networks

The ITU Internet report 2005 is entitled "The Internet of Things".From the executive summary which is now available to download."'We are standing on the brink of a new ubiquitous computing and communication era,one that will radically transform our corporate,community, and personal spheres.Over a decade ago,the late Mark Weiser developed a seminal vision of future technological ubiquity,one in which the increasing “availability” of processing power would be accompanied by its decreasing “visibility”.As he observed, “the most profound technologies are those that disappear…they weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it”.Early forms of ubiquitous information and communication networks are evident in the widespread use of mobile phones:the number of mobile phones worldwide surpassed 2 billion in mid-2005.These little gadgets have become an integral and intimate part of everyday life for many millions of people,even more so than the internet.Today,developments are rapidly under way to take this phenomenon an important step further,by embedding short-range mobile transceivers into a wide array of additional gadgets and everyday items,enabling new forms of communication between people and things,and between things themselves".

Thanks to Smartmobs

Radio-tagged boarding pass

OpTag is a radio-tagged boarding pass that aims to prevent delays by tracking passengers around the airport,and "is the joint brainchild of engineers at University College London,a Berkshire firm called Innovision,a group in France,another in Greece,an airport in Hungary and a few others",the Guardian reports."The idea is to attach a unique tag to each boarding pass as it is issued.The prototype tag radiates a very low power signal in the 5.8GHz band but it is enough to be picked up by a cell-based tracking system linked to high-resolution video monitoring cameras placed strategically to cover 360 degrees,and linked by an Ethernet network to an operator at a set of screens".Further,"its real value lies in working out how far from their departure gate the thirsty Mr Smith and the absent-minded Mr Jones are at the crucial moment. Five per cent of airline departure delays are due to these puzzling people who check in their baggage but forget to actually get on the plane: the OpTag system could save flight hours, money and, of course, irritation."

This will be an interesting line to follow - how RFID is used in increasing mobility - especially when the line is to benefit travellers/consumers.

Via Smartmobs

Mobile mobs in Australia

News reports "text messages inciting race riots have been circulated in Queensland and Victoria, police said today.The messages were used to incite mob violence against people of Middle Eastern appearance at Sydney's Cronulla beach on Sunday in retaliation for an attack on surf lifesavers.Queensland police said yesterday that mobile phone text messages calling for people to start "cracking skulls" had surfaced on the Gold Coast.New South Wales Police said today that similar messages had also been reported in Victoria."

As Howard Rheingold said - Smartmobs are not necessarily either wise nor kind.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Lancaster : Social Networks & Future Mobilities

Friday, 9 December, at The Institute for Advanced Studies, was the Social Networks & Future Mobilities conference.

It was a day of constructive discussion based on the Department of Transport report (200-pages)co-authored by Jonas Larson, John Urry, and Kay Axhausen.

The report can be accessed here.

Any comments/feedback would be useful.

Mobile Methodologies - call for papers

Mobile Methodologies: Researching Mobile Experiences

Convenors: Mark McGuinness (Bath Spa University, UK) & Justin Spinney (Royal Holloway, UK). Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British
Geographers) Annual Conference, London, 30 August-1 September 2006.

First call for papers

In geography, urban studies, sociology and elsewhere there is heightened awareness of the importance of better understandings of the movement of bodies through space (as walkers, cyclists, dancers, drivers, passengers etc). Such sustained emphases on movement suggest interesting methodological questions: how do we research and represent mobile experiences: of being in place momentarily, of passing through, of being 'in-between'? Can existing social scientific research methods that slow down and freeze experiences (the interview, the focus group, the survey) adequately capture mobile experiences, practices where the context of movement itself may be crucial to understanding the significance of the event to the participant, rather than being simply 'read off' from destination points and origins? This session examines the foundations of this perceived limitation and considers methodological responses, technologies and representational strategies designed to more fully inform our understanding of people's experience of movement through space, such as through the use of video recordings, audio diaries, photographic diaries, text trails, blogs and travelogues.

Abstracts for 15 minute papers addressing any aspect of researching mobile experiences should be submitted to Dr Mark McGuinness ( no later than 20th January 2006. You can contact either of us if you require any further information about the session.

This SMS will self-destruct in 40 seconds...

A new type of text message called StealthtText launched by Staellium UK Ltd self-destructs in 40 seconds, according to The Daily Record, simply by keying in a code.

Whether you’re a celebrity who’s up to no good or a business executive dealing in sensitive information, the last thing you want is for urgent text messages you’ve sent to fall into the wrong hands. StealthText allows you to send a text message safely in the knowledge that it will delete itself from the recipient’s mobile phone as soon as the person has read it – ultimately, allowing the sender control of their own information.

Is this the Mission Impossible of Mobility?

An Intelligent Transportation System in Shanghai

Shanghai "is looking at plans to build a traffic information center that would send up-to-the-minute reports on road congestion to a computer screen installed in cars or a portable device cyclists and pedestrians could use",the Shanghai Daily reports."The center will integrate information from the current three road condition monitoring departments — traffic police, the urban transport bureau and the urban project management bureau — and install more information collecting devices such as monitors along or beneath roads.Once applied, the Intelligent Transportation System will help drivers find the best routes to avoid congested roads, or suggest they use the subway or buses depending on traffic conditions,said Yang Dongyuan,vice president of Tongji University".

Read at

Thanks to Smartmobs

White Paper:Measuring the impact of blogs on brands

"Blogging has a direct influence on corporate reputation, and we now have the figures to prove it,argues a white paper(PDF) co-written by Market Sentinel,Onalytica and immediate future PR",netimperative reports."The white paper uses the example of blogger Jeff Jarvis’s criticism of the computer retailer,Dell.It shows first that Dell has sustained long-term damage to its brand image and secondly that the cheerleaders for the poor reputation of Dell’s customer services,are bloggers."

Via Smartmobs

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Carnival of the Mobilists

This weeks Carnival of the Mobilists is hosted at

Hybrid Trams to Roam Rome

New trams being developed by Lohr Industries will switch between electric and battery power. While overhead electrical wires will power the trams through most of their trips, municipal codes in some Italian cities prevent building the structures to support the wires. Therefore, the Translohr trams will run on battery power when going through historic areas.

The batteries are stored in the roof of the vehicle and also serve as backup power for the doors and radio. Anyone who has ever taken the electrified Muni in cities like San Francisco has probably endured frequent disruptions when the guide wires were disconnected, so a backup battery to keep the heat and lights working would be great.

This makes sense on many levels: providing access to areas where you don't want to hang wires, no emissions, and the almost constant electricity source means the batteries will be full most of the time. There are hybrid trolleys under consideration in the United States, but they are not pervasive."

Via Wired Autopia blog

China's rich fuel mobile revolution

In a recent BBC article - 'China's rich fuel mobile revolution' -

"China's increasingly wealthy middle classes and tech savvy youngsters are the main reasons why companies, including Nokia and Motorola, have invested billions of dollars in establishing manufacturing and distribution networks across the Chinese mainland.

In 2004, the Chinese purchased 92 million mobile phones, an increase of 15.8% over 2003, making China the largest mobile phone market in the world.

The International Data Corporation forecasts that the market for mobile handsets will continue to grow, with more than 400 million handsets sold between now and 2009."

"Godcasts” becoming more popular

From podcasting to to godcasting!! Will sociology be the next thing - sodcasting!

"Podcasting is a huge and growing phenomenon. One reason is religious podcasts, or “godcasts.”

“I would say probably anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of the podcasts available online have some dimension of religion or spiritual life to them,” estimates Lee Ranie of the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Godcasts are created by houses of worship from every denomination, and from around the world. The wide selection is good news for web worshippers.

That religion and spirituality have found a niche in this new technology should not be a surprise. Nearly two thirds of the nation's 128 million Internet users have used the Internet for faith-related matters, according to study last year by the Pew Internet & American Life Project."

read more at all about iPod itunes"

Via Smartmobs

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sociology --> Mociology!

Sociology has now morphed into a new field: according to

“Mociology (mobile + sociology) is the study of the innovative ways people use their mobile phones or wireless systems in daily life. Examples given including buying concert tickets by phone or having medical information about your diabetic condition sent to you the same way…Mocio-economics is described as “the underlying economics that drives the fast emergence of mobile entertainment revenues and economics”.

Earlier in November, we picked up on a an article from The Guardian entitled We are all Mociologists, describing how Joe Trippi (author of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything" ) likes to open his lectures with a question. "How many mociologists are there in the audience?

"Mociology refers to how mobile and wireless technology has changed the way we do things: downloading music on to a mobile phone, for example, or getting the football scores texted through on a Saturday afternoon.

Is this a new branch of Sociology?? Will it be televised?

Frontline SMS: Texting value in the NGO sector

FrontlineSMS provides an "entry-level text messaging solution for the non-profit sector." FrontlineSMS was started by Ken Banks, managing director of, a ICT geared to servicing the specific needs of the conservation and development community with a particular focus on Africa. FrontlineSMS's website explains the need well:

"...text messaging has allowed people to exchange information and communicate at both national and international level. The potential to provide some of the poorest people in the world with local, relevant, useful information has not gone un-noticed...
Patients receive reminders to take their medicine, saving time and money travelling to local clinics. Farmers receive details of market prices and demand for their products before heading off to market. National parks communicate details of dangerous animals, providing an early warning system to mitigate against human/wildlife conflict. Young people living in the slums of Nairobi receive texts alerting them to job opportunities in the city."

Check out the website for more technical and practical information, and contact Ken Banks who seems to be accessible and open to questions. Also see the first pages of a PDF report, "Mobile phones: An appropriate tool for conservation and development?" by Ken Banks and Richard Burge (2004) which will give you more ideas on how texting might add social value in these sectors.

Via Worldchanging

A Merrry MiXmas Podcast

As a prelude to the Xmas festivities, 'New Mobilities' would like to offer the following download link (courtesy of DJ Riko):

All News - The Merry Mixmas 2005 - a 70-minute MP3 mix-CD of favorite Xmas oddities, including rarities, non-English songs, and lots of upbeat holiday tuneage - is now available for download. It's the fourth annual mix of Christmas music, and has been given the official thumbs-up by Santa himself. The mix includes songs that are very old and very new, sung in English, Spanish, Japanese and other languages, and played on banjos, guitars, strings, horns and other instruments...

Download here

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Women in Mobile

Women in Mobile 4 at m-trends gives a good interview with women influntial with mobile trends. Check out this interview No 4.

Phones and Cars

More transport news:

Auto-Txt is a system that requires your mobile phone to be present before your car will start. The post begins a musing about the mobile phone/person relationship: “This is especially interesting as it's pointing the way of the future, where your mobile will be as much proof of identity, as a personal communication device.”

According to Smartmobs: "The smart mobbing of devices is also at work here with a security symbiosis between phone and car. More interaction surely lies ahead. The Auto-Txt phone operates on Bluetooth and is equipped with satellite GPS tracking as cars increasingly are."

BT's new vehicle tracking system

In a recent article from CNet titled 'Thieves put car security system to test' BT put their new tracking device to the real test!

"BT's new vehicle tracking system found its first stolen car before the system had gone live. The car, an Audi A4, belongs to David Thomas--project manager for the new BT Trackit system. It was stolen outside his house on Nov. 2 and was recovered, undamaged, the same day. Thomas was alerted to the theft by BT's Secure Operating Centre. Using satellite-based tracking technology, the car was pinpointed and the local police were informed and were able to recover the vehicle."

Via Smartmobs

More Online Maps News

The University of Southern California has an interesting recent article on the development of online mapping: Online Maps: The Next Generation

"Media systems scientists at USC rely on geospatial technology to integrate a wealth of information that is accurate and easily accessible for decision-makers in a wide range of fields.

GeoDec is designed to enable an information-rich and realistic three-dimensional visualization and/or simulation of geographical locations, such as cities or states, rapidly and accurately," said Cyrus Shahabi, who specializes in databases and information management. "The technology has a similar look and feel to the new, high-powered interactive mapping tools, such as Google Earth and MSN Virtual Earth."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

New security for the actively mobile

Iris recognition is seen as the most accurate biometric recognition technology because no two irises are identical. And researchers at the University of Bath in England have developed new computer algorithms which are 100 per cent accurate in initial trials.

Read article on ZdNet called 'Foolproof iris recognition technology?'

Via Smartmobs

This Week's - Carnival of the Mobilists

This Week's 'Carnival of the Mobilists' is hosted at Wap Review:

extract - "Debbie Jones at Mobile Jones has submitted a very interesting article on Human Factors Engineering as it applies to mobile interfaces. Debbie speaks from experience and argues that one must take a systems approach considering man, machine, system and environment. Read how and why in, Usability v. Human Factors in Complex Mobile Systems.

Troy Norcross writes a blog called Mobile Marketing & SPAM which is all about successful marketing that is not SPAM. His latest piece uses the theater as a metaphor to illustrate how to do mobile marketing that works rather than annoys. Read: Mobile Marketers - Take your cue from the theatre"

Vodafone's 'Receiver'

Vodafone have published the new issue - no 14 - of their Receiver Magazine

The latest issue has some interesting articles:


- Anthony Townsend: Seoul searching – cybernomads and the ubiquitous city: A close look at Korea's digitally mediated urban space which, in Seoul's case, achieved a unique intensity.

- Yat Siu: Eight visions from mobile Asia.
Mobile usage in Asia, the US, and Europe, and a guess on which leading Asian mobile trends are likely to spread westwards.

Definately worth a look - at Receiver

Thanks to Mobile-Society list.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wireless Relief

In a recent MIT Tech Review post: 'New Orleans is the first U.S. city to provide free wireless Internet service':

"To help boost its stalled economy, hurricane-ravaged New Orleans is offering the nation's first free wireless Internet network owned and run by a major city.

Mayor Ray Nagin said Tuesday the system would benefit residents and small businesses who still can't get their Internet service restored over the city's washed out telephone network, while showing the nation ''that we are building New Orleans back.''

The system started operation Tuesday in the central business district and French Quarter. It's to be available throughout the city in about a year."

Cooperative collection of Katrina coverage

Internet Archive has just launched a huge archive amassed since September 4th to preserve the online response to the giant Katrina catastrophe. There are four major divisions of the archive: News Sites, Personal Sites, Relief Sites, and Government Sites. Future scholars will have this snapshot of a first major disaster response within the Internet. summarizes:

The Internet Archive and many individual contributors worked together to put together a comprehensive list of websites to create a historical record of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the massive relief effort which followed. This collection has over 25 million unique pages, all text searchable, from over 1500 sites. The web archive commenced on September 4th.

Via SmartMobs

A swarm of networked ­citizens

How a swarm of networked ­citizens is building a better ­emergency broadcast system is a new article in Wired magazine:

"It's another dangerous day in America. Bird flu is spreading, the North Koreans have a nuclear bomb, and Osama bin Laden is still at large. The federal security threat-warning system points to "elevated." Citizens nationwide have been told to be extra vigilant against new terror attacks."

Read how networked citizens can help...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Intimate Visual Co-presence

Mizuko Ito has published a position paper (PDF) on her recent research on the "intimate visual co-presence" created by couples who use their mobile phones and/or photo-sharing websites to exchange photos on a continuous basis.:

The experience of these two sets of couples points to the compelling nature of intimate visual co-presence as it is supported by photo sharing on a mobile phone. The current convergence of different kinds of photo sharing services and camera phones seems to indicate that this kind of social experience will likely become more accessible to users in settings with widespread camphones and mobile Internet access. Just as text messaging created new kinds of modalities for co-presence and communication, we can expect that pervasive photo sharing will lead to a new set of social practices that differ from what we have seen in the PC Internet space and the mobile texting space. I suggest that intimate visual co-presence may be one of these new social modalities.

Via Smartmobs

StarSight - Street lamps recharge cell phones

Imagine a city where every lamp post provided wireless internet access, solar-powered street lighting and a power point to charge your mobile phone. You might expect to find this in a sophisticated western city – but it will actually appear first in Africa. World Changing reports.

"Starsight ( is a project designed to supercharge street lighting and power in developing counties. Essentially it is a network of pylons, each with a solar panel, linked not by cables but by antennae which use wireless internet protocol.

... "One study puts the number of night-time street vendors at 40m across Africa – and almost all of them use paraffin lamps. A power outlet at the base of a Starsight pylon could resell power to these vendors – which they could use to light, to cook or to charge mobile phones."

Thanks to Smartmobs

Maps and more maps

More maps!!

Another Wired article examined MapQuest - The theme is whether MapQuest can continue its dominance as it marks its tenth anniversary online. The article mentions some interesting examples of mapping uses and innovations. During Katrina, MapQuest set up a Dog Detective website to provide locations of stranded animals for rescuers. Competitive map applications made available a variety of formats for locating people and property in the aftermath of the storm. Shopping, automobiles and wireless are among big time opportunities being charted by the digital cartographers.

Pentagon mapping all?

In a recent Wired article titled - 'Pentagon's Urban Recon Takes Wing' - it looks at some of the new mobilities being created for the military: and it's all about mapping.

"A leading defense contractor has successfully demonstrated a system that lets foot soldiers command unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to see real-time overhead images on their handheld computers while fighting in urban battle zones.

Individual war fighters can receive video-surveillance data on a target of interest by moving a cursor over the subject, as part of a Northrop Grumman system to automate reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, or RSTA, within urban environments."

Monday, November 28, 2005

A future of full-immersion virtual reality?

From a recent interview with Robert Freitas (Part 2)

Ray Kurzweil has proposed having billions of nanorobots positioned in our brains, in order to create full-immersion virtual reality. Do you think that such a scenario will ever be feasible?

"Yes of course. I first described the foundational concepts necessary for this in Nanomedicine, Vol. I (1999), including noninvasive neuroelectric monitoring (i.e., nanorobots monitoring neuroelectric signal traffic without being resident inside the neuron cell body, using >5 different methods), neural macrosensing (i.e., nanorobots eavesdropping on the body’s sensory traffic, including auditory and optic nerve taps), modification of natural cellular message traffic by nanorobots stationed nearby (including signal amplification, suppression, replacement, and linkage of previously disparate neural signal sources), inmessaging from neurons (nanorobots receiving signals from the neural traffic), outmessaging to neurons (nanorobots inserting signals into the neural traffic), direct stimulation of somesthetic, kinesthetic, auditory, gustatory, auditory, and ocular sensory nerves (including ganglionic stimulation and direct photoreceptor stimulation) by nanorobots, and the many neuron biocompatibility issues related to nanorobots in the brain, with special attention to the blood-brain barrier."

Well - considerable impact upon issues of co-presence if this development ever 'materialises' into 'reality'!

Calling Women Mobilists

Mobile Diva Darla and Debi from are going to "put something together" regarding "Women in Mobile", inspired on the interview series on m-trends a couple of weeks ago.

"...getting the recognition of the females out there is important to our women readers. Yeah we can be badass women to the guys, but what about the other percentage of our readers?"

So, if there are female blogs about mobile that you know of, please contact either Debi or Darla.

Girl mobile power?

See m-trends

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Carnival of the Mobilists

Welcome to this week’s edition of Carnival of the Mobilists.

If you’re new to the Carnival, the idea is to collect the best writing about mobile in one place at a different website every week. This week it is being hosted at Smart Mobs.

So check it out for a weekly round-up of mobile writing.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Power of the positive many

It occurs too often that people die of heart attacks while in the neighbourhood someone owns a defibrilator.

Heartsafe Living in the Netherlands initiated a project where the central alarm number 112 connects via sms to a volunteer in the area. It is a nice example of smartmobs and the positive power of the mobile many.

Unfortunately, no English version of the site exists at present. Yet this goes to show how mobile devices via SMS are being increasingly used in the medical domain. In an earlier post I referred to use of SMS in African mobile hospitals.

This shows the emergence of the power of the positive many - technologies of cooperation.

Thanks to SmartMobs for this.

Mobile intensities

Fibreculture Issue 6 - Mobility, new social intensities and the coordinates of digital networks

Papers of note:

From Stabilitas Loci to Mobilitas Loci: Networked Mobility and the Transformation of Place
by Rowan Wilken

"This paper explores the notion of place in relation to networked mobility and mobile phone use. Two key arguments are developed. The first is that the experience of place persists and remains an important consideration in relation to mobile phone use. The ‘domestication’ approach to understanding the development and uses of new technologies is considered useful in explaining this persistence. The second is that networked mobility actually forces a renegotiation of place, and leads to significantly altered understandings of place and place-making. This is theorised as a shift from a traditional understanding of place as stable and fixed (stabilitas loci), to a reconceptualisation of place as experienced in and understood through mobility (mobilitas loci). The paper concludes by sketching some of the potential, and possible implications, that this renewed understanding of place might have for future studies of networked mobility."

Mobile Technosoma: some phenomenological reflections on itinerant media devices
by Ingrid Richardson

"Today’s handheld devices are becoming increasingly multifunctional, portable and interactive technospaces which enfold (and unfold) an assortment of media forms. This transformation requires a critical approach that considers mobile media as more than telecommunications tools, but also as hybrid new media interfaces. This article presents some initial thoughts pre-empting a larger research project on the phenomenology of mobile media. From a phenomenological perspective, each body-tool relation induces its own technosoma, or specific ways of ‘being-with-equipment’ in a Heideggerian sense; in this conceptual framework, I explore some of the medium specific and intercorporeal effects of the mobile phone."

Gestures Towards the Digital Maypole
by Felicity Colman and Christian McCrea

"To paraphrase Blanchot: We are not learned; we are not ignorant. We have known joys. That is saying too little: We are alive, and this life gives us the greatest pleasure. The intensities afforded by mobile communication can be thought of as an extension of the styles and gestures already materialised by multiple maypole cultures, pre-digital community forms and the very clustered natures of speech and being. In his Critique of Judgment, Kant argues that the information selection process at the heart of communication is one of the fundamental activities of any aesthetically produced knowledge form. From this radial point, 'Gestures Towards The Digital Maypole' begins the process of reorganising conceptions of modalities of communication around the absent centre and the affective realms that form through the movement of information-energy, like sugar in a hurricane."

Flash! Mobs in the Age of Mobile Connectivity
by Judith A. Nicholson

"Flash mobbing shone briefly and brilliantly in cities around the world in summer 2003. Each flash mobbing was comprised of a public gathering of strangers and acquaintances organised via email and texting. Once gathered, flash mobbers performed a quirky stunt and then quickly dispersed. Why did a trend often described as ‘silly fun’ become hotly contested? This paper argues that the conjuncture in flash mobbing of mobile texting, targetted mobbing and public performing—and the popularization of the trend in urban public spaces at this juncture in history—made it a significant moment in the history of mobile communication."

Via Space & Culture

Ease the pain of static scanning!

Rest your wrists! If you have ever manually scanned a book, you realize a machine that can do it for you is a major relief. But the convenience is just a start. As the technology to automatically scan and digitize books is put to work it will multiply the speed at which libraries can put collections online. The vision of all the books ever written being accessible globally is made manifestly more realistic by the automatic scanner.

Kirtas introduces its scanner here with an video of the process. Kirtas says the machine “automates the scanning of bound documents at a capture rate of 1200 pages per hour, while using a page turning process that is more gentle than the human hand."

Although - it might not be in everyone's budget...and perhaps wouldn't fit so well next to the computer in the upstairs study: more mobility please!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fast Capitalism

A newly recent electronic journal has been set-up: Fast Capitalism, that addresses the impact of rapid information and communication technologies on self, society and culture in the 21st century: from Editorial -

"Fast Capitalism is an academic journal with a political intent. We publish reviewed scholarship and essays about the impact of rapid information and communication technologies on self, society and culture in the 21st century. We do not pretend an absolute objectivity; the work we publish is written from the vantages of viewpoint. Our authors examine how heretofore distinct social institutions, such as work and family, education and entertainment, have blurred to the point of near identity in an accelerated, post-Fordist stage of capitalism. This makes it difficult for people to shield themselves from subordination and surveillance. The working day has expanded; there is little down time anymore. People can 'office' anywhere, using laptops and cells to stay in touch. But these invasive technologies that tether us to capital and control can also help us resist these tendencies. People use the Internet as a public sphere in which they express and enlighten themselves and organize others; women, especially, manage their families and nurture children from the job site and on the road, perhaps even 'familizing' traditionally patriarchal and bureaucratic work relations; information technologies afford connection, mitigate isolation, and even make way for social movements."

New book - A Mobile Century?

I thought this book might be of interest to mobility readers:

Pooley, C., Turnbull, J. and Adams, M. (2005) A mobile century?: changes in everyday mobility in Britain in the twentieth century (Aldershot: Ashgate)

For most people in the developed world, the ability to travel freely on a daily basis is almost taken for granted. Although there is a large volume of literature on contemporary mobility and associated transport problems, there are no comprehensive studies of the ways in which these trends have changed over time.
This book provides a detailed empirical analysis of mobility change in Britain over the twentieth century. Beginning with an explanatory theoretical overview, setting the UK case studies within an international context, the book then analyses changes in the journey to school, the journey to work, and travelling for pleasure. It also looks at the ways in which changes in mobility have interacted with changes in the family life cycle and assesses the impact of new transport technologies on everyday mobility. It concludes by examining the implications of past mobility change for contemporary transport policy.

The significance of travel and mobility; Mobility and society; Reconstructing mobilities; Changes in everyday mobility: an overview; Travelling to school; Travelling to work; Travel for leisure and pleasure: children playing and hanging around; Travel for leisure and pleasure: entertainment, sport, shopping and holidays; Mobility, family and the life course; Transport policies, technologies and the experience of everyday; The lessons of history: mobility change and contemporary transport policy; Bibliography; Index.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Viability of Urban Social Technologies

Interesting paper on the Viability of Urban Social Technologies from Jens Pedersen and Anna Vallgarda from the University of Copenhagen. Urban Social Technologies are defined as "information technologies applied in urban settings and with a social purpose". They make the point that urban designers and planners have not always been successful in designing spaces that serve a benign social purpose, that it is difficult to plan in the face of the huge number of variables that such spaces represent. This is undeniably true. However I think one of the opportunities presented by 'urban social technologies' is that people can potentially build their own spaces. it is easier to build virtual space than physical space (arguably). Applications like Foundcity, built on Google Maps allow people to annotate space, and in some sense interact with that space. Hybrid spaces formed through interactions between virtual space and physical place are also open to many people to 'design'.

Via CityNoise

Social intelligence going small

Perhaps not the mobility we are used to - but the debate is surely one of the most important: how nano-technologies will inform social intelligence and our interaction with our environments.

Nanotechnology - the science of small things - promises to be one of the defining technologies of the 21st Century. But what will it mean for society and the environment? And how can public engagement in deciding the direction of research be moved 'upstream'?

Currently in the scoping phase, researchers of Demos Uk are working closely with two research councils (the BBSRC and the EPSRC), the environment agency, a corporate partner and a not-for-profit to explore how social intelligence can inform decision-making in nanotechnology funding and diffusion. These experiments in public engagement are funded by The Office of Science and Technology’s Sciencewise project, created to foster interaction between scientists, government and the public on impacts of science and technology.

Check out also - Lancaster's own involvement with Demos/ESRC and nanotech research at

Go Digital 21st November 2005

We speak to one of the inventors of the sub $100 PC, more from WSIS, plus podcasting grows up with its own Podcast Expo.

Download here

‘Ubiquitous City’ Project

The Korea Times reports that "Korea will push ahead with its nationwide "Ubiquitous City,’’ a plan to cover whole regions with wireless internet connections and hook up each and every household to the network".In addition to the wireless broadband Internet connection,"the U-City project will furnish homes with unified systems such as electronic locks, integrated videoconferencing and videophones.Also, public services such as bus, subways and stores will be managed by a single smart card under the system".

Thanks to SmartMobs

Monday, November 21, 2005

SoMa: social matrices

There is interesting research being done at SoMa:I like their work into social and urban tapestries - a very innovative think-tank, currently working with both corporate and academic bodies -

'SoMa is a think tank for culture which conducts research into creative practices and their effects on culture and society.

SoMa aims to enhance the role of creativity in society by building up bodies of knowledge and experience that reveal the social matrices which make culture the keystone of society.

SoMa's activities are based around two core research themes: Species of Spaces and Liquid Geography. Our research projects focus on how social, cultural and political processes and structures influence how we live, and the ways in which we define our relations to space and place.'

Social Networking 3.0

An interesting article in the MIT Technology Review looks at the third generation of social-networking technology to hit the Web:

"If there were a competition for "Internet Buzzword of the Year," last year's winner would have been "social networking," as a cohort of companies such as Ryze, Tribe, LinkedIn, Friendster, Spoke, and Visible Path, rolled out new or improved services that let Web users create online mirrors of their circle of real-life acquaintances...

But today, not only have all of these companies survived; they're experiencing record growth, introducing new technology and new money-making features, and being joined by sophisticated new competitors...Social networking, in other words, is finally becoming a real business with a convincing product."

Tracking trucks with GPS

There is a summary here from Wired News of businesses’ growing trend to track their trucks with GPS. The theme of the article is the cautionary approach of unions to a possible invasion of employee privacy and the business position that knowing where trucks are improves efficiency and worker safety.

Thanks to SmartMobs

CALL FOR PAPERS: In the City and on the Road: Stasis and Mobility in the Twentieth Century


In the City and on the Road: Stasis and Mobility in the Twentieth Century
An Interdisciplinary Conference

Saturday, March 25 - Sunday, March 26, 2006
Department of English
University of South Carolina, Columbia (USA)

The twentieth century witnessed enormous shifts in patterns of mobility and the meanings bound up with "moving"¯shifts that went hand in hand with new definitions and associations for "stasis." These changes were bound up with a range of social factors: the massive expansion of industrial capitalism, the growth of the modern city, new communication systems, etc. The changes gave rise to intense artistic debates about the value of a new, highly mechanized, and often urban, mobility on one hand, and an older, rural conception of organic communities and stasis on the other. Working within the modern city, therefore,Walter Benjamin divides street walkers into two categories: the "flaneur" who meanders aimlessly and the "pilgrim" who seeks a destination. These same ideas, in a broader sense, have dominated the works of writers, poets, essayists, sociologists, filmmakers, musicians, politicians, and others as they sought to represent the city and the road as a means of answering questions about human identity. Artists, such as Joyce, Cela, and DeLillo, to name a few, have explored ideas of mobility within cities while Steinbeck, Dennis Hopper, and Baudrillard have similarly created an aesthetic of travel. Meanwhile, this
mobile century saw widespread migrations, such as rural African Americans to Northern cities, rural Spaniards to Madrid, and other movements towards wartime and post-war industrial opportunity. Contrarily, artists, such as Kerouac and Picasso see the city as that which dwarfs and thwarts autonomy as it reflects, in the words of Alfred Kazin, the "trauma of modern man." Following the success of the previous two years' conferences we invite papers that not only examine and build upon these issues, but encourage the analysis and exploration of multiple types of literature such as hypertext, film, art, and music, in addition to poetry and fiction. We strongly encourage cross-genre discussions.

Topics may include, but certainly are not limited to:

environmental literature
Blues music and mobility, Jazz music and the city
migration, miscegenation, hybridity
the city as destroyer
the postcolonial, or "imagined" city
religious and spiritual journeys
community versus individuality/alienation
communities in exile
existential ideas of the city and the road
wilderness versus civilization
the romanticization of the American West
e.g. Joyce's Dublin, Cela's Madrid, Dos Passos' Manhattan
the road-buddy film or song
immigration and assimilation
mapping the postmodern city
historicizing the modernist city
the hobo or vagabond as hero
the loss of rural space
urban and rural responses to war, terrorism and dictatorship
racial/ethnic and environment
urban vs. rural communities
the city or the road as sexual landscape
relationship of gender to travel and/or stasis
travel literature

The deadline for submission is Friday, January 6, 2006.
Please submit 500-word abstracts at .

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mobile computer gaming

In the last post I looked at the upcoming trend of mobile gaming communities. Well - here at Lancaster University we have our very own research into mobile phone design; also, Lancaster University is the only University in the UK to teach mobile phone game design:

"Lancaster University is pioneering a new form of mobile computer gaming which brings together virtual reality and the real world.

Researchers in the Department of Communication Systems, based in InfoLab21, have been developing a new game which can be played by up to five players on mobile phones.

Unlike traditional mobile phone games, this game takes place in real space as well as on a mobile phone screen. Called Pac-Lan, in homage to the arcade classic Pacman, the game enables players to keep track of one another’s position through images on their mobile phones as they chase one another round campus."

Read about LU's 'Computer Games of the Future'

Wireless World: Mobile game 'communities' emerge

Mobile-game providers are now deploying technology to create wireless "gaming communities," where players can interact with each other, all from their mobile phone, a promising telecom phenomenon that may make a $1 billion market in the next three years:

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

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

Full article at

Friday, November 18, 2005

Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile phones in Japanese Life

A new book has just recently been published by MIT press, and looks of interest:

"Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life" - Mizuko Ito (Editor), Daisuke Okabe (Editor), Misa Matsuda (Editor)

Synopsis: How mobile communications in Japan became a pervasively personal tool that connects families and friends, creating "always-on" social engagement. The Japanese term for mobile phone, keitai (roughly translated as "something you carry with you"), evokes not technical capability or freedom of movement but intimacy and portability, defining a personal accessory that allows constant social connection. Japan's enthusiastic engagement with mobile technology has become - along with anime, manga, and sushi - part of its trendsetting popular culture.

Check out at Amazon

Go Digital WSIS special from Tunis

Special Go Digital podcast from the UN internet summit in Tunis. Can the UN connect every village to the net by 2015?

Download podcast here

UN predicts 'internet of things'

A BBC article discusses the emerging 'internet of things':

World leaders are in Tunis to discuss the net and development.
Changes brought about by the internet will be dwarfed by those prompted by the networking of everyday objects, says a report by a UN body.

The study looks at how the use of electronic tags and sensors could create an "internet of things".

Read full article here

The world gets the $100 laptop

MIT has unveiled its $100 hand-cranked laptop computer to the United Nations technology summit in Tunisia and said that it hopes to make millions of the devices to give to the poorest people in the world.

The lime-green machines, which are about the size of a text book, will offer wireless connectivity via a mesh network of their own creation allowing peer-to-peer communication and operate in areas without a reliable electricity supply.

The goal is to provide the machines free of charge to children in poor countries who cannot afford computers of their own, said MIT Media Lab chairman Nicholas Negroponte.

Governments or charitable donors will pay for the machines but children will own them, he said.

Read more and see the pictures at Pocket-Lint

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bigger than the Internet

In a recent MIT Technology Review article it is claimed that 'Cell phones will rule the future of communications, says Sony Ericsson’s chief technology officer':

"Cheap cell phones are rapidly closing the digital divide in the developing world, while high-end models are offering everything from television clips to location-aware services -- and might soon network with your television and stereo system. So what's coming next?"

The interview is conducted with Mats Lindoff, Sony Ericsson’s chief technology officer.

Conference Call: TRAFFIC: mobility, flows, transgression

TRAFFIC: mobility, flows, transgression
March 10, 2006
The Third Annual English Graduate Conference at Brandeis University

Plenary Speaker: Professor John Plotz, Brandeis University

Traffic will be an interdisciplinary conference that explores the movement of
persons, cultural products, objects, and ideas between different contexts:
nations, cultures, territories, class positions, gender identities, racial
boundaries, urban and rural spaces, and political ideologies.

We seek papers that address traffic as a critical concept useful for thinking
about movement in literature, film, visual culture, anthropology, cultural
studies, psychology, history, gender studies, philosophy, and critical theory.

The conference is open but not limited to original scholarship in the following

-Piracy, Trade Networks, and Commodities
-Illicit Commerce, Smuggling
-Border Crossing, Boundaries, and Surveillance
-Traffic in Bodies
-Travel Narratives, Narratives of Exploration and Conquest
-Traffic in Ideas
-Censored Artworks and Literatures
-Rural and Urban Spaces, Exurbs, Satellite Cities
-Transportation, Automobility
-Diseases, Vaccine, Viruses
-Refugees, Exiles, and Expatriates
-Speed, Motion
-Intercultural Exchange
-Diaspora, Cultural Dissemination
-Globalization, Third Way Politics, and Empire
-Global Flows, Transversality, Micropolitics
-Liminality, Frontiers
-Class Mobility and Stasis

Submissions are not limited on the basis of historical period or genre; we hope
to have papers and panels that span different cultural, historical, theoretical,
and disciplinary contexts.

*Send panel proposals and/or paper abstracts (two pages maximum) to by December 31, 2005.


The SocialPhysics Project is a research centre set up within the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at the Harvard Law School:

"The goal of SocialPhysics is to help create a new commons, the “social web.” The social web is a layer built on top of the Internet to provide a trusted way to link people, organizations, and concepts. It will provide people more control over their digital identities, the ability to more easily find other people and groups, and more control over how they are seen by others across diverse contexts. The project has three components:

1. Multi-disciplinary research

2. Community Sponsorship

3. Software development

Check out their site for more.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

In 'smart' hotel rooms,everything is just right

"When regulars like Laurence Wiener check into the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York,they get more than a smile from the concierge and a mint on their pillow",this article in IHT says."Wiener's hotel room "knows" exactly how warm.It welcomes him with a personal message on his television.It even loads his most frequently dialed numbers onto the phone.And the bellhop did not have to do a thing.At the Mandarin and other high-end hotels,new computer systems which connect individual rooms to network servers can now keep track of guests' preferences and change the room conditions automatically.These "smart" systems can learn whether a frequent guest likes the lights dimmed, the curtains closed or the room toasty warm.They can also personalize the electronics in the room so that the music of John Coltrane,for instance, greets jazz buffs when they enter their rooms.Meanwhile, sensors in refrigerators alert maids when the minibar is running low on Coca-Cola.While much of the underlying technology is not new, it is still rare in private homes because the cost of the equipment is relatively expensive.As a consequence, luxury hotels are the first to embrace it.But by incorporating such technology into their guest rooms, these hotels are starting to provide a glimpse of the networked homes of the future".

Read full article in International Herald Tribune

Thanks to SmartMobs!

Singapore's SMS crime advisory alert

AsiaMedia reports Singapore's Senior Minister of State (Law and Home Affairs) Ho Peng Kee announced "a fresh approach to tackle rising crime,using SMS technology and enlisting youngsters as crime-fighting ambassadors".Further,"to get people wired to crime prevention, police are trying out an SMS crime advisory alert initiative.They send SMS messages to subscribers' cellphones,alerting them to crimes in their neighbourhoods and suggesting precautions they can take to protect themselves.The pilot project started in August, with about 1,200 subscribers,mainly Neighbourhood Watch Zone liaison officers,their assistants and Crime Prevention Ambassadors for senior citizens.They,in turn,disseminate information to residents if necessary.If the pilot is successful, police hope to implement the scheme island-wide".

Via SmartMobs

Go Digital 14th November 2005

More on Sony's copy-protected CDs and stealing your digital identity - download podcast here

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Technology is killing life on the street -- the public commons

In a Wired article titled - 'Eat, Sleep, Work, Consume, Die' - the author laments on the erosion of the public commons through technological networking:

"Our collective humanity is dying a little more every day. Technology is killing life on the street -- the public commons, if you please. Chat rooms, text messaging, IM are all, technically, forms of communication. But when they replace yakking over the back fence, or sitting huggermugger at the bar or simply walking with a friend -- as they have for an increasing number of people in "advanced" societies -- then meaningful human contact is lost. Ease of use is small compensation...

...Just because technology makes it possible for us to work 10 times faster than we used to doesn't mean we should do it."

Is our direction an erosion, addition, or shift?

The World Summit on the Information Society (November 16-18)

The future of the Internet will be up for heated discussion at The World Summit on the Information Society, which takes place from 16 to 18 November 2005 in Tunis. The Summit will be hosted by the Government of Tunisia.

The main object of the WSIS is to ensure poor countries get the economic and social development benefits of new communication technologies. However, results will be eagerly awaited.

So why not visit the Conference website here, and try the live webcast service!

Text service to help smokers quit

In a recent BBC article - 'Text service to help smokers quit':

"Smokers who call the NHS Smoking Helpline will be offered the 'Together' programme as an alternative to the more traditional services.

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

Will this lesson the strain on the NHS I wonder??!

Africa calling

A thorough and wonderful article from the FT titled 'Africa Calling' on the many ways cell phones are shaping Africa's economy:

"All across Africa people are investing in mobiles, from slum-dwellers and shoeshine boys to nomadic tribesmen and politicians running election campaigns. A communications revolution is sweeping across the impoverished continent, now enjoying the fastest cell-phone growth in the world."

Subscription to FT necessary for full article.

Mobilising Hospitality Workshop Report

9 November 2005

Dear CeMoRe Board Members,

Sarah Gibson and I would like to thank CeMoRe for its very generous support of the Mobilising Hospitality workshop that took place the 26th and 27th of September 2005. CeMoRe's donations enabled us to invite Elly Clarke, a London-based artist, to debut her original video installation 'Golden Parrot Guest House, Badambang, Cambodia' during the workshop. Elly's installation was a stimulating talking point during the lunch and coffee breaks and provided an interesting audiovisual dimension to the theoretical conversations of the workshop. CeMoRe funds were also used to sponsor our guest presenters at the workshop dinner on Monday night at the Sun Cafe and contributed to the travel costs for one of our presenters, Dr. Soile Veijola, to join us from Finland. In addition, many, many thanks are due to Pennie Drinkall for helping with the website, registrations, budgets and catering. Not to mention the delicious scones she baked for the tea on the first day! We owe much of the successful 'hospitality' of the event to Pennie and to CeMoRe's generosity.

Overall, the workshop was a great success. Our aim was to create a space for a multidisciplinary conversation around the intersection between mobility and hospitality. This inter/multi-disciplinarity was reflected not only in the backgrounds of our invited speakers, but also in the disciplinary diversity of the delegates who attended the workshop from other departments at Lancaster and from universities around the UK and abroad.

We were very fortunate to be able to invite Dr. Ghassan Hage (University of Sydney) to deliver the keynote address. His talk was empirically grounded, theoretically provocative, and intellectually challenging -- just what you look for in a keynote! Other guest presenters included: Dr. Phil Crang (Royal Holloway), Dr. Tim Cresswell (University of Wales, Aberystwyth), Dr. Karima Laachir (University of Birmingham), Dr. Tom O?Dell (Lund University, Sweden), Dr. Judith Still (University of Nottingham), and Dr. Soile Veijola (University of Lapland). From Lancaster, we had Viv Cuthill (Sociology), Adi Kuntsman (Sociology), and Jennie Germann Molz (CeMoRe). Sarah Gibson, a previous CeMoRe postdoc fellow returned from her new position at the University of Surrey to present and help run the event. We were of course very disappointed that John Urry was unable to join us and deliver the summary talk. Robert Crawshaw (DELC) graciously agreed to step in and facilitate a round-table discussion at the end of the workshop. This discussion, which included all of the delegates, was thoughtful and animated, bringing out both predictable and unexpected themes that ran across the papers.

Dr. Hage stayed with us for a few days following the workshop. He participated in a staff and postgrad seminar day with 11 Lancaster staff and students from various departments (including ICR, Linguistics, Politics and IR, Women's Studies, and Sociology). This day gave people from other departments an opportunity to present work in progress, to meet Dr. Hage, and to benefit from his insights and from discussion with other participants.

Sarah and I are currently writing a book proposal for an edited collection of essays based on the workshop presentations.

Again, please accept our sincere thanks for CeMoRe's support of the workshop -- and thanks to those of you who attended!

Best wishes,

Jennie Germann Molz
ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Centre for Mobilities Research
Lancaster University

Sarah Gibson
Lecturer in Cultural Studies
School of Arts
University of Surrey

Monday, November 14, 2005

An era of contactless ticketing railways?

In an article in the RFID Gazette - 'Contactless ticketing for Norwegian State Railways':

"The Norwegian State Railways (NSB) will be introducing contactless ticketing for the public railway system. RFID-enabled tickets and ticketing machines will enable the transportation services to serve the commuters in a better manner. The contactless ticketing will give customers greater control regarding their travel."

The future of RFID?

ITU Report: Internet of things

This ITU report (below:

"takes a look at the next step in "always on" communications, in which new technologies like RFID and smart computing promise a world of networked and interconnected devices that provide relevant content and information whatever the location of the user.Everything from tires to toothbrushes will be in communications range, heralding the dawn of a new era, one in which today’s Internet (of data and people) gives way to tomorrow’s Internet of Things.We are heading towards what can be termed a “ubiquitous network society”, one in which networks and networked devices are omnipresent.Early forms of ubiquitous information and communication networks are already visible in the widespread use of mobile phones today: there were over 1.8 billion mobile phones in circulation by the end of 2004, and the number is set to surpass 2 billion by the end of 2005.Mobile data applications such as SMS,i-mode and Vodafone Live! have brought Internet-like services to the pockets of many mobile phone users.But what if much more was connected to a network:a fridge,a car, a cup of tea?At the dawn of the internet revolution, users were amazed at the possibility of contacting people and information across oceans and time zones, through a few clicks of their mouse. In order to do so, however, they typically had to sit in front of a computer device (PC) connected to a global network.Today,they can also use mobile phones and portable laptops.The next logical step in this technological revolution (connecting people anytime, anywhere) is to connect inanimate objects a communication network. This is the vision underlying the Internet of things. The use of electronic tags (e.g. RFID) and sensors will serve to extend the communication and monitoring potential of the network of networks, as will the introduction of computing power in everyday items such as razors,shoes and packaging. Advances in nanotechnology (i.e. manipulation of matter at the molecular level) will serve to further accelerate these developments".

ITU Internet Reports 2005:The Internet of Things

Via Smartmobs

Mobility makes for potent rioting

In a Gurdian article - 'Paris Tightens Security Around Landmarks':

"Thousands of Parisian police guarded the Eiffel Tower,the Champs Elysees and train stations on Saturday,as part of emergency measures enacted in response to text messages and Internet postings that called for "violent actions'' in the capital",the Guardian reports."In Lyon,France's third largest city,police fired tear gas to disperse stone-hurling youths at the historic Place Bellecour.It was the first time in 17 days of unrest that youths clashed with police in a major city.Hours earlier,authorities had announced a weekend curfew in Lyon,barring youths under 18 from being outside without adult supervision between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.The emergency measures in Paris came a day after cell phone text messages and Internet blog postings called for "violent actions'' in Paris on Saturday evening.Authorities banned public gatherings considered risky in an effort to keep the unrest from reaching inside the capital".

The Phases of Enterprise Mobility (Nokia whitepaper)

Nokia press release about the identification of five phases of workforce mobility.

"The promise of working on the go is here. However, harnessing the power of today’s mobile technology takes more than the mere acquisition of IT tools—whether they are PDAs, smartphones, or Wi-Fi enabled laptops. Realizing the potential of mobile technologies requires that organizations carefully architect how they leverage the power of a new and expanding breed of mobile solutions. Done right, an organization can gain advantage over its competitors by improving speed and quality of service, while encouraging collaboration and communication between mployees, customers and partners."

Via Smartmobs

Wireless where you least expect

1)In this BBC article 'Macedonia leads world with wi-fi':

" a project funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has brought broadband internet access to hundreds of such remote villages in Macedonia by putting the country's 460 primary and secondary schools online...The network makes use of Macedonia's bumpy terrain by using mountains as distribution points for wireless connectivity, a network connecting the parts copper wires cannot reach."

2) In another BBC article - 'Yak farmers online in Nepal':

"Seven yak farming villages typically separated by two days’ walk are communicating wirelessly with each other and the Internet. In May 2002 the first relay station was installed atop a 20 meter tree. The high altitude of the area put transmitting altitude at 10,800 feet. The transmitter was composed of a normal 8-foot TV dish antenna and a one-liter measuring can. The same tree is still used as a transmitting tower. The history, methods and plans for the project are online at Nepal Wireless."

Great stories!! And not just the usual tech countries...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Go Digital 7th November 2005

Go Digital 7th November 2005:

We speak to technology guru Tim O'Reilly, look at fast response satellites controlled via a web browser and explore why Hollywood is calling for 'geeky' creatives.

Micro-Enterprise and New Literacy of Cooperation Concepts

Here is the recent research from Howard Rheingold and The Institute For The Future - a report on“Toward a New Literacy Of Cooperation in Business”(PDF file) - a project and publication that meshes some ideas with micro-enterprise and micro-finance concepts to create a new collaborative micro-enterprise paradigm.

Phones devolving us?

Couldn't resist this one!

"Nobuo Masataka, a professor at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute and author of the monster best seller "Keitai wo Motta Saru (Monkeys With Mobile Phones)," argues that the proliferation of mobile phones has got young Japanese making monkeys of themselves, aping the behavior patterns of chimpanzees.

He says that young Japanese have lost the ability to discern between public and private space. He adds that they have formed what he calls the dearuki-zoku (out and about tribe).

... Masataka tells Sapio. "Some may criticize me for likening the behavior of humans with monkeys, but having studied primates for so long, I can clearly say that it's a fact the proliferation of IT has made human behavior closely resemble that of apes."

Via Gizmodo

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mobile Social Software

Website has some interesting material on Mobile Social Software, and an informative overview of current social software applications - an extract:

"Technically speaking, MoSoSo is radius and proximity based software. Untechnically speaking, it finds like-minded people around you instantly. The problem with MoSoSos is that they're not really out there yet as they should. To get accurate location data, the preferred method is GPS -but concerns about privacy and costs have kept operators to give this sensible location information out hands to some possible competitors or adventurous third-party start-ups.

I thought it might be interesting to give an overview of the companies, projects and the applications in the Mobile Social Software (MoSoSo) area now that hybrid phones will hit the international markets soon.

Currently most MoSoSo business models are based on SMS premium revenue income, others focus on different models such as premium subscription fees and local advertising, using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology. Personally, I think that MoSoSos, using Wi-Fi technology, will emerge and widespread more rapidly among youth in urban network zones, the moment they can afford the cool new hybrid phones."

Intelligent transportation systems

The number of advances in smart-mobility in the car industry is increasing rapidly - this appears to be an area of significant growth - and will no doubt transform 'life on the road' in the future.

First, the paper USA Today looks at the technology of cars communicating with each other in 'Cars soon may 'talk' to roads, each other':

"Intelligent transportation also offers a lucrative side benefit: the sharing of information that could ease traffic congestion,which wasted an estimated 2.3 billion gallons of gasoline in 2003,according to a Texas Transportation Institute estimate.Traffic jam data could be gathered from the electronic messages of cars themselves, not just from sensors in roadways".

Secondly, an article in the IHT - 'Tracking phones for traffic reports' - examines how tracking mobile phones in the car can show patterns of traffic flows:

"These new traffic systems can monitor several hundred thousand cellphones at once.The phones need only be turned on,not in use.And sophisticated software now makes it possible to discern whether a signal is coming from,say,a moving car or a pedestrian.State officials say the systems will monitor large clusters of phones,not individual phones,and the benefits could be substantial.By providing a constantly updated picture of traffic flow across thousands of miles of highways,they argue,cellphone tracking can help transportation agencies spot congestion and divert drivers by issuing alerts by radio or on electronic road signs".

Thanks Smart mobs!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mobility of smuggling 2

In a Wired article, it discusses how drug smugglers are ahead through faster mobilities:

"The transport of choice: so-called "go-fasts," whose crews are the equivalent of the rumrunners of the Prohibition era -- only these modern-day outlaws have global positioning systems, satellite telephones and custom-made 800-horsepower fiberglass boats that can do 50 mph...

...Each cocaine-laden vehicle is a proverbial needle in a haystack for U.S. Customs inspectors who are coping with thousands of trucks that carry Mexican exports across the 1,900-mile (3,040-kilometer) border each day.

Launching from Colombia's isolated Pacific coast and the more populated Caribbean shores, the go-fasts transport well over 220 tons of cocaine a year, most of it bound for the United States, according to U.N. reports."

Mobility of smuggling 1

An article in the New Zealand Herald titled 'Stolen UK mobiles resold in 46 countries' says:

"Mobile phones stolen in Britain are being resold in more than 40 countries in a trade worth millions, a police investigation has discovered.

A study of more than 1000 mobiles stolen in Britain revealed they ended up in at least 46 different countries, including Iraq, Peru, Australia, Dubai, China and Jamaica.

Gangs use a network of second-hand shops and criminals to collect tens of thousands of mobiles stolen in street muggings and house break-ins, which are then taken abroad and sold.

Handsets are relatively cheap in Britain, with expensive call charges, whereas abroad they are unsubsidised by the phone companies and can cost hundreds of pounds."

Le blog, la mob, le riot

In a BBC article it says how French youths have been turning to weblogs to express their anger and frustration over the violence that has hit some of the country's poorest suburbs.

"As the rioting has spread, so has the debate between bloggers and their readers.

The deaths of two teenagers of African origin, which helped spark the riots, inspired a number of online tributes.

Bouna Traore, aged 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, "died for nothing", said one blogger, Bouna93 - the number is a reference to their home department of Seine-Saint-Denis.

"We love you guys... All of Clichy is with you," he added, referring to the town of Clichy-sous-Bois where the two teenagers died...

But on many blogs, alongside messages of condolence were insults targeting police and threats of more violence. "

Growing up with the wired generation

An interesting article in The Guardian tells how today's teenagers use technology to stay in touch with friends at all times - turning their bedrooms into 'connected cocoons':

"Being sent to your bedroom used to be a punishment: now it's a teen dream. Through personal computers, mobile phones and gaming consoles, teenagers are spurning antisocial angst for a culture of "connected cocooning".

Such limitless communication is having a revolutionary impact on the way young people interact, socialise, work and play. This tech-savvy teen tribe is united as never before, with the lonely search for identity set to become a vision of the past.

"Technologies certainly do create cultural phenomenon, whether for good or for ill," says Windsor Holden, senior analyst at Analysys. "Young people have seen all these different facilities, adapted them and changed the means of communication."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Cars May Find Parking Spots

And more traffic news!

In a recent article - 'Smart vehicles will find empty parking spots and avoid red lights in the near future':

"It’s every city driver’s dream: A navigation system that finds empty parking spots. Cars of the future may also come equipped with similar systems that detect how long traffic lights will stay green and alert drivers when a train is coming.

These are just some of the technologies that automotive companies plan to demonstrate at an industry conference in San Francisco starting Sunday. Several companies are already making announcements in advance of the conference."

Smart directions for green ideas

More car news...and this develops what was posted earlier about the Euro Galileo satellite - it seems the car industry going through a tech-transformation?!

"Electro-car public transport and a scheme to track the proper disposal of waste are two of smartest ideas for using satellite-navigation technology",the BBC reports."The applications have just triumphed in an international competition seeking novel ways to employ Galileo, Europe's soon-to-launch sat-nav system".The " transport application devised by the Vu Log company in Sophia Antipolis, France,envisages a fleet of "green" vehicles on city roads.Each electrically powered mini-car would be equipped with instant and highly precise positioning equipment.Commuters could use the internet or their mobile phone to find the nearest vehicle, jump in and start it with a smartcard,and then drive it to their destination".

From the BBC article 'Smart directions for green ideas'