MobileActive News

MobileActive News for Civic Action and Social Change
Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Mon, 2007-03-19 02:17.

MXit news brewing

Will have some more soon. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s definitely worth a look. It really is huge in South Africa. The site’s at

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Wed, 2007-06-13 13:44.

Air quality by SMS

Eric Paulos of Intel Research has launched an SMS system for mobile phone users in the US to learn about the quality of the air around them. [via boingboing]

Called Ergo, the system uses data from the US Environmental Protection Agency's site and The number to text is 415.624.6678 and here's a a summary of the commands:

f you text...

* a 5 digit zip code = you receive the most recent air quality reports for that area (ex. 94704)

* the word worst = you receive the worst three locations in the US as currently reported (ex. worst)

* daily zip time = you receive a report every day at the specified time for the given zip code. The time should be in 24-hour format and uses the time zone associated with the zip code given. (ex. daily 10011 1300) for daily air quality for New York City at 1pm Eastern Time

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Tue, 2007-06-12 18:34.

Online Activism and the Rise of SmartMobs

MasterNewMedia Robin Good has put up a special on 'Online Activism: Media Stereotypes And The Rise Of Smart Mobs'


As mobile and web technologies become cheaper and all but ubiquitous, so the possibilities for individuals to organize themselves into crowds, publish news and images, and gather around a common cause become increasingly possible.

The news has been turned upside down by citizen journalism, and the mobile army of camera-phone owning street reporters. Education has spilled over from the academy and into virtual worlds and other informal spaces. Film and media-making has started to tap into the creative potential of the people formerly known as the audience.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Tue, 2007-06-12 16:46.

Egypt: Cell Phone Movies in Freedom's Service

Encouraged by the unexpected success he had on YouTube with his first 23 movies, a young Egyptian, under the screen name Ahmad Sherif, is starting what he calls a freedom campaign, by making movies that can be downloaded to cell phones. He plans to address three major taboos in the Egyptian society for centuries: premarital love and sex, freedom of faith and freedom of speech.

Observing the love and sex related problems in Egypt -- like a recent increase in the rape and sexual assault rates, he already begun with the first theme of love, placing a short movie on YouTube. The movie can be downloaded to cell phone and spread within the cell network via a viral propagation model.

Ahmad tries to advocate for the fact that these three freedoms -- love, faith and speech -- are not mainly West culture related, but essential and natural needs in any society. Their satisfaction assures a healthy human growth. Different opinions are already expressed in comment form, ranging from disapproval to precautions and indirect acceptance, in an amalgam of strong religious beliefs and possible fear to speak freely. But the talk is there. Watching this happen, any outer observer could say that he/she's a witness of emerging democratic processes in Egypt, evolving at the heart of a more aware young generation.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Tue, 2007-06-12 05:10.

Riots over TV text voting problems

Link: The Telegraph - Calcutta : Frontpage

I like the way we do things in the UK. Queue neatly for things, no pushing and shoving. Grumble occasionally about the weather, but still put up with it. And if there’s a problem with voting for our favourite X Factor singer to win the show, the worst that can happen is a national newspaper picks up on it. However, in India, things got a little more serious over the weekend.

Mobs from Darjeeling to Kalimpong vandalised and gheraoed offices of mobile service providers today alleging their SMS votes for a local Indian Idol contestant were not being registered.

Hills people alleged their votes for Tamang were not being registered because of network problems, especially with Reliance and BSNL connections, and claimed “sabotage”.

“After sending an SMS through Reliance we were getting a message saying the code word was not found. This means our votes were not getting through. We believe this is sabotage,” said Pranay Rai, Gorkha National Liberation Front MLA from Darjeeling.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Mon, 2007-06-11 08:42.

Staatstheater Darmstadt with QR Codes

On Gina's blog you can find the Staatstheater Darmstadt testing QR Codes. More about that later...
Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Sun, 2007-06-10 13:03.

Mobiles foer health, Rwanda

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Sat, 2007-06-09 19:36.

History of Cellphones - In Pictures

ACE2EEBEC634A0AEB465E6826F7135.jpg The history of cell phones - in 15 pictures on MSN. "From From Motorola's first phone, which weighed in at 2 pounds, to Apple's upcoming iPhone , here's a look at how cell phones have evolved over the years."

Left, the Nokia Mobira Senator (1982). It may look more like a boombox than a portable phone, but this boxy, bulky device was actually Nokia's first mobile (if you can call it that) phone. Introduced in 1982, the Nokia Mobira Senator was designed for use in cars. After all, you wouldn't want to use this phone while walking: It weighed about 21 pounds.

[Just Another Mobile Monday via TreoBits]

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Sat, 2007-06-09 06:54.

Mobile Web Usage on the Rise

bango.jpgMobile Web use is steadily rising in the United States. WebPro News is reporting that Bango has released statistics that show that in America the use of the mobile Web has tripled since last year, and is now only trailing the U.K. in usage. And mobile search is what is driving this mobile Web usage.

The other countries that are accessing the Web via handsets and the third screen is actually surprising. Among the top five countries are the U.K., and the United States followed by South Africa, India and Indonesia.

Mobile Web Use Climbs In The U.S.
[WebPro News]

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Fri, 2007-06-08 14:40.

Mobile marketing reach is too small, too expensive

Link: Advertising Age - Digital - Video Report: Mobile Marketing Stymied by High CPMs, Small Audiences

Overly high cost-per-thousand expectations and audiences too small to matter are stymieing the development of the mobile phone advertising business, according to media buying executives at this week’s Mobile Marketing association Forum.

“Most of the brands for whom we do investment advisory are not going to buy $60, $70 or $80 CPMs, even if that’s what the market demand is right now,” Eric Bader, senior VP at MediaVest USA, the country’s fifth-largest media-buying agency, said about the cost of trying to reach a thousand people, a standard metric in ad sales.

Interesting. So what’s a good price? According to Eric Bader:

“When you start to look at how effective search and the yellow pages and directory services are, that’s who [mobile is] going to be competing against and those CPMs are down in the $8, $7, $4, $10 range.”

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Fri, 2007-06-08 13:55.

Innovative use of text in childhood immunisation

Some interesting news courtesy of iPLATO - who supply patient care messaging systems to over 100 doctors surgeries across the UK.

GP surgeries using iPLATO text messaging have discovered innovative ways of using the system to improve patient compliance to the childhood immunisation schedule. The long periods between booster injections often result in children missing important jabs. Early results have shown that sending targeted text reminders to parents and guardians of children being vaccinated, vastly increases appointment attendance and compliance of these patients.

Stuart Hall, Practice IT Manager from the Vale Medical Centre, Lewisham PCT in South London, who has been using the iPLATO system for the last year, said that his surgery was keen to look at ways of managing patient compliance in this area. “We were able to put together a list of children that were overdue for their specific jab and whose parents had not responded to letters sent out previously. Using the iPLATO system, we sent a targeted text message to these parents asking them to call the surgery to book an appointment for their child’s missed vaccination. The result of this text campaign was overwhelmingly positive, with more than half of the parents phoning the surgery in response to the text alert, to schedule a new appointment” comments Hall.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Fri, 2007-06-08 13:52.

Thousands flee homes after Tsunami hoax text

Link: The Raw Story | Hoax text message spreads tsunami terror in Indonesia

Thousands of people fled their homes in panic on the Indonesian coast after hoax text messages spread warning them that a tsunami will hit the region, journalists and officials said Wednesday.

“The possibility is that a tsunami may take place on June 7,” said part of a short telephone text message (SMS) that is widely circulating in various coastal areas of Nusa Tenggara province, local journalists said.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Wed, 2007-06-06 18:18.

Nielsen to track mobile media use

Nielsen, an entity best known for its television ratings system, announced Wednesday that it will begin to track what you do with your cell phone. From NewsBlog reports.

"In particular, the company will begin measuring how consumers use mobile Internet and mobile video beginning in July.

The service will be called Nielsen Wireless.

Included in the metrics will be comparisons of how subscribers of different wireless carriers watch TV or play video games, compared to the same use on their cell phone.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Wed, 2007-06-06 17:16.

Mobile Action Conference

Last week in Nairobi saw the first gathering of 40 African social justice and civil society activists to discuss and share ideas around the use of mobile phones as a tool for, improved communication, activism and advocacy.
Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Wed, 2007-06-06 15:32.

Introducing Ergo: On-the-Go Air Quality Readings delivered to your mobile device

Thanks to Eric Paulos, Director at Urban Atmospheres.

Urban Atmospheres is a people centric research group exploring by innovative methodologies the emerging technological aspects of life in urban spaces. But this is only half of the story, since Urban Atmospheres also has proactive objectives, such as initiatives in Participatory Urbanism empowered by the research and implementation of adequate hardware and complementary tech-tools.

In this concern, Ergo is a new eco-project that blends modified mobile technology with collective action. Basically, Ergo is “a simple SMS system that allows anyone with a mobile phone to quickly and easily explore, query, and learn about their air quality on-the-go with their mobile phone.” The data on air quality is gathered “using mobile devices such as your personal mobile phone with various air quality sensors attached.”

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Wed, 2007-06-06 04:49.

Cameraphones set to battle crime

Waleli, a Dutch company, has developed MMS-witness, a system allowing citizens to video crime-in-progress and upload it onto the internet, reports BCS.

"Witnesses will be encouraged to covertly film events and then text the recordings to a central police database."

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Tue, 2007-06-05 18:01.

Text 'pink' to 78247 to support Tour de Pink 2007

Tour_de_pink_logoalt_07_2 qtags text is sponsoring the 2007 Tour de Pink - a cycling fundraiser run by the Pink Ribbons Project. Using the arts, the Pink Ribbons Project saves lives and improves the quality of life for those touched by breast cancer.  Since its inception, the Project has raised over $1,000,000.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Mon, 2007-06-04 20:13.

Story Bank: Indian villagers share stories

storybank.gif Computer scientists at Swansea University are working on a collaborative project that is using new mobile phone technologies to help villagers in India record and share their stories and experiences. innovations repor reports.

"The StoryBank project is providing people in the Indian village of Budikote, 100km from Bangalore, with mobile devices that allow them to make videos, record sound and take photographs, and then edit the material into short films or “stories”.

Dr Matt Jones, who manages the project at Swansea University, said: “The people of Budikote have a strong tradition of visual and oral history, so we were interested in how we could develop digital technology to enable them to communicate their stories in new ways.”

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Mon, 2007-06-04 16:41.

Torbay housing association gets efficient with text

Link: Torbay housing association uses inbound SMS service to improve efficiency :: :: e-Government & public sector IT news + job vacancies:

Riviera Housing Trust Ltd has recently implemented Mobifi’s inbound SMS service to rationalise and understand the amount of time that is lost by trades operatives when travelling to and from jobs and to ascertain how the company can improve services by scheduling repairs and appointments more effectively.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Mon, 2007-06-04 15:17.

Thai’s get texts asking them to be calm and peaceful

Link: Thai junta launches SMS campaign to discourage mass protests -

Thailand’s military junta has resorted to sending text messages to mobile phones in the kingdom to try to persuade people not to join protest rallies, a spokesman said.

Many people in Thailand have reported receiving unexpected SMS messages urging them to be calm and peaceful.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Mon, 2007-06-04 15:14.

Chechnya: video evidence of torture

The Times Online obtained three videos recorded by mobile phone of two men and one woman being tortured in Chechnya.

In one of the videos, a shock treatment was delivered to a soldier, in apparent retribution for the theft of some oil that the victim is accused of having sold illegally.

“We’ll show you what happens to those caught stealing oil,” yells the man administering the shocks. “We’re not going to kill you or let you live. We’ll keep you in this state for two months until you’re neither a man nor a woman.”

"The video and two others, featuring a man being beaten with a stick as he sits on a bed and a woman being kicked on the ground where she is lying tied to a flagpole, are believed to show forces controlled by Kadyrov, who was rewarded for his loyalty to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, in April when he was made leader of war-torn Chechnya.

Now that mobile phones with tiny video cameras have become common in Chechnya, the perpetrators of abuses often record them and use the footage to boast about their exploits to their fellow militia men. The videos are passed on to ordinary citizens in what human rights campaigners claim is a deliberate tactic to intimidate the population."

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Sun, 2007-06-03 07:16.

Chinese population blocks chemical plant by text-messaging

Via NewsTrust

Truthout informed us a couple of days ago that collective action via mobile communication technology worked with very good results in stopping a chemical plant with a high polluting potential being build near a resident area, 10 miles from the center of Xiamen.

Paraxylene, the chemical that would have been produced, has irritating effects in people in case of short-term exposure and it can seriously affect the nervous system and may cause death in case of long-term exposure. Chinese officials became more sensitive and active towards environment hazards after confronting problems with polluted lands and waters on the background of industrial facilities being built with a speed greater than the real economic demand.

This case is one among many others to prove that mass communication technologies can ignite and mobilize population efforts and protests in the public sector and articulate them with institutional and governmental action.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Sat, 2007-06-02 05:19.

Nokia sees Africa as next major mobile market

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nokia , the world's biggest mobile phone maker, is investing in Africa to make the region its next big wireless market, Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said on Friday.
Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Fri, 2007-06-01 18:13.

Mobs of SMS messages lead to Chinese toxic plant closing

Word is coming out of China of the closing of a major plant in Xiamen. Zhong Xiaoyong, a freelance writer in Xiamen who opposed the plant described the smart mob action as caused by: “a potent cocktail of public worry about pollution, modern communications, and increasingly assertive citizens.” He was quoted in a Reuters report which includes this as one version of millions of text messages that have built pressure to close the plant: "When this massive toxic chemical product goes into production, that will mean an atomic bomb has been released over all Xiamen island," . . .

The news story about the closing begins:

Beijing - Work on a billion-dollar petrochemical plant in a major Chinese port has been put on hold following a text message campaign by protestors angry about industrial pollution, state media said on Wednesday.

Citizens sent nearly one million cellphone text messages urging the Xiamen government to abort work on a massive paraxylene (PX) plant because of the feared health and environmental impacts, Xinhua news agency said.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Fri, 2007-06-01 15:35.

Yemen government clamps down on SMS

Link: Government restricts SMS news services

The government has been restricting some SMS news services and blocking certain media websites, said journalists and opposition parties. “SMS news service via mobile networks are facing a legal challenge, and I call on the government to make laws to issue licenses to the companies who want to offer this service,” said Chairman of Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, Nasr Taha Mustafa. Mustafa asked the Ministry of Information to settle the problem of the restricted SMS services with al-Nass Mobile and Without Chains Mobile, in accordance with the journalism law.

Looks like another government getting jittery about freedom of speech, following on from the news a month or so ago that Iran is planning to filter MMS traffic.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Thu, 2007-05-31 13:14.

Maxis unveils cell phone money transfer

fp071906_b.gif Malaysia's top mobile phone operator Maxis has tied up with the Philippines' Globe Telecom to introduce a new mobile international money transfer service called M-money (but this is not a first, as they claim - see links below), enabling thousands of Filipino workers in Malaysia to remit money to their families back home. Associated Press reports.

"Under the system, Maxis customers can wire up to 500 ringgit ($143) per transaction to Globe subscribers in the Philippines, who can retrieve the money at Globe's 6,000 outlets, the statement said.

Maxis customers must cash in the money with Maxis before making any overseas remittance and are charged only a five ringgit ($1.47) service fee per transaction, less than half the fee that bank charges, it added."

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Thu, 2007-05-31 12:16.

Chinese City halts construction after receiving 1 million SMS protests

A Chinese city has halted construction of a chemical plant after residents sent more than 1 million mobile phone text messages protesting possible pollution dangers, news reports said Thursday, reports Cellular News.

"The plant was to be located 10 miles from the center of Xiamen, a center for Taiwanese and Hong Kong investment. The nearest homes were about a mile away, according to news reports.

"The city government has listened to the opinions expressed and has decided, after careful deliberation, that the project must be re-evaluated," a deputy mayor, Ding Guoyan, was quoted as saying."

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Thu, 2007-05-31 10:11.

South African Start-Up Launches Mobile VoIP Service

Yeigo.jpgVersion 2.0 of Yeigo has just launched according to the South African developer. Yeigo is a new mobile app that uses a handset’s Internet connection to make calls and send SMS or other instant messages. Best of all many of these options are free, such as calls to other people using Yeigo. Calls to non-Yeigo users can be as much as 80% less as well. Yeigo will also lets users send free IM via GoogleTalk, MSN, Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ and Jabber. This service will work with domestic and international calls.


Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Tue, 2007-05-29 15:02.

Australians get smog alerts by text

Link: Sky News: SMS smog alerts

Environment groups have attacked the New South Wales Government for a new plan that could see pollution alerts sent out to Sydneysiders.

Subscribers would receive a text message or email telling them when levels are high, but critics say the money would be better spent cutting Sydney’s smog.

Sounds a good idea, but there’s a lot of opposition:

The Asthma Foundation says more needs to be done about what’s causing air pollution in the first place.

And the state’s Shadow Environment Minister Pru Goward says that warning people about days on which they could be poisoned, but doing nothing about it, is a disgrace.

The Greens say the plan ignores the big picture and something should be done about getting cars off the road.

Fair points really, I guess it’s like sending you a text telling you you’re about to be run over by a bus when you’re nailed down to the road and can’t move. Or something like that! Still, good to see governments around the world getting on the text bandwagon at last.

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Sat, 2007-05-26 18:36.

GupShup mixes social networking, ads and SMS

Rating: recipe for success? By Annie Turner Webaroo is a curious hybrid of being US-based, focused on India. It¹s charismatic and very successful founder, Rakesh Mathur, has introduced an SMS service...

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Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Fri, 2007-05-25 13:05.