Tag Archives | mobile phones

OFF Pocket Takes Your Phone Off the Grid (Sorry NSA)

off pocketI imagine every disinfonaut will be wanting one of these… Josh Dzieza reports on the OFF Pocket for Daily Beast:

Haute couture usually makes you stand out, but Adam Harvey and Johanna Bloomfield imagine a future where it can help you hide.

The newest item designed by Harvey, an artist with a background in mechanical engineering, and Bloomfield, a fashion designer, is called OFF Pocket, a metallic-fiber pouch designed to block all wireless signals to your phone. Bloomfield calls it a “privacy accessory.” For the next month, it will sit alongside other examples of counter surveillance chic from Harvey’s company, PRVCM, in a “privacy gift shop” at New York’s New Museum.

Harvey and Bloomfield’s first collaborative project, Stealth Wear, a line of futuristic looking streetwear that shields the wearer from thermal imaging cameras, debuted this January at the fashion boutique Primitive London. Stealth Wear was more of a “provocation” than a consumer fashion line, Harvey says, designed to make people aware of how invasive thermal imaging could be, and the sort of counter-measures that would be required to block it.

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Cellphone Use Linked To Selfish Behavior

Photo: Ed Poor (CC)

Photo: Ed Poor (CC)

From ScienceDaily:

Though cellphones are usually considered devices that connect people, they may make users less socially minded, finds a recent study from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Marketing professors Anastasiya Pocheptsova and Rosellina Ferraro, with graduate student, Ajay T. Abraham, conducted a series of experiments on test groups of cellphone users. The findings appear in their working paper, “The Effect of Mobile Phone Use on Prosocial Behavior.”

Prosocial behavior, as defined in the study, is action intended to benefit another person or society as a whole.

The researchers found that after a short period of cellphone use the subjects were less inclined to volunteer for a community service activity when asked, compared to the control-group counterparts. The cell phone users were also less persistent in solving word problems — even though they knew their answers would translate to a monetary donation to charity.

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Carrier IQ: The Rootkit Tracking Everything You Do On Your Phone

carrierIf you use an Android or Blackberry phone, likely it houses a piece of hidden software which logs the content of your text messages, web searches, and other activities, and transmits the information back to company headquarters. Lifehacker reports on the unfolding Carrier IQ scandal:

Android developer Trevor Eckhart last week released information and started an uproar about a widespread rootkit, called Carrier IQ, that’s capable of logging everything you do and comes preinstalled on a ton of smartphones-including various Androids, Nokia phones, and BlackBerrys.

Last week, 25-year old Eckhart discovered a hidden application on some mobile phones that had the ability to log anything and everything on your device—from location to web searches to the content of your text messages. The program is called Carrier IQ, and unlike the

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The World’s First Mobile Phone / Music Player — In 1922

From the vault of British Pathe, a 1922 newsreel on the portable calling and music device which was that year’s hot accessory for the savvy urban woman on the street. The brave new technological advances of the past few years are maybe not as novel as one might believe, and I think these could be a popular niche item if sold today, even:

World’s First Mobile Phone (1922). Found by a researcher in the Pathe vaults, this clip from 1922 shows that 90 years ago, mobile phone technology and music on the move was not only being thought of but being trialled.

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World Health Org Study Says Mobile Phones ‘Possibly Carcinogenic’

Last week I was at the BookExpo trade show and a couple of dubious characters manning an outlying booth tried to sell me an ugly looking sticky thing to place on my iPhone and supposedly cut down harmful radiation. They measured the radiation coming from the iPhone on some sort of scanner and of course the needle jumped off the scale. But their device, whatever it was, made my iPhone ugly so I didn’t buy it.

I might have to track them down in the wake of what seems like a convincing study that the radiation from cell phones really is hazardous for humans. Labeling them as “possibly carcinogenic,’’ a panel of 31 WHO scientists deems them to be in the same category of harm as certain dry cleaning chemicals and pesticides.

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Mobile Phones Shown To Affect Human Brain

Well now we know for sure that holding a mobile phone next to your head does something to you — although it’s not entirely clear if the radiation is good, bad or indifferent (but I know which one I’d place money on). Shirley Wang reports on a new study for the Wall Street Journal:

Cellphone use appears to increase brain activity in regions close to where the phone antenna is held against the head, according to a new study, but researchers said the implications for health are still unknown.

The study is the first to demonstrate that radiation from the devices has a direct impact on some brain cells, and is likely to fuel a long-running debate over the safety of cellular phones…

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How Rupert Murdoch’s Sleazy Journalists Hacked British Royals’ Mobile Phones

news of the worldThe New York Times declares open season on a favorite liberal media pastime: bashing Rupert Murdoch and his “news” empire with this lengthy Magazine article on how the News of the World, an unabashedly lowbrow UK tabloid, hacked the mobile phones of Princes William and Harry and many other celebrities, possibly with some covert assistance from the police:

In November 2005, three senior aides to Britain’s royal family noticed odd things happening on their mobile phones. Messages they had never listened to were somehow appearing in their mailboxes as if heard and saved. Equally peculiar were stories that began appearing about Prince William in one of the country’s biggest tabloids, News of the World.

The stories were banal enough (Prince William pulled a tendon in his knee, one revealed). But the royal aides were puzzled as to how News of the World had gotten the information, which was known among only a small, discreet circle.

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Can Cellphones Become Credit Cards?

New iPhone?AT&T and Verizon are testing a new feature designed to “supplant more than 1 billion plastic cards in American wallets” – by letting people make traditional credit card purchases using their cellphones!

It seems like a glimpse of the future, but it’s already in place in Japan, Turkey and the U.K., with smart phones simply being waved over a reader to complete in-store purchases. “This is definitely a game-changer,” an analyst told Bloomberg news, saying that already cellphone carriers are “the biggest recurring billers in every market. They are experts at processing payments.” And the concept is already being cheered on by retailers. “We have long argued that real competition is missing from today’s payments market,” one industry spokesperson added.

Plus, the cellphone carriers are attacking when credit card companies are already being reviled for their dishonest disclosures on penalty fees. (Today Forbes cited a new study which shows that some credit cards “no longer provide full disclosure of the terms of the penalty rate, or fail to correctly follow disclosure requirements required by the new Federal Reserve rules.”) Consumers are already experiencing raised hopes that federal stimulus cash can somehow eliminate credit card debt.… Read the rest

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As the Rudes Get Ruder, the Scolds Get Scoldier

Does this story belong in “the paper of record” (for those who forgot, that was the New York Times once upon a time)? It’s hardly news, but now that very few people wait for a printed newspaper to learn what’s happening in their world, perhaps this is the type of story we should expect from the dino-media:

Amy Alkon, a syndicated advice columnist and self-described “manners psycho,” certainly thinks so. Just ask “Barry,” a loud cellphone talker she encountered recently at a Starbucks in Santa Monica, Calif.

“He just blatantly took over the whole place with his conversation, streaming his dull life into everybody’s brain,” Ms. Alkon recalled in a telephone interview.

Among the personal details Barry shared that day — errands to run, plans for the evening — was his phone number, which Ms. Alkon jotted down.

“I called him that night and said, ‘Just calling to let you know, Barry, that if you’d like your private life to remain private, you might want to be a little more considerate next time,’ “ she said.

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New Study Says Mobile Phones Really Do Cause Brain Tumors

The Sunday Express reports:

Long-term mobile phone users could face a higher risk of developing cancer in later life, according to a decade-long study.

The report, to be published later this year, has reportedly found that heavy mobile use is linked to brain tumours.

The survey of 12,800 people in 13 countries has been overseen by the World Health Organisation.
Preliminary results of the inquiry, which is looking at whether mobile phone exposure is linked to three types of brain tumour and a tumour of the salivary gland, have been sent to a scientific journal.
The findings are expected to put pressure on the British Government – which has insisted that mobile phones are safe – to issue stronger warnings to users.

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