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Cell Phones

India Mandates Cell Phone Panic Buttons in Response to Widespread Violence Against Women

India's Telecommunications Ministry has made it mandatory that mobile phone companies implement a panic button on their phones in response to the slew of reported cases of sexual assault and violence against women.

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San Diego Comic-Con Bans Selfie Sticks, Maybe With Good Reason?

Start kissing up to your long-armed friends NOW.

If you're going to Comic-Con this year and like taking selfies, you'd better have long arms, or at least be friends with people who are. Because SDCC has announced that they are banning selfie sticks this year as one of several changes to their technology policies. Who do you think you are, SDCC? The Cannes Film Festival?

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Nintendo’s Mobile Game Plans Are Literally the Opposite of a Good Idea

They're going full Wario.

No, Nintendo. Putting mobile games alongside your old games on your hardware is not the same as putting your old games on mobile hardware alongside mobile games.

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Clever App Will Finally Get Students to Stop Using Cell Phones in Class

Or just hide under your chair. They won't know that you're there!

College kids finally have a reason to pay attention in class instead of checking their phones that's a lot more convincing than "college is incredibly expensive": free food!

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Talking on Your Cellphone Doesn’t Make You a Jerk, But It Does Make You Less Likely to Help Others

It doesn't mean you're NOT a jerk, either, but correlation is not causation.

According to a recent study, people talking on cell phones in public were much less likely to offer help to a stranger than those who were not. This sounds like a win for those of us who think that all cell-phone talkers are the literal worst, right? Well, not necessarily.

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Research Suggests No Link Between Cell Phone Use and Car Crashes

Still though, please don't read this article while driving.

A new statistical study of cell phone use has come up with results that surprised the researchers: they found no correlation between a documented rise in cell phone usage and the number of car crashes. While their research might not tell the whole story, it could call into question some assumptions about the dangers of driving while on the phone.

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Comedian Jay Larson Teaches Everyone How to Deal With Calls From Unknown Numbers

I always answer calls from numbers I don't know, and I'm always disappointed.

Most people ignore calls from a number they don't recognize. Not Jay Larson. Watch this clip from his recent appearance on Conan where he tells the story of a call he received from an unknown number. He took a pretty mundane event and turned into days worth of personal entertainment -- for him. For us it's about six minutes of entertainment.

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A GIF Guide to When It’s Okay to Use Your Phone in the Theater So Someone Else Doesn’t Throw It Away

Last night, National Review Online writer Kevin Williamson lived out our collective dreams and tossed the phone of a fellow audience member into the wings of a small outdoor theater. Part of us wants to call Williamson a hero, but polity brings us up short on that point. The cure for rudeness shouldn't be more rudeness, and grabbing someone's phone is likely to land you in some legal trouble or a fistfight, depending on the demeanor of the person whose phone you just threw. It's just bad behavior all the way around, and though it's tempting to, we can't condone any of it.

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If You Have Loved Ones in Boston, Please Text Them Instead of Calling

Our hearts go out this afternoon to the people of Boston and those with family there, and sometimes, that's all we can say about a thing. In the wake of two explosions near the marathon's finish line, it's too early to do much but offer our condolences to those affected. We do feel obliged to pass along one piece of advice -- if you're looking to get in touch with friends or family in the area, please text them rather than calling. We know there's no replacement for hearing a loved ones' voice in the wake of a senseless tragedy like this, but authorities in the area have requested that people use text in the interest of keeping phone lines open for emergency response teams.

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Prepaid Cell Provider Ting Wants to Buy Your Love, Pay Off Your Early Termination Fees to Switch

The biggest thing keeping most people tied to their cell phone company is the hefty early termination fees attached to their contracts. Even when you can get a better deal at a different company, having to pay upwards of a few hundreds dollars (mine is $325 with AT&T) to get out of your contract can keep you from pulling the trigger. What if the company you're switching to offered to pay that fee for you? That's what prepaid provider Ting is trying. They want to pay your early termination for you to get you to switch -- sort of.

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Indian Prime Minister to Provide Free Cell Phones to Low-Income Families

A number of sources have reported to The Times of India that Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, is planning to provide mobile handsets to the nation's over 6 million families living below the poverty line. The plan involves not only distributing mobile phones completely free of charge, but also providing 200 minutes of free local calls. Although the Office of the Prime Minister has yet to make an official statement regarding the "Har Hath Mein Phone" plan, it is expected to be announced to the public next week, on August 15. This could very well be the first chance for many Indian children to whine and beg for mom's phone to play the preinstalled trial version of Snake.

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SNL Lambastes the Baffling World of Cellular Phone Advertisements [Video]

The venerable comedy show Saturday Night Live turned its satiric eye to the confusing, brand name and acronym laden world of cellular phone advertising with their satire of Verizon LTE ads last night. In it, a hapless customer endures a barrage of meaningless comparisons, buzzwords, and bewildering stats before reaching a rather inevitable conclusion. Oh, and even if you think you know what all those words meant, it's far more confusing than you might think.

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Happy 19th Birthday, Text Messaging!

On December 3, 1992, Richard Jarvis received the world's first text message on his Orbitel 901 cellphone from Neil Papworth. The text of that first message is a bit premature, saying: "Merry Christmas." In a twist which seems to foreshadow the birth of services like Google Voice and spam texting, this seminal text was sent from a computer.

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Two Malls to Track Customer Movement with Cell Phones Starting Black Friday

Black Friday. You've heard about the crazy mobs, the tramplings, the stampedes. With the number of people running around on Black Friday, if you watched them hard enough, you might even be able to learn something about swarm intelligence. And where people shop. It's probably that second one that prompted the Promenade Temecula in southern California and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Virginia to track their customers' movements via cell signals.

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How Cell Phones Shape the Lives of College Students [Infographic]

Cell phones have changed college life for sure. I mean, back in the day, people used to actually have hardwired phones in their dorms and stuff. Right? I don't even know. I'm not that old. In any event, there's no arguing that among people who are using their phones to the fullest extent possible, college kids are right up there. But what exactly are the using them for? This infographic from HackCollege jumps right into that.

As it turns out, a whopping 94% of college students are texting everyday, 97% of those with smartphones are using them for social networking and 88% regularly text in class. Of course, there are some exceptions to these rules. The one I find the most confusing is that apparently only 75% of college students sleep with their phones next to them. How is that not 100%? Where else would you keep a phone at night? Does anyone actually still use dedicated alarm clocks? I guess so, but I find that pretty hard to believe.

Full infographic after the jump.

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San Fran Subway Cut Cell Phone Communication to Disrupt Protest

The San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has confirmed that the organization disrupted cell phone service inside subway stations during a protest. Transit officials say that they intended to prevent what they called a disruptive protest planned for August 11. From the release:
Organizers planning to disrupt BART service [...] stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police. A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators. BART temporarily interrupted service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform.
The release goes on to say that BART recognizes the individual right to free speech, but does not allow protests in areas that require payment to enter -- including station platforms, and subway cars. Protestors reportedly planned activities in response to the killing of Charles Blair Hill by the BART police on July 3, after Hill apparently pulled a knife on officers. This came after another fatal shooting of an unarmed man in 2009 by BART officers. Like other transit systems around the country, BART operates underground nodes to provide cell phone coverage to subway travelers.

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World Health Organization Says Cell Phone Use Can Increase Cancer Risk

The World Health Organization now lists cell phone use as a "carcinogenic hazard," a category of cancer risks that contains lead, engine exhaust and chloroform, though it only lists cell phone use as a risk, and made clear that it has found no conclusive evidence linking cell phone use to any adverse health risks. The news here, however, is that the WHO now recognizes cell phone use as a potential cancer risk, whereas previously, they did not. A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries peer-reviewed studies on cell phone safety and found enough evidence to reach the conclusion that cell phone use could indeed pose a health risk. There haven't been any longterm studies to determine if cell phone use definitely poses a health risk, but the WHO claims there is a possible connection.

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Notice Is Hereby Given That All Citizens MUST Everywhere, Everyday, Constantly …

Finally! A law with universal popular support. (via Reddit | Available at Burning Books)

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Richard Stallman: Cell Phones Are “Stalin’s Dream”

"I don't have a cell phone. I won't carry a cell phone ... It's Stalin's dream. Cell phones are tools of Big Brother. I'm not going to carry a tracking device that records where I go all the time, and I'm not going to carry a surveillance device that can be turned on to eavesdrop." -- If you've been playing at home, add cell phones to the list of things that master hacker, GNU creator, and web freedom advocate Richard Stallman has a problem with. Speaking with NetworkWorld, Stallman called cell phones a tool for totalitarians. (NetworkWorld via Slashdot)

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“Phonekerchief” Blocks Cell Signals During Dates, Lets Others Know You Care

The Phonekerchief is a handkerchief/pocket square made of "a smart material that actually blocks phone signals." (Its makers don't say what that material actually is; assuming it actually works, I'd guess it's some sort of metalized synthetic material like aluminized Mylar, although I suppose it could contain electrified chicken wire. You never know.) Basically, the idea here is that if you're out on a date at a fancy restaurant that doesn't mind slightly sillily embroidered handkerchiefs, you at once block the signal on your cellphone and broadcast the information that you're blocking your cell signal to your date (and possibly to other diners) to ensure for an intimate meal and undivided attention. One might ask, "but why not just turn the cellphone off during the meal?" But come on, nobody actually does that. (via Fashionably Geek; product page starting November 25th)

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