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geek out on some new, mad cell phone skills

ila's picture

United Statesila

Ok, I’m a dork and I was reading the Alaska Airlines inflight magazine,May 2008 issue. I found all these cool things about cell phones that I never knew. I saved the mag if anyone wants to see, but here are my favorite tips so far: (some of these may only apply in the U.S., I am not sure!!)

If you don't have a GPS phone, but you are lost while driving, call DIR-ECT-IONS (347-328-4667) and speak your destination to the voice-recognition robot, and it sends you a text msg of directions!

Use google on your phone to get the 411, even if your phone doesn't have internet!! Text message the name of the business or name or service you are trying to find to the number 466453 (spells GOOGLE), and it will text you back an answer!!! You can also send Google a request for a weather report, or flight times for your airline. AMAZING

Anyone who is interested in how to use your cell phone to identify a song you hear on the radio, or use your cell phone to send you a text message so you remember a date or a to-do, please ask your question at my profile and i WILL REPLY!!!



Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Hot diggity!

Does this mean I don't have to pay $1.50 on 411 anymore? $1.50 may seem trivial to some people, but I know better! If I were to donate the savings to Mercy Corps, that $1.50 could help them secure $31.34 in donated food and other critical supplies. WOW!

Thanks for the tips!

Since you mentioned cell phones. You might want to know some of that cell phone may have started from dirt in the D R Congo.



Thank you for posting the link to the video about coltan on YouTube. I've been a doing a little reading about it since I saw the video. I think we could have a rich conversation about this topic and the DRC in general. Have you seen Chingwell's recent post about her trip to the DRC?

I invite you to more fully complete your profile. Because I know nothing about you, other than your username, I took your comment title, "Mommy where do cell phones come from" and the "Enjoy" at the end of your comment a bit offensively. Am I mommy? Am I really mean to enjoy watching the exploitation of children?

I share this with you because WE are the founding community of PulseWire. We are setting the tone for future engagement. While my personal hope is that all of us have spicy conversations that fully explore global problems and come up with smart solutions, I know that this cannot happen if we don't know each other. How can I get to know and trust you with no information? In the absence of information, we make up our own stories to fill the void, don't we?

To learn more about our community culture, please visit:

My intention is NOT to come across as scolding or annoying, but rather to invite you to share more of yourself in a safe environment.

I hope to see a picture of you soon and read about who you are and what gets your blood pumping!


ila's picture

amazing video, Effari.

Wow, I never really knew about the extent of this problem. I would love to hear what you think could bring more visibility to this issue, and what it would take to move past the violence?

Effari's picture

No title this time.

The DRC is a confluence of many important and severe issues. Greater discussion and awareness is greatly needed. I hope in your searching you found the video producer's blog (especially the Panzi post)

"Mommy" was not referring to you Jennifer. It was just a title of a publicly posted comment. A simple literary interpretation was intended: we ask our mothers where many things come from, but do we actually know where they come from?

"Enjoy." The video is enjoyable. It is informative. Stylized to appeal to a western audience. Et cetera. Notice what it is not showing (the militias, forced labor, people dying in mines, those directly profiting).

Thanks, I'll consider a profile. Also consider the importance of anonymity and provocative thought.

Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Ah, the irony.

You are absolutely right that anonymity and provocative thought are important. And given the voices that we hope will find PulseWire a safe place to broadcast their voices, the ability to be anonymous is critical.

It's ironic. When I 1st read your post, I interpreted it exactly as you explain above. After I watched the YouTube video, though, I returned to respond and thank you, saw the picture of me and Jonah above your post, and had that moment of, "Hmm! Is he making a slight at me!?" I honestly wasn't sure. And then I had this whole inner dialogue about incomplete profiles and how easy it is to make assumptions..... and then about when I should show up as a contributor and when as a moderator.

So, I really just meant to ask and explore the conversation further. I deeply apologize for coming across in anyway but loving, questioning and supportive of your post. This conversation has sparked behind the scenes conversation about our responsibility to our community, so thank you for inadvertently providing the space.

But all of this seems to pale in light of the knowledge of child laborers in DRC. Since watching the video and related videos that came up on YouTube, I have been thinking about how to more fully bring this conversation onto PulseWire. Would you be interested in starting a group discussion about DRC and/or child labor?

Thank you thank for posting this video AND for taking the time to respond to me and keep the dialogue going.

Let me know what you think about starting a group. I'd even be willing and eager to co-moderate it with you!


Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Check out

I forgot to mention that I visited Mvemba Phezo Dizolele's website. He is an amazing man. I just sent the link to Leah Okeyo, our African Outreach Specialist, located in Nigori, Kenya.

Have you heard of dotSUB? "dotSUB is a browser based tool enabling subtitling of videos on the web into and from any language. There is nothing to buy and nothing to download. Recognizing the potential of global communication powered by the Internet, the founders of dotSUB created a web-based tool that enables video to be accessed in an open, collaborative, "wiki" type environment. The dotSUB tool gives anyone the ability to translate video content into multiple languages via subtitles rendered over the bottom of the video."

Something like this could be powerful for Dizolele's video.


Effari's picture

Wow I like that!

Dotsub seems like such a great idea. I really like the idea of open translations that can be done by many people in a wiki fashion. Thus errors and misinterpretations* can be noticed and corrected (as opposed to propagating and then being exposed).

My work currently has me thinking about good ways to deal with translations. Both from English to one of the many Africans languages and back. I think keeping the translation open will be an important part of that in some way.



*Such as with my earlier post. No worries at all, I like to be questioned and challenged.

Effari's picture

Back on Cellphones

I tried texting google (466453) but the service didn't work on my phone.

Would have been nice.

You might like to know that people in third world countries are already benefiting from cell phones, texting in particular. There's a NYT article that mentions some of the trend. Their words, "Part of I.D.E.’s [International Development Enterprises] work included setting up farm cooperatives in Nepal, where farmers would bring their vegetables to a local person with a mobile phone, who then acted as a commissioned sales agent, using the phone to check market prices and arranging for the most profitable sale." [1] Notice they are stetting up a makeshift Google 411 to best serve their interests (the current price of goods sold in the market).

This shouldn't really be big surprise. Dealers in the projects and slums of American have been trapping and organizing with skytel pagers since they first broke.

However, what is important is getting vital information to the poor through these channels. Could we also send updates on futures that will affect the farmers prices before they plants? How about long term weather forecasts or weather futures? How about emergency information like coming floods (such as the enormous flood last year, or the current flooding in Namibia[2])?

Also notice how local crisis and response happens through text. For instance, the recent Gov. closure of IDP (internally displaced people) camps in Kenya. [3] Here you are given the number to text the Kenyan Red Cross, the government, and the author of the article! You don't see that in America and it speaks to the way poor countries are mobilizing with mobile phones.



This is such a wonderful topic and I would LOVE to bring it out of Ila's post, to the larger community! Are you interested in making this a journal post in your personal journal, so that it shows up on the community feed in VoicesRising? I think this topic can generate so much discussion, as cell phones are absolutely aiding in access to information and empowerment. Of course, the issue isn't cut and dry, so it would be wonderful to add more voices to this discussion!

Looking forward to continuing the discussion!


Ankur Naik's picture

Google SMS

Here's the official site for the Google SMS service:

It includes a list of keywords that the service understands, as well as an online simulator so you can try it out without using up your text messages.

Ankur Naik
World Pulse Technology Director

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