All posts tagged ‘Obama’

by MBAugust 13, 2009

ReBlog of the Week: "When Radio Meets Mobile in Pakistan" by Corinne Ramey

In our Mobile First Society, the phone is becoming the great equalizer. In this week's ReBlog, Corinne Ramey from takes a look at how people in Pakistan (and the rest of the developing world) listen to radio on their mobiles, and why this could have a potentially disruptive, and democratizing, impact.


In Pakistan even the cheapest mobile phones, those without cameras or other advanced features, come with the ability to listen to FM radio. Every day, and especially during cricket matches, people walk around the streets with their phones pressed to their ears, tuned into their local stations, says Huma Yusuf, a journalist based in Pakistan.

In Pakistan and other countries in the developing world, mobile phones are ubiquitous. In June 2009, Pakistan had 94.3 million mobile subscribers, or about 58 percent of the population, according to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, a government agency. And mobiles phones have become a popular way to tune into radio, a medium that has already been documented to be powerful in democratization and civil society. Although its not yet clear what effect the combination of mobile and radio will have, mixing increased mobile penetration with radio is a potentially powerful combination.

The evolving relationship between mobiles and radios was one of the subjects of a recent report by LIRNEasia, a think tank that studies ICT policy across the Asia Pacific. The most surprising finding was that in three of the countries studied -- Bangladesh, India and Pakistan -- more people own mobile phones than radios, says Ayesha Zainudeen, research manager at LIRNEasia.

About 24 percent of people in Pakistan own radios, according to the study. Not only has phone ownership surpassed radio ownership in some countries, but people are tuning in to the radio on their phones. According to the study, about 7 percent of people in Pakistan listen to radio on their phones. However, Zainudeen said the numbers likely underreported the number of listeners. In 10,000 face-to-face interviews conducted by the researchers, people reported other family members listening to the radio on a phone shared within the family, which was not counted in the study.

In Pakistan, where radio stations operate under state restrictions, radio operators have become creative to share useful content, says Yusuf, the journalist. For example, FM stations will invite guests who will talk about issues that are technically illegal to discuss on the air. "We have a poor government licensing department," said Yusuf. "There's a lot that happens, so they forget and don't realize they need to shut something down." Radio stations have also used traffic reports, which are permitted by the government, as a means of reporting gang violence, looting and other unsafe conditions. In this article, Yusuf writes:

The radio journalist Waqar Azmat advised drivers to avoid the area known as Gurumandir, "because the conditions there are not good, there is no traffic in the area." A few minutes later, at 2:26 p.m., he returned to the airwaves to say, "traffic on Shaheed-e-Millat Road is very bad, as it is on Sharah-e-Faisal. There's madness all the way until Tipu Sultan Road. Drivers should choose their routes carefully so that they don't become victims of bad traffic."

Descriptions of traffic became code for urban warfare and violence, warning listeners where it wasn't safe to travel or be outdoors. In the future, Yusuf thinks that the combination of radio and mobiles could become especially interesting is in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) "This is the place where radio can have most explosive impact," she said.

Currently, the Taliban has about 150 illegal FM radio stations in this area, but the Pakistani government is considering allowing other stations in order to counter the Taliban. "That legislation is expected soon," said Yusuf. "If that passes, I think that lots of incredible things will happen." While the government is unlikely to allow community radio stations across the country - for fear of the power of local reporting, said Yusef - they also recognize the potential impact that community radio stations could have against the Taliban. The Obama administration has also supported the use of cell phones and radio in this area. "The way Obama phrased it is that we're losing the information war against the Taliban," said Yusuf.

As more people in Pakistan (and the rest of the developing world) listen to radio on their mobiles, the growing number of listeners could have a potentially disruptive, and democratizing, impact. And likely, these listeners won't just be tuning in to cricket scores.

Corinne Ramey has written for publications including The Forward, the NY Daily News, City Hall News, The Capitol and the Manhattan Times. On the web, she's written for blogs including PBS Mediashift Idea Lab, and

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by MBAugust 10, 2009

News to Us: Kickball with the Jonas Bros, Obamedia, Text-a-Librarian, Cameraphone Check Deposits and More


What Parents Think Teens Are Doing on Social Networks, and What the Teens are Actually Doing [LA Times]
Common Sense Media has found that 37% of teens claim to use social networks to make fun of others, though only 18% of parents believe their own kids do so. The rest of the data illustrates parents' misguided perception of teens' social behavior.

Verizon, LG Give Jonas Bros. Fans a Kick [AdWeek]
The Jonas Brothers are holding  video contest that will allow U.S. concert attendees to create an interactive video of themselves jamming out or playing kickball with the band, via green screen technology. "Playing live in front of our fans and interacting with them in new ways is really what it's all about for us," said Kevin Jonas.

Will Barack Obama's Media Ubiquity Be the Most Significant Aspect of His Presidency? [New York Magazine]
Through Twitter, Flickr, SMS speeches, Facebook campaigns, and an iPhone app, this White House is defining itself by its use of social, digital, and mobile technology in reaching to the American people and the world.

Your "Real" Friends are Your Online Friends (or so Says Gen Y) [ReadWriteWeb]
A recent UK Myspace study amongst 16,000 14-21 year old found that 36% found it easier to talk about themselves online than offline. Compare that to  72% who felt "left-out" in their offline social interactions.

A Text Messaging Reference Service [ResourceShelf]
The Alliance Library system has partnered with 50 libraries to offer SMS reference inquiries to its users. Patrons will be able to text an actual librarian to receive info about specific books.

Apple to Stream First Live Concert to the iPhone Tonight [NewTeeVee]
Tonight Apple will produce its first-ever live event streamed to the iPhone: A concert by the electronica band Underworld. You can view the stream at or

Think Again: Twitter [Foreign Policy]
As Twitter is being hailed as a democratic power tool, users must bear in mind that authoritarian regimes will not have too much problem tracing back to dissidents.

Need to Deposit a Check? Try Your iPhone [MarketingVOX]
This week, the USAA bank will releasing an iPhone app that allows its customers to take a picture of a check as a deposit method. After the picture is taken and sent, users can even void or destroy the check.

AR + Physics + Marbles [RubbishCorp]
Students at Columbia University's Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab have developed an augmented reality game that guides a virtual marble through a dynamic maze of obstacles.

Can Smartphones Save the Sex Business? [Fast Company]
The current slump in the adult entertainment industry is about more than just the recession. Like music and news, porn must compete against a raft of free content. Now the business is betting that mobile is its salvation.

Big Media Companies Navigate Free Content and Apps [NYTimes]
Media companies are rushing to offer iPhone apps, while trying to find the right revenue model, including one-time payments, in-app ads, monthly subscription, and paid content.

British Troops Encouraged to Tweet (To a Degree) [Marketing Pilgrim]
Soldiers from the UK have been officially allowed to tweet as long as the info shared is respectful of army policy. The move comes as a sharp contrast with the US army, which has banned all use of social media while on duty.

Millennials Are More Likely To Pay For Your Content [Engage: Gen-Y]
New research shows that 80% of Gen-Y would consider paying for music compared to only 52% of baby boomers. Similar results for paid TV content (Gen-Y 69%, Boomers 51%) and news content (Gen-Y 43%, Boomers 36%).

New Use for Your iPhone: Controlling Drones [Wired]
MIT has been exploring intuitive ways for the military to control unmanned robots, including an iPhone app. Not only would a iPhone-like controller make soldiers’ jobs much easier, it also opens up UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to a whole new, non-military market. If robot control is cheap and intuitive, people might find all kinds of new uses.

by MBJuly 15, 2009

News to Us: Call-a-Tree, Morphing Phones, Cross Reality, iPhone Concert, and More


The Tree Museum in the Bronx: The Talk of the Town [The New Yorker]
A public work of conceptual art in the Bronx called the Tree Museum consists of trees tagged with phone numbers. Call the number and get historic info about this tree, the neighborhood, and larger environmental issues related to the exhibition.

Smartphone Satisfaction Numbers [eMarketer]
The iPhone is leading the pack by all measures, but BlackBerry is putting up a fight. The two devices are way in front of other smartphones even in terms of usage numbers.

Download This [trendcentral]
TrendCentral picks out three popular apps for the iPhone 3GS:

>>iPhone 3GS Jailbreak: For those who want "more"
>>RunPee: Best times to go pee when watching a movie
>>12 Seconds: Think of it as twitter in a video format

Getting Noticed in Apple's iPhone App Store [WSJ]
A look at what it takes to actually succeed on the app store such as promoting your product through social networks and bloggers, understanding your market (in terms of age, and geography), and leveraging advertising power.

Meet the Mobile Phones of Tomorrow [PC World]
A compilation of innovation and patents that might affect the way phones evolve and their functionality. Top: Morph by Nokia, a nanotechnology based phone that actually cleans itself and can be reshaped at will.

Cross Reality: When Sensor Networks Meet Virtual Reality [ReadWriteWeb]
MIT expects that mobile devices will play an important role in future Cross Reality applications, think SecondLife -style virtual world layered on top of the real world.  The lab has already begun to experiment in this area, with a Star Trek-inspired device it calls a Tricorder and a newer device called the "Ubicorder" that provide a real time interface to sensor data.

Google Voice Goes Mobile [NYTimes]
The invite-only service from Google is offering a stand alone application for Android and BlackBerry users. The app allows calls directly from the phone as well as SMS and marks another milestone in the history of VoIP. Turns To Users To Build Up Listings; The Plan For A ‘Connectory’ [mocoNews]
WhitePages is opening up, allowing users to submit their personal info to their database. Already, the site lets people send text messages for free and those who create listings may soon have access to advanced voice mail accounts. Some additional functionality will be based on technology acquired via the company’s purchase of voice services startup Snapvine a year ago.

Obama’s Ghana Speech Highlights Delivered Live via SMS [Mobile Marketer]
Live speech highlights were sent via SMS to Africans and international/non-US residents in both French and English. Recipients could also respond with the chance of being featuring on the US government's site.

3,700 Tweets And 480,000 Characters Later, There Will Be An Original Novel On Twitter [TechCrunch]
Matt Stewart was unable to find a publisher for his " The French Revolution" novel, so he is now tweeting the book 140 characters at a time.

iPhone Musicians Invited to Perform Live with Indie Legends Good Night, States [engadget]
People who create beats with the app, a synthesizer for iPhone, are invited to plug their iPhones/iPods into the sound system and jam with indie rockers Good Night, States at Mr. Small's in Pittsburgh this Friday.

Wow, the iPhone is Now the Most Popular Camera on Flickr [hey, it's noah]
According to Flicker's camera graph, the iPhone was momentarily the number one camera on Flickr, inching ahead of the Canon EOS. The sharp spike likely coincided with the launch of iPhone 3GS with its much-improved 3 megapixel camera.

by MBJuly 9, 2009

News to Us: Mood Searching, Facebook Fan Box, Smartphoniacs and More


Addicts of the Information Age [WSJ]
Can't put your smartphone down? Some may call you rude, the Wall Street Journal call you a "Smartphoniac". This "condition" crosses demographics and goes way beyond bad manners, stemming from “a deeper disconnect anxiety, an irrepressible fear that you will miss something if you put it away." Look for the University of Florida's study on the subject, currently being conducted.

GeoMe Launches World’s First Mood Based Search Engine on Mobile [IntoMobile]
The search engine offers location-based searching with updates for your friends. Available on any Java based phone, users can even indicate their mood (from "Cheap" to "Sexy") for filtering results. The search engine battle continues, will niche dominate mass?

Facebook Debuts 'Fan Box' Tool [CNET News]
The social network is opening up even more with a widget for brands, products, celebrities, or anyone that has a fan page to embed their presence on their own sites.  People can now become fans, get live updates, even browse other fans' pictures without going to Facebook at all.

YAPPA Rolls MagaStore iPhone App [Wireless Watch Japan]
YAPPA and Dentsu have launched an iPhone app for browsing or buying Japanese magazines.  The project is going to be launched on a multitude of mobile platforms, and promises to be huge and probably imitated elsewhere (CondeNast, are you reading this?).

Africa texts Obama Before Visit [BBC News]
Obama is once again using mobile technology to connect with the people, soliciting questions via text prior to his trip to Africa. The best questions will be selected by African journalists and asked to the Prez. Who needs the red phone anymore? Just text the guy.

Google's AdSense for iPhone Trips up Advertisers [Advertising Age]
Fresh from its launch two weeks ago, Google AdSense for iPhone is still facing some issues, mainly that ads look formatted for the desktop and not mobile. This is by design; Google thinks that HTML-enabled smartphones are just like little desktops. However this fails to consider the unique relationship that people have with their phones.

Youth Lifestyle Trends | Youth Marketing Mobile Culture Research [mobileYouth]
A look at how teens in China use their mobile, how entrepreneurship might save unemployed youth, and a general roundup of what is happening to young people everywhere.

Coldwell Banker Uses Billboard to Interact with Mobile Consumers [Mobile Marketer]
A huge billboard display on Times Square lets you text any zipcode to 30241 and see sample prices for homes in that area...on the billboard. The interactive DOOH campaign is a smart idea for the real estate powerhouse, especially since the real estate market's integration into the mobile universe is sill lagging.

by MBJuly 6, 2009

News to Us: Youth Trends, Citizen Arrest, Real Estate Apps, Studying On the Go & More


Trends in Youth Media [mobileYouth]
New research about teen music consumption, their relationship to TV, and their responsiveness to ads on various mediums.

Two in three Japanese dissatisfied with their mobile carrier [WhatJapanThinks]
New study by Goo research shows that 2/3 of Japanese from all ages, and sexes, are dissatisfied with their carrier. The grudge comes from voice plan rates, data rates, network availability, and lack of choice for phone model.

Boston Debuts Citizen Connect iPhone App [PSFK]
The city of Boston has just released an iPhone app that allows residents to file minor complaints with their mobile device. The app supports picture, and text complaints which are geo-tagged through the iPhone's GPS. After mobilizing the complaint, residents receive a tracking number to follow what the city is doing about it.

Google Maps Will Now Include Property Listings [BusinessInsider]
Available in Australia, Gmaps now offers Aussies the ability to find real estate deals around them. The certainty of the feature being launched in the U.S. is unquestionable. Idea: how about a mobile app that notifies apartment hunters when they are in proximity of a location that meets their criteria.

Raising the Ante on Metrics for Mobile Advertising [Mobile Marketer]
In the constant move to find accurate ways of measuring the effectiveness of advertising, the mobile platform offers detailed metrics that no other medium can. Whether through WAP, or smartphone browsing and applications, mobile metrics offer users' preferences, history and, most importantly, behavior.

Obama On The Go: Clippz Launches Mobile Channel For White House Videos [TechCrunch]
Clippz eliminates the hassle of figuring out if a video will play on your phone.  By entering your phone model, the service offers you a choice of videos that will play on your device. They even launched a dedicated White House channel.

Taco Bell Spices up Marketing Strategy with Mobile [Mobile Marketer]
Taco Bell has just launched a new iPhone application to promote its 79, 89, 99 cents value meal. Users enter their budget, shake their phone, and get a randomized choice from the value meal. Taco Bell says that the mobile medium is perfect for its demographic, and the on-the-go customer.

Watermelon Express [Watermelon]
Crunching for the GRE, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, or even the SAT? Watermelon Express offers internet, laptop, and mobile applications to help you study wherever you are, whenever you want.

by MBJune 4, 2009

Week Links: Obama SMSes Speech Globally, MTV's Alexa Chung, Wireless Cars, Palm Pre Mania & More

State Department to Text Obama Speech [NY Times]
Once again showing off the Obama administration’s tech savvy, highlights from the President’s speech in Cairo today will be texted in 13 languages to more than 200 countries. The texting program also allows people to respond via text, with their comments appearing online here.

Unilever to Trial Mobile Coupons [mocoNews]
With Unilever’s new four-week trial program at a New Jersey ShopRite, it’s clear mobile coupons are going mainstream. Marc Shaw, Unilever’s director of integrated marketing, acknowledges that mobile coupons were “a Holy Grail thing that people have been trying to figure out,” but he also says they're “on target for where consumers’ heads are at right now.”

Donors send 18 mln euro for Italy quake victims via SMS [textually]
Around 18 million euros have been collected through an SMS campaign to help victims of a deadly earthquake in Italy.

MTV’s ‘Alexa Chung’ tunes into Facebook, Twitter [CNET]
Replacing the outdated TRL, MTV’s “It’s On with Alexa Chung” will feature on-screen tweets, content sourced from Facebook, audience contribution from polls to remixed YouTube videos and updates from Chung’s own Twitter account.

Nokia Branding N97 as a Mobile Computer, Not a Phone [mediabistro]
The press release for Nokia’s new N97 device promises a 3.5” touch display, QWERTY keyboard and customizable home screen. What it doesn’t mention is voice services or any reference to the word “phone.”

ABI Research: Mobile consumers ready to support green initiatives [IntoMobile]
A new study found that nearly half of mobile users in the U.S. are “somewhat likely or very likely to be influenced by suppliers’ green credentials when purchasing services or devices.”

Africa’s upwardly mobile money [Reuters]
M-PESA has filled a void in Africa where only 1 in 5 people have bank accounts but at least 270 million have mobile phones. The network, owned by Kenya’s biggest mobile phone firm and partnered with Kenya Commercial Bank, lets phone users who do not have bank accounts send each other money. And this is just the beginning: A recent Garner report states that the global market for mobile money is growing at 70 percent a year and will be mainstream by 2012.

Palm Pre Mania Begins With Six More Days To Go [mocoNews]
This Saturday, Sprint will introduce the new Palm Pre. Tech reviews have touted its great user interface and design, but will it be the next “iPhone killer” its makers are hoping for?

Gartner Says Wireless Connectivity to be Main Focus for Vehicle Manufacturers by 2012 [FierceWireless]
Gartner has found that by 2012 the majority of vehicle manufacturers will focus on developing products that enable wireless data connectivity in more than half of their next-generation cars.

Networking Sites Extend Reach [WSJ]
Handset makers and wireless carriers are working on developing mid-range mobile phones tailored to social networking. While these features are popular on high-end smartphones, they’ve typically been clunky at best on regular cellphones.

MediaPost Publications AdMob To Launch New iPhone Ad Units [MediaPost]
With the new iPhone will come new ad formats from AdMob. The new units were based on requests from advertisers and will cover social networking, search and rich media displaying advertising on iPhone apps and the mobile Web.

Retailers Explore Links to Social-Networking Sites [WSJ]
The advice of friends is a powerful influence and more and more retailers are hoping to harness that by connecting their sites to social networks like Facebook and the Facebook Connect platform, MySpace and Twitter.

by MBApril 3, 2009

Personal Picks: Tattletexting, Magcloud, TXT'N'Walk, BakerTweet & More

It's Friday which can only mean one thing: We're sharing our staff members' favorite finds from the week...


Ever go to a game and want to get certain drunk/obnoxious/offensive fans removed from the stadium? Now you can, with your phone. A company called In-Stadium Solutions (ISS) that specializes in benches and bleachers, now offers a mobile service for “tattletexting.” Just send a message to a designated number (513-381-JERK at Cincinnati Bengals games) with their seat number. The closed-circuit camera operators will check them out to see if they are boot-worthy.

According to CNet, 29 of the 32 NFL stadiums employ the service as do many Major League Baseball, NBA and even NCAA March Madness games.


Skype for the iPhone
Finally, one small step for man, one giant leap for VoIP. I can’t wait to make prank calls from my iPhone to Bratislava without the international charge! The big downside, though, is that it only works with WiFi. Why, Skype, why?


HP’s new brainchild is to aspiring magazine publishers what YouTube is to aspiring Beyonce backup dancers. It’s also an intriguing antidote to the collapse of print. A user uploads the pages of their masterpiece in .pdf and MagCloud handles the printing (20 cents per page), publication and distribution. Time will tell whether this catches on with the masses (it’s already proving a useful tool for college journalism students as the NY Times profiled here), but as a girl who spent endless hours locked in my bedroom cutting and pasting Laura Magazine together throughout the late ‘90s, this would have been a godsend. Laura might just be due for a comeback. No Smashing Pumpkins worship this time though. Promise.

Andrea D.

Obama gives Queen Elizabeth an iPod [LA Times]
The Obamas met Queen Elizabeth II this week in the UK and as customary between foreign leaders (if you can even call the Queen a foreign leader) the parties exchanged gifts with each other. The gifts given reflected the generational differences and signaled a new era of material pleasantries. The President and his First Lady presented the Queen with an iPod. And what about the Obama’s gift, you say? Well, the Queen graced them with a picture…of herself. Sigh, isn’t this why they keep Prince Harry and William around? No word yet on whether Obama’s mix featuring The Stones, Dylan and Miles Davis was included in the playlists.


Have you ever bumped into a person or lamppost while engrossed in writing a text? Well, that would be a problem of the past thanks to TXT’N’WALK, which uses your phone’s camera to show you a picture-in-picture view of the street right in your text. This way you can see where you’re going while you’re typing on the go. Pocket-lint’s creation is actually just an April Fools’ Day joke, but it doesn’t have to be. App developers, are you listening?


I've been using Twitterrific, an iPhone/iPod touch app, for my mobile tweets and I'm really happy about the application. But, I also have a Nokia n85, and I've been looking for a similar Twitter application that I can tweet from. (Follow me @melvinkee)

I chanced across Twibble, which is designed for Java enabled smartphones including Nokia, Blackberry, and Sony Ericsson. Besides a really clean interface, it also supports photo sharing via TwitPic, which is very well integrated in the program. It isn't mega fancy, but it's a really smart application that has easy access to functions like re-tweeting, favoriting, etc. So, if you are a Twitter addict and you don't have an iPhone/iPod touch, stop tweeting from the mobile site and consider Twibble.


Everyone wants something baked fresh just for them. Krispy Kreme cashed in on this desire with their "Hot Doughnuts" sign, and people would stream in to get a doughnut straight from the fryer. Well, it's time to move the "Hot Doughnuts" sign to the internets with BakerTweet. BakerTweet is a simple device based on open source hardware that allows bakeries to tweet what's coming out of the oven right now. Say you have a penchant for olive loaf, just set your Tweetdeck to follow your bakeries feed, filter the results and you're ready to get the freshest loaf in town.

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