Telephony

Dual Network Handsets

Indian handset maker Spice Mobile has introduced two new mobiles, both of which can handle dual connections: GSM + CDMA for the D-88, and GSM + GSM for the D-80. It’s not clear if they take two SIMs or handle the second virtually, or even if it’s just an extension of the clunky dual-SIM addons you’ve been able to get for years, but it’s a major step forward either way simply because it comes as part of the package. It’s just a pity they decided to rip off or licence already dated Moto designs and not come up with a new design to go with it.

Spice Mobiles

Of course Nokia, Motorola or any of the other handset makers could have done this years ago, but they like to pick and choose where they innovate, and where they help the networks retain their cosy little cartels.

Mobile Phone Registration

An open letter to Minister Eamon Ryan about government proposals to require the registration of all mobile phones, and the frankly juvenile comments of a junior minister about their reasoning.

Minister,

I would like to formally object to the apparent plan being put together by your government to require the registration of all mobile phones. This is another – completely unnecessary – step the Irish government is taking on the slippery slope of privacy invasion.

I say completely unnecessary because the only people who /won’t/ be affected by this type of initiative are the people it’s supposed to target. And in highlighting them, your junior minister demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of privacy issues.

I hope both you and he will take the time to read this relatively short paper on the, frankly immature, “Nothing To Hide” argument.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=998565

I would appreciate your confirmation that you won’t in fact be going ahead with any legislation or initiatives regarding this. It is, to be blunt, the kind of useless security theatre one would expect from the current US administration, or possibly fascist dictators.

We’re better than that.

Yours sincerely,
Adam Beecher

Also see posts by Fergus, Damien, Antoin, Daithí and TJ.

UPDATE: I received this reply from the Minister’s office on the 24th of July btw. Just an acknowledgement, no substance.

On behalf of Mr Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources I wish to acknowledge your email below, the contents of which will be brought to the Minister’s attention.

I sent a complaint to the junior minister too btw, but I don’t have a copy as I had to do it via a web form. Obviously he doesn’t have the testicles to post his email address on the web. I received no reply from him at all, surprise surpise.

UPDATE: The Minister responds.

FIC/OpenMoko Neo v1 July 9, v2 October

I’ve been watching this phone like a hawk for some time, because it’s open standards across the board; i.e. both the software and hardware are – generally speaking – open.

This might not solve the horrendous problems mobile power users have to deal with overnight – proprietary connectors, proprietary synchronisation, etc – but in time it might just provoke the Symbians and the Nokias of this world to pull their heads out of their asses and realise that, really, proprietary is a dirty word; and that there’s plenty of money to be made out of compatibility. And, you know, happy customers.

There was always a slight worry that this might be another Optimus Maximus, but it looks now like that might not be the case, as the developers tell us that 400 first generation handsets are ready to ship in China, and another 600 are on the way. The price seems a bit cheeky at $300, and we don’t have much of a spec to go on, but remember this is a SIM-free Linux-based phone. The possibilities are endless.

That’s the first generation phone though, the next generation is slated for October and that currently has a price tag of €450. Ok, it’ll have 802.11b/g WiFi and upgraded hardware, but there’s no mention of a 3G radio – the 1st gen is 2.5G – and again, we still don’t know what the final OS will look like. I’m not sure I’m going to want to lash out that kind of money, after just spending a hefty whack of dosh on a Treo 680.

Hopefully they’ll spot this nasty hole in their spec before the 2nd gen handset is finalised, and I’ll be watching OpenMoko’s YouTube channel for a half-decent video of the handset in the meantime. Hopefully it’ll be pornographic enough for me to be naughty and actually buy one. And hopefully, fingers crossed, it won’t be another Sharp Zaurus.

FIC Neo

Samsung Upstage

45 seconds in. How cool is that?

You gave him the licence, bitch.

Frankp is running a caption comp for an iPod Shuffle on BifSniff at the moment. I’m not sure my entry – oops – will get past the censor, but I’ll have a go anyway.

You gave him the licence, bitch.

Can’t stand iPod Shuffles meself – the lack of control would drive me demented – so if I win I’ll auction it off for the Cork Simon Community here and on Foot.ie.

Cell Phones Don’t Cause Brain Cancer

TIME.com : You can stop worrying about getting brain cancer from your cell phone. A massive study of just about every private cell phone user in Denmark shows no link between gabbing on your mobile and the development of brain tumors.

The 420,000 participants averaged about 8.5 years of cell phone use, although some of them had been using cell phones for as long as 21 years. But there was not even a hint of an increase in brain cancer incidence the longer they used the phone.

A closer examination of different types of brain cancer from gliomas to acoutsic neuromas showed no increase in brain cancer subtypes either, according to investigators, led by Joachim Schuz of the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology of the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen.

Can your mobile microphone be “activated”?

I consider myself pretty clued-in technically, but this never even occurred to me! Presumably this is possible with European phones too?

News.com: The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone’s microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.

The technique is called a “roving bug,” and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.

Sharp Zaurus all over again?

The IHT tells us that Motorola is joining forces with Vodafone, NTT, Matsushita, NEC and Samsung to develop Linux-based mobile phone operating systems.

We’ve had this in the mainstream once before, with Sharp’s wonderful Zaurus, but that company’s schizophrenia when it came to development of the platform, customer interaction and even availability of the devices, has pretty much restricted the Zaurus to persistent, wealthy nerds — first mover, meet last mover.

That was just one vendor though, not five vendors and two of the biggest operators in the world. Can they pull it off, or will it all end in nitpicking and nothing like so many times in the past? I won’t call this one, but I think you know which way I’d like it to go…

Change Your No Reply Divert Ring Time

I keep missing calls when the phone is in the other room, because the handset is set to increasing ring, and it’s really only getting going when the No Reply divert kicks in. Today I got up off my arse and looked into this, and discovered that you can extend – or shorten of course – the divert time using a GSM network code, as follows: …

Call your voicemail from another phone

It’s surprising how many people aren’t aware of the fact that you can call your mobile voice mailbox from any phone, using your full voice mailbox number. Ok, it’s usually free if you dial 171, but if you have rubbish coverage, or your phone died, or you just left it somewhere, it can be very useful. …