Friday, June 27, 2008

Using phones to determine where groups are gathering

Here's one of many companies working on using phone location-based services.
This one happens to have been founded by some current and former MIT folks.

Software uses pattern recognition algorithms to monitor location data in
real time, apparently to provide data to marketers:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nokia buys Symbian and turns royalty free for some

This is an interesting developing ... another trend toward open platforms.
They want to compete with Windows Mobile, RIM, and Android...

"Nokia said it planned to turn Symbian, founded in 1998, into a foundation
that would make the software available royalty-free to the world's five
largest phone makers - Nokia, Samsung, SonyEricsson, LG Electronics and
Motorola. It would offer the software under the same terms, under a so
called open-source license, to the network operators AT&T Wireless, NTT
DoCoMo of Japan and Vodafone of Britain."

Nokia to Open Access to Mobile Software

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Interruption burden - the cost

Here's an interesting article about interruptions and information overload. Interruption disruption is obviously important when thinking about using electronic sampling. With every interruption requiring time-consuming task switching, the numbers of times people are self-interrupting to check email or instant messages could be considered troubling.

Lost in E-Mail, Tech Firms Face Self-Made Beast

A key excerpt:
"The big chip maker Intel found in an eight-month internal study that some employees who were encouraged to limit digital interruptions said they were more productive and creative as a result. Intel and other companies are already experimenting with solutions. Small units at some companies are encouraging workers to check e-mail messages less frequently, to send group messages more judiciously and to avoid letting the drumbeat of digital missives constantly shake up and reorder to-do lists."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Using text messaging to motivate behavior change

Presentations from a recent conference on using text messaging for health behavior change are available online here:


Free rice - Why?

Why are websites like Free Rice addictive? Why do people spend so much time labeling images, for free, for Google?

We would like to harness this same type of power in a NESP program while giving researchers the control over experimental conditions that they desire. How can we do that?

Mainstream activity tracking

Here's an example of physical activity behavior change applications going mainstream (albeit without phone sensors).

Add your walks to iGoogle:

Now imagine how many people might participate if they could track steps using their phones without any extra work and Google put it on the home page for a few days.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Brain games growing in popularity?

It appears that at least some VC firms see potential in brain games: Lumos Labs, the company behind, announced a $3MM dollar investment from two VC firms (Pequot and Norvest):

These type of games (tweaked for mobile use) may be one type of incentive that could be used in a national sampling project. Moreover, there are many ways that brain games could be made more interesting by using phone sensors.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Using data from 100,000 mobile phones

Here's a great example of use of location data from a massive number of mobile phones. The article points out the possibilities, but it also some of the potential criticisms, as do some of the comments on the Nature site.

Cellphone Tracking Study Shows We're Creatures of Habit

Comments on the Nature website: