links for 2010-04-21

  • The advert, which appears on the official Microsoft Kin website, shows groups of youngsters using their phones to keep in touch. Microsoft is positioning the Kin One and Kin Two as ‘social’ devices, capable of connecting people with their friends and social network, and making it easier to share content, such as pictures, with people they know.
    In one scene, a young man pulls up his shirt and takes a photo of his bare chest before sending it to a female friend. The clip has sparked accusations that Microsoft is encouraging ‘sexting’, where young people send explicit pictures to one another using their mobile phones.
  • The system that Lower Merion school officials used to track lost and stolen laptops wound up secretly capturing thousands of images, including photographs of students in their homes, Web sites they visited, and excerpts of their online chats, says a new motion filed in a suit against the district.
    More than once, the motion asserts, the camera on Robbins’ school-issued laptop took photos of Robbins as he slept in his bed. Each time, it fired the images off to network servers at the school district.
    Back at district offices, the Robbins motion says, employees with access to the images marveled at the tracking software. It was like a window into “a little LMSD soap opera,” a staffer is quoted as saying in an e-mail to Carol Cafiero, the administrator running the program.

  • The cellphone — that be-all of teen life — is ever more indispensable to the youngest generation, embraced not just for calling friends and sending a barrage of text messages but also increasingly for playing games, snapping photos, sharing videos, listening to music and going online.
    The connection between American teen and thumb-tapping keypad is so strong that more than four of five adolescents say they have slept with their cellphone in or near their bed, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Some keep it under the pillow, to awaken for late-night texts. Others use the built-in alarm to wake up. “This device has become a communication and often entertainment hub in their lives,” says Pew researcher Amanda Lenhart, a coauthor of the report, which showed more than one in four teens now access the Internet by cellphone and 54 percent record video. Six in 10 play music.

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