Archives: April 2007

Texting Conventions Cross Over to Writing

The State Examination Commission, an education commission in Dublin, Ireland, said that text messaging poses a threat to schoolchildren, after reviewing the examination results of 15-year-olds.

“Text messaging, with its use of phonetic spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a threat to traditional conventions in writing,” the commission said in a recently released report.

They went on to say that students seem to be using shorter sentences with a limited vocabulary.

Report: Text messaging harms written language [Reuters via CNN]

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Ellie-Nominated Mags Go Mobile

ellies_hardware_hp12.jpgThis week, the 2007 National Magazine Awards will showcase the best and the brightest in the magazine industry. Yet — from Fortune to Wired, and beyond — underneath the glossy surface, there’s a new revolution underway in mobile technology, and many of this year’s nominees are taking advantage of it.

Transitioning to a new platform is nothing new for publishers. Magazines first began migrating content to the Web about 10 years ago. They created elaborate Web sites that featured articles from print issues as well as exclusive stories. Then, publishers added slideshows and video feeds as consumer broadband dropped in price and became commonplace. Now, the industry is shifting again — this time to the cell phone.

Read more

The Economist: Writing is on the Wall for Copy Protection

DVDeconomist.jpgThe UK-based Economist has a great article about digital rights management (DRM) called “Criminalizing the Consumer.”

It’s an easy-to-read history of copy protection, as well as how it applied to making mix tapes way back when, and where’s it’s headed now — hopefully, the garbage bin.

From the article: “Belatedly, music executives have come to realize that DRM simply doesn’t work. It is supposed to stop unauthorized copying, but no copy-protection system has yet been devised that cannot be easily defeated. All it does is make life difficult for paying customers, while having little or no effect on clandestine copying plants that churn out pirate copies.” (The clichéd-but-true “locks only keep honest people honest” argument.)

Now the same is due to happen to the video market, according to The Economist. As always, this all has tremendous implications for mobile media. Since today’s phones can hold four gigabytes of data on a single card (enough for hours of video or a thousand songs), and many phones come with built-in music and video players, we could buy music or movies and then take them with us wherever we wanted.

That is, if there was no longer any copy protection.

Criminalizing the Consumer [The Economist]

Report: 7 Million Download Mobile Games Each Month

The NPD Group just released a report about the mobile game industry here in the U.S. MocoNews lists some relevant numbers from the report:

- 29 million subscribers play games;
- 7 million download games each month;
- 29% of games were downloaded by consumers aged 25-34;
- 27% of games were downloaded by consumers aged 18-24;
- 15% of games were downloaded by consumers aged 13-17;
- teens are most likely to download games, but there aren’t as many teens as there are adults.

7 Million Download Games Each Month In US [MocoNews]

Cingular’s New Widgets

Cingular has teamed up with Freewebs, a multimedia marketing company with clients that include Adidas, Sony, and Reebok. The two firms together will launch ad-supported ringtones and “widgets,” as well as host user-generated content.

The initiative is targeted at music enthusiasts. Fans can download ringtones, rewrite lyrics, and upload videos of themselves dancing to a new single from a favorite artist. Freewebs will choose winners to feature on their home page each week. People can then vote on their favorites, as well as download videos or photos to their phones to take with them.

According to MediaPost, the idea behind the campaign is to strike a balance between relevant, contextual advertising, and ads that are inconspicuous. Good luck with that.

Cingular Plays With Widgets [MediaPost]

Soon You Can Control Live TV with Text Messages

artificiallife.jpgArtificial Life, Inc., a mobile games company based in Hong Kong with titles such as America’s Next Top Model 8 and the upcoming (Japan-only) Happy Feet, just bought SMS Galaxy from the Swiss firm Script Avenue AG.

If you haven’t heard of SMS Galaxy before — and you probably haven’t because it’s only used in Switzerland right now — it’s a system that lets you “control” a 3D avatar on a live television show by sending text messages from your phone.

In Switzerland, it’s been used on a top-rated daily show for four seasons, according to Artificial Life. No word yet on which shows or games will support it over here.

Artificial Life, Inc. Acquires SMS Galaxy; New Mobile Avatar Interface to Live TV Shows [Artificial Life]

Local 1st May Reboot Party in Latvia

The 1st may tradition of changing website design have been established in year 2000 and now this tradition have turned in huge worldwide event for many designers and web activists. The idea of 1st May Reboot is to give website owners reason to think about importance of design, how to make it more interesting, individual and user friendly. If it is first time when you hear about this event go and check for more information about 2007 Reboot event and list of participants at 1st May Reboot page.

Reboot Party

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Steve Jobs Nixes Subscription Music Idea (Again)

iPodfamily.jpgSteve Jobs never liked the idea of subscription-based music. He feels that consumers would rather buy instead of “rent” their tunes. Even if you get access to two million songs a month, you have to keep paying a monthly fee, or else all the songs stop working.

(This is the idea behind MP3 players such as the Yahoo-powered Sansa Connect.)

At any rate, Steve Jobs reiterated his position in a Reuters interview published today, putting recent rumors to rest (for now, at least).

We’re just hoping that he can convince the other music labels to drop digital rights management from their music catalogs. As we’ve said numerous times on this blog, the mobile media revolution will go nowhere if you have to buy a song once for your iPod and again for your cell phone; that’s insane. Subscription-based services are fine–we’ll take ‘em or leave ‘em, really–but DRM is the real problem, not the lack of a rent-a-music offering.

Jobs: Apple customers not into renting music [Reuters via CNN]

4INFO Expands Text Advertising

We’re starting to see a lot of text-based mobile services. While software vendors battle it out to get their programs working on hundreds of possible handsets, text campaigns allow companies to skip all that heartache, since texting works on just about any modern phone.

On the advertising side, 4INFO, a text ad firm that counts GM/Chevy, MobiTV, and Denny’s among its client roster, is launching a new SMS text/ad service. The 4INFO Advertising Marketplace lets marketers reach consumers with text ads in tandem with partners USA Today, TV Guide and Spark Networks, as well as 4INFO’s own mobile services.

According to 4INFO, text traffic hit 99 billion in 2006 and is expected to reach 142 million by the end of the decade.

4INFO Mobile Search [4INFO]

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Philips: It’s about Sense and Simplicity

philips.jpgPhilips is offering a new, free service for cell phone users. Philips Simplicity Concierge lets you send text messages in order to find out things about cities you plan on traveling to (or are already in), such as restaurants.

No big deal there, since lots of services already offer that on mobile (most notably Google). The Philips version is purported to be easy to read, however, with the top 5 listings sent back in text format along with phone numbers.

According to The New York Times, the recommendations made by the service are being drawn from the content of Condé Nast Web sites in a $5 million deal. The service will be available on the Internet and by cellphone through the end of the year.

Philips is also experimenting with online commerce, in that text results will come with links (when appropriate, and only on Web-enabled phones) to Amazon.com so people can make purchases.

Product Tips You Can Use, by Way of Cellphone [NYT]