I already bought you a cell phone

"Kwout is a handy web-based quote maker that allows you to quote a webpage (or part of it) as an image with an image map. Basically, screenshots that can have links in them."

Imagine a graphic of part of a webpage as normal, except that highlighted links are valid, clickable urls.

The procedure once you've selected the area of the page to grab, requires some work -- it's basic and cumbersome. But there's already some user control and I hope more to follow.

Did I mention that you can also send a normal graphic file of your screengrab straight into your Flickr or Tumblr accounts, like this.

I reckon kwout could significantly assist anyone trying to explain any browser-based process. I'm thinking of website support, installation instructions, walk-thrus. But I'm sure that's just the beginning.

Grab one of the bookmarklets and give it a go!

Congratulations to the folks at kwout and thanks to Orli Yakuel's great Go2Web20 blog for the heads-up.

Worker runs up £27k mobile bill

Sure, the guy's been a complete plonker for not checking the terms of his contract, which quite possibly had been sold on the basis that it was "unlimited." But I'm staggered that Vodafone didn't bother to alert their customer (let alone, suspend the service) before he hit £27k.
That's the real story here, I feel.

[ I guess it would be way to unfair to point out that Three's Mix & Match 900 plan which costs £24/month includes 900 minutes or texts and 300 3-to-3 minutes, free Skype, IM, email plus X-series Silver for £5/month with a download allowance of 1GB of data? Admittedly, you're not supposed to use your phone as a modem but I wonder if Three would even have noticed. ]

It's good to talk... unless you fail to read the smallprint on your new mobile phone contract and end up with a bill for £27,322.

Ian Simpson, 29, was sent the bill for four weeks' service after wiring his mobile up to a laptop to download TV shows - and only then found out his £41.50-a-month deal didn't include unlimited web use.

Last night the factory worker, from Darlington, Yorks, said he feared he could be made bankrupt.

He said: "I just laughed out loud. How on earth could I afford to pay that?"

Ian signed up for a Vodafone Anytime 800 contract and added a £7.50 inclusive internet deal to let him use his phone for surfing the net.

But his first bill had hundreds of extra charges for online use - some at £18 a minute. He said: "My mate told me how to wire my mobile to my laptop as a modem. It meant I could download faster than on the handset and get a proper internet connection in my flat.

"I probably downloaded 20 or 30 TV shows and four albums. I assumed it'd be OK, but they cut me off. I rang up and they said I owed them nearly £30,000.

"If I'd known it would cost so much I wouldn't have done it."

Vodafone said rules state the web package has a limit of 120 megabytes of downloads - designed for casual use to check emails, browse and download the odd song. A spokesman said: "Few customers exceed the fair usage. But it seems clear Ian has run up these charges legitimately."

A source added: "The rules are clearly stated. Mobile web pages use fewer megabytes. That package is not designed for large-scale downloading or computer-speed web use."

But last night Ian blasted the firm, saying: "I cannot believe they would let me run up such an enormous bill - £27,000 would almost buy me a flat where I live. I can't even afford a mortgage so I rent a room.

"Unless they take a sensible approach I don't think I'll have any choice but to go bankrupt."

Vodafone added last night: "The intensity of Ian's downloading was such that by the time our systems flagged anything up he had already racked up a massive bill.

"Our advice would be to never use a mobile as a modem. We will try to come to some sympathetic arrangement. And we hope he won't make the same mistake again."

Source: Daily Mail via TorrentFreak

Om Malik's description of a truly dynamic ISP is great reading.
Now, why aren't there more ISPs taking on the Free.fr model?

Illiad is the brainchild of 40-year-old Xavier Niel, a self-made billionaire (a rarity in the Old World). Its flagship service, Free.fr. (it also owns One.Tel and Kertel, a calling-card operation) isn’t the biggest broadband service provider in France – that honor goes to incumbent France Telecom, which has over six million of the country’s 14 million broadband subscribers — but it has taken the French telecom market by the scruff and given it a vigorous shake.

How? By offering a flat-rate, high-speed Internet connection for 30 euros ($43) a month. That gives Free.fr’s three million subscribers a connection speed of roughly 28 megabits per second over DSL, free IPTV (and a free set-top box), a free Wi-Fi hub, and unlimited voice calls to some 70 countries.

From GigaOm

According to AppleInsider, Apple plans to adopt Intel's ultra-mobile PC platform for a new generation of portable devices. Rumor has it that Apple has decided to use Intel's upcoming 45-nanometer "Silverthorne" chip in multiple new devices in 2008, with the most likely candidates being a next-gen iPhone and a UMPC.

Silverthrone was specifically designed for cellphones and UMPCs, using a mere tenth of the power consumption of a typical laptop chip while retaining the speed of a second-gen Pentium M. In addition to it being super-efficient, it's also much cheaper to manufacture than current mobile chips, which should lead to lower prices (or higher profit margins) for any devices it's placed into.

In any case, Apple seems pretty dedicated to the platform, and with "multiple devices" promised, that's gotta be more than just the 3G iPhone we all know is coming. Could it be a new tablet? An ultra-portable laptop? It could be something like the image up top, which is a prototype created by Intel that can run for 24 straight hours without needing a recharge thanks to the efficiency of Silverthorne. MacWorld is in a couple of weeks, so it's possible that something using the platform will be announced then. Time will tell, but it certainly hints at pretty exciting things.

Source: AppleInsider via Gizmodo

When Alistair Darling prompted wide-eyed panic after announcing the lost discs palaver, there were few more concerned voices than that of our information commissioner, Richard Thomas.

At the time, Mr Thomas, the data tsar who, in the wake of the crisis, has spent the past few weeks issuing warnings about the danger of ID fraud on the internet, described the Government's blunder as "unprecedented and deeply disturbing".

So it has just come as considerable embarrassment to Mr Thomas to learn that he has recently been exposed as being just as vulnerable as the rest of us. In an experiment carried out by an internet security consultancy called SecureTest, it took just half an hour to discover the details of three bank accounts held by Mr Thomas, as well as his age, his home address and his work email.

"What hope have we got if Mr Thomas can't even protect his own identity?" says a spokesman for the company. "I thought it would be an interesting exercise to see if Mr Thomas practises what he preaches. It was easier than I could possibly have imagined."

SecureTest say that they were able to glean most of the information on Mr Thomas from Freedom of Information requests, and from a register-of-interests declaration he submitted when he took the governmental position in 2002.

Which makes you wonder whether Mr Thomas has double-checked his bank statements recently. His office insists that Mr Thomas "uses secure passwords for his accounts".

Source: Independent Online

Skype's slowing growth has recently raised some concerns about its future and the price Ebay paid for the VOIP provider. Ebay numbers may show that Skype users aren't really talking as much as the company wants them to, but they still talk a lot more than anyone else in the VOIP world: German traffic management company Ipoque estimates that 95 percent of all VOIP traffic is caused by Skype.

Ipoque published a report that analyzes P2P traffic trends this week, and Skype continues to be a noticeable factor in this space. From their press release:

"Voice over IP (VoIP) only accounts for one percent of the Internet traffic, but is used by 30 percent of all users. Skype is by far the most popular Internet telephony application."

30 percent of all German users, to be precise. Ipoque measures data at ISPs that use the company's traffic management applications, and the study is based on measurements from ISPs based in "Australia, Eastern Europe, Germany, the Middle East and Southern Europe."

Skype's popularity seems to vary significantly in these different places. The company estimates that 30 percent of Germany's internet population uses Skype, but only one percent uses SIP-based VOIP services. Skype's market share in the Middle East is just 7 percent, but SIP services don't seem to be any more popular there than in Germany.

Source: P2P Blog

Worldwide mobile telephone subscriptions reached 3.3 billion -- equivalent to half the global population -- on Thursday, 26 years after the first cellular network was launched, research firm Informa said.

Since the first Nordic Mobile Telephony (NMT) networks were switched on in 1981 in Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Norway, mobile phones have become the consumer electronics sector with the largest volume of sales in the world.
"The mobile industry has constantly outperformed even the most optimistic forecasts for subscriber growth," Mark Newman, head of research at Informa said in a statement.
"For children growing up today the issue is not whether they will get a mobile phone, it's a question of when," Newman said.

In recent years the industry has seen surging growth in outskirts of China and India, helped by constantly falling phone and call prices, with cellphone vendors already eyeing inroads into Africa's countryside to keep up the growth.
The Nordic start for mobile telephony was the basis for the success stories of Finnish Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson.
Fast growth in Asian wireless markets has since helped Korean Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics as well as China's ZTE take their place among the top six cellphone vendors globally.
But although mobile subscriptions have reached the equivalent of 50 percent of the population, this does not mean that half the people in the world now have a mobile phone, since Informa said 59 countries have mobile penetration of over 100 percent -- where some owners have more than one phone.
"The economic difference between the more mature markets and those in developing countries is highlighted by the vast differences in operators' revenues per user," Informa said.
Hutchison Whampoa's 3 operation has an average revenue per user of just over $70 a month in Britain, while Hutchison's Sri Lankan operator counts revenues of below $3 per user.

According to the International Programs Center of the U.S. Census Bureau, the total population of the world reached 6,634,294,193 on Thursday.
At the same time 2,571,563,279 people were using the most widely used mobile technology, GSM (Global System for Mobile communications), according to global trade body GSM Association.
The second largest mobile technology, CDMA, had 421.4 million users at end September.

© Reuters 2007

Skypephone sells out

3 has been caught out by high levels of demand for its prepay Skypephone, with many stores selling out of handsets within days of its launch.

The prepay device, which allow users to make free Skype calls in exchange for a minimum monthly top-up of £10, is 'flying off the shelves', according to staff in 3 stores across the country.

Staff in a central London store said their initial allocation of 10 prepay handsets sold out a few days after the handset was launched. They added that their next delivery of 25 had already been pre-sold.

One of 3's Newcastle stores reported selling its stock of six prepay Skypephones in a day and a half, with half of its next batch of 10 handsets already reserved.

'Loads of people have walked in and asked what it's all about. I think it's the “wow” factor when you explain it and tell them it's free,' said one staff member. 'The reaction has been good,' added another.

A spokeswoman for 3 said demand had been high. She said: 'A number of stores have sold out, but there will be plenty of stock in for the weekend.'

© Copyright 2007 : Noble House Media Ltd
From MobileToday

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Google Android OS 'no major threat'

So potentially the most profound upheaval the mobile industry has ever seen (duelling with the UI of the iPhone), is almost casually dismissed by the major incumbent.

What an arrogant prick!

Symbian, meanwhile, believes that without Google's presence in the Open Handset Alliance nobody would be giving two hoots about the project. "We take it seriously," said John Forsyth, strategy chief at Symbian. "But we are the ones with real phones, real phone platforms and a wealth of volume built up over years."

Still haven't produced an easy-to-use operating system that everybody loves tho, John?

Source: Tech.co.uk

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3 launches new Skype mobile phone

Mobile phone provider 3 has launched a new handset that will allow users to make free calls over the internet via telephony service Skype.

Users will also be able to use Skype's instant messaging service, 3 said. But while people using Skype on their computers are able to make cheap global calls to any phone number, this will not be possible via the new 3 handset.
Skype has about 246 million registered users worldwide and is one of the firms reshaping the global phone industry.

Mobile potential

To date, mobile phone companies have been unwilling to let users freely access Skype via their handsets for fear that it would hurt their business.
While it is possible to access Skype from a number of handsets, this has involved downloading third-party software, something that has put off the majority of users.
The Skype-phone will be the first instance of a phone operator launching a mass market device that is designed to allow free calling over the internet from a mobile, 3 said.
"It takes an innovative operator... to challenge traditional thinking and offer the kind of product other operators are still shying away from," said Skype's acting chief executive, Michael van Swaaij.
"It's is now truly mobile. Skype has now taken a giant step forward in the mobile arena.

And chief executive of 3 UK, Kevin Russell, said the firm wanted to make mobile internet more accessible.
"Services need to be simple to access and affordable," he said.
"Mobile has the potential to massively increase access to internet calling."

Global reach

The service, launching on 2 November, will be accessed by a button on the handset.
As well as the UK, the 3 Skype-phone will be launched in countries including Australia, Denmark, Italy and Hong Kong.
Pay as you go customers will have to top up their account with at least £10 each month to qualify for the free Skype-to-Skype calls, 3 said.
Source: © BBC MMVII

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Asia-Pacific region drives surge

Over half of the world's population will have a mobile phone by 2008, according to new research.

A new report from Portio Research predicts that the global mobile penetration rate will surpass the 50 per cent mark next year. That's not all though, because a further 1.5 billion mobile phone users are expected over the next four years to bring the overall penetration rate to 75 per cent by 2011.

Some 65 per cent of these additional users are likely to come from the Asia Pacific region, rather than from Africa as has previously been supposed. Moreover, the majority of the new subscribers will be from rural regions in countries such as India and Pakistan.

While mature markets such as Europe aren't expected to show any serious signs of growth over the next few years, Portio predicts that the US is likely to buck that trend seeing five years of sustained high-value volume growth.

Portio's report, entitled The Next Billion: Strategies for driving growth and making profits in low-ARPU mobile markets, puts the future growth of the mobile industry into some sort of perspective.

The study notes that while there will be a rapid rise in mobile owners in emerging markets, the monthly Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for US subscribers is expected to be equivalent to yearly ARPU from customers in other countries. In India and Bangladesh, for example, subscribers are only just beginning to move towards monthly ARPU of about $3 or $4.

Indeed, the report goes on to claim that each North American subscriber is worth as many as seven new subscribers in Asia in terms of revenue.

Despite the obvious disparity in profits for mobile operators geographically, Portio's study does offer insights into why the big players can't afford to ignore any region.

It notes that while Asia Pacific offers massive growth in subscriber numbers and North America and Europe offer the highest levels of ARPU, South America will see continued growth of basic services with significantly higher returns per user than much of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Moreover, it adds that Africa offers great future potential as "the last billion" when markets everywhere else are reaching saturation.

A recent study from Informa also heralded a rise in global mobile penetration. The firm announced in July that mobile subscriptions had reached three billion worldwide, but it said that there were fewer than 2.3 billion users of mobile services.

According to Informa's forecasts, users of mobile services will not reach three billion until the end of 2009, by which time subscriptions are forecast to reach four billion.

© 2007 ENN

Source: The Register

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We've heard a lot about 'citizen journalism' in the last year, which generally involves members of the public shooting photos and/or video on their cameraphones, then sending them into newspapers or TV broadcasters. It's even been claimed the phenomenon could put proper journalists out of a job. Nokia and Reuters have other ideas, though.

They've launched a new project called 'Reuters Mobile Journalism' (although we prefer the way the website address shortens that to Reuters MoJo). It's basically an application preloaded on Nokia N95 handsets, allowing Reuters hacks to file stories from events without the need for a laptop. They've already been testing it out at events like New York Fashion Week and the Edinburgh Film Festival.

It's easy to see why putting cameraphones into the hands of journalists will result in some interesting stuff - more photo and video-related than textual. But this isn't new - savvier websites have been getting their journalists to moblog for a while now, using existing technologies and services. Still, it'll be interesting to see how the relationship between Nokia and Reuters develops - we wonder how many journalists would put up with filing content from a device with the N95's famously low battery life...
Link: Reuters Mobile Journalism website

Mobile Choice Blog

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Facebook, in the midst of a high-stakes negotiation over its future, has just dramatically upped the ante. How? The social network is quietly starting to promote its long-rumored ad-targeting system -- under a clever costume. Facebook has disguised the system as a simple upgrade to Flyers, its much-derided system for selling cheap ads on a self-service basis. This new system shares little with Flyers except its name, however -- and poses an obvious threat to Google.

Like Google's AdWords, Facebook's Flyers Pro charges per click. Unlike Facebook's old Flyers, which only let advertisers target small groups like students and alumni of a particular college, Flyers Pro lets advertisers target by city, gender, age, relationship status, employer, educational level, political views, and -- are you listening, Google? -- keywords. Facebook, of course, has the data, freely given by its users to target to those characteristics.
Article continues at Valleywag

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It's true that the N810 and the iPod Touch and similar devices may fail on the first go around, but they're indicative of a trend toward mobile computing and acceptance of using mobile devices to access the web and the growing catalog of web applications to get things done.

As wifi access becomes more ubiquitous and relying on cellular networks to get online via mobile devices becomes less important, I think we'll see a lot of growth in this market. As applications move online and access is everywhere, full-sized computers will be needed less, and will be less desirable, for many of our daily tasks.

The mobile phone (or mobile Internet device) as your primary computer may become a less foreign idea over the next few years in developed nations.

What do you think?
Is the mobile web (or, rather, using mobile devices to access the web) finally coming of age?
Are we set to see more of these devices flooding the marketplace in the future or will the idea never take off?

At the end of last year, only 15% of R/WW prognosticated that the mobile web would be the biggest web trend of this year.
Could the results for next year's predictions be different?
Source: Read/WriteWeb

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