6 ay 2007

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Sunday Post article

For the record, here's an article from the Sunday Post (a rather good Scottish Sunday paper):

A scan of the Web page is:

The text is:

Backlash begins as ban signs appear across country

Mobile phones ‘more menace than benefit’
By David Lewis

MANY of us simply can’t live without our mobile phones. But more and more often we’re being told we can’t use them.
Signs that in the past banned us from using our must-have devices in hospitals, petrol stations and on planes are now being spotted in shops, pubs and even post offices.
It seems the backlash against mobiles is well under way — no longer are we prepared to put up with listening to the person behind us in the queue’s latest diary entry.
That we can’t use them in petrol stations and on planes, however slight the risk of them sparking danger, is something we’ve always accepted.
New technologies mean most mobile phone users now carry a camera in their pocket, with the ability to snap, almost undetected, at will.
That’s raised new kinds of irritation and last week organisers of the Open Championship announced they’ll be banned at this summer’s event at Carnoustie.
“No mobiles” signs also hang in changing rooms at sports centres and swimming pools to protect children from sex offenders.
In many cases, it seems mobile phones are regarded more as a menace to society than a benefit. Mobile phones expert Professor Bill Buchanan, from Napier University, explained, “The reason they’re banned on planes is that when the phone can’t find a signal, it uses more power to search for one.
“The harder it looks, the more likely it is an electromagnetic signal could cause a fault and make a crash happen. Some airlines have experimented with actually putting antennas in their planes but have questioned the demand.
“As for petrol stations, although there’s never been a proven incident of a spark from a phone causing a fire it’s not worth taking the risk to let people use them.”
The ban in hospitals, though, isn’t something we should readily accept, says Prof. Buchanan. Studies have shown mobiles can only cause interference with critical equipment if within just a couple of metres of it.
Indeed, a Scottish Executive spokesperson confirmed, “While patient safety must always come first it has become clear there is no need for a blanket ban on the use of mobiles in hospitals.”
Despite this advice, many hospitals continue to ban mobiles. But why, when there’s nothing to worry about?
“Commercial gain,” said Prof. Buchanan. “Many hospitals need to make money and have contracts with companies who provide bedside phone lines at high prices. If patients can use their mobiles, the hospitals make less money.”
But as the signs go up in other public places asking us to take our calls outside, it’s becoming more apparent that taking that call in the post office queue is being viewed as antisocial behaviour.
Although there’s no blanket ban in post offices — the Royal Mail Group says it’s up to individual branch managers — more and more are asking customers to switch off while they wait for stamps.
A spokesperson said, “There are two reasons. First, as a matter of courtesy to other customers in what is normally a quiet environment and, second, a technical issue, there can often be interference in the hearing loop system we use.”
According to the UK Noise Association, which campaigns for peace and quiet, we only have ourselves to blame.
“If people would just use more common sense in public places there would be no problem,” said national co-ordinator Val Weedon MBE.
“If more mobile users kept their voice down voluntarily, then there would be no suggestion of a backlash. If they can’t switch off for a few minutes in a queue then it’s more rude than anything else.
“Mobile phones are becoming more of a menace than a benefit and it’s down to some idiots who don’t have any consideration.”
Jack Rowley, director of research at the GSM Association, the operators’ trade group, reckons mobile users will have no problems side-stepping any backlash.
He said, “We’ve seen no indication of a backlash and unreasonable restrictions in public places will prove only to be unpopular, especially as two-thirds of young people say they can’t live without their phone.
“Some research shows that mobiles have improved relationships between families, especially through texts, but we don’t foresee a change in attitudes.
“From a technical viewpoint security guards with two-way radios are more likely to interfere with vital equipment than mobiles.
“They’re here to stay and people will continue to use them, there’s no doubt about that.”

- Article link ... this may not work as it doesn't seem to be a unique archive link... [Click here].

EU FP7 Framework

The submission date for the EU FP7 framework call is on Tuesday, so there's not much time to do anything else, but get the proposals ready. Fingers-crossed! One of the proposals is named PANDORA (Pervasive Computing and Distributed Patient-Centred Care Operation Research Approach):


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