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Baby apps, iPhone buyers, search and seizure

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Having a baby? There's an app for that.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has introduced "Baby Time," an iPhone application for expectant parents. It includes a function to track the time between contractions; a quick-dial feature for the hospital and other important people the expectant couple might want to notify; directions to Vanderbilt, via Google Maps; and frequently-asked questions about labor, delivery and VUMC's policies and procedures.

The app is free and available through the iTunes app store.

"The idea is to help moms-to-be have a smoother labor and delivery experience," said Hannah Paramore, president of Paramore/Redd Online Marketing of Nashville, in a news release. "There are already apps out there to help moms with the general pregnancy process, but there was really nothing to help moms, or dads, with the actual labor and delivery process."

Evan Silverstein, who is now a VUMC resident but was just a medical student at the time, helped develop the app.

"The big picture is that Vanderbilt University Medical Center is in the mobile business now," said Jill Austin, MBA, assistant vice chancellor for Strategic Marketing and chief marketing officer for VUMC.

"We've launched a mobile website and key pieces of our website are available in the mobile format. The use of mobile devices is a growing trend and we are keeping track of how to get information into the hands of patients the way they want the information."

Local iPhone buyers

In an unscientific T-G web site poll, 27 percent of those responding say they will consider buying an iPhone from Verizon Wireless, which will begin offering Apple's popular smartphone next month. It was previously available only through AT&T Wireless. The vast majority of those potential buyers, 25.3 percent, are already Verizon customers.

Among those who aren't interested, 27.5 percent of total respondents say they don't want a smartphone at all.

"I don't know why they think everyone needs Internet on the phones," commented one user.

Another 10.7 percent would rather have an Android smartphone, 4.4 percent would rather have a Blackberry smartphone, half a percentage point would rather have a Windows smartphone and 14.3 percent say they don't want to change carriers. There were 15.7 percent who cited reasons not listed in our poll.

A total of 364 people voted in the poll. Voluntary, self-selected polls aren't considered scientific because there's no way to prove that the people who chose to participate represent a true cross-section of the target population.

Searching your cellphone

According to a news story on the web site Ars Technica, California's Supreme Court ruled last week that police officers may search someone's mobile phone after arresting them, and don't need a warrant to do so. The court classified mobile phones with other personal belongings, such as wallets and cigarette packs, which can be routinely searched without a warrant as part of the arrest process.

However, if the phone or its data are password-protected, officers can't force arrestees to disclose the password.

--John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette and covers county government. He is also the author of the self-published novel "Soapstone." His personal web site is lakeneuron.com.



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John I. Carney
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.