Sunday, February 27, 2005

Where The Cool Cellphones Are: "

Although we’ve been seeing some really innovative cellphone designs and functionalities emerge in the last few
months, it seems that folks in the Asia-Pacific region are having all the fun—at least when it comes to

Take Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo’s new 901i series. These wireless hot rods are capable of four-way
videoconferencing and high-speed mobile Internet surfing (up to 384 kilobytes per second). The 901is can send e-mail
with attachments as large as 500 kilobytes. They can act as TV remote controls and have 3-D screens with up to 262,144

Each model has at least a two-megapixel camera and miniature ‘3-D sound’ speakers. One even has a biometric
fingerprint sensor to ensure that no one can use the phone but its owner, and three of the five models come with a
nifty function called FeliCa, which enables the 901i to serve as a digital wallet. You download cash into the phone’s
guts, then simply swipe it over a FeliCa reader at the local mini-mart.


In South Korea, LG has taken niche marketing to an almost absurd level with its KP8400, a phone with a built-in
blood glucose meter, designed specifically for diabetics. But one Far East phone feature is sure to be embraced by
American consumers as soon as they can get it: television.

Samsung has released a ‘swing-bar’ phone in South Korea called the SCH-B100 that can actually pick up satellite TV
broadcasts. Not streaming video; the real thing. LG has one too, a clamshell called the SB-100.

In this country, the technology is still nascent. Samsung itself has a new model available here called the MM-A700
that can stream short clips from CNN and other networks at 15 frames per second over the Sprint PCS network, while
Qualcomm plans to launch a service in 2006 that will broadcast up to 15 channels of live programming, along with many
more ‘clip-cast’ channels.

(Via The VoIP Weblog.)

Where The Cool Cellphones Are

Roland's Sunday Smart Trends #47: "

Here is my weekly selection of articles that were not commented here -- except if I missed them.

Meet Me in Cyberspace: E-meeting systems have evolved into more than ways to save time and money on travel

Source: Linda Rosencrance, Computerworld, February 21, 2005

Jason Kottke quits his day job to become a full-time blogger. Will you pay him for that?

Source: Red Herring, February 22, 2005

Contactless Smart Cards are Superior to RFID Tags for Identification Security, According to the Smart Card Alliance

Source: Government Technology, February 22, 2005

Stuck on the freeway? Your cell phone will guide you

Source: Mike Langberg, Mercury News, February 22, 2005

Bloggers add moving images to their musings

Source: Sandeep Junnarkar, The New York Times, via CNET, February 23, 2005

Iran jails blogger for 14 years

Source: BBC News Online, February 23, 2005

U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer expands RFID trial, includes lingerie

Source: Laura Rohde, IDG News Service, February 23, 2005

Software maker creates virtual girlfriend: Sad, Lonely? For a Good Time, Call Vivienne

Source: Keith Bradsher, The New York Times, via CNET, February 24, 2005

Satellite System Being Installed to Track School Buses

Source: Nick Anderson, The Washington Post, February 24, 2005
(Free registration needed)

Consumer Electronics: Made in Taiwan, Buried in China

Source: Aleks Krotoski, Technology Review, February 24, 2005

Tired of having to swipe and sign every time you use a credit card? Just wave

Source: Alorie Gilbert, CNET, February 24, 2005

The future of mobile advertising might well be seen in a cab cruising near you

Source: Carol Ellison, eWEEK, February 25, 2005

Haptic Phones: The touchy-feely side of telecoms

Source: Celeste Biever, New Scientist, February 27, 2005

See you next week...


(Via Smart Mobs.)

Roland's Sunday Smart Trends #47

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Yes, Virginia, Mobile Spam Is Annoying: "

TheFeature :: It's All About The Mobile Internet

Yes, Virginia, Mobile Spam Is Annoying

By Carlo Longino, Wed Feb 09 22:30:00 GMT 2005

A global user survey unsurprisingly points out that plenty of mobile users are getting spammed. It also says, however, that operators have the most to lose, and if they don't act quickly and proactively, they could damn mobile marketing to the 'what could have been' scrapheap.

A study of mobile users around the world found that 80% have received mobile spam -- perhaps the only surprise in that figure is that it's so low. The upshot is, though, that users are holding operators' feet to the fire when it comes to the issue, saying spam hurts their perception of carriers' brands, and, importantly, that they see mobile marketing messages from operators as spam.

It's clear that operators must take the threat of spam seriously, since the study seems to indicate consumers' most likely response to it is to take their business elsewhere, and see actions by operators as more effective than anything consumers instigate. Carriers can be in a bind over spam. Whereas a wired ISP doesn't see any incremental revenue based on the volume of e-mail a regular spammer sends, operators get paid to deliver SMS -- spam or not -- by the sender, and sometimes by the recipient as well. Short-sighted (read: stupid) operators are slow to stem spam since it directly hits their revenues, but the loss of customers to rivals can quickly eat away any of those supposed savings.

That viewpoint makes a quote from an executive of the GSM Association trade body in the press release about the study a little curious: 'Whilst there is no single solution to the mobile spam problem, there are a number of key components to any real solution, including identifying the spammers by rejecting anonymous or spoofed access and making them pay through clear and suitable charging mechanisms.' So spam is okay, as long as there's 'clear and suitable' billing in place?

Given the study's other finding that consumers consider marketing messages from their carriers spam, operators need to do more to protect users and ensure that messages sent across their networks, legitimate marketing or content or spam, and paid or not, are acceptable. This also means carriers need to work with marketers and advertisers to ensure they're not misusing the channel and spamming users.

The motivation here doesn't even need to be altruistic, it's spelled out pretty clearly in the study that improper messages have a negative impact on mobile users' brand perceptions. Most companies with a semblance of a clue would never use e-mail spam to market their products, so why take the arrogant and uninformed attitude that mobile or SMS spam is acceptable, just because it's new and it's different and it's on a mobile phone? Such attitudes and actions will destroy mobile marketing before it ever really starts -- hurting both marketers, and operators that get paid to deliver the messages.



Yes, Virginia, Mobile Spam Is Annoying

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Mobile Search 4Info: "

4INFO is a free mobile search service for users within the United States that gives your cell phone the power to get local directory and real-time information wherever you are. It's a quick way to get the information you want and need…when you want and need it. Any cell phone that is text messaging capable can use this service.

For info on local businesses, sports scores, movies times, flight updates, weather, comparison shipping, stock prices, and more.

How to Search for Local Directory:

1. Enter the name of the business (Starbucks) or the category of business you are looking for (coffee).

2. Add in a location. You only need one of the following: zip code, city, city / state, area code, or airport code (coffee 94109).



(Via Smart Mobs.)

Mobile Search 4Info

Monday, February 07, 2005

I think Peter has just uncovered the tip of the Iceberg.

Please, For the Love of Your Customers%#@$&!: "

If ever there was a place that needs self checkout stations!!!! This weekend I needed two simple items and I thought I would give Best Buy another chance. I had sworn off of them a couple of years ago because of their lousy customer experience with long lines at the checkout counters.

I breezed into a local Best Buy and quickly selected the two items that I needed. Easy enough. I headed for the front and the cash wrap.

Then I saw it!

Stretching all across the front of the store was a line of 30-35 people waiting to checkout. Wow! I was simply stunned that this many people were willing to waste their time on a nice Saturday afternoon. I looked to the checkout counters and saw just two flustered clerks. I had heard that Best Buy had solved their slow cash register computer problems but it appeared that this was not the case.

I quickly looked around trying to determine if there was a panic amongst the staff that would indicate that more help was coming. No, employees seemed to be going about their business as if nothing was wrong. This appeared to be a normal situation. I dropped my selections and headed for the door. I didn't and probably never will have the time or inclination to stand in line for 30-40 minutes to checkout at Best Buy.

If ever there was a place that could benefit from self checkout systems it seems this is it. Why should people buying small inexpensive items like batteries and CDs be in the same checkout lines as those buying computers, DVD players and TVs? Let the small sales happen with self checkout and the larger ticket items be handled by cashiers.

Best Buy like many retailers tries to sell extended care warranties at checkout. I suspect that the longer anyone stands in line the less likely they are to want to purchase any type of extra at checkout. 'Ring my stuff and let me outta here.' Somebody do a study please.

While I understand that not all employees are cross trained to run a cash register it still seems incredible that so many people are ready to 'help' you find the products that you want while so few help you to actually make the purchase. Even if there were understandable temporal circumstances what could possibly have been more important for the store manager to do than get on a register or at least talk to the customers in line.

Sorry, Best Buy. You have lost me as a customer forever. Yes, when you are such a major retailer you only get two chances with me. You are supposed to have your act together. That's how you got to be a major retailer.

I rant, therefore I am.....a blogger.


(Via Thinking.)

Please, For the Love of Your Customers%#@$&!

Online Social Networks: An Online Conference: "


Join me online with Joi Ito, Jerry Michalski, Nancy White, Lisa Kimball, Denham Grey, and lots of other names you will recognize if you follow developments in online communication tools and methods. This uses a very nice online message board technology, and the organizers are experienced. And it doesn't cost very much at all.

A note on terminology. Nowadays, many people think of Friendster, etc. when they think of 'online social networks,' but the term has a broader definition here. When I discovered social network analysis in the late 1990s, I realized that I could have avoided a lot of the debate -- some of it useful, some of it repetitive -- around the terms 'virtual community' if I had called them 'online social networks.' But maybe nobody would have bought the book. ;-)

Announcing OSN2005

Register now for the second Online Social Networks online conference hosted by Group Jazz and Rheingold Associates February 9-23, 2005.

OSN2005 will be an online summit for all those interested in working with social networking processes, tools, and media. In addition to attending many workshops, panels, and presentations by leading experts and practitioners, attendees will have the opportunity to be part of a community with a significant role in defining the future direction of online social networking. If you want to help shape this industry, come to OSN2005!

During the OSN2005 summit we will co-create and publish a manifesto describing what we want and need from online social networking tools. What are the key criteria for choosing and assessing OSN products and services? What gaps exist in currently available software and related tools? What needs to happen before it's common knowledge that OSN products and services can deliver significant value? What are the most promising developments in the OSN industry?

Find out more and register. Registration before February 9th is $35.00 US (price goes up to $50.00 after February 9th)


(Via Smart Mobs.)

Online Social Networks: An Online Conference

Sunday, February 06, 2005 is a scam: "Wow, I'm sorry I didn't mention this before online!

I got billed for $25 on my carrier bill from this service a while ago after signing up then getting all this SMS spam constantly for days. I finally went in and shut all the stuff off within a week or so, but at the end of the month it turns out that all those messages were Premium SMS messages! Bastards. Honestly, though, I figured I had missed something during the signup and didn't think to write about the con.

Now within a couple days, I got asked about the service in person and I see Joi is having trouble with them as well. is now extending their scam to instant messaging - sending out invites on your behalf, and making it hard to cancel the service. Seems pretty much in line with what I saw. They may even be charging the people who get text messages premium rates as well. Check your bill at the end of the month.

Yeah, definitely, 100% stay away from this company. is a complete con. Total scam.


(Via Russell Beattie Notebook.) is a scam

Cingular customers rejoice: "

According to Treocentral:

TreoCentral has learned that Cingular will release the Treo 650 on January 26th, for $549.99 without a contract and $449.99 with a two-year contract. Immediate availability.



Cingular customers rejoice

Currently playing in iTunes: So Much Love / Underture by Blood, Sweat & Tears

SpeedPass cracked: "

The popular radio-frequency ID system that is used to deter car thefts and as a convenience device for the purchase of gasoline can be defeated with low-cost technology, computer scientists from The Johns Hopkins University and RSA Laboratories have determined (see also previous report in SpyBlog and RFIDbuzz here).


[ Thanks Anders ! ]

Pointing to RFIDbuzz Anders adds: 'Would you be interested in bloggrolling RFIDbuzz - collective blog reporting on all sorts of aspects of RFID technology? (privacy, hacks, industry, hardware etc)?'


(Via Smart Mobs.)

SpeedPass cracked

Iowa Unwires Rest Stops: "Iowa joins a growing trend of states with large empty stretches: For traffic safety purposes, the more frequently people stop, stretch, and take their eyes off the road, the better. Adding Wi-Fi at rest stops is just one tool in that arsenal, but it's also a nice idea for tourists, truckers, and business travelers. Iowa will equip a total of 40 locations by July; 20 of them by mid-March. A trial set of eight locations had 111,000 access over seven months. Several stops are active on Interstates 35 and 80. Service will be free and operated by I-Spot...."

(Via 802.11b Networking News.)

Iowa Unwires Rest Stops

Enormous Wardriving Maps of Seattle: " releases massively large, detailed wardriving maps of Seattle: In conjunction with a University of Washington course. I can't describe it better than Drew: Dr. Philip Howard from the communications department has been teaching his students about technology, ideas, people, and how culture is affected by these new concepts. Their project allows them to gain some practical experience while exploring Wi-Fi as it pertains to them and the people around them. Involving 100 students, this project is one of the largest collective efforts to map Seattle's wireless landscape. is a website which provides interactive maps of Wi-Fi installations, as seen by wardrivers. This collaboration served to create critical mass for the website to provide printable maps, in addition to on-screen maps that exist. Also, this paves the way for other universities and groups interested in orgznizing detailed scans of their city to have a way to actually accomplish this, and have visual results. The files are BitTorrented because of their enormous size (over 100 and 300 MB). [link via Slashdot]..."

(Via 802.11b Networking News.)

Currently playing in iTunes: Bononcini - Sinfonia Decima a 7 for Trumpets and Strings, Op. 3 Adagio, Grave, Adagio by Various Artists