The Mobile Phone Revolution In the Developing World

In the attached article the statistic is given that half of all of Nigeria’s web traffic comes from mobile phone use. I am surprised that this number is not higher.

In another life, only 3 years ago though, I was the Director of Outreach for the Openworld Institute, an organization dedicated to spreading innovation and smart business thinking in Africa, Latin America and in Asia. We were seeing the mobile phone trend then.

In developing countries smart phones have many advantages over even laptops. Most importantly they are easy to conceal. Unfortunately theft can be a real problem. Also phones are more easily charged in places where electricity can be infrequent. In some places solar phone chargers are the only way to go.

Click here for the story.

Tesco and RSPB join forces to protect rainforests

Retailers can do much to move the protection of rain forests forward. Tesco for those on the western shore of the Atlantic is the British Wal-Mart.

(From GreenWise)

Ruth Girardet, corporate responsibility director at Tesco, said: “Our aim is to create more sustainable ways of doing business and we have been working hard to reduce our own emissions. But as a leading retailer we also have a great opportunity to engage our customers to help protect our environment.”

Click here for the article.

Active Video Games No Fix for Kids’ Fitness (I don’t buy it.)

It might not be a “fix” but despite what this article says I am convinced that “active” video games are good overall for children’s fitness. I need look no farther than my own living room to see that this is true.

This past Christmas I bought an Xbox 360 for my kids (and OK myself too.)

The reason I bought this particular console was because of its Kinect system. Basically one stands in front of a sensor which reads one’s body language and allows one to dance, run, skip, summersault, whatever and see it reflected on one’s TV screen. One can play soccer, box, even hang glide virtually. It is a remarkable piece of technology for a relatively small cost.

One of the reasons I bought the system was, though not interminable, the winters outside of Washington DC are cold and restrict the amount of time my 2,5, and 7 year old can spend in the back yard or at the playground. I also noticed that one of my children tended to put on a “winter coat” every time the mercury dropped.

As one who has struggled with weight issues and as one who works out at least every other day (because I must) I did not want my child to deal with some of the issues I delt with as a child. Not that I was ever fat, but I lost my fitness every winter and could have been slimmer.

So the XBox 360.

Funny thing. Between “Fruit Ninja” where my children chop virtual fruit with their hands and feet, and another game which allows one to esentially “surf” down a river on a whitewater raft, the winter coat has not been put on.

My eldest plays with the XBox every day nearly and there is no doubt that she is better off for it. So take the attached article with a grain of salt. Maybe kids just need to find the right game.

Click here for the article.

‘Earmark’ Was Most-Searched Term on Google During Republican Debate

There are so many things to love about the internet, but what I may love the most is the ability to pull actionable information in real time.

I spend a good amount of my time looking for and identifying trends. That’s my job and thankfully there are many free tools out there to help me (and you.)

I use Google Trends all the time and the attached article is an example of how powerful it truly is.

Where is the country politically? What is the electorate talking about? How do these people break down demographically? Who is on the rise? Who is on the wane?

These answers can be answered effectively and quickly nowadays. And one had better be quick. Though there is much out there to sift through, actionable information, especially the good stuff is always in a state of flux. Windows open and close on the net in a blink of an eye, or the click of a mouse.

Click here for the story on trending topics during the GOP debate last week.

Former iPhone Factory Workers Call for Reform in Open Letter

So last week we did a story that was pretty pro-Apple. We cheer it’s culture of design and innovation. But it has some serious work to do in China.

Here is part of the open letter from workers in one of Apple‘s Chinese factories to shareholders:

(From Tomshardware.com)

“If more people know about what we went through, Apple will feel pressured to change so other workers don’t have to suffer like we did,” the letter reads, later adding, “It has been over two years since many of us were hospitalized and treated but our debilitating symptoms continue. Rui-Qiang still can’t find work because he can no longer stand for the long hours most jobs require. Jing-Chuan has to spend nearly $100 a month on health supplements.”

The website, SumOfUs.org hopes to ratchet up pressure on Apple prior to the release of the iPhone 5. This is an effective strategy. If people come to see the iPhone as a symbol of oppression and not one of liberating technology Apple is going to have a problem.

If I ran Apple I wouldn’t let that happen even if it meant increasing the cost of the iPhone by 10%. The market share Apple could lose if it continues on as it has could far outweigh the market share it will lose with a relatively small increase in cost. In fact, if done right Apple could even gain market share, and perhaps increase revenue, by producing an ethical product.

If there was ever a customer base for whom this strategy might work it is Apple’s.

This is how organizations can use the market of ideas to pressure companies to do what is right. It’s way more effective to deal with the company this way often, than to deal with the rigmarole of getting slow moving governments to regulate “solutions.”

Click here for the article.

Why SMS when you have Twitter?

There are many reasons to continue messaging in the “traditional” way, however in this article from Tech Crunch they identify the challenge Twitter, Facebook, and social media at large pose to mobile carriers.

Some estimates put the amount of SMS revenue lost to social networks at over $13 billion.

Tech Crunch makes the point that carriers are still making money selling data plans to their customers who then use social platforms of course. But the trend away from SMS is still more than a wash.

How telecoms deal with this reality will be an interesting question for 2012.

Click here for the story.

As Military Bases Close What Will Be Done With the Space?

Architecture for Humanity (AFH) has a question for you: “Can we use this opportunity to bring economic stability to areas deserted by closed bases?”

– I can remember as a military kid growing up on base and wondering why the government owned all this land and how it could probably be put to better use. I guess I better prepare my entry.

Click here for the story.

Apple Is Profitable Because It Doesn’t Focus Solely On Profits

In the attached article the author makes the case that the reason Apple has been so successful is because in the past it really did “think different.” It focused (at least during the Jobs eras) on making high quality and interesting products that solved problems. Factor in excellent design, and boom, profits.

The company became profitable because it saw profits as a dividend of innovation and doing good work.

As a small business owner myself I must focus on profits, but I know that it can’t be my only focus. I definitely get the authors point. Make the best product or service you can and success may come. Focus on the product, not the money. At least not solely.

Click here for the piece.

Use An IPad? Think You’ve Got the Privacy Settings Set Right? Google’s Still Tracking You

Should we just forget the “Don’t Do Evil” thing at this point? Yes, that is probably best.

(From WSJ.com)

Google Inc. and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple Inc.’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers—tracking the Web-browsing habits of people who intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked.

The companies used special computer code that tricks Apple’s Safari Web-browsing software into letting them monitor many users. Safari, the most widely used browser on mobile devices, is designed to block such tracking by default.

Click here for the story.

Today’s Cool/Scary/Amazing Technological Development: The NASA Biocapsule

Who wants to be implanted with something that could counter radiation poisoning, or bee sting alergies, or lack of sleep, or well, anything else that ails you?

I’ve got to say that I have mixed feelings to say the least.

(From Gizmodo.com)

“This isn’t science fiction. We already use a hormone called G-CSF (Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor) to treat cancer patients who are receiving radiation treatment. So it was a very small jump to put these cells in a capsule. Without G-CSF, an astronaut’s immune system might not recover; he or she could die of a massive infection.

The Biocapsules aren’t one-shot deals. Each capsule could be capable of delivering many metred doses over a period of years. There is no “shelf-life” to the Biocapsules. They are extremely resilient, and there is currently no known enzyme that can break down their nanostructures. And because the nanostructures are inert, they are extremely well-tolerated by the body. The capsules’ porous natures allow medication to pass through their walls, but the nanostructures are strong enough to keep the cells in one place. Once all of the cells are expended, the Biocapsule stays in the body, stable and unnoticed, until it is eventually removed by a doctor back on Earth.”

Click here for the story.