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17 Jan 07 - Study: Calls encourage cancer checks
Can a telephone cure cancer?
Of course not. But telephone calls can increase colorectal-cancer screening rates among those who are least likely to seek out screenings: low-income people and minorities. And screenings lead to earlier detection, which usually results in better outcomes.
A study in the December 2006 issue of the American Journal of Public Health found that 27 percent of people contacted by phone were screened within six months, compared with just 6.1 percent of those who received information only in the mail.
In other words, people who were contacted by phone were four times as likely to undergo a screening.
16 Jan 07 - Old phone scam nets new victims
The Bellingham Herald, 15/01/07
US: Bellingham police have arrested two Canadian men in connection with a scheme that coaxed victims into paying advance taxes or fees to claim nonexistent lottery winnings. Bellingham Police Chief Randall Carroll said police are still investigating.
In a press release, Carroll said the investigation began Jan. 2 when a 57-year-old California woman called Bellingham police to say she feared she had lost $8,200 in a fraud.
A few days before, the woman told police she had received a phone call from a man claiming to represent the Bank of America, notifying her she had won $850,000 in a lottery. The man identified himself as “James Sithe” and told the victim she would have to pay a 1 percent fee to an attorney whom he identified as “John Anthony,” at a Bellingham address. The woman sent the money in cash and got no winnings. Her efforts to contact “Sithe” and “Anthony” had proven fruitless.
The address turned out to be a local business that offers mail drop services. Detectives learned that the mailbox in question was still active and had just received another package. They got a search warrant and found $3,000 cash inside.
They then contacted the Pennsylvania man who had sent the money. He told police the money was supposed to be taxes on a $1 million lottery prize.
Detectives then put together a similar package, put it back in the mailbox and kept an eye on it. On Saturday, they arrested James Richard Jongkind, 25, as he picked up the package, and a second man, Daniel Mark Duerksen, 25, who drove Jongkind to the pickup site. Both men are Abbotsford, B.C. residents, and both were booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of first degree theft.
Police said Jongkind claimed to be acting as a courier for another man in British Columbia, but claimed not to know the man’s name. Canadian authorities have been notified top
15 Jan 07 - Kids flicks on your mobile
Arts Hub Australia, 15/01/07
Family and friends are only ever as far away as the phone – and, now, so too is Aunty.
A joint initiative between ABC New Media & Digital Services, the South Australian Film Corporation and the Australian Network for Art and Technology has resulted in miniSeries, a set of four five-minute films now available on your mobile phone.
The four children’s films – La Musica Fantastica, Stanley and Dean, The Perils of Flossy and Melissa Murphy’s Holiday from Hell – are all the work of South Australians, funded with $15,000 grants.
The miniSeries initiative “started some time ago, probably over a year, and the project had a few incarnations,” says Domenic Friguglietti, Manager of Co-productions and Business Development at ABC New Media & Digital Services.
“We had a longstanding relationship with the South Australian Film Corporation, through a number of other initiatives, and we wanted to try and explore the potential for narrative on those mobile phone platforms … It took a while to get the project off the ground, but we’ve finally delivered.”
“We are pretty serious about the digital content. Really it’s about making sure we maintain our relevance with our audience, and move the content we want to get out to the platforms that people are adopting.”
15 Jan 07 - Australian carriers unsure of iPhone
The Australian, 10/01/07
DESPITE the global hype, the response by Australian mobile carriers to Apple's much-anticipated iPhone has been muted.
The slick unit, which runs a variation of Apple's OS X software, has been designed to work on 2.5G EDGE networks, more common in the US, rather than faster third-generation connections.
Only Telstra runs a nationwide EDGE network in Australia, with other carriers offering services in limited locations.
Telstra is yet to evaluate the iPhone. "Most of the iPhone features, such as mobile TV, email, video calling and music, are available today on Telstra's Next G network," a spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for Hutchison said the company had also not seen the phone. "Given that this is a 2G phone, we haven't been in discussions," she said.
"It definitely looks like an exciting product, but at the moment it's more a question of watch this space," a Vodafone spokeswoman said.
Apple has signed Cingular as its exclusive carrier partner in the US.
However, it is thought that Apple could use the delay between its US launch and the debut of the iPhone in other regions to develop a unit compatible with higher speed third-generation networks
12 Jan 07 - UK Telco reaches a million VoIP customers
BT has announced that its voice over internet protocol (VoIP) has attracted one million customers.
The firm's chief executive, Ben Verwaayen, says the target was reached six months ahead of schedule, highlighting how quickly the market is growing.
The technology is particularly popular among small businesses, which are happy to take advantage of VoIP's great value calls as well as utilise new technology.
"We now have more than a million customer accounts for our VoIP services – and to achieve this in six months is nothing short of spectacular," said Gavin Patterson from BT Retail.
"UK consumers are clearly happy to embrace internet telephony when it is straightforward to use and offers great value."
Mr Verwaayen, who is celebrating his fifth year in charge at the firm, said he was "proud" of the achievement and added: "We are really seeing a market that is taken by storm."
Info-Tech Research Group recently advised businesses that VoIP is one of the seven "hot technologies" they should look out for this year.
12 Jan 07 - Forgot your wallet? Use your mobile!
The Sydney Morning Herald, 11/01/07
Visa and Nokia have teamed up to produce a global platform that would turn mobile phones into wallets, enabling users to buy items from stores without having to carry money or cards.
Trials of mobile payment systems have taken place in various countries, but this announcement is the first time a global framework has been put in place.
It was also the first mobile phone payment system that would be targeting Australia.
Paying for a purchase would be as simple as swiping the phone over a sensor, which communicates with a small computer chip embedded in the phone.
It is predicted that, within the next five to 10 years, it is possible that about 10 per cent of transactions would be performed on a mobile phone.
The first phone to support the technology, dubbed Near Field Communication (NFC), is the Nokia 6131. It will be available in Australia by the end of the first quarter of this year.
However, once the technology is available, it would be up to retailers, financial institutions and network operators to implement it locally, a Nokia spokeswoman said.
An NFC payment system would be more secure than using a credit card to pay for items because it allowed users to authorise transactions using a password, Nokia and Visa said.
In future, NFC technology could also be used to replace paper business cards and loyalty cards, facilitate person-to-person transactions, authorise admittance into restricted areas and pay for public transport, Nokia said. top
11 Jan 07 - Thief's own mobile catches him
BYU News Net, 09/01/07
A mobile phone turned out to be the key in finding a retail thief after he beat a security guard and robbed a store Jan. 6, 2007, police said.
According to Orem police, a 25-year-old Orem man, attempted to steal several DVDs from an Orem Shopko by hiding them in his pants. While trying to leave the store, a female security guard who had witnessed him stealing the movies approached him and tried to take him into custody.
The security guard reported that Anderson reacted violently, screaming at her and threatening her. Refusing to back down, the security guard was hit several times in the head as Anderson twisted her arms. He still could not shake her as she hung on.
The security guard was eventually left with Anderson's coat as he struggled free and fled the scene. Police found his mobile phone in the coat pocket and easily tracked him down.
Police found Anderson at his home after he had hurriedly shaved off his Mohawk haircut and removed several body piercings. Police said Anderson claimed his coat and mobile phone had been stolen several days earlier.
Anderson was booked into the Utah County jail and charged with assault, robbery and obstructing justice.
11 Jan 07 - Even Bat Phone gets telemarketed
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg complained to a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday that he's vexed by pesky dinner-time phone calls from salesmen, ringing him on his secure line.
Much like the Gotham police commissioner's secure line to the "bat phone" in the 1960s "Batman" television show, the kitchen of Bloomberg's Upper East Side townhouse has been outfitted for emergency top-secret communications.
Testifying at a Senate hearing on protecting America after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Bloomberg was asked about New York City's updated communications equipment that allows police, fire, health and other officials to talk to each other in a crisis.
Bloomberg mentioned his secure phone and the insurance salesmen that regularly call him on it.
Following the hearing, Bloomberg stood before reporters who asked about as many questions about the "Bat phone" as they did about New York's quest for more anti-terrorism funds.
"It's never been used other than to answer an occasional call for 'Do I want to subscribe to a particular magazine, buy an insurance policy' or some other such ridiculous thing," Bloomberg said.
For the record, the phone, which the mayor said has a secure device "that encodes on either end," is not red.
As for how salesmen tap into the super-secret line, Bloomberg said, "You can dial a number at random and eventually get to everyone in the world." top
10 Jan 07 - An SMS to say thanks
The Daily Telegraph, 10/01/07
THE dying art of writing thank you notes for presents and invitations is making a comeback via e-mail and text messaging but etiquette experts are reluctant to endorse anything but a handwritten note.
But the proliferation of e-mails and text messaging on mobile phones meant people were writing again to thank people.
Some communication experts say teenagers and young adults who rarely took the time to pen a thank-you note to disappointed grandparents for their holiday gifts are now taking the time to say thank-you by e-mail and text message.
But traditionalists still frown upon the use of new technology to thank someone for a holiday gift, with not all older friends or relatives having e-mail or mobile phones.
10 Jan 07 - iPhone rumour proves true
The Sydney Morning Herald, 10/01/07
The much-anticipated iPhone, a combination iPod and mobile phone launched today in San Francisco, will not be available in Australia for at least a year.
"Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. "We are going to make history today."
He poured scorn on other "smart phones" on the market, rubbishing their tiny keyboards, limited internet connectivity and clunky, slow interfaces.
In an extensive demonstration, he described how the new phone's 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen, which covers most of the iPhone's front, could interpret the user's finger gestures such as a "flick" that scrolled through contact lists, or a "pinch" that zoomed into Web pages.
As well as make calls, the iPhone plays music and movies from its 4GB flash memory, can take and view photos or browse the internet via GSM EDGE networks, or a Wi-Fi network.
The phone incorporates Google Maps and Yahoo! push email. The iPhone will launch in June in the USA. Europe will see the phone late this year and Asia and Australia in 2008.
By the end of 2008 Apple aims to have 1 per cent of the global mobile phone market, which is soon to top 1 billion phones.
09 Jan 07 - Mobile video makes everyone a reporter
Michael Richards (Kramer) in a West Hollywood comedy club and the authorities in Iraq who executed Saddam Hussein painfully learned that the prying eyes of television news can belong to anyone who carries a mobile phone.
Richards’ flameout and Saddam’s execution illustrate the growing power of mobile-phone video as a news tool, not only to supplement stories but to change them.
Iraqi authorities angrily searched for the people who recorded and distributed a video of Saddam’s execution after the grainy footage emerged and spread quickly over the Internet and, in abridged form, on television.
It told a much different story than the government-authorised video issued about six hours after Saddam’s hanging.
An audience member’s mobile phone caught the angry, racially offensive tirade unleashed by Richards at a Los Angeles comedy club in November. Repeated over and over on news networks, it became a major story that may effectively end Richards’ career.
Would it have even been a story without the video? If witnesses had described it later and Richards denied his actions, it could have been a he-said, she-said story with many people not believing the beloved Kramer would do such a thing.
Even television networks even use their own mobile-phone video in cases where reporters aren’t accompanied by cameramen. NBC’s first pictures of roof damage from inside the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina were taken by Brian Williams. Fox News aired mobile-phone video in the initial stages of covering New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle’s fatal plane crash.
Digital technology has the power to make everyone a news reporter, said David Westin, ABC News president.
09 Jan 07 - China loses 10,000 websites
The AustralianIT, 08/01/07
NEARLY 10,000 Chinese website operators have lost the use of their .com internet addresses due to telecom problems caused by last month's earthquake near Taiwan, state media reported.
The quake, which severed major international telecommunications lines, caused thousands of .com domain names held by Chinese users to vanish from world registries, the Beijing Times reported, citing domain registry sources.
Lingering disruptions to overseas web connections also have prevented them from accessing the overseas registries to re-register the names.
Though underlying websites are unaffected, the paper said more than 9,000 domain-holders had lost use of their .com addresses, and the number was expected to grow while the internet disruptions last.
The undersea quake damaged cables that carry most of the region's telecom traffic, sparking widespread communications disruptions affecting Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and elsewhere.
Knock-on problems occurred as far away as Australia.
Telecommunications firms have sent repair ships to the waters off southern Taiwan, where the 7.1 quake hit on December 26, to repair the damage but have said connections might not be fully restored for weeks.
Access in China to overseas websites was cut off for several days following the quake. Though largely restored, the connections remain slower than normal. top
28 Dec 06 - Season's Greetings & Happy New Year
PhoneChoice wishes all our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Regular news articles will resume in the week of 8 January 2007.
Meanwhile, you are welcome to use our free Bill Calculator and other information services as usual.
All the best for 2007.
26 Dec 06 - Mobile phone etiquette in 2007 - Part 4
Digital Media Wire, 14/12/06
9) Phone Tag: Part 1
If a game of phone tag goes on for 4 calls (that is, both parties make 2 calls that go unanswered), it is within the boundaries of proper etiquette to end the game and stop calling. Communication has occurred.
In placing 2 calls each, you’ve both sufficiently said your hellos, and by the voicemails you’ve left it’s clear the call has no urgent purpose. It’s the same as running into someone on the street and saying, “Hi, great to see you, I’m in a rush, let’s catch up later.” No one minds, even if you’re not actually in a rush and don’t really feel like catching up later, because the other person likely feels the exact same way.
10) Phone Tag: Part 2
If one of the parties on a game of phone tag leaves a message that says, “Quite a little game of phone tag we have going on here,” or, “Tag, you’re it,” you are free to not return the call.
11) Lengthy Voicemail Messages
If I reach your voicemail, don’t you think I already know you can’t take my call right now and want me to leave my name, number, and a brief message? Do you need to waste my time telling me that? The whole process of leaving a message to begin with is too long. The last thing I want when I finally reach your personal greeting is a lengthy description of what you want me to do. We’ve been using mobile phones long enough to know the drill. Just as you want my message to be brief, so too do I want you to keep your personal greeting short.
12) Ring Tones
A ring tone is humorous the first time it is played and has a window of three subsequent rings before it becomes annoying. At that point you either need to buy a new ring tone, or put your phone on vibrate (and if that’s too much to ask, you need to use a generic tone).
22 Dec 06 - Mobile phone etiquette in 2007 - Part 3
Digital Media Wire, 14/12/06
6) The (Im)Personal Text Message
It depends who you’re texting for “The (Im)Personal Text” to become a “Booty Text,” but it’s basically the same thing. (Im)Personal Texts are like BCC’s on email. They’re a great way to cover a lot of territory in one shot. Texts are not only perfect for their convenience (and because they prevent a live conversation), but they take a little effort to write, and recipients feel the love like their mom’s PBJs in grade school.
To jump over to “Booty Text” territory, the (Im)Personal Text is sent to multiple objects of a romantic desire, thus accomplishing the same illusion of effort and interest while increasing your odds for success.
7) The (Im)Personal Text Message: Booty Text Remix
It is crucial you craft a message the recipients of the Booty Text do not decipher as a Booty Text. Don’t be too personal, but don’t be too general, either. Ask a question: “Do you want to come over later?”
8) Talking in Public
Rudy Giuliani did a great service to New York City when he curbed car horn abuse. The same should go for the mobile phone.
There are a few particularly bad places to talk on your mobile, but none worse than the gate at an airport. You’re sitting there for at least 30 minutes, and there’s really no escape. Most people don’t like flying anyway, and to add someone yapping on their mobile while you’re trying to read is a horrible addition to an already horrible experience. If you need to use your phone, stand up and walk around. Just as there are smoking rooms in airports, so too do there need to be mobile phone rooms.
But more than that, people need to recognise the error of their ways and the extent of their poor etiquette. Don’t talk in elevators. Don’t talk in buses or trains. Any place where people are cramped and space is limited, don’t talk. You make no friends that way. Texting is a great option and should be used whenever possible. It’s unobtrusive and quiet. top