safety

Microsoft India has released a safety app for Windows Phone users that could come in handy in times of emergency.  Guardian uses Microsoft Windows Azure cloud solution and the Bing Maps API to let selected parties track your movements and alert them in times of danger.

Guardian is the product of Microsoft India employees over a period of six months through the Microsoft Garage, an initiative to allow Microsoft employees to explore app development ideas.

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Here’s one for all of you who did the bird and the bees with your significant other and now have little offspring running around. It looks like Microsoft has a new feature for Windows Phone parents and kids called ‘My Family’. It’s a feature we haven’t really seen before on windowsphone.com and we’re going to go with it’s a fairly new thing. It’s a cool feature to help manage your kids and their Windows Phone. (Ninja edit: it's new to us because the majority of us writers don't have kids. So if you've known about this for sometime cool story. If not, enjoy it and we hope you find it useful.)

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App Discovery by Windows Phone Parent is a Windows Phone app designed to help you discover apps for your children. The application is the official Windows Phone app for WindowsPhoneParent.com and sorts apps by age group and categories.

Categories include foreign language, math, memory, skill development, literacy and more. Age categories start at the toddler years (18-36 months) to the teenage years.

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The PEGI (Pan European Game Information) ratings system has become legally enforceable in the UK, which means retailers and publishers that sell video games to children are now liable for fines and possible imprisonment. This is due to a new age classification system being forcefully implemented to crack down on unsuitable content for certain age groups.

All video games will be regulated under the PEGI system this coming Monday, which also makes it illegal to sell 12-rated games to underage children (among the usual certifications). Until this time, the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) has only provided 15 and 18 age certificates that are legally enforceable, making it legal for children to purchase 12-rated media. But what does this mean for Windows Phone users?

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Microsoft has been granted a patent that would use location-based services to help keep pedestrians safe.  The “pedestrian route production” technology will “construct a direction set that allows the user to take paths that take him to his home in a quickest amount of time while keeping the user relatively safe (e.g., taking the user through neighborhoods with violent crime statistics below a certain threshold).”  This means that based on crime statistics, unsafe weather reports, etc., the service will create a route that will maximize their chances of getting to their destination unscathed.  The routes will also be customized based on a user's tolerance for such risk based on historical data.  So if you think you're a tough guy, the service will give you the opportunity to prove it.

The patent comes without any detail from Microsoft as to how or when they will use it.  Presumably, this technology would be incorporated into Bing Maps or similar applications.  If so, it would be the first mapping utility to offer such services to users.

Source: TFTS; Thanks to Sohaib for the Tip!

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We mentioned earlier that the LG Quantum ranked the best with respect to the smartphones with the lowest radiation emissions. On the heels of that report, we've learned the WHO has chimed in on the issue of whether or not cell phone radiation is dangerous or not.  No, not the rock group the Who but the World Health Organization.

In a joint press released issued today with the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the WHO classifies radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans. This tags the electromagnetic fields as a Group 2B carcinogen that also includes lead, DDT pesticides, and chloroform. They base this possibility on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use.

A more extensive report on the assessment by the WHO will be published in the July issue of The Lancet Oncology, but commenting on the findings, Dr. Jonathan Samet, chairman of the working group for this studying, states,:

"The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk."

Additionally, the Director of the IARC, Christopher Wild, commented:

"it is important that additional research be conducted into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands?free devices or texting."

It is nice that there isn't a rush to judgement on this issue (keeping things termed as "potential" or "possible" risk) and that it is recognized that additional research is needed to determine what connection exists between serious health issues and cell phone use.

Again, by no means are we suggesting you should stop using your Windows Phone.  But it never hurts to be informed on the equipment we use.  After the break you can catch the full press release from the WHO.

Source: IARC Via: CNN

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The LG Quantum has achieved a rather unique distinction. The Windows Phone tops the list of safest cell phones with respect to radiation emissions.

Agree or not, studies have identified some health issues related to prolonged use (i.e. ten years or so) of cell phones. Heck, the FCC even requires SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) for wireless phones and devices to be under 1.6 watts per kilogram. 

The good news for Quantum owners is that the LG Windows Phone comes in at .35 w/kg.  In comparison, the Samsung Focus is rated at .97 w/kg, the HTC HD7 was rated at 1.15 w/kg and the HTC Surround came in at 1.03 w/kg. The Motorola Bravo (Android) topped the list of reporting phones at 1.59 w/kg.

Considering a portable x-ray machine cranks out about 175 watts per kilogram it may take some time for health issues to develop (if at all).  By no means are we suggesting you stop using your Windows Phone but a) it's nice to see a Windows Phone be rated amongst the safest and b) it never hurts to be informed.

Source: Environmental Working Group Thanks goes out to Mark for the tip!

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With all the 'bad people' out there and how smartphones solve Human problems (wireless communication, entertainment values, etc.), one would hope that an offering would reach Windows Phone 7 to combat sex offenders. Well, it has.

An app called Sex Offenders Search is slightly like Bronseal's slogan; "It does exactly what it says on the tin" (if you don't know Bronseal), where it displays to the user all registered sex offenders in and around your area (using GPS and maps). The app allows you to select an offender and view a photo, name, address and offenses. 

Sex Offenders Search is currently only available in the US, bit of a pain for us Europeans, and can be found on the Marketplace for $1.99 here.

Source: WP7 Connect

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