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Published: 2016-01-12T09:30:48+01:00

 



How Much Do Your Text Messages Contribute To Global Warming?

2016-01-12T09:30:48+01:00

All carbon footprints are about bang for buck. So it's: How much does text messaging do for our lives? Against: What's the impact? NPR reports.

(image) When we wrote this a few years ago, we estimated that the carbon footprint of all the world's text messages to be 32,000 tons of CO2e per year. By now, it will have grown quite a bit, but 32,000 tons is still a tiny figure for all the world's text messaging.

... The estimate we made for an email was about 4 grams (of CO2e). So we're comparing 4 grams for an email and 0.014 grams for a text message, so we're talking about a factor of 300 between the two.(image)

Read more.




50% of adults shop on smartphones while browsing a store

2015-12-01T10:01:16+01:00

Half of all adult shoppers conduct product research on mobile devices while shopping in physical stores, according to the results of a new study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), reports VentureBeat.

(image) The practice is called “showrooming,” and it’s especially popular among younger consumers. The IAB defines showrooming as “comparing prices on a mobile device while in a retail store before purchasing.”

The study found that shoppers usually end up buying a product in a physical store after researching it on mobile while in store, but it is often not the same physical store where the mobile research began. The next most likely scenario is to buy the product from another store’s website after leaving the store, using either a mobile phone or a personal computer.

The 18-34 crowd, or Millennials, behave differently than other shoppers, however. More than two thirds of shoppers in that age range engage in showrooming, and they’re more likely to buy the product at a competing store than other shoppers, the study found. Older shoppers are more likely to buy at the same store after checking prices on a mobile device.

Millennials, the report said, are more likely to make purchases on smartphones than any other group. Forty-three percent said they do so. Consumers in other age groups are still more likely to make purchases on a tablet (35 percent) than on a smartphone (28 percent).(image)

Read more.




How smartphones offer Syrian refugees a lifeline

2015-11-28T08:06:44+01:00

(image) The proliferation of smartphones adds a wrinkle to one of the worst refugee crises in recent history, with more than 4 million citizens fleeing the civil war in Syria since 2011. Refugees are no longer completely helpless or lost, with the mobile device serving as their lifeline to family and support organizations. [via C/net]

(image) As governments are grappling with the issue, nonprofit organizations and startups like Disaster Tech Lab have stepped up to lend aid, whether with replacement handsets or using Airbnb-style strategies to locate housing. It also makes refugees better able to help themselves.(image)

Read full article.




Phones are becoming our primary shopping devices

2015-11-27T16:02:05+01:00

For the first time ever, more people are expected to visit retailers’ websites on their smartphones than from their desktops during the year’s busiest shopping period. [via Quartz]

(image) Mobile traffic for the five-day shopping bonanza over Thanksgiving is expected to reach 56.9% of total traffic, up from 48.5% last year, according to predictions from IBM’s Watson.

Many shoppers don’t resort to buying anything after they spend time looking, perplexing retailers. But sales from mobile shoppers are also expected to rise to 36.1% of all online sales from 27% last year, IBM Watson trend predicts. Forrester estimates mobile to account for 35% of e-commerce this year, up from 29% a year ago.

Smartphones have gotten bigger, making it easier to see what’s on offer, and mobile wallets are facilitating easier transactions, AP noted. Retailers have improved their mobile apps and coupon offerings.

Forrester predicts online sales to increase 11% to $95 billion, with mobile sales accounting for more of the total.

Some retailers are already way past the 50% tipping point. Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, predicts that 75% of US traffic will come from mobile devices during the holiday season.(image)

Read full article.




When Girls Compulsively Text, Their Grades Suffer

2015-10-16T08:35:17+01:00

(image) While adolescent girls and boys text at the same rates, girls tend to text more compulsively than boys—and their grades might suffer as a result, a new study found. TIME reports.

(image) The Pew Research Center study of Millennial communication habits, published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychology of Popular Media journal, found that texting is hugely popular among teenagers, with 63% of teens reporting they send and receive an average of 167 texts per day. (Only 35% report socializing face-to-face outside of school.)

... The findings show a gender disparity: while boys and girls both text at about the same rates, girls compulsively text about 20% more than boys. There also seems to be a connection between poor grades and compulsive texting that affects girls more strongly than boys.

The reasons why this is the case could come down to the different reasons why girls and boys text. A previous study showed that while boys tend to text to convey information, girls use texting as a means of social interaction and developing relationships, whether they be familial, friendly or romantic.(image)

Read full article. Image source cc.




Put warning labels on smartphones to prevent digital addiction, say researchers

2015-10-07T08:45:57+01:00

Warning labels on smartphones, tablets and other digital devices in the manner of cigarette packaging could help prevent users becoming addicted to their gadgets, according to research. [The Telegraph]

(image) Applying labels or messages on devices could encourage responsible usage and raise awareness of the potential side effects of digital addiction, researchers at Bournemouth University said.

Symptoms of addiction to social networks, sites and games can include tolerance to a continuous increase of usage, changes in user mood once they are online, withdrawal symptoms when away from the device and relapsing when trying to adjust to using it less, the study found.

The research drew parallels between the labelling used in the tobacco and alcohol industries to raise awareness of the potential consequences, stating ”we still do not have the same for addictive software”.(image)

Read more.




Science Says Your Cell Phone Use Could Be Hurting Your Relationship

2015-10-02T08:14:57+01:00

"Something as common as cellphone use can undermine the bedrock of our happiness". [via TIME]

(image) You probably Pphubb all the time, even if you don’t know what that means. And a new study says it could be damaging your relationship.

Pphubbing refers to “partner phone snubbing,” or when you get distracted by your cell phone when you’re with your significant other. A new study from Baylor University found that Pphubbing hurts relationship satisfaction, thus also negatively impacting overall happiness.

“What we discovered was that when someone perceived that their partner phubbed them, this created conflict and led to lower levels of reported relationship satisfaction,” James Roberts, a professor of marketing and co-author of the paper, said in a statement. “These lower levels of relationship satisfaction, in turn, led to lower levels of life satisfaction and, ultimately, higher levels of depression.”(image)

Read more.




How Text Messaging Curbs Infant Mortality in Africa’s Biggest Urban Slum

2015-09-09T11:47:28+01:00

(image) Almost half of Kenyan mothers do not give birth in a hospital and, thus, receive little professional care or education on basics such as how long to breast feed, what to do in the case of diarrhea and vomiting, or where to go for an emergency. In this issue of Digital Diversity, Cayte Bosler looks at an innovative text messaging service which helps parents differentiate between normal behaviors and signs that something might be wrong. [via National Geographic]

(image) Even in low income settings like Kibera, the majority of people have basic phones,” explains Malele Ngalu, marketing director for Kenya-based Totohealth. “We utilize SMS technology to help reduce maternal mortality and child mortality and to detect developmental abnormalities in early stages.”

Users subscribe to the service for free; the cost – about 25 cents per person a month – is covered by county governments, who see it as a way to improve community health. Once they’ve registered, users get weekly messages about what to expect from their children.

In addition to the weekly text messages, users also have full-time access to a help-desk feature for specific questions and concerns.

“Some of the questions we receive are life threatening,” Ngalu says. “We have a staff of trained medical professionals who respond within minutes.”

“Instead of building an app, we take advantage of what’s already used,” Ngalu says. “That’s the difference between what’s happening here and in other countries. SMS is still king in an African environment because over 50 percent of our communities are still remote.(image)

Read full article.




Smartphones are a vital survival tool for many of the millions who have been forced to flee Syria

2015-09-08T08:03:30+01:00

(image) For the Syrian refugees marooned at Budapest station in Hungary, charging a phone can be tricky. There’s one outlet in the train station, another in the nearby migration aid offices, and a few power lines offered up by satellite news trucks on the scene. Local businesses are a gamble – some have started charging high prices for the privilege of plugging a phone in. New Scientist reports.

(image) It was very obvious that people were desperately trying to find ways to charge their phones,” says Kate Coyer, director of the Civil Society and Technology Project at Central European University in Budapest. Smartphones are a vital survival tool for many of the millions who have been forced to flee Syria. Some say they relied on their phone’s GPS to navigate the thousands of kilometres into Europe. For example, The International Rescue Committee (IRC) documented one man’s trip from Aleppo to Hamburg, Germany, travelling by ferry, train, taxi and on foot. Throughout the two-month journey, he said GPS helped guide the way.

... WhatsApp also provides a critical link to friends and family left behind. Aid organisations have started to recognise the importance of a smartphone. In Jordan, a United Nations office hands out SIM cards. In Lebanon and northern Iraq, the IRC has given out thousands of solar-powered chargers.(image)

Read full article.




Drawing the line on acceptable use of cell phones in public

2015-08-27T07:32:17+01:00

You generally won't offend others if you use your cell phone while walking down the sidewalk or on public transportation, but use at the movies or church is definitely out. c/Net reports.

(image) Those are some of the findings of a new survey by the Pew Research Center on what Americans consider appropriate use of cell phones in public or social settings. The study reflects how technology is rewriting the rules of civility in a world in which 90 percent of the US adult population say they have a cell phone and 31 percent say they never turn it off, Pew said.

"People's cell phone use has injected itself into public spaces," the study's authors said. "This has blurred the line between private and public as often-intimate and occasionally blustering phone conversations have now become a common part of the background noise during bus rides, grocery shopping excursions, picnics, sidewalk strolls, waits in airport terminals and many other public venues.(image)

Read more.




A 21st-Century Migrant’s Essentials: Food, Shelter, Smartphone

2015-08-26T08:28:08+01:00

(image) The tens of thousands of migrants who have flooded into the Balkans in recent weeks need food, water and shelter, just like the millions displaced by war the world over. But there is also one other thing they swear they cannot live without: a smartphone charging station. The New York Times reports.

(image) Every time I go to a new country, I buy a SIM card and activate the Internet and download the map to locate myself,” Osama Aljasem, a 32-year-old music teacher from Deir al-Zour, Syria, explained as he sat on a broken park bench in Belgrade, staring at his smartphone and plotting his next move into northern Europe.

“I would never have been able to arrive at my destination without my smartphone,” he added. “I get stressed out when the battery even starts to get low.”

Technology has transformed this 21st-century version of a refugee crisis, not least by making it easier for millions more people to move. It has intensified the pressures on routes that prove successful — like this one through the Balkans, where the United Nations said Tuesday that about 3,000 people a day continued to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia.(image)

Read full article.




Microsoft Research’s new app turns your phone into a 3D scanner

2015-08-25T08:25:06+01:00

(image)

The practice of 3D printing may soon be a lot simpler. New technology from the Microsoft Research Lab allows 3D scanning to be done from your smartphone, with no additional hardware needed. [via TheNextWeb]

(image) Dubbed MobileFusion, the app allows you to walk around an object and scan it to your phone. It first captures the RGB data in an environment, then takes a stereo depth map as you make your way around an item.

Since an internet connection is not required, researchers see this as a useful tool for those on vacation, or hiking where a signal may not be available. Of course, given the time it takes to scan something, stationary people or objects are best.

Once a scan is complete, it’s rendered immediately, so users can see if they got the 3D image they desire.(image)

Watch video. Read Inside Microsoft Research Lab blog post.




China passed 250M 4G users in July, more than double the subscribers in the U.S.

2015-08-25T07:50:45+01:00

(image) China’s 4G mobile users surpassed 250 million for the first time at the end of July, according to newly released data (link in Chinese) from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (hat tip to TechNode). If you throw 3G users into the mix, that number shoots up to a whopping 695 million users, with China’s total mobile user base now at 1.29 billion. VentureBeat reports.

(image) 250 million is a milestone to be celebrated — it represents 4G penetration of nearly 20 percent, versus 40 percent (over 100 million) in the US at the end of 2014. Still, the figure belies a slightly shadier forecast: The report made clear that China’s mobile user growth rate so far this year has slowed to just a quarter of what it was over the same period in 2014.

... Xinhua, the Chinese government’s official press agency, on Monday also had the 250 million number. The same report pointed out that the country’s three telecom giants — China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile (currently the world’s largest telco) — “raked in a total of 75.3 billion yuan (about $11.8 billion) in the first half of 2015.” This was largely off the back of continued 4G growth.(image)

Read full article.




Are Smartphones Making Us All Infomaniacs?

2015-08-21T11:17:22+01:00

A recent survey by Statista shows that, among all adults 18-65, 11% check their phones every few minutes. 41% check them at least a couple of times an hour. Tim Bajarin Analysis for TechPinions via re/code.

(image) It seems one of the things they check often is email. 33.8% check their email throughout the day and 39% do it at least 1-3 times a day.

(image)

This is not too surprising since email has been a key info/data point since the Blackberry hit the market in the mid-1990’s. However, now that we also have access to news and social media, the tendency to pull our phones out and look at them over 100 times a day, according to various research reports on smartphone usage, is turning most people into infomaniacs without them even knowing it.

... Although we have had the technology to let us be connected around the clock for decades, the inclusion of a smartphone as an information enabler takes this to new levels. It makes it possible for anyone to gain access to just about anything they could want or need and that feeds their nomphobiac tendencies. I will let the social scientists deal with its impact on mankind but I suspect its long-term effect on most of us will not be good.(image)

Read full article.




The Rise of Phone Reading

2015-08-13T21:45:11+01:00

Ever since the first hand-held e-readers were introduced in the 1990s, the digital-reading revolution has turned the publishing world upside down. But contrary to early predictions, it’s not the e-reader that will be driving future book sales, but the phone....