Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tuesday's News

- The mobile phones in our hands may have a more totemic role in our lives than we suspect.

There's something magical about the objects we use every day. No, not that plastic pen, but the one over there in the holder on your desk, the Mont Blanc. Or the wallet in your pocket, actually a bit too worn out, but a gift from your daughter. Or the portable clock radio you saved when going through your dad's stuff after he died.

Article by Douglas Rushkoff

- Voice-only Internet system for drivers

Imagine the dangers when full Internet capabilities become available to drivers. Dr. Meirav Taieb-Maimon and her colleagues at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (South Israel) have developed a voice recognition system that enables drivers to surf the Net while keeping their hands on the wheel.

- Wireless: Wi-Fi alliances set sights on 'nomad' subscribers

"Because of hundreds of accords between mobile phone operators around the world,travelers can take for granted that they will be able to use their cellphones just about anywhere,"this article in the IHT reports."Now,those kinds of agreements are beginning to happen for mobile Internet connections via Wi-Fi,or wireless fidelity.Fixed-line and mobile phone companies from different countries are slowly teaming up to create alliances to cover as wide an area as possible".

Any more news on other types of mobility? If so - post them here (CeMoRe Group)- or send them to k.dennis1@lancaster.ac.uk

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Wi-Fi Transport Revolution in Portsmouth

This Guardian online article called 'Rush Hour Revolution' looks at Portsmouth and their new public transport system."What Portsmouth desperately needed was to get more people out of cars and on to public transport.But the city's congested streets played havoc with bus timetables,and unreliable scheduling deterred people from taking the bus.To encourage more people to ditch their cars,the city invested in a wireless mesh network:a web of wireless antennae,situated at bus stops,which supply the city streets with a huge amount of air-bound internet bandwidth".Further it says that "similar real-time passenger information schemes operate in London and Leicester,but the method of delivery is different because Portsmouth has built one of the most advanced wireless mesh networks in civilian use.A mesh network is a decentralised and inexpensive form of radio communication technology, developed by the US military so its special forces can communicate behind enemy lines".

Social Networking at University

Below are details of this new interactive network - something that hasn't yet caught on at UK universities...or has it?

The Facebook has "great untapped potential, and provides lots of services that could be put to even better use". What is so special about this online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges and universities?

Launched by a group of students at Harvard in February 2004, thefacebook has since spread to 573 campuses and 2.4 million users. The free network, available to anyone with an e-mail address at a participating institution, boasts that it typically attracts 80 percent of a school's undergraduate population as well as a smattering of graduate students, faculty members, and recent alumni. Not only a shortcut to information about friends and acquaintances, it's also a way to spread messages about meetings and parties, a forum for frivolity, a link to lost pals, a tool to organize study groups, and a tempting distraction.

Thefacebook members post profiles with pictures and varying amounts of personal information, browse other profiles, and invite people to be ''friends," who will then be listed (and counted) on their sites and be able to post messages on their ''walls." Members create sites for existing clubs such as Amnesty International and invent groups such as the Committee for the Advancement of Cowbell that exist only in cyberspace.

Facebook Announcements allow students and local businesses to provide a variety of relevant links to people at the schools on the network. These announcements only appear at certain schools.

Thefacebook servers show over 50,000,000 pages every day. This means that even if an announcement is in rotation with a few others, it will still probably be viewed about 3-6 by each student at a speciafic school every day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Mobilising Hospitality

the ethics of social relations in a mobile world: 26-27 September 2005
Lancaster University - Sponsored by:Centre for Mobilities Research & Institute for Advanced Studies

This workshop aims to bring together researchers from across these disciplines to think about hospitality as a concept for theorising social relations in an increasingly mobile world. Whether engaged as a cultural, ethical, commercial or technological concept, scholars are using the notion of hospitality to think about such relations, from the politics of multiculturalism, migration and welcoming the stranger to the relationship between hosts and guests in tourism mobilities to cybernetic encounters with the other through virtual mobilities. The notion of hospitality holds particular potential for thinking through various kinds of mobilities, including complex contemporary configurations of 'dwelling in mobility' and 'mobilising dwelling'.

As well as exploring the power relations between mobile populations (hosts and guests) and attitudes (hospitality and hostility), this workshop also examines spaces of hospitality and mobility such as hotels, asylums, restaurants, camps, homes and homepages. However, just as the question of mobility has to be supplemented by the idea of immobility, the question of hospitality raises the spectre of hostility and the inhospitable. How are these relations marked by exclusion as well as inclusion, by violence as well as by kindness, as a way of promoting encounters, but also policing them?

Some of the themes we hope to explore are:

- hospitality as an ethics for a mobile world
- cosmopolitan hospitality
- multiculturalism and postcolonial hospitality
- tourism hospitality
- hospitality in cyberspace
- economies of hospitality
- spaces and landscapes of hospitality
- hospitality, hostility and the inhospitable
- intellectual hospitality within and across disciplines

Confirmed Speakers:
Prof Tim Cresswell, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Dr Ghassan Hage, University of Sydney
Dr Tom O'Dell, Lund University, Sweden
Prof Judith Still, University of Nottingham
Prof John Urry, Lancaster University
Prof Soile Veijola, University of Lapland

Workshop Artist: Eleanor Clarke

For more information, please contact the workshop organisers:
Jennie Germann Molz j.germannmolz@lancaster.ac.uk
Sarah Gibson s.gibson@lancaster.ac.uk

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Accessibility, Mobility and Connectivity

The Odyssey Group will be engaged with the theme of: "Accessibility, Mobility and Connectivity: Changing Frontiers of Daily Routines ",a set of sessions at "Frontiers of Sociology", the 37th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology Frontiers of Sociology, to be held in Stockholm on July 5-9, 2005.The 2005 web-site has been established at http://www.geocities.com/odysseygroup2005/
As with last year’s event archive at http://www.geocities.com/odysseygroup2004/we welcome on-line contributions and support from all who have been involved with earlier Odyssey activities.The is an invitation to provide either materials for the site or links to work which you would like to associate with the event via the Virtual Participants and Contributors section of the site.Please contact Steve Little or Len Holmes (l.holmes@reskill.org.uk) if you wish to be involved.
Steve Little, Centre for Innovation, Knowledge and Enterprise, Open University Business School, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AAUnited Kingdom email:
websites:http://www.stephenelittle.com/ http://www.design-and-determination.com/

Mobilit├ęs: Trajectoires fluides de Bruno Marzloff


Mobile Phones, Ritual Interaction and Social Capital

According to this article, posted at The Feature - 'Mobile Phones, Ritual Interaction and Social Capital' -

"One scientist who observes the way people use mobile phones suspects "mobile telephone communication seems to be better at developing the social fabric than does PC-based Internet interaction." But, he cautions, the new fabric might be too tightly knit in some ways."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Award for Student Papers in Automotive History

The Society of Automotive Historians (SAH) is devoted exclusively to the history of motor vehicles. Founded in 1969, its international membership of over 900 includes published authors, writers for major motor magazines, persons on university faculties, librarians, archivists, and directors and staff of museums and historical societies.
The primary purpose of the Society is to encourage research, preservation, recording, compilation and publication of historical facts concerning the worldwide development of the automobile and motor vehicle industry, plus closely-related subjects. The Society publishes the bimonthly SAH Journal and the Automotive History Review, published twice a year, which features articles on automotive history, most of which are based on original research.
In order to encourage research and writing efforts among university students in the area of automotive history, the Society in 2004 will confer an award for the best student paper—undergraduate or graduate. Persons submitting papers must be enrolled at educational institutions at the time of submission. This competition is international in scope, but papers must be in the English language. Papers already published or scheduled for publication will not be accepted.
Manuscripts should not exceed 10,000 words, and should be double-spaced. An abstract is requested. Submissions should emphasize in-depth research, with adequate citations of the sources utilized. Originality of ideas and of content are important. Diagrams, graphs or photographs may be included. An original and four copies must be submitted.
Possible subjects include but are not limited to historical aspects of automobile companies and their leaders, regulation of the auto industry, financial and economic aspects of the industry, highway development, environmental matters, and automotive marketing, design, engineering and safety.
Submissions will be judged using the criteria of research, organization, writing style and documentation. A cover letter should be included stating the student’s address, school, program, advisor, and stage in studies (undergraduate or graduate). Submissions must be postmarked by June 1, 2005. All papers submitted will be acknowledged.
Winning papers will be published in the Society’s Automotive History Review. Winners will be notified in August, 2005. Each award will consist of a plaque and a cash prize of $500.00.
Sinclair Powell Chair, Student Paper Award Committee 8 Ruthven Place Ann Arbor, MI, 48104-2612 Tel: 734-769-1188 Fax: 734-769-2858 Email: sinclairp@msn.com
Visit the website at http://www.autohistory.org/

Thursday, May 19, 2005

New Articles

- New article from Howard Rheingold titled 'Backpackers & MoSoSo Design' :

While mobile devices may not have been designed with community use in mind, several researchers in Australia are investigating how to create devices and services useful for community media. Jeff Axup, a Ph.D candidate in the University of Queensland, Australia's Information Environments program, specializes in Mobile Community Design. He's working from a challenging foundation: although mobile telephones -- both devices and services -- were never designed to support community uses, more and more SMSers, mobile IMers and Mobile Social Software experimenters are using their small-screen, tiny-keyboard devices to kludge together roving social networks, smart mobs and other forms of mobile community. Axup and his colleagues believe good design begins with observing users in their natural environment.

- The article 'Government 2.0:Information technology is about more than just saving money. It's about transforming operations' has a short but interesting section on 'Intelligent Transportation'

- BBC writes about: Dolphins offered mobile solution - Dusky dolphins living off the coast of Cape Town are about to be issued with mobile phone technology.

It will not be handsets though and, despite their sophisticated ability to communicate, they will not be chatting or texting each other.

Instead they will have collars imbedded with a mobile phone SIM card to keep track of their movements.

Mobile phone technology is revolutionising the way animals - both on land and sea - are tracked.

- According to RFID Journal, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is about to launch a pilot program to track 1,800 inmates using RFID devices. If the test is successful, the technology will be deployed for the 18,000 inmates of the L.A. county jails.

With this system, inmates carry a wrist bracelet which issues a signal every two seconds and is caught by RFID readers installed everywhere in the prison. Officers and staff also carry a RFID device attached to their belts. And a central server keeps track in real time of the position of all prisoners and guardians. Besides tracking locations, the system also intends to reduce violence within the jail and to avoid escapes.

If this system works as its promoters think, the potential market to equip all federal, state and county jails in the U.S. exceeds $1 billion. This overview contains other details and references, including a picture of a wristwatch transmitter worn by inmates.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

New Mobility Articles

i) The Feature has a new article called 'The Sociology of Interfaces' which discusses how local culture plays a key role in determining mobile interfaces.

ii) Howard Rheingold has an article - also at The Feature - called 'Smartmobbing Urban Catastrophe' which talks about how mobile infrastructures can help in disaster relief and recovery.

ii) 'TRACE' is a collaborative project, by artist Alison Sant and programmer Ryan Shaw, that examines the layering of physical space with the on and off zones of the wireless network.

"The project seeks to blend the corporeal experience of the city with the invisible qualities of the network, creating a narrative mapping of the hybrid space between them. This mapping is one that challenges purely static notions of public space to promote a temporal logic of the city that reflects the fluctuating character of the wireless network".

Further - Digital networks and wireless technologies are radically reforming the contemporary notions of urban place. As network technologies move away from their hardwired roots, they are activating an urban dynamic that is no longer based on referencing static landmarks, but on a notion of the city in which spatial references become events. These developments imply a changing pattern of urban reference in which invisible boundaries of connectivity alternately thicken or marginalize the urban territories they overlay.

iv) Actively Mobile: Jennifer Bove's thesis project xplores the changing role of the mobile phone as a personal device, and how it could be adapted to better fit an active context.

Actively Mobile is a small disc worn on the wrist, arm or hip of those engaged in physical exercise. Incorporating the functionality only available currently by carrying several devices, it offers facilities and services such as a heart-rate monitor, an MP3 player, a mobile phone, a GPS locator, time and speed tracking, etc.

Among the services offered by the device: Buddy Run allows two or more people, running together but in different places, to share conversation and their current performance (to hear each other's pace for example); Actively Mobile trainer can help those training for a race to plan their workouts, analyze their results, and even provide remote coaching by tracking the runners’ performance online.

The principles of Actively Mobile could also be applied to other sport or work activities.

v) Cellphedia is a project to build a collaborative knowledge base out of mobile phone users' quests for information.

Research of definitions or really anything, is usually an isolated activity. It requires the person researching and a source of reference (i.e. computer or book). My main inspiration, the website Wikipedia has taken reference research one step further by letting anyone edit any definition in their database and share their pieces of knowledge. Google took an additional step in making our life easier and created an SMS service that allow for research on the mobile phone. With Cellphedia, my goals are to make life easier and interesting. I want to bring definitions alive by using the smartest googles! us, people!