Inspired by recent research on how boredom and mind-wandering contribute to creativity, public radio show New Tech City is launching a pro-boredom project. Bored and Brilliant invites participants to track how they use their phones to prevent moments of mental idleness, to try to reclaim free brain space and find oases of time, complete a week of creativity challenges, and contribute their responses to the conversation. BrainPickings' Maria Popova and artist Nina Katchadourian (who both joined the project's launch party to talk about how they"owe their careers" to boredom)and RadioLab's Jad Abumrad.
The Mobile Telephone in Bell System Service, 1946–1993. Descriptions and photographs of car phones and briefcase phones on the "0G" pre-cellular mobile systems.
The Grandparent Scam
Every day, phones are ringing in homes across the country. Maybe yours. On the line: organized teams of con artists trying to bilk you out of thousands of dollars by impersonating your loved ones.
Following on the heels of Phonebloks, a Google/Motorola formed a design group called Project Ara. The Verge recently interviewed Paul Eremenko, the project lead, about progress made towards modularization of mobile phone components, overcoming engineering issues, and the group assigning itself an ambitious timetable to succeed in delivering a sellable product within two years, or disbanding.
"In the mid-20th century, in response to the United States’ rapidly expanding telephone network, executives at the Bell System introduced a new way of dialing the phone. Until then, for the most part, it was human operators — mostly women — who had directed calls to their destinations." The new system, which eliminated letters from phone numbers and set the stage for an automated national (and eventually international) dialing system. was met with a minor rebellion against "creeping numeralism." The Atlantic examines "Our Numbered Days: The Evolution of the Area Code." [more inside]
Those who think getting a car phone is not for them, whatever the reason, haven't kept up with the booming industry of cellular radio telephones. Meet the brick.
Japan and other Asian countries have moved from SMS to smart phone messaging apps, with great success for all.
"(TL;DR summary: AT&T is buying entire legislatures to rewrite the laws to allow them to become a fully unregulated company with no wholesale obligations, creating a de-facto monopoly. They can (and likely will) use it to squash or hurt wireless competitors as well, as they're permitted to favor their own subsidiaries with the network built and created over a hundred plus year monopoly, and Comcast is fully on-board because they'd like to split the market created when all their competitors are dead)" Paul Timmins, the telco nerd behind TelcoData.US (Previously), expounds on how the big players in the telecom business (AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast) are ruining the future of connectivity in the US.
‘Gangster Party Line’: For Real Men Who Just Want To Talk Smack Are you lonely? Do you feel like talking smack? Do you just wanna talk to a hard gangster? Look no further. The ‘Gangsta Party Line‘ will fulfill all your needs. Hundreds of gangstas are waiting for your motherfucking call, and they’re all talking smack about you right now. The hardest niggas are standing by, waiting to answer your call. For only $4.99 a minute, you can talk to the hardest guys in the game.
Phonebloks suggests a different way for dealing with obsolescent hardware, through modular design on a common base
The guardian of the nation’s etiquette, Debrett’s, has now issued a handy 10-point guide to mobile (cell) phone etiquette in the digital age
Send Me To Heaven, a new app by Norwegian developer Carot Pop, will probably be the last game you play on your (Android) phone.
What's in the database? Roughly 1,000 records of documents related to phone phreaking history. It includes newspaper and magazine articles, letters, memos, FBI memos, audio recordings, you name it.. Extra Goodies! [more inside]
You're at a Broadway or off-Broadway show. Suddenly, a cell phone goes off, or the person next to you starts texting. If you're on stage, you could do what Patti LuPone did at Gypsy. You could write an open letter to the offender. Or, you could do what Kevin Williamson did last night.
Raccoon walking across phone lines I could never do this. I'm so scared of heights.
How a buccaneering young engineer built the little blue box that broke into the biggest network in the world
Surrey Satellite Technology's STRaND 1 demonstrates a new generation of satellites built around smartphones. Tossed into orbit on an Indian PSLV, the toaster-sized microsatellite is based on an Android-powered Nexus One that will control the satellite, run apps, take snapshots, and phone home. While the U.K. leads the smartphone space race, NASA is testing its own PhoneSat series of nanosatellite prototypes. The University of Surrey explains how it works in this video.
The comment period for the DRAFT Wireless code [PDF] to address some cellular provider abuses is expiring soon (February 15th). Comments can be made here. Highlights of the draft code include:
- A $50 (or less) monthly cap on incurred fees.
- A limitation of cancellation fees equal to the remaining amount of the prorated incentive amount
- Mandatory unlocking at no cost for non subsidy phones with no waiting period.
- Limits on deposits and non payment cancellations.
- No termination fee, 15 day cooling off period
- Mandatory listing of limits on "unlimited" plans.
Whether made of wood or glass, the phone booth stands apart, and is made to stand apart, from the normal flow of life in which it is situated.
"The dystextia was the first clinical sign that we had that she was having a stroke," Impaired speech is a common sign of a stroke, he says. But in this case, the woman had lost her voice because of a cold. So the series of mangled messages were the smoking gun of a language problem. He and his colleagues describe the case in the Archives of Neurology.
2Day FM's DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian phoned the King Edward VII Hospital from Australia on Wednesday morning pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles asking for an update on the condition of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. The call was described as a prank by the DJs who made it and foolish by the hospital. The nurse who answered the call, Jacintha Saldanha, was convinced by the impersonation and relayed confidential medical details. Today Ms Saldanha was found dead, early reports indicate the death is not suspicious and is suspected to be suicide. [more inside]
Minimal Android minimal homescreen, minimal icons, themes, wallpapers or other minimalistic android things - as long as it is minimal and meant for android.
What Will the 'Phone' of 2022 Look Like? "Is the iPhone 5 the last phone? Not the last phone in a literal sense, but this is the apotheosis of this device we would call a phone...It's not clear to me that there is any such device as the phone in 2022. Already, telephony has become a feature and not even a frequently used feature of those things we put in our pockets." [more inside]
Phone Trips - an audio archive of the Phone Phreaking community. Phone phreaking was the practice of hacking into phone systems and networks in order to explore these networks and their connections [1 2]. Many people first heard about the phenomenon in a 1971 Esquire article, Secrets of the Little Blue Box, which included input from Captain Crunch. Crunch discovered that you could access telephone networks by blowing a 2600 Hz tone, from a whistle given away free in cereal boxes, into telephone handsets. "Have you ever heard eight tandems stacked up?" asked Crunch in the interview. Well, now we can, thanks to a large audio archive of phone phreaking. [more inside]
A jury has ruled for Apple in its huge smartphone patent infringement case involving Samsung and ordered Samsung to pay $1.5 billion.
After a year of scorched-earth litigation, a jury decided Friday that Samsung ripped off the innovative technology used by Apple to create its revolutionary iPhone and iPad. The jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion. An appeal is expected. [more inside]
Was that your phone? Phantom vibrations are something that over two thirds of people experience - the sense that your phone may be vibrating, even when it isn't in your pocket. A few studies have looked into the phenomenon, which might be caused by the conditioning of phone users. And the same sensitivity that allows parents to hear their baby's cry, also makes it easy to think you hear a cell phone ring during a song or commercial.
"Maintaining this level of surveillance is very burdensome for companies. According to the letters, AT&T has more than 100 full time employees assigned just to handle law enforcement requests, Verizon has 70, and Sprint has a whopping 226. That’s a lot of people power devoted solely to surveillance." Mobile Phone Surveillance by the Numbers.
An elephant uses a Galaxy Note, proving that not everybody looks ridiculous while using a phablet.
"The Secret Gestural Prehistory of Mobile Devices is cultural anthropology. It seeks to recover those moments of intuitive prehensile dexterity, when the famous and the ordinary alike felt the unconscious desire to occupy their hands for an as yet unknown purpose. Like Roy Neary's obsession with the image of Devil's Tower in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), this gesture was vague, uncanny and compelling. It is the intimation in images of a gestural second nature to come." [more inside]
In 1990, the avenues of information we have today weren't around. So what was a baseball fan who wanted to know the score of a game elsewhere in the country to do? Compile a list of pay phone numbers at stadiums and get the score from passers by who picked up.
A GRAVE JOKE ON UNDERTAKERS — Some malicious wag at Providence, R.I. has been playing a grave practical joke on the undertakers there, by summoning them over the telephone to bring freezers, candlesticks and coffin for persons alleged to be dead. In each case the denouement was highly farcical, and the reputed corpses are now hunting in a lively manner for that telephonist.
Paul Collins uncovers the birth of the prank call. [more inside]
Paul Collins uncovers the birth of the prank call. [more inside]
All I want is to be left alone in my average home... But why do I always feel I'm in the twilight zone?
In August 2011, 35 ACLU affiliates filed 381 requests in 32 states with local law enforcement agencies seeking to uncover when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans. So how long do American cell phone carriers retain information about your calls, text messages, and data use? According to data gathered by the US Department of Justice, it can be as little as a few days or up to seven years, depending on your provider. (Via / More)
It's a ring-tone! It's place-based community art! Well, you don't have to choose any more. In Locally Toned, artist T. Foley sources sound in the wild to create hundreds of unique ringtones.
Sea Ice Skating, it's all fun and games until a passing tugboat breaks up all the ice leaving you stranded on a thin sheet of frozen water! [more inside]
Wired: "Who 'Ruled the Air' in 1910, and Who Rules It Now?". Also see: Vintage AdBrowser (Previously): Communications Ads of the: 1910's, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.
The Rolling Shutter Effect: a mobile phone camera is fairly quick, but when the objects you are recording move faster than the scan rate, cool things happen. Mucho previously at MeFi.
It was supposed to be the iPhone killer. Instead, the Nexus One turned out to be a bust. Google announced today that they were discontinuing the phone despite the rise of Android as an operating system.
The question facing Chapanis and lab assistant Mary C. Lutz was deceptively simple: What should a push-button telephone look like? [more inside]
A touch screen you don't touch. From Ishikawa Komuro Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, a gesture-controlled handheld device that responds thereminically to the motion of a finger held above the screen. Watch to the end for the remarkable 3-d painting app. From the people who brought you the pitching, batting, and dribbling robots. Previous Ishikawa awesomeness on Metafilter.
This week Microsoft unveiled the Kin, formerly Project Pink (previously), which emerged out of the troubled Sidekick (previously). Built on the same foundation as the Zune HD, making it the first in-phone use of the NVIDIA Tegra, the phones operating system is a cut-down version of Windows Phone 7 with a focus on photo sharing and social networking. Will the Kin make Microsoft cool again? Perhaps. Of course all eyes are still on the Smartphone market, and how Windows Phone 7 will compare to the iPhone. Some see a clear lead for WP7 from a developers perspective, others are more doubtful.
Thinking of getting an iPhone? There is an alternative, you know. It's a bit complicated, but this video will help you understand how to use it. (SLYT)
Interview with Martin Cooper, inventor of the first handheld cellular phone.