MYWITNESS SERVICE: What some users had to say about the service

IN an earlier blog post I wrote about a new cellular service that claims to be more efficient and cost effective than other platforms that offer chat, cellphone banking, mobile blogging and related services.

Since I do not currently own a phone that is WAP-enabled or has GPS, I decided to seek out some people who have started using the service to see whether or not it is ‘all that.’

Here’s what some of them had to say:

MyWitness user’s speak
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mAapKxpbyk]

Related links:
MyWitness – getting started (video)
Jumping on the technology band-wagon (cheap and simple)
Connect anywhere in the world with MyWitness (news article)

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MYWITNESS: Cheap & simple cellular services

ONLINE banking, mobile shopping, cellphone blogging and much more are all readily available via several services. Yet all of these become a headache for anyone who was not a part of the ‘cool crowd’ at school. Wouldn’t life be a little bit simpler if all of these were available via a single service? Gmobile has done just that with the release of MyWitness.

MyWitness (which is fully WAP enabled and thus fully accessible from your cellphone) is a server-based platform that provides a very cheap and very user-friendly way of performing a large portion of your online activity – all from your cellphone. It is purely server-based and operates independently from other networks. What this means is that it offers its own unique service and, more importantly, charges its own rates – which is far less than the 40% average that the major cellular networks charge. SMS’s can be sent at 25cents, MMS’s 65cents.

A popular ‘everyday user’ appeal of MyWitness is Gchat, which has the same functionality of Mxit minus the cost – it’s free. The only charge applicable is the 2cents per kilobit of data downloaded to your phone (i.e. being online via your phone), which is regulated by Icasa.

Usually when browsing the web from your mobile information is temporarily stored to your phone to increase speed etc., however the network(s) you use have weaseled their way into charging you for this according to their own rates. The advantage of platforms such as MyWitness is that you are only charged for the data that you actually choose to download. They are able to avoid the sneaky charges mentioned by simply providing access to data.

To put this cost-effectiveness into perspective: one user in Thailand chatted to his wife in South Africa daily using G-chat over the course of 12 days. His entire communication bill? Less than R1 - and that’s because he had to send three SMS’s to his wife (at 25cents each) to tell her to go online. Furthermore, G-chat is compatible with most major IM’s such as Google Talk, so others that you wish to chat to need not be G-chat users.

Other features of MyWitness include being able to ‘shop’ for airtime and cellular related products such as wallpapers and ringtones, Google search the internet, receive the latest news headlines via RSS feeds, share audio files, video and pictures, upload content to your MyWitness blog or website, and do online banking.

If you are not familiar with mobile banking yet it is basically internet banking via a mobile platform (i.e. you use a phone instead of a computer). Registration requires an ID number which automatically creates a personal bank (debit) account. The currency on MyWitness is measured in Goins, which is regulated world wide. In South African currency (ZAR), one Goin is equal to one cent.

If you find blogging sites such as Blogger or WordPress too much of a headache, MyWitness provides the simplest way to set up and maintain your own blog or website. The visual appeal of these sites are really not that bad by beginner standards, and the simplicity of the whole thing is by far the no.1 advantage about it.

Each MyWitness user is provided with 100megs of compressed storage space. This may not seem like a lot but what’s great is that the platform automatically compresses data for you while it travels through the network. In other words there is no need to worry about the technicalities of file sizes. Images (JPEGS & GIFS) for example, are compressed to about 6k - irrelevant of their original size. Also, the original file is restored to its full glory and size when it reaches the other side – without any loss in quality.

The cellphone is fast becoming the ultimate all-in-one tool. This is your chance to jump on the technology bandwagon simply and cheaply. Just remember to get up and exercise once in a while!

Signing up for a MyWitness account will cost you R1.50 and can be done online (from a computer) at http://go.mywitness.co.za. You can also watch a video demonstration online and find additional information and set up instructions at www.witness.co.za.

Video: MyWitness user's speak

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TECHNOLOGY: A whiff of the modern cellphone

THE cellphone has become one of the most widely used digital technologies in everyday life. However, current cellular innovations appear to be both exciting and potentially dangerous at the same time.

one smelly phoneThe Health Concept Phone (pictured) is equipped with eNose technology, which effectively allows it to electronically “smell” what you eat and keep track of your food intake. It is able to ‘recognise’ food (and other things) by its unique chemical signature. Recommended for people who have a habit of eating with their eyes closed. Similar cellphones have the ability to emit a whiff of your significant other’s scent every time he or she calls.

New cellular features (and what one can actually do with a modern cellphone) are taking the lead in incorporating the latest and greatest technical innovations. Interestingly, cellphones equipped with such state-of-the-art technology are becoming increasingly popular in countries such as South Africa as opposed to those who one might refer to as the 'digital elite'.

The most striking (and perhaps most frightening) ideas are to create cellphones that come closer to human nature than we might like to believe. Electronic giant Samsung is planning to create a cellphone that has “artificial chromosomes” built within, and will be able to ‘think’, ‘feel’, ‘evolve’ and even ‘reproduce’. The concept seems close to the earlier invention of the Tamagotchi – a digital creature that adjusts its ‘life’ according to the personality and actions of its owner.

Other companies have already customised the cellphone for social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, which they say “effectively allows you to carry your social life in your pocket”. No human contact needed.

The notion that we are living in an expanding visual and digital culture is becoming more apparent by the development of such technologies. Perhaps the most exciting modern cellphone feature that manufacturers are focusing on at the moment is video. Several companies are talking about making it possible for millions of people to simultaneously stream live video and TV channels via their phones. Music fans may receive the most recent music videos by their favourite bands instantaneously — a concept being coined as ultrareality.

As exciting as these developments sound, the luddites (technology pessimists) will tell us that this is not all cream and cake. And no, these are not all hippies that protest against technology, but clued-up intellectuals who know what they are talking about. An article published in the Washington Times describes how digital experts in the Middle East are making use of cellphones to trigger off road-side bombs. James Bond films also illustrate how the modern cellphone is, rather accurately, used in the spy industry for corruption purposes.

The pace that such developments are taking do have the danger of blinding one to their negative possibilities. However, the idea of getting a whiff of your significant other’s scent through your cellphone every time he or she calls is both crazy and exciting.

Interesting Links:

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