Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Are these news?

Sometimes it is amazing for me what people around the world deem as news:

By Andrew Heavens

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - If you are in Sudan it is a 'missed call'. In Ethiopia it is a 'miskin' or a 'pitiful' call. In other parts of Africa it is a case of 'flashing', 'beeping' or in French-speaking areas 'bipage'.

Wherever you are, it is one of the fastest-growing phenomena in the continent's booming mobile telephone markets -- and it's a headache for mobile operators who are trying to figure out how to make some money out of it.

You beep someone when you call them up on their mobile phone -- setting its display screen briefly flashing -- then hang up half a second later, before they have had a chance to answer. Your friend -- you hope -- sees your name and number on their list of 'Missed Calls' and calls you back at his or her expense.

It is a tactic born out of ingenuity and necessity, say analysts who have tracked an explosion in miskin calls by cash-strapped cellphone users from Cape Town to Cairo.

"Its roots are as a strategy to save money," said Jonathan Donner, an India-based researcher for Microsoft who is due to publish a paper on "The Rules of Beeping" in the high-brow online Journal of Computer Mediated Communication in October.

Donner first came across beeping in Rwanda, then tracked it across the continent and beyond, to south and southeast Asia. Studies quoted in his paper estimate between 20 to more than 30 percent of the calls made in Africa are just split-second flashes -- empty appeals across the cellular network.

People here in Venezuela have been doing these for years and years. It is something perfectly normal for us, not only for Africans. I do that several times a week. And that is shocking News for Reuters. I really cannot believe. It is like the fact that some people takes less showers in winter being news.

Really odd.

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1 comment:

steve said...

Do people take fewer showers in the winter? Why is that? I have never heard that before.