Lunes 15 de Julio de 2002, Ip nš 19

Cell phones: the marriage buster
Por Elisa Batista

A Matero judge in the African nation of Zambia is blaming cell phones for destroying marriages, The Post newspaper in Zambia reported.

Zambia's leading newspaper reported on a court case in which a Lusaka woman, Leah Chama of Matero, sued her husband's female business partner -- Chongo Chilufya of Kaunda Square -- for calling him on his cell phone and arranging late-night business meetings. Chama sued Chilufya under a state law against marriage interference.

According to Chama, Chilufya would call her husband as late as 10 p.m. to arrange business meetings. Every time she called, he would wake up and go wherever they agreed to meet.

One night Chama decided to follow her husband after he received a call from Chilufya at midnight. She discovered that Chilufya had washed her husband's clothes and left them hanging on a wire outside. She said that Chilufya prepared food and that the two of them were feasting and relaxing in chairs -- not working. When Chama confronted her husband about the affair, he kept silent.

Chilufya, of course, denied meddling in Chama's marriage. The two judges presiding over the case didn't believe her, and ordered Chilufya to pay $57 to Chama.

"There is no way a single lady as a business partner can call a married man at 22:00 hours (10 p.m.) for business," said justice Chidongo Shawa. "There have been several cases of single ladies destroying the marriage of their friends. Now it is like cell phones are contributing to the destruction of other people's marriages in Zambia (and being used for) other than their intended purposes."

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Shutting up cell phones: Japanese scientists have created material that absorbs microwave radio signals from cell phones, tuning them out completely.

Scientist Hideo Oka and his colleagues at Iwate University in Morioka, Japan, have made wood-based shields for rooms that will make cell phones unusable.

The material contains nickel-zinc ferrite that blocks the electromagnetic waves emitted by cell phones.

The scientists hope to make the material available by the yard in hardware stores.

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Men love to talk: For the second year in a row, men in the United States talked on their cell phones more often than women, according to research by International Communications.

Men have also almost caught up to women in home phone use, too, according to the research, which was conducted on behalf of Cingular Wireless.

After interviewing 495 wireless phone users -- 252 male and 243 female -- the market research firm found that men talk almost 50 percent more often on their wireless phones than women. That's an increase from 2001, when results showed men talked about 37 percent more on mobile phones than did women.

But the yakking doesn't stop there.

While women in 2001 used traditional home phones about 52.6 percent more often than men, the men almost caught up this year. Men now talk on their home phones 472 minutes a month, compared with 491 minutes a month for women -- only a 4 percent gap.

While both sexes use their wireless phones mainly for friendly chat, the survey found that women were more likely to call their family and friends on their cell phones than men. Men used the phones for business more often than women.

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AT&T launches people finder: AT&T Wireless (AWE) introduced a service under its "mMode" brand that lets cell phone users track down other AT&T subscribers.

The service, called "Find Friends," will give AT&T wireless phone customers the street intersection of the person they are tracking. People must opt in before their location would be provided, the company said.

Once a person is located, the cell user has the choice of calling that person, sending a text message or setting up a meeting.

If the person being located agrees to the meeting, the cell phone user receives a directory of restaurants, bars, bookstores and coffee shops where they might meet. Once they agree on a meeting place, the mMode service provides the opportunity to RSVP and receive directions -- all wirelessly.

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No Mickey Mouse traffic here: Starting Monday at noon, cell phone customers in Orlando, Florida, home of Disney World, will be able to dial 511 to receive traffic reports.

The 511 system, which is available only to cell phone users, will initially include just the I-4 corridor. Ultimately, it will cover parts of I-95 near Daytona Beach, I-95 near the Bee Line Expressway and State Road 408 through Orlando, the Florida Department of Transportation said.

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Dialing around: PDA users can receive free video newscasts and headlines from USAToday.com by signing up at Mazingo.net.... Japanese mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo said it would begin offering commercial local area network service for wireless Internet access in Tokyo on July 1.... VirginUSA just launched mobile phone service, which can be purchased over the counter at Best Buy, Circuit City, Follett Higher Education Group, Media Play, Sam Goody, Target Stores and Virgin Megastores.


  26/06/2002. Wired Magazine.