5 signs that you're addicted to technology

Young girls and their smartphonesLet’s not deny it: technology is great. However, there comes a point where enough is enough and you simply need to draw the line. The following are a few signs that it might be that time.

1. On more than one occasion you’ve been knocked off your feet by some idiot who couldn’t be bothered to look where he was going – if he had, he might have noticed that you were obviously halfway through a text and not able to pay too much attention to where you were going. (After all predictive text is bad enough when you ARE looking.)

2. You have reached the point where it seems absurd to NOT post a picture of your breakfast, lunch and supper to Instagram. That IS what the site is for, isn’t it?

3. When Eskom has its rolling blackouts you are less concerned with the logistics of cooking supper and having a hot shower than you are with conserving the power of your iPod, iPad and all your other iStuff.

4. When you arrive at your friends’ houses you let them know you’re there with a BBM or WhatsApp message. Doorbells are so mainstream.

5. Family camping trips are completely out of the question. That would mean having all your gadgets die on you, or worse, having to leave them at home. Can. You. Imagine?

How dependent have you become on technology? Post a comment below and share you story.

source: Women24


5 Reasons Why SMS Is Here To Stay

SMS remains the most popular two-way communications platform on the planet. In most cases, it’s inexpensive, casual, and discreet for users. It also represents one of the more profitable features offered by mobile network operators. And while SMS does face an increasingly fractured market, largely from the growth of messaging apps, it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Here are five reasons why:

1. SMS is growing, not shrinking

texting.jpgIndeed, SMS is continuing to grow at an incredible rate globally. In 2011, more than 7.8 trillion SMS were sent worldwide. That vastly outpaces every other messaging platform combined. Over-the-top (OTT) messaging (instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, iMessenger, BlackBerry Messenger, etc., also known as application-to-person) represent 3.5 trillion messages, combined. Multimedia messaging service (MMS) adds another 200 billion. The rate at which SMS are sent is increasing, and is expected to increase each year at least through 2016, according to several research firms.

2. SMS is a major revenue driver for mobile network operators worldwide

SMS represents 63.5% of mobile messaging revenue globally. And it represents somewhere around 10% of an average operator’s revenue streams. I have a hard time believing MNOs won’t think of ways to add value to SMS, or reduce the cost enough that it still makes sense for consumers.

In fact, there are multiple examples of them taking this step. For instance, SMS sent via first delivery attempt mechanism can potentially save money on 80%-90% of text messages. Clever bundling can also drive revenue: Here in the United States, we bundle SMS with our calling plans, meaning there’s no ceiling to how many messages a given subscriber sends in a month on his or her plan. What’s the disincentive to use SMS?

3. SMS is platform agnostic and highly reliable

I can (and do) use iMessage with friends who also have iPhones. But what about friends who have Android-based mobiles? Colleagues whose businesses use BlackBerry devices? My mother, who uses a feature phone? To reach them, SMS is the most reliable option. This is due to the simple reason that it’s hard-coded into the global mobile infrastructure, requiring distribution across all phones and carriers.

What’s more is that I find iMessage and other chat applications to be unreliable. SMS, on the other hand, works even in extremely resource-limited conditions, including lack of Internet access and even moments of cell tower traffic congestion. For example, in emergencies, texts have a higher chance of reaching people than other forms of communication. This level of low-resource ubiquity is unmatched in the global communications infrastructure.

4. Increasing use in business, government and non-profit sectors

SMS is seeing a dramatic increase as a tool for businesses, governments and non-profits to interact with large populations. For example, Detroit recently introduced a Text-My-Bus program that allows people using public transport to learn when the next bus is arriving at a given stop. Businesses are increasingly looking to SMS as an opportunity for advertising special prices or events to clients. UPS, for example, uses SMS to notify clients as to the progress of their package deliveries. And non-profits are increasingly participating in text-to-donate programs, where donors can send a brief message to a short phone number and a small donation is added to a cell phone bill. Most famously, the American Red Cross raised more than $43 million with its text-to-donate campaign following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

I suspect they choose SMS over a messaging service largely because user adoption rates are so high — see my previous point about SMS being platform agnostic. With so many mobile phones in circulation, there’s only one global messaging platform at the moment. For people wanting to reach a large audience via a convenient messaging feature, SMS is the only real option. As these services gain more traction, people will continue to interact with them via SMS.

5. Chat Is Attempting To Emulate SMS Success

Many analysts see built-in messenger apps, such as iMessage, WhatsApp, Mxit and others as a threat to SMS. These apps operate on a user’s data plan, rather than through the SMS protocol. The argument follows that in cases where data plans are cheaper than SMS plans, users will choose the least cost route, thus supplanting SMS as the most popular platform. To be fair, we’ve seen this happen in a few places. Hong Kong, Australia, and Finland have seen drops in SMS usage. In the U.S., SMS usage leveled off in 2011 for the first time. But a dip in usage does not translate to an evaporation of an entire platform. Indeed, SMS is still the most popular platform in the U.S., despite the relative ubiquity of iMessage, Blackberry Messenger, and Facebook chat.

Portio Research takes this argument a step further, suggesting that messaging apps may only be an addition to an increasingly fragmented market, rather than being an SMS killer:

Does a boost to one messaging type have to equate to a usage drop in another? Does it have to mean cannibalization of SMS? What about synergy? Side by side traffic growth? And what of the other messaging mediums of MMS, mobile e-mail, and mobile IM? After all, while messaging users love to communicate seamlessly, popular modes of communications do vary – and maybe OTT isn’t a replacement, but rather just one more segment of the messaging mix.

At FrontlineSMS, we’d agree — multi-channel engagement doesn’t mean the end of SMS. It means a boom in mobile messaging across the board, including for SMS.

In an increasingly device-rich society, with wild differences in access to infrastructure and technologies of all kinds between the very poor and even the moderately well-off, multi-channel communications are critical if service providers and businesses are to engage effectively with everyone in a community, all of the time. Each platform and channel of communication has trade-offs, and as we’ve argued elsewhere, your choice of platform not only presents opportunities — to sharing video, or messaging more cheaply across cell data — but can close doors to those without the kit or the credit to access them. Multi-channel approaches, such as the Praekelt Foundation’s Young Africa Live, which combines SMS with feature- and smartphone apps and a website, offer the broadest possible number of options for individuals to engage with its message. Despite the brevity of the format, SMS has a valuable place in this spectrum, both as a lowest common-denominator technology, and as a communications platform that often works when all others fail.

In a multi-channel world, where successful engagement and data capture are increasingly critical, and as businesses focus more and more on reaching previously difficult markets in low- and middle-income countries, who can afford to discount the world’s most accessible, most widespread, digital communications medium?

Trevor Knoblich works as Project Manager for FrontlineSMS, a 2011 Knight News Challenge winner. He began his career as a federal policy reporter in Washington, DC, then spent 5 years working as a humanitarian specialist. He currently works on issues at the intersection of journalism, technology and developing countries. At FrontlineSMS, he is building tools to help journalists and media outlets around the world improve their ability to gather, track and share news.

Image courtesy of Flickr user YayAdrian.

This post originally appeared on the FrontlineSMS blog.


The Curse of BBM

CrackBerry - BBM BlackBerry Addiction South AfricaBBM users claims it revolutionised the way they communicate and stay in touch constantly. MXit users have known this for a few years longer. However, BlackBerry started out focusing on business users, corporate customers before becoming a quasi-status symbol for with numerous celebrities seen in public with their BlackBerry phones. This has created a false sense of superiority for them.

BlackBerry uses is a private network separate from the mobile Internet. This has allows them to offer unique services like the push feature for email to the devices and also the always-on BBM instant messaging service globally. The universal Inbox is a dream come true for long-term users of email and messages services. In most other devices you have to check multiply applications on your handset to get your messages. Your email is separate from your chat programs like Whatsapp or MXit.

In scientific studies there is growing consensus that multitasking leads to more errors among middle age people, as well as younger people. They have found it leads to partial continuous attention and this behaviour results in tasks taking longer to complete, more postponement and a misguided sense of efficient. Dr Gary Small is one of the leading neuroscientists actively looking at this radical behaviour shifts taking place due to new technology and always-on Internet.

So the recent problems experienced by Research In Motion globally has shows the strength of this mobile provider is also its Achilles Heel. The fact that your email and browsing goes via their private network, not the Internet itself like most other service providers creates a dependency, which was exposed as a weakness. This is a reminder the Internet was designed to be open not closed. The unlimited free Internet in South Africa is no longer a big deal with the cost of mobile broadband coming down as new players continue to innovate in their offerings. Cell C now offers free data + SMS every time your recharge. Telkom’s 8Ta has an offering of 10GB for only R199 per month, the ideal option for iPads or iPhone type devices.


BBM vs. WhatsApp: A Mobile IM Comparison

High cost of cellular network services such as SMS, voice calls and multimedia messaging has led a significant number of people to seek out other alternatives to be able to communicate with one another in any parts of the globe. Luckily, the internet showed answers to this matter. Chatrooms social networking sites and instant messaging services allowed virtually free conversation by merely using a PC with an internet connection. However, the innovation did not stop there. Instant messaging (IM) is now available in the comforts of your own mobile devices and there are also mobile IM comparisons to help you in deciding the best IM service.

Instant messaging through mobile phones and other handheld devices has become a blockbuster success especially among the young people as shown in mobile IM product comparisons. This mobile IM comparison will share the cool features of two popular instant messaging applications trending on numerous mobile IM product comparisons which are the Blackberry Messaging service (BBM) and WhatsApp.


BlackBerry Messenger BBMThe Blackberry Messaging Service or most commonly known as BBM is very popular in mobile IM product comparisons. Also, it is exclusive to Blackberry phone users only. The exclusivity mainly relies on the fact that one can only create a BBM account through a unique alphanumeric PIN that is assigned to each individual Blackberry device. You could add BBM contacts by typing their PIN code, e-mail address, phone number or name. Another cool way to add contacts is by taking a snapshot of another Blackberry unit’s unique barcode. This feature is a big plus as discussed in mobile IM product comparisons

BBM users enjoy a lot of great features shown in mobile IM product comparisons such as fully customizable profile pictures, threaded chat interface, setting your status for your contacts to see and tons of emoticons and graphics. It is also possible to send pictures or voice notes through BBM. The best feature stated in various mobile IM product comparisons is that it comes practically free when the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) is availed of. This service is practically the winner on most mobile IM product comparisons.


WhatsApp messenger smartphonesWhatsApp messenger is a mobile phone instant messaging application that works quite like BBM in terms of allowing its users to send and receives text messages without having to pay for the network operator’s SMS charges. As stated in mobile IM product comparisons, it is a good thing that it can be available in different platforms such as the iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia and Android. As such, WhatsApp users are capable of reaching more people as shown on majority of mobile IM product comparisons.

WhatsApp can be used by using either the mobile network’s internet service or by WiFi. This makes this service virtually free of charge. Aside from text messages, you could also send photos, videos and audio messages as well. Another cool feature of this application, as given in various mobile IM product comparisons, is that you could also broadcast your location to your contacts by virtue of GPS technology. Moreover, you could say goodbye to adding your contacts manually because it is done automatically by searching your phonebook for contacts who is using the WhatsApp service. These features score well on mobile IM product comparisons


To conclude this mobile IM comparison, it can be said that IM can be a great help to business or leisure. It could also bring people closer no matter how great their distance is from one another. As trendy as it is, it could never be a better alternative to what personal conversation provides in social interaction no matter what it is said on various mobile IM product comparisons. When using BBM or WhatsApp, you should always observe self-control in order to avoid addiction which could ultimately result to degradation of personal communication skills. Further, it is always a good idea to look at more mobile IM comparisons to see what will provide you with the best IM service, as shown in this mobile IM comparison.


Using MXit on Your BlackBerry

BlackBerry Curve 9320Even though BlackBerry has it own Instant Messaging software, 17 million MXit users make it very appealing to use the MXit application on your BlackBerry with unlimited Internet.

So, you’ve got a Blackberry and you want to MXit with your friends. Now you can – just download MXit and ‘Join the MXit Evolution’

1. To download MXit Blackberry – open your browser and type in http://www.mxit.com/wap
2. Quick and easy upgrades – registration info is captured in MXit, so it’s only one click from the WAP site when you need to upgrade.
3. Change your language as you go – this can now be done inside MXit – no need to download again. Go to Menu -> Settings -> Language.
4. No more mood swings – your mood and presence will not disappear when you log out.
5. Never be late again – check the time in your chat screen.
6. Say goodbye– set a template farewell message: Menu -> Settings -> My Profile. When you log off, this message will be sent to all the contacts you have chatted to.
7. Forward frenzy – you can now forward to a list of contacts or to a group – remember this costs 10 Moola per person.
8. Invite all your friends – send an SMS referral. Go to Menu -> contacts -> Invite via SMS. Type in the cell number and invite message. Remember, your service provider will bill you at standard SMS rates.
9. Personalise – you can load a picture as your skin background (coming soon).

source: BlackBerry Application on MXit

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