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15 Aug 07 - Tragic: Murdered for mobile
The Moscow Times, 15/08/07
Police in the Moscow region have detained three young men suspected of beating two 15-year-old boys to death in order to steal their mobile phones, prosecutors said Tuesday. The suspects, aged 15 to 22, were detained over the weekend in connection with the beating deaths of Kirill Khromushkin and Dmitry Timofeyev, whose bodies were discovered Thursday night in a forest outside the village of Vorovskogo, 30 kilometers northeast of Moscow.
The deadly attack appears to fall into the trend of mobile phone-related crimes. Police and prosecutors have registered numerous violent crimes - including arson and homicide - in recent years that they say were committed in order to obtain mobile phones. top
14 Aug 07 - Wonders of Mobile VoIP
Australian IT, 14/08/07
VOICE over internet protocol telephony has helped thousands of people shave money from their fixed-line phone bills since appearing on the scene some four years ago. Now it's poised to do the same to mobiles. By enabling people to avoid the steep call rates levied by mobile carriers, the technology is changing the way mobile phones are used. Some are seeing it as the second phase of the VoIP revolution.
Mobile VoIP takes two forms. The first involves bypassing the mobile cellular network and sending calls over a wireless network instead. The second makes use of the data capabilities of the cellular network itself.
While it's early days for both methods, initial reaction from users is positive. It's only a matter of time before mobile VoIP enters the mainstream. An example of the first type of mobile VoIP service, launched by Engin, is designed to work on mobile phones capable of Wi-Fi networking. Examples of these include Nokia's N and E series handsets. Once installed, the phone needs to be set to search for available Wi-Fi networks. This could be a network in the home or office, or one of the growing number of Wi-Fi hotspots sprouting up in cafes, airports and hotels. top
14 Aug 07 - Wonders of Mobile VoIP - Part 2
Australian IT, 14/08/07
Once connected, voice calls can be made and received over the Wi-Fi connection rather than the mobile network. Any calls to the user's inbound VoIP number will be relayed to the handset, and all outgoing calls will be charged at VoIP rates. Making calls via a hotspot, or even over one of the growing number of free municipal Wi-Fi networks, can slash hundreds of dollars off the bill.
Engin is working on handover technology for its mobile softphone service and expects it to be available later this year. Once installed, it will allow a user to begin a call on a Wi-Fi network and then seamlessly transfer it to a cellular network when they are on the move.
The second area in which VoIP is saving money for mobile users is calls over the mobile network itself. In Australia, network operator Hutchison 3 has led the charge with its X-Series bundles. As well as mobile broadband and access to 3's content, the bundles also provide a set number of Skype call minutes. Users can call other Skype users from their mobile handset for free.
Meanwhile Gotalk is planning a phone client that will allow users to make use of its VoIP service from their mobile handsets. Gotalk CEO Steve Picton says it's designed to make it easy for people to access a VoIP service, regardless of the device they use to connect.
"VoIP is just an access method and it's pretty much irrelevant to users. At the end of the day, customers want to have a variety of access methods and we shouldn't be tying them down to their PC or anything else. We have enabled our pre-paid products to be accessed via a PC-based softphone, and the next phase is to make that softphone available on mobiles." Said Picton. top
14 Aug 07 - Government to launch Scam alert service
Sydney Morning Herald, 14/08/07
A national alert service designed to protect home users and small businesses from cyber threats will be launched by the Federal Government aimed at protecting home internet users from online threats such as phishing, ID theft, banking frauds and other scams. The project is part of a $13.6 million package over the next four years to strengthen home user and small business security. Reaction to the proposed service has been mixed.
Nishad Herath, senior researcher with security software maker McAfee, says the service could work if it were well promoted. He says a wealth of information about security is already available to home users and small business. The trick is to convince end users they need to educate themselves.
Karl Hanmore, operations manager of not-for-profit IT security information centre AusCERT, is more upbeat: "Providing a good central place for information is a positive step. It's definitely a step in the right direction. High level, it looks good." top
13 Aug 07 - Deceased man's $218 Trillion phone bill
A Malaysian man who paid off a $23 wireless bill and disconnected his late father's cell phone back in January has been stiffed for subsequent charges on the closed account, MSNBC has reported. Telekom Malaysia sent Yahaya Wahab a bill for 806,400,000,000,000.01 ringgit, or about $218 trillion, for charges to the account, along with a demand from the company's debt collection agency that he settle the alleged debt within 10 days, or get a lawyer.
"If the company wants to seek legal action as mentioned in the letter, I'm ready to face it," Yahaya claimed. "In fact, I can't wait to face it. "No one apparently at Telekom Malaysia is quite sure whether the bill was a mistake, or, cryptically, if Yahaya's father's phone line was used illegally after his death. top
10 Aug 07 - Relief near for bandwith demand
Australian IT, 09/08/07
AUSTRALIAN consumers can expect by late next year relief from the international bandwidth drought that has been driving up internet access costs. Network infrastructure specialist, Pipe Networks, has selected Tyco Telecommunications to supply a new undersea cable linking Australia to Guam that is expected to break an international bandwidth duopoly suppressing local internet download quotas.
Pipe Networks would not reveal details of its commercial agreement with Tyco but it has previously estimated that the cost of building the cable – named Project Runway – would reach $200 million. Pipe Networks said it expected to start connecting local internet providers to the new cable by the first quarter of the 2009 financial year.
The announcement comes amid a round of pricing and policy changes by ISPs who say they can no longer cover the cost of providing high download quotas services. The ABS reported that Australian internet users downloaded 40 trillion megabytes in the three months to March 31 compared with 33 trillion megabytes in the previous quarter. International telecommunications analyst group TeleGeography recently reported that Australia's international bandwidth costs were among the highest in the world. top
10 Aug 07 - Fake kidnappers mobile racket
Sydney Morning Herald, 01/08/07
Colombian mobile telephone users are being duped by criminals who pose as phone operators and instruct them to turn off their handsets just long enough to demand ransom from their families. Colombia, long one of the world's kidnapping capitals, has seen a rash of cases in which mobile phone customers receive messages telling them to turn off their handsets for two hours because their telephones have been cloned, police say.
The criminals then contact family members of the phone user to say that he or she has been taken hostage. Families who have no way of contacting their relative are directed where to drop off ransom money before the two hours are up. "If you get a call telling you to turn off your handset, contact the authorities," local television channel Caracol told viewers during a Tuesday news program. top
09 Aug 07 - The mobile as a musical instrument
A mobile phone rings during a musical performance. At this show, it's one of the featured instruments. As part of an event designed to raise awareness for Samsung's Upstage, a digital music phone that plays music in the traditional sense was introduced. The electronics giant hired experimental musician Bora Yoon performed music with her mobile phone.
Yoon said she's always tried to not discriminate against nice sounds just because they might come from non-traditional sources. She said that she believes a tin can fit perfectly well alongside a piano or guitar. "I guess it's kinda like architecture with intangible things like sounds. You could call it music or you could call it organising pitches and thoughts in a certain pattern," Yoon said.
No two songs she does with the mobile phone are exactly the same. That's because she sees it as her instrument to solo, to just kind of jam on stage. "It's organising a keyboard, essentially. So, you're soloing, but the interface this time is a mobile phone," Yoon said. Next up for Yoon, she said she's working with researchers at MIT to help her use her self-professed geeked-out style of music to create an entire opera. top
08 Aug 07 - Mobile broadband set to explode
HSDPA will dominate mobile broadband network deployments over the next five years, accounting for more than 70 per cent of the total subscriber base by 2012, according to Juniper Research.
Over the next five years, almost one in three mobile subscribers will make use of mobile broadband, driven by demand from connectivity-hungry users in Western Europe, North America and to an extent, China and the Far East, claims the analyst, who is predicting that the associated total revenue for mobile broadband services will top $400 billion globally, annually during the same time frame.
But, it's not all good news. The availability - or lack of - suitable devices, such as handsets, data cards, laptops and so on, may prove a big factor in determining just how rapidly the technology is adopted in practice as mobile broadband is a device-based technology.
"HSDPA's in-service status in 2007 makes it already the most advanced mobile broadband technology, with many further deployments due in the near and medium term. For the 3G service provider base, HSDPA represents a software upgrade rather than a new network investment. HSDPA will also benefit from technology 'leap' subscribers in the developing nations, and handset churn elsewhere, with users migrating to HSPA-based broadband as the norm," said the report's author Howard Wilcox. top
07 Aug 07 - Minister assures CDMA coverage
Office of Senator Helen Coonan, 06/08/2007
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator the Hon Helen Coonan said today that the Howard Government will ensure that country mobile phone users are not left high and dry by the closure of the CDMA network. "I have issued a draft licence condition to Telstra that would require them to keep the CDMA network open until the Next G network provides equivalent or better coverage and services, reflecting the public commitments Telstra has already made itself.
"The Government makes no apologies for putting consumers first when considering the regulation of Australia’s communications industry." Senator Coonan wrote to Telstra in mid-June suggesting that they move back the CDMA switch-off date to allow more time for the transition from the current CDMA network to Next G. Telstra refused to reconsider the switch-off date and would proceed with their previously announced switch-off date of 28 January 2008.
"Telstra has advised that it will not be able to say whether it has delivered equivalent or better coverage until 15 October this year before their planned shut down of the network on 28 January 2008. This is simply not enough time to ensure that their public commitments have been met," Senator Coonan said.
Senator Coonan said that she had heard first hand about the rising level of consumer concern regarding mobile phone coverage. "I have just spent the last six weeks on the road across Australia and based on the level of frustration in the community, it is clear that this issue needs Telstra’s urgent and genuine attention. top
06 Aug 07 - Google phone coming soon
Sydney Morning Herald, 03/08/07
Google has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in its mobile phone project and is courting US and European mobile operators, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Google has also developed prototype phones and talked over technical specifications with manufacturers including LG Electronics, The Wall Street Journal said.
Part of the strategy includes mobile advertising which is still a relatively small market but advertisers and wireless experts expect this to change. Yankee Group has forecast the mobile ad market will more than quadruple to $US275 million in 2007 and eventually grow to $US2.2 billion in 2010, up from an estimated $US60 million in 2006. Some experts are forecasting an even bigger market.
02 Aug 07 - The humble mobile stars on Broadway
According to Playwrights Horizons' website, Obie Award-winner Kathleen Chalfant will star in the New York premiere of Dead Man's Cell Phone, the new play by Pulitzer Prize-finalist Sarah Ruhl (Eurydice, The Clean House). She will play the role of the dead man's mother. Directed by two-time Obie Award winner Anne Bogart (SITI Artistic Director), Dead Man's Cell Phone will begin previews in February 2008 at Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street).
Gordon is dead, but his cell phone lives on. When Jean, an empathetic museum worker, answers his ringing phone beside her in a café, she is soon playing unwitting comforter and confessor to the man’s grieving friends and family. Before she knows it, Jean’s ensnarled in the underbelly of the dead man’s bizarre life. A wildly imaginative new comedy, Dead Man's Cell Phone is the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her assumptions about morality, redemption and the need to connect in a technology-obsessed world. Dead Man's Cell Phone was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons with funds provided by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. top
02 Aug 07 - Qantas to offer on board broadband
Sydney Morning Herald, 24/07/07
Qantas says its new Airbus A380 planes will offer passengers both wireless internet access and laptop power sockets in every seat, including economy. USB ports, also built into every seat, will potentially allow passengers to access multimedia content from music players and portable hard drives through the seat-back screens. The high-tech features are part of Qantas's new inflight entertainment system, to be installed on each of the airline's 20 A380 planes.
The airline said it would also upgrade its existing 747-400 international fleet with "premium economy" cabins, with each seat offering laptop power sockets. Passengers could access the internet and email using a laptop computer or through the seat-back entertainment system. Laptops without wireless connectivity could plug into the network using a regular networking cable. Qantas said it had not yet been decided whether the airline would charge extra for internet access or offer it for free.
01 Aug 07 - Tour de France rider sacked by phone company
T-Mobile have sacked German rider Patrik Sinkewitz after he admitted taking the male sex hormone, testosterone, before this year's Tour de France cycling race, the team's sporting director Ralf Aldag has said. Sinkewitz had previously denied any wrongdoing but in a statement issued by his lawyer today he said he was prepared to take the consequences for his "misdemeanours" and expressed his "deep regret". He said that on the day before his test he had used a preparation called Testogel made by the firm Jenapharm which is meant to help people suffering from testosterone deficiency.
Sinkewitz said he was ready to co-operate with the German cycling federation (BDR) and hoped to help remove doping from cycling. The 26-year-old was forced to retire from the Tour on July 16 following a crash with a spectator after the eighth stage. Sinkewitz, who broke his nose and suffered a shoulder injury in the accident, could face a two-year suspension and be forced to repay T-Mobile a year's salary
01 Aug 07 - Virgin launches aggressive mobile broadband product
Virgin has announced the launch of a new $80 monthly capped mobile broadband plan for laptops. The package includes a USB modem, a download limit of 1GB and a mobile handset with $520 worth of calling and messaging credit.