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Text to catch the next bus home Catching the bus is about to get even easier. A new text messaging service will ensure passengers never miss the last bus home. A simple text with the bus stop code will provide details of the next buses due – all you need to do is decide which one to catch. Brighton & Hove City Council is considering introducing the text messaging service at bus stops throughout the city. If introduced, the system will provide 24 hour up to date information for bus arrival times, similar to the details displayed at the city’s popular Real Time bus stops.

Brighton & Hove City Council – text the bus

This is my dream story – combining genuinely useful SMS functionality, buses… and Brighton!

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Part of the reason is that many people are still trying to figure this out. Mobiles do present the ICT4D community with a huge opportunity to help some of the poorest and most marginalized members of society, but the “mobiles for development” sub-discipline is still a relatively new one, and people at all levels are still trying to figure out what this new mobile opportunity really means. For all the talk of shared learning and for all the conferences and workshops, to the man on the street — or the developer in the bookshop — there is strikingly little to show for it.

‘Social Mobile’ Applications: The Missing Book – Business Center – PC World

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When we talk about trouble with the economy, we’ve been overlooking an astounding opportunity. Something new is possible for the first time in thousands of years. If you care about the planet, if you care about your kids, if you care about other people, this is something to pay attention to. The availability of cheap, networked, programmable devices is as big a deal for human economics as the invention of paper money and coins were. It gives us, for the first time, the opportunity to change the rules of the game, to tune the incentives, and to create much more flexible access to resources—including other people—all without creating the huge bureaucracies and informational inefficiencies associated with previous attempts.

Joe Edelman’s Thoughts

How mobile phones can replace a broken economy

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After a five month ban text messaging has been turned back on in Kashmir. Confirming the lifting of ban, principal secretary, home, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai said, “We have withdrawn our earlier order banning the SMS services because we feel the suspension is no longer required.” The service was closed down in August after it was alleged that some Hindu right wing activists were using SMS to spread rumours following the Amarnath land transfer controversy.

160Characters Association – SMS restored in Kashmir after ban

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RapidSMS is a collaborative effort of UNICEF and partners in the Open Mobile Consortium including Frontline SMS and the Ushahidi project, all of which have used mobile technology to gather data from both local populations and development professionals in emergency situations. The collaborative and open-source philosophy behind this development process means that anyone can use and adapt RapidSMS for his or her purposes. In addition, when it is time to scale up the system to monitor supplies and health data in the rest of Africa, there are no licensing fees, and local resources can be leveraged to ensure that the system is adapted appropriately. The award winning project comes out of UNICEF’s new strategy for using mobile and web-based technology to facilitate communication in Africa and around the world. Although “Innovation” is usually equated with “hi-tech,” UNICEF has recognised that sometimes the best innovation involves working with what already is, rather than developing something entirely new. As a result for the past two years, UNICEF and partners have been exploring ways to use existing technology to improve their programmes and provide innovative solutions to organizational needs.

Rapid SMS – Frontline SMS and Ushahidi

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The days may be getting gradually longer, but for those who suffer depression from the winter darkness a new scheme which relies on text messaging, could help relieve their symptoms. Under the pilot project, alerts are sent to participants before gloomy days warning them to spend 20 minutes in front of their light box, and to read the accompanying advice that day.

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | How texting could help the seasonally depressed

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To help you save energy and do your bit for the environment, a group of mobile manufacturers led by Nokia has launched a common energy rating system for chargers. The system makes it easy for you to compare and choose the most energy efficient charger.

Nokia – Charger Energy Rating

Unplug your chargers people!

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At its bluntest, such research suggests mobiles are doing more economic harm than good, and sometimes making poor people poorer. Let’s have a look:- a) Kurt DeMaagd’s “Pervasive versus Productive” paper analyses country-level data on mobiles and national productivity as measured by GDP. He finds that, short-term, there is a negative association between investment in mobiles and GDP in developing countries, possibly because “mobiles represent a diversion of resources away from other productive uses”. b) Kathleen Diga’s “Mobile Cell Phones and Poverty Reduction” dissertation (Ch.5) shows at the micro-level that some rural Ugandan households are sacrificing expenditure on purchased food (e.g. sugar, milk, flour) so they can pay for mobile airtime. This includes households that “admit to some days of hunger in order to maintain the mobile phone”. They are also diverting savings into mobile phone purchase and saving for airtime by foregoing attendance at social functions.

Mobiles for Impoverishment? « ICTs for Development

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Technology and law are increasingly used to undermine processes of abundance intrinsic to nature, agriculture and the information sector. A number of examples are reviewed here. Such counter-productive use of technology and law is traced to corporate profit-seeking. The relationships between the phenomenon of abundance and the related concepts of scarcity and commons are explored. Finally, approaches are proposed that harness abundance for the human good.

Roberto Verzola on Undermining vs. Developing Abundance – P2P Foundation