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John Boxall and Igor Faletski, founders of mo mo club

John Boxall (left) and Igor Faletski encourage discussion of existing and future technologies concerning cell phones, handhelds and other wireless-enabled devices during bi-weekly Mobile Monday gatherings.

MoMo club

March 8, 2007

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By Barry Shell

Every other Monday, the computing science conference room at SFU's Burnaby campus is packed with undergrads preparing for the day Canada catches up with the rest of the world's enhanced standards for cellular phone services and infrastructure.

During an academic exchange in Prague, students John Boxall and Igor Faletski discovered that European services, for example, offer cell phones with built-in mapping functions and unlimited Internet access for about $40 per month.

The pair were so impressed they started up a group when they returned to SFU called Mobile Mondays, or MoMo, for students interested in exploring the expanding possibilities for mobile phones and similar wireless devices.

"These kids have grown up with cell phones, so they are more eager to learn about the latest technologies," says Boxall, who at 22 is the "old guy" in the group.

Typical MoMo topics include mobile TV, text messaging and social networking, mobile banking, location-based GPS tools, and cell phone barcode readers.

Boxall demonstrates how the readers work by pointing his phone's camera at a new kind of barcode, called 2D, on a computer screen displaying the BeeTagg.com website. Within seconds the website appears on his phone's web browser. "I could have pointed it at a tag on a music concert poster and received one of the band's new songs," he says, adding that 2D barcode technology is widespread in Asia and Europe.

The students stress that MoMo is not just about technology; it's a social phenomenon. "Cell phones are all about social interaction, not computer science. It's going to affect everyone," says Faletski.

"Like the Internet changed your life, this is going to change your life," says Boxall. "You can choose to be part of it."

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