Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The new tourist 'blobject' cars?

Each Blobject car comes with a touch-screen computer system mounted in the dash. Through a USB port, you can plug in a flash drive containing information on Cordoba in Spanish, English or French.

By using GPS technology, the computer keeps track of exactly where you are in the city.

When you pass a certain landmark, the computer then knows to display the appropriate text, audio and video information about that landmark on the screen.

The computer system is based on open source software developed by a company in Seville, Spain. As with any open source software, anyone can improve and change Blobject's code, as long as those improvements and changes are shared with others.

Mr Romeo insisted on using open source. Not only was it cheaper, he says, but it also allowed him to better customise his product.

"With proprietary software, innovation comes from the people in marketing," he says.

"But with open source, innovation comes from the guy who is really in the market. It comes from someone who knows the city."

Read full BBC article

4.2 million CCTVs

"British people are now under constant daily surveillance by closed-circuit television cameras and automated recognition systems feeding huge databases, according to privacy expert Jonathan Bamford",news reports."More than 4.2 million CCTVs are recording the movements of the entire population as they go about their business - forming the infrastructure for Orwell's feared Big Brother society,just 25 years later than predicted".

[eye on you]

William Gibson on our new technologies

God's Little Toys
Confessions of a cut & paste artist.
By William Gibson
".....We seldom legislate new technologies into being.They emerge, and we plunge with them into whatever vortices of change they generate.We legislate after the fact,in a perpetual game of catch-up,as best we can,while our new technologies redefine us - as surely and perhaps as terribly as we've been redefined by broadcast television."Who owns the words?" asked a disembodied but very persistent voice throughout much of Burroughs' work.Who does own them now? Who owns the music and the rest of our culture? We do. All of us.Though not all of us know it - yet."

[God's Little Toys]

Truck as a prototype store

From the site."This 53 foot truck is a prototype store for the launch of the new apparel brand,DIM.All internal signage for the product is flattened to a thin layer of over two hundred flat-screen monitors, allowing for rapid bi-weekly updated merchandise.As visitors pull drawers, an interactive sequence allows them to take a picture of themselves stamped with date and location.As the truck drives across the United States the growing archive of visitors becomes a DIM community".


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Text from your Laundry

NPR reports on "a system at the University of Kentucky that schedules laundry use and lets students know -- via e-mail or text message -- when the wash is done".

[A message from your Laundry]

WiBro and the APEC summit

The Korea Times reports that "South Korea looks to surprise the world with its homegrown wireless broadband service,called WiBro,during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November in Pusan.The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) that heads the WiBro initiative plans to hand over hundreds of WiBro terminals to high-profile politicians and businessmen participating in APEC."Political leaders and corporate big shots will have the chance to experience Korea's next-generation technologies via WiBro.They will be able to connect to the Internet on the road,MIC director Park Hyoung-min said.WiBro,formerly known as the 2.3-gigahertz portable Internet,enables people on the go to remain hooked up to the Web at the data transmission speed of 2 megabits per second (Mbps)".Further,"Samsung proved WiBro can reach up to 2 Mbps inside a car moving at 120 kilometers per hour

[WiBro for APEC summit]

The thumb

Mobile phones are beginning to run our lives, writes Ben Wyld."They have grown up in an era of constant contact.Technology is a necessity and not a luxury."But that rapid and comprehensive uptake has had an impact on our working and personal lives. For employees, the technology provides the flexibility to work away from conventional workplaces.Punctuality is no longer a problem,as meeting times can be shifted with a brief call or text message.Dinners or dates also can be arranged - and postponed - on the run and at short notice.Mobile phones give us better access to family, friends, lovers and colleagues than ever before,but we can also avoid or "screen" who we talk to and when.However, having access to technology that enables instant communication also has its pitfalls...."

[under the thumb]

Doug Engelbart and his "oNLine System"

The Dream of a Lifetime
By Bill Joy August 2005
"....The high point of Dormouse is Markoff's recounting of Engelbart's first public presentation, in December 1968, of his "oNLine System" (NLS). Markoff writes, "In one stunning ninety-minute session, [Engelbart] showed how it was possible to edit text on a display screen, to make hypertext links from one electronic document to another, and to mix text and graphics, and even video and graphics. He also sketched out a vision of an experimental computer network to be called ARPAnet and suggested that within a year he would be able to give the same demonstration remotely to locations across the country. In short, every significant aspect of today's computing world was revealed in a magnificent hour and a half....."
[The Dream of a Lifetime]

Monday, August 29, 2005


[infosthetics] reports on [] which it says is "an impressive location-based database system that releases information based on the user locality,to 'examine the enrichment of real urban sites by a virtual dimension of information & networking,accomplished by localisation of the virtual'.QR-codes (2D barcodes) are used to physically 'tag' buildings & urban sites,which can be scanned by normal mobile camera phones to receive localised information of the specific place.A virtual online map visualizes the database content, the emergent interconnections & the resulting urban densities".


RFID in university studies

USA Today reports "the University of Wisconsin-Madison formally opened a lab this month to study how to make RFID work better".The article says "other universities,including the University of Florida and the University of Arkansas,also have RFID labs as do dozens of other corporations.

The article continues... "More than 40 companies, including 3M Co., Kraft Foods Inc. and S.C. Johnson & Son Inc., are contributing $500,000 combined to start the lab, and the university is kicking in another $62,000. Other companies can pay for individual research projects, giving them access to top-notch scientists without having to fund their own lab."

Again, RFID is increasingly becoming utilised for corporate mobility as well as possible domestic/commercial use.

Read full article

Saturday, August 27, 2005

SMS goes business

KAPOW! (, the UK's first SMS text gateway, today revealed its list of the top-ten business sectors using SMS as an effective communications tool. Only a decade ago SMS text messaging was in its infancy and for a long time was considered a toy for teenagers, but now it is being used for a bewildering array of things with many businesses coming to depend on it as a flexible and mobile communications medium.

This top-ten list was derived from KAPOW!'s experiences working with a wide variety of organisations in the UK, including Barclays Bank, Volvo IT, KPMG, Reuters, NHS and the London School of Economics. They are, in no particular order:

1. Recruitment agencies: people looking for temporary work can now register to receive SMS alerts about potential work from recruitment agencies. By sending a broadcast SMS to suitable candidates recruitment agencies can save considerable time and money.

2. Entertainment information services: SMS is being used to deliver an variety of entertainment information services such as ringtones, logos, jokes, competitions and horoscopes to customers. This generates significant revenue for many organisations.

3. Clubs and bars: many clubs and bars are using SMS to notify customers, who have opted in, about special drinks promotions and events for when they are in the area.
4. Internet service providers and hosting companies: SMS is being used to notify engineers when systems go down or if suspicious criminal activity is occurring across a network, meaning that problems can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

5. Couriers: courier companies are using SMS to provide information to their couriers as to where to collect and deliver mail. Additionally it is being used to alert customers when items, such as concert tickets, are being delivered, so that they can ensure they are around for the delivery or can reschedule for a more convenient time.

6. Schools, colleges and universities: students and parents can now be alerted by SMS if buildings are closed due to bad weather, etc. This saves them having to wait for updates on local radio or having to call to find out if buildings are open, etc.

7. Hair salons, dentists and surgeries: individual patients can now receive automatic text reminders telling them the time and date of appointments. Patients can also postpone and reschedule appointments via SMS meaning that appointments are less likely to be missed.

8. Mechanics and body shops: mechanics are using SMS to notify customers when their cars are ready. This can save both the garages and customers time, because as soon as a job is logged as completed the customer can be automatically alerted, whether they are at home or at work, etc.

9. Charities: charities are using SMS in a variety of ways ranging from using it to alert people about fundraising activities or as a means to collect donations with enabling people being to make a pledge via a text shortcode with the donation being taken from their next bill.

10. Insurance companies: mobile users can now receive quotes and cover confirmation from insurance companies via SMS, which has helped to enhance customer service as users can have access to information 24 hours a day.

Andrew Cowles, technical director at KAPOW!, said: "Text messaging has become part of everyday life, so it makes perfect sense that organisations should be looking to utilise it as a flexible communication tool. As the list shows many organisations are starting to use it very innovatively and for some of our clients, their use of text messaging has given them a competitive advantage over their rivals."

Via mobile-society

Friday, August 26, 2005

Home Design's House of Clues

Here's an interesting use of RFID tagging - picked this up from Business Week:

To determine optimum layout, a British builder is tracking the activities of a family in a "concept home" using RFID tags.

The experiment was set up to determine exactly what a modern family wants in a home, which features of the house get used and how often. During six months, the family and their guests have agreed to wear bracelets embedded with RFID tags at the beginning, middle, and end of their stay, for two weeks at a time. The tags transmit signals to 26 sensors throughout the house tracking each family member's location.

At the end of their stay, researchers will analyze the data, and a consumer-research specialist will conduct extensive interviews with the family.

The OECD’s Communications Outlook 2005 report

According to the OECD’s Communications Outlook 2005 report,"the growing popularity of Internet telephony,or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP),threatens the fixed-line revenues of traditional carriers,especially for international calls,the OECD report concludes.In addition, however,VoIP presents a challenge to mobile telephones,which in many countries are now more numerous than fixed connections.In 2003,for the first time ever,the number of fixed phone lines actually fell in OECD countries,with mobile operators gaining market share at the expense of the traditional telecoms companies,a trend which continued in 2004 and 2005.As for Internet telephony,a comparison of the cost of calls via Skype,a VoIP provider, and via traditional fixed-line carriers in OECD countries revealed an average saving of 80% using Skype, according to the OECD report.On a per capita basis,Denmark,Poland and the Netherlands are the largest users of Skype.Looking ahead,the OECD predicts that new service offerings from traditional carriers,such as Wi-Fi hotspots in cities,will provide tougher competition for 3G mobile operators than these had been expecting when they obtained their licenses,in many cases for large sums".

Read more at [oecd]

2 billion mobile subscribers by end of 05

Mobile Technology Weblog reports on a new survey -- two billion mobile telephone subscribers worldwide predicted by end of 2005:

The numbers just keep getting bigger. According to a recent study by Informa Telecoms and Media there will be more than 2 Billion subscribers to mobile telecommunications services by the end of this year. What makes this figure even more amazing is that in June estimates suggested that there were roughly 1.5 billion subscribers.

To put this meteoric growth in perspective the total new subscriber tally for 2004 was "only" 91 million new subscribers. In other words, there are now more new subscribers per month than there were all of last year!

Another prediction made by the study was that by the end of 2010 over 3 billion people will be subscribed to mobile telecommunications services. This is a penetration rate of nearly 43% of the total global population.

Via Smartmobs

Interview with Prof. Milagros Carreon-Laurel

"Interview with Prof. Milagros Carreon-Laurel,University of the Philippines.
Milagros Carreon-Laurel is Professor for English at the University of the
Philippines and is currently doing research on the development of
English(es) in SMS-exchanges among Filippinos.
Q.)Please point out some instances in which the use of cell phones in the Philippines is different from other countries.

Laurel:I have read that in some foreign countries people make more voice calls on their mobile phones than here.In countries where the writing system requires a different script or character which the phone probably does not provide for,for example,the message must first be encoded in the Roman alphabet.This would require more time than just simply making a voice call.Filipino phone users do not have a problem with this.In countries where voice calls are not so expensive,people do not mind paying a little more for the convenience.In the Philippines,texting became popular because of economic reasons.It costs only one peso to send a message,while a voice call can cost 6 pesos and more.The overseas workers,I understand,do spend a regular part of their income to buy pre-paid cards to be able to get in touch with their family through texting.Then they don't have to make expensive long-distance calls.A lot of our young kids use their cell phones in very noisy places too,like
at parties or on the bus,and by texting they can continue to talk with their friends via the mobile.And nobody else would hear what they are talking about.So apart from the fact that text messaging is cheaper,it also allows for private communication in public places.Even the person next to you won't have hear the "conversation" taking place on the phone".

[ Txting culture in the Philippines,pt 2]

Text and the Philippines

"Txt-ing in the Philippines
By Tilman Baumgaertel
The Philippines call themselves proudly "the SMS capital of the world".According to studies,more than 150 Million text messages are exchanged daily,which makes it the country with the highest per-capita number of text messages in the world.Even if you do not believe in statistics,a walk through any busy streets or shopping mall will prove the passion that Philippinos have developed for what is here known as "txt-ing".People continuously punch away with ardour on the keyboards of their cell phones,and the sound of in-coming messages has become part of the soundtrack of everyday life.Voice calls on mobile phones are much less frequent.Text messages have become one of the most important means of communications,and if you do not participate in it,you exclude yourself from social life......."

[ Txting culture in the Philippines, pt 1]

on the mobile

on the mobile
"the effects of mobile telephones
on social and individual life
by Dr Sadie Plant"

[on the mobilePDF]

Collaborative tagging

Authors: Scott Golder, Bernardo A. Huberman
"Collaborative tagging describes the process by which many users add metadata in the form of keywords to shared content.Recently,collaborative tagging has grown in popularity on the web,on sites that allow users to tag bookmarks,photographs and other content.In this paper we analyze the structure of collaborative tagging systems as well as their dynamical aspects. Specifically, we discovered regularities in user activity, tag frequencies, kinds of tags used, bursts of popularity in bookmarking and a remarkable stability in the relative proportions of tags within a given url. We also present a dynamical model of collaborative tagging that predicts these stable patterns and relates them to imitation and shared knowledge."

[The Structure of Collaborative Tagging Systems]

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Evolution of Political Blogging

New Politics Institute has released a report titled Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere:A New Force in American Politics.

The report has an interesting contrast of "conservative" and "progressive" uses of blogging tools. It's also a great source for some general statistics about the evolution and distribution of blogs and political blogs.

Social Edge's Patrick O'Heffernan has penned a review of the report that is worth looking at:

From Social Edge:

First, the reckoning. Bowers and Stoller found that, while most blog traffic goes to a few national blogs, both conservatives and progressives operate hundreds of locally focused blogs (conservatives hold an advantage in local political blogs) which are used to organize supporters, bypassing indigenous political organizations as well as local social service and advocacy groups. A prime example was the International Red Cross blog set up to raise funds and volunteers after the South Asian tusami parralleling local efforts to do the same.

Via Smartmobs

Controlling cattle over the net

Australian farmers could soon be using their mobile phone or the internet to open the farm gate from anywhere in the world.

Technology developed at the University of New England in NSW will enable farmers to remotely control and monitor livestock movement by using their mobile phone or the internet.

"Farmers can use the system for security surveillance as well as for stock monitoring...It will be particularly useful for farmers working several properties at once, and for those who also have a job in town. It will save them travel time, as well as fuel costs and other expenses."

Read full article at The Age

Via Smartmobs (use this link to article if above is invalid)

Mobile in Africa

This article in the IHT looks at cellphone use in Africa "the world's fastest-growing cellphone market.From 1999 through 2004,the number of mobile subscribers in Africa jumped to 76.8 million from 7.5 million, an average annual increase of 58 percent".One in 11 Africans are mobile subscribers.Futher it says that "Africans have never been rabid telephone users;even Mongolians have twice as many land lines per person.And, with the majority of Africans living on $2 a day or less,they were supposed to be too poor to justify corporate investments in cellular networks far outside the continent's more prosperous cities and towns.But when African nations began to privatize their telephone monopolies in the mid-1990s,and competitive operators began to sell air time in smaller, cheaper units,cellphone use exploded. Used handsets are readily available for $50 or less in South Africa.It turned out that Africans had never been big phone users because nobody had given them the chance".

[For Africa,a godsend in cellphones]

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mobile Journeys

Mobile Journeys "is a national arts initiative dedicated to exploring the creative potential of mobile devices and to fostering the development of Australian mobile culture".

[Mobile Journeys]

Via [smartmobs]

Monday, August 22, 2005

Mobile phone commerce in Japan

Mobile commerce over cell phones jumped 25 percent last fiscal year to around 971 billion yen ($8.8 billion) according to a survey on e-business just released by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry [.pdf in Japanese]. Covering all of fiscal 2004 (which in Japan ended March '05), the survey showed wireless purchases of books and music had grown by 85 percent from virtually nothing the previous year to 330 million yen ($3 million). Shopping for clothing and accessories over the smallest screen accelerated 79 percent, taking in 150 hundred million yen ($1.3 million).

Via 'All About Mobile Life'

Force Launches 999 Text Service

An innovative new service that will allow deaf, hearing impaired and speech impaired people to contact 999 in an emergency via mobile phone text messaging is being launched by West Yorkshire Police.

The new system will give deaf, hearing impaired and speech impaired people the facility to report emergency situations, either as a victim or a witness, and get the relevant help from the police without having to rely on someone else to contact 999 for them.

A national 999 text messaging service for deaf, hearing impaired and speech impaired people is currently in the planning stages, but it is expected to be some years before it comes into service. Rather than wait for this, the Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People, which provides social work services with deaf people on behalf of Leeds City Council Social Services, worked in partnership with West Yorkshire Police to set up the region’s own system. Hampshire Police was also consulted as one of the forces that already has an established SMS text service.

Read online press release

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Upwardly mobile

In a recent Guardian article, it states that:

"In many parts of the world, mobile phones aren't a convenient alternative to landlines but the only means of communication: they provide connectivity where there was none before.

In Africa, to take the obvious example, mobile phones mean real change. By any development measure, Congo is a pretty poor place. Yet it is heading towards two million mobile users: one network has 850,000 subscribers. Subscriber growth in several sub-Saharan African nations was more than 150% last year, and there are eight mobile phones for every 100 people in Africa, up from three in 2001.

The vast growth in mobile phone usage has had an interesting knock-on to other kinds of transaction that we take for granted. Look at payments. If you live in rural Africa, your payment options are pretty limited and so, therefore, is your participation in the wider economy. If you don't live within a hundred miles of a bank, don't have a cheque book and have never even seen a credit card or a PC, then how do you send money (perhaps for goods you want from a market) to someone else?"

Read full Guardian article

Solitary Mobility vs. Mobile Sociality

Alex de Carvalho compares mobile phones and iPods in a question that reaches into the power of mobility: solitary or social?

"... most people chose to carry their mobile phone in their pocket and not an iPod / mp3 player (or for that matter, a compact camera.
Your choice depends on whether you value solitary mobility or mobile sociality:

* With an iPod while on the move, you create solitary mobility, by 1) signalling to people you are not available to socialize because you are wearing your headphones; and by 2) shielding yourself acoustically from your environment, by building your own private sound bubble (ie., listening to music).

* With a mobile phone, you achieve mobile sociality and can connect with the world while on the move, through voice, SMS, MMS, e-mail, internet access, etc."

:: read the full post

Via Smartmobs

Saturday, August 20, 2005

U.S. IT infrastructure highly vulnerable to attack

The US's information technology infrastructure, which includes air traffic control systems, power grids, financial systems, and military and intelligence cyber networks, is highly vulnerable to terrorist and criminal attacks, according to an article in the August issue of IEEE-USA Today's Engineer.
"The country's problem with cyber security is very serious, and is going to get worse in the next five years before it gets any better," IEEE-USA Research & Development Policy Committee Chair Cliff Lau told Today's Engineer. "I would say the situation not only is alarming, but is almost out of control."

Author Barton Reppert, who interviewed two members of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC), notes that 100,000 known viruses and worms exist, and that some major end-users are throwing out infected systems rather than trying to fix them. Nevertheless, according to PITAC, there is little federal budgetary support for fundamental research to address the security vulnerabilities of the civilian IT infrastructure, including defense systems.

To read "United States Facing Cyber Security Crisis, Experts Tell Capitol Hill Briefing, As IEEE-USA Prepares New Position Statement," go to To subscribe to Today's Engineer, IEEE members can go to . Non-members can visit

Too Many Roads Lead to Traffic Congestion

In all networks, like road or airline traffic networks, the Internet, cancer tumors or industry supply chains, you need to pass packets from node to node, such as cars, information or data. But which are the most efficient, decentralized networks or hub-like centralized ones?

According to Technology Research News (TRN), researchers from Oxford University, U.K., have designed a model which maps traffic congestion. This model combines roads going through the center of a city and other ones avoiding it (full article)

And they found that, from a cost point of view, it would be sometimes better to close roads going through cities than adding more. They also think that these conclusions can be applied to almost all kinds of networks, biological ones or created by humans. This overview contains more details, references and illustrations about this network model.

Friday, August 19, 2005

At the last minute

This article reports a study of 1,000 adults carried out by Intel and finds "nearly one in five people admitted to being unreliable about timekeeping because they had the "safety net" of a mobile.Three quarters said mobiles had made them more "flexible" when meeting friends - allowing them to arrange or cancel social gatherings at the last minute.Many said that text messaging and e-mails let them be in contact with more people and "manage" their relationships more easily,while one in five said it had improved their confidence about approaching the opposite sex for dates".

[Mobile for the last minute]

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mobile in the Developing World

Research Approaches to Mobile Use in the Developing World: A Review of the Literature.International Conference on Mobile Communication and Asian Modernities, City University of Hong Kong
Donner, J. (2005).
"Indeed, even the experience of a single individual, such as migrant worker in China, the middle-class protester in the Philippines,or the urban microentrepreneur in Dhaka can provide insight into how the mobile’s use reflects and structures
each of these large-scale social processes.In this vein, much work remains.As mobile adoption continues to race ahead – as the next billion users join the mobile community,their choices about how and when to use the technology use will contribute to (or stall) economic development, will represent (or reframe) the meaning of modernity, and will help structure (or resist) globalization itself."


Too connected?

"The conclusion is that you actually can be too connected,if the connections are of the wrong kind and if they’re reinforcing your existing prejudices rather than altering them.You can pay to much attention to those around you,even if they’re really smart.The flip side of Pascal’s isolation is the cacophony you find on the net; it bombards you with many voices.Isolation and cacophony,interestingly, allow you to arrive at the same place:independence."

[James Surowiecki on the Unwisdom of Crowds]

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Techniques for Improving the Virtual Vehicle Development Process

Although the submission date for Proposal Abstracts for NineSigma RFP 30421-04-1a, " Techniques for Improving the Virtual Vehicle Development Process " has passed, there is still time to respond. The RFP and associated documents can be accessed online at

Please contact me ASAP at if you would like to respond to this RFP. To receive our newsletter that lists all active projects, register online at .

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Youth and the mobile phone

(Youth and the Mobile Phone) was published as an issue (number 57) of the
"Revista de la Juventud" (Youth Journal).
[here PDF]

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The mobile communication society

The mobile communication society: A cross-cultural analysis of available evidence on the social uses of wireless communication technology.
Conference: Wireless Communication Policies and Prospects: A Global Perspective, Los Angeles, University of Southern California.
Castells, M., Fernandez-Ardevol, M., Qiu, J. L., & Sey, A. (2004)
[here] PDF

Digital Korea whitepaper

This whitepaper for the Korean IT sector has just been released by the Korea Information Strategy Development Institute (KISDI) and sponsored by MIC (Ministry of Information and Communication,Republic of Korea).The Minister,Daeje Chin,in introducing the report says "the contribution of IT in the Korean economy's growth is tremendous:in fact,the IT sector has emerged as the single most important engine of economic growth,representing 29.4% of the nation's total exports in 2004".This is from the general overview section of the report."As we enter the 21st century, the limits of time and space that have restricted our daily lives are disappearing with the development of semi-conductors,computers,the Internet, and other types of information technology.At the same time, the global social paradigm is rapidly shifting from an industrial society to an information society,and from a knowledge-based society to a ubiquitous society.It seems that Korea will be able to realize the ubiquitous society that aims to achieve limitless communications between person to person,person to object,and object to object,in the not-too-distant future with the integration and convergence of digital technologies and government policy efforts".

[Dynamic Digital Korea] (PDF)

The link will be valid only for one week,due to the storage limit on it's site.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Communication and place

Mobile communication and place
By Kenji Kohiyama
"It is a daily occurrence seeing people around town speaking on a mobile phone.Yet, there are announcements in trains urging passengers not to speak on mobile phones while on the train,and on the bullet train announcements ask passengers not to use their mobile phones while sitting in their seats.Why does this happen?....."

[Mobile communication and place]

Displaying connections

Public displays of connection
By Judith Donath,Dana Boyd

"Participants in social network sites create self-descriptive profiles that include their links to other members, creating a visible network of connections — the ostensible purpose of these sites is to use this network to make friends, dates, and business connections.In this paper we explore the social implications of the public display of one’s social network.Why do people display their social connections in everyday life, and why do they do so in these networking sites? What do people learn about another’s identity through the signal of network display? How does this display facilitate connections, and how does it change the costs and benefits of making and brokering such connections compared to traditional means? The paper includes several design recommendations for future networking sites...."

PDF[Public displays of connection]

Mobile use in three cities

This International Herald Tribune article examines the cultural differences in mobile phone use between Madrid,Paris and London.

[A mobile tale of three cities]


RFID in Japan reports that "the city of Uji in Kyoto prefecture and the city of Hikone in Shiga prefecture will test RFID-based information services for sightseers.RFID tags will be embedded in the environment and sightseers will use mobile phones and PDAs with integrated RFID readers.Delivered to these devices is information about nearby sightseeing spots and stores.Hitachi and KDDI will join this project.The pilot test may start as early as October-November this year".

[RFID Sightseeing Pilot Test]

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mobile Phones in Japanese Life

[Mizuko Ito] is the co-editor of a new book called, Personal,Portable,Pedestrian:Mobile Phones in Japanese Life, from MIT Press.

[Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: new book on mobile phone use in Japan]

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

On your Magicbike

The Magicbike "is a mobile WiFi (wireless Internet) hotspot that gives free Internet connectivity wherever its ridden or parked. By turning a common bicycle into a wireless hotspot,Magicbike explores new delivery and use strategies for wireless networks and modern-day urbanites.Wireless bicycles disappear into the urban fabric and bring Internet to yet unserved spaces and communities.Mixing public art with techno-activism,Magicbikes are perfect for setting up adhoc Internet connectivity for art and culture events,emergency access,public demonstrations,and communities on the struggling end of the digital-divide".


Monday, August 08, 2005

Mobile learning

NESTA Futurelab is an initiative of NESTA (the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts)in the U.K.In a report for NESTA Futurelab,Laura Naismith,Peter Lonsdale,Giasemi Vavoula,Mike Sharples,of the University of Birmingham have produced this literature review of mobile learning.The forward to the report says,"this review provides a rich vision of the current and potential future developments in this area.It moves away from the dominant view of mobile learning as an isolated activity to explore mobile learning as a rich,collaborative and conversational experience,whether in classrooms,homes or the streets of a city.It asks how we might draw on existing theories of learning to help us evaluate the most relevant applications of mobile technologies in education.It describes outstanding projects currently under development in the UK and around the world and it explores what the future might hold for learning with mobile technologies".

Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning

[Learning about mobile learning]

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Yellow Arrow

This Washington Post article says "[Yellow Arrow] stickers make a personal point about a public space.Launched last summer by Counts Media,a New York-based arts and gaming company,the Yellow Arrow Project is a kind of geographical blogging. Adherents have been placing the palm-size stickers -- each with a unique code -- on street signs,city monuments,store windows, abandoned buildings -- anywhere,really,that observers encounter what they deem to be "art."Then, using a cell phone,they send a brief text message -- which could be an interesting historical fact, a restaurant review or just some goofy poetry -- to Yellow Arrow. People who come across an arrow can call the Yellow Arrow phone number, punch in the sticker's code and receive that message".

[Targeting the 'Art' Around Every Corner]

Saturday, August 06, 2005


This paper from authors at IBM is entitled "Propagation of Trust and Distrust".From the paper."We evaluate the schemes on a large,real world,working trust network from the Epinions web site.We show that a small number of expressed trusts per individual allows the system to predict trust between any two people in the system with high accuracy..."
From smartmobs[Trust and distrust]

Friday, August 05, 2005

The power of online chatter

This paper from authors at IBM is entitled "The Predictive Power of Online Chatter"
From the introduction"..In this paper we look at the relatively new phenomenon of blogs (weblogs) and measure how well it reflects the comparatively old practice of buying books.." and from the conclusion
"..........In this paper we have explored the increasingly widelyheld belief that online “chatter” in the form of blog postings and web discussions may represent an early indicator of “real-world” behavior. We show that volume of blog postings can be used to predict spikes in actual consumer purchase decisions at online retailer Amazon."

Identity Signals

Professor Judith Donath of MIT's Sociable Media Group had this course for "students who are interested in questions of online identity and interaction".

[Identity Signals]

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Disconnection Cold Turkey

CeMoRe Blogger Kingsley will be in an experimental self-imposed immobile exile in Shangri-La type non-locatable hideaway for 2 weeks. Thus this blog may seem a little empty...unless other CeMorers post...Kingsley should be released (according to performance) in about 2 weeks.

The Brotherhood - 786

Phones that change

Barry Fox of New Scientist has found "Sony Ericsson’s latest idea is to sell phones which automatically change the way they behave,depending on the time,date and place.For example,the wallpaper display on the screen shows pumpkins when the phone’s calendar sees the date is Halloween,and Christmas puddings on December 25th. Network roaming,or GPS,can tell a phone what country it is in,so the ring-tone might change to a reggae tune as the plane touches down in Jamaica,for example.A restaurant could use short-range Bluetooth signals to deliver the specials menu direct to the phone's screen, and a cinema or church could use Bluetooth to switch it to silent mode.Stockbrokers could enable an option to display the latest share prices every 10 minutes and golfers could use continually updated weather forecasts for wallpaper".


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Literacy of cooperation

Toward a New Literacy of Cooperation
Course aggregator

Video Archives of Classes

JCMC online communities edition

Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication's latest edition is a "double special issue on the themes of Online Communities and Computer-Mediated Collaborative Practices


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

'Smart' highways emerging

Commuters, sometime in the not-so-distant future, will be traveling along smart highways: networks of sensors connected to satellite links controlling collision-detection computers onboard the vehicles. The technology will do all the driving, experts told UPI's Networking. [via]

"Scientists and engineers at Carnegie Mellon and other leading research universities, as well as at the automakers in Detroit, are working on networking technologies that will enable vehicles to communicate and share data. These technologies will provide drivers with information about traffic flow, road conditions and even the optimal place to park. The networking also will help drivers alter their travel routes if conditions warrant, and even slow down to avoid a serious incident. "

Via Smartmobs

Tracking kids all over the world

Chinese and Taiwanese elementary schools introduced Hitachi's RFID System that "reads RFID tags carried by kids at school gates etc. and sends email notification to parents". RFID in Japan

While in Australia SMS messages are being sent to the mobile phones of parents of students absent from school - from AustralianIT

Mobility in the wired hospital

The Overlake Hospital Medical Center has developed a wireless network to facilitate the work of its staff.

Large urban hospitals might learn a thing or two from tiny Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, Wash.
The 256-bed, not-for-profit private hospital has a wireless network that gives doctors and support staff access to equipment, patient records, and most importantly, to each other. Being wireless allows the staff to see prescriptions, charts and lab results right by the patient’s bedside. Support staff carry Internet phones that work on voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) wireless networks.

Administrators say being wireless improves and speeds up patient care, cuts down errors, improves records management, prevents lost test results and speeds up decision-making in emergencies.

Full article at

East Asia unwired

Vodaphone Reciever's latest issue is looking east."East Asia is the most "unwired" region in the world.Half of all SMS transferred are sent by Chinese users,Japan has the most advanced mobile internet services,and Seoul is the most intensely digitally mediated urban space you can find.This receiver issue approaches digital mobilization the East Asian way".

Annenberg WirelessWorkshop

The 2004 Annenberg: Wireless Communication Policies and Prospects:A Global Perspective workshop found
[Wireless Communication Policies and Prospects]

Social Uses of Wireless Communications: The Mobile Information Society
Research Paper by: Manuel Castells (USC), Mireia Fernandez-Ardevol (UOC), Jack Qiu (USC) and Araba Sey (USC)
just one of the papers

Monday, August 01, 2005

Does future prosperity mean going wireless?

Mission statement from the 'Wireless Philadelphia Executive Committee:

"Promote Open Metro-scale Wireless Connective Citywide:

Wireless Philadelphia aims to strengthen the City's economy and transform Philadelphia's neighborhoods by providing wireless internet access throughout the city. Wireless Philadelphia will work to create a digital infrastructure for open-air internet access and to help citizens, businesses, schools, and community organizations make effective use of this technology to achieve their goals while providing a greater experience for visitors to the City.

Just as in past centuries, the cities that will prosper in this new age will be those cities that embrace and invest in this new technology.Philadelphia proposes to capitalize on this potential by leading an effort to create a wireless network that will provide high-speed,broadband wireless connectivity to all points within the city."

Read their full statement page at Wireless Philadelphia Executive Committee

Via Smartmobs

Radio tech to streamline border crossing

Three northern U.S. border crossings will soon be using high-tech radio frequency technology to monitor visitors from other countries who seek to enter the United States from Canada, a U.S. security official says.

Read full article from

Again - time more research was done into the social implications of RFID?

e-slates: mobile handhelds become the new education

A new BBC article - Kenya pilots handheld education -

looks at a school in Kenya where "fifty-four 11-year-old students are willing guinea pigs in an extraordinary experiment aimed at using technology to deliver education across the continent.In the Eduvision pilot project,textbooks are out,customised Pocket PCs,referred to as e-slates, are very much in.They are wi-fi enabled and run on licence-free open source software to keep costs down."The e-slates contain all the sorts of information you'd find in a textbook and a lot more," said Eduvision co-founder Maciej Sudra."They contain textual information,visual information and questions. Within visual information we can have audio files,we can have video clips,we can have animations."At the moment the e-slates only contain digitised textbooks,but we're hoping that in the future the students will be able to complete their assignments on these books and send them to the teacher,and the teacher will be able to grade them and send them back to the student."Pocket PCs were chosen in place of desktops because they are more portable,so the children can take them home at night, and also because they're also cheaper, making them cost-effective alternatives to traditional methods of learning".