Computers: Right Back Where We Started

A lot of my time is spent writing for and talking to people for whom the computer remains a scary beast that is best kept at arm’s length, or, better, in a closet. I feel for these people because I’m not naturally a techie myself. I failed science and math in school and almost certainly …

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Hang On, I’m Just Calling My Getaway Car

A bank in Chicago has banned use of cellphones in five of its branches, hoping to prevent the bad guys from communicating with each other during a robbery, according to UPI: “We ban cell phone use in the lobby because you don’t know what people are doing,” Ralph Oster, a senior vice president [of the …

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Tsunamis, Warnings and the SMS

Systems — especially warning systems — need to work perfectly, or not at all. Take Thailand’s new tsunami early warning system, which recently failed a trial because busy phone networks took hours to deliver vital SMS messages, while some some warnings sent by fax didn’t turn up at all, according to AFP. (More on the …

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A Short Essay From Jef Raskin

Further to the previous post, honouring the fact that Jef Raskin passed away last month, I thought I would post a little essay he sent me a year ago to illustrate some of his thinking in his last year: Genesis and Goals of The Humane Environment Our increasing knowledge about human behavior and mental processes, …

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Pay Money, Scan Barcodes With Your Cellphone

ScanZoom, which allows camera phone users to scan barcodes to compare prices in stores and obtain other information and services, is now available. It will work with most camera phones, but there’s a catch: You have to pay $10 for the software, $10 for a special macro zoom lens, and another $5 or so to …

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Tracking People With A Cellphone

Can services which allow you to track another person’s whereabouts be abused to monitor the movements of loved ones, employees etc without their knowledge? David Brake of Blog.org cites an article on Korea’s OhmyNews.com site that says yes. As he points out, there are plenty of services that offer this service with built-in safeguards to …

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Bluetooth Security – The World Wakes Up?

The corporate world, it seems, is waking up to Bluetooth security issues. At the same time there is a growing slew of products to make them sleep safer. InfoSync World writes of new security software from Bluefire Security which “disables Bluetooth and Infrared communication to minimize the risk of information theft.” Bluefire Mobile Firewall Plus …

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News: The Death Of The PDA

 Interesting article by Reuters’ Franklin Paul on the death of the PDA (no link available, I’m afraid). “The truth is, the PDA as it was first envisioned – as nothing more than a fancy digital pocket organizer – may be nearly extinct,” he writes. Three years ago, consumers rushed to buy PDAs, but “today, its …

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News: From Kazaa To Skype

 From Estonia comes news that the guys behind file-swapping legend Kazaa are launching an Internet phone service they claim could put traditional phone companies out of business. AP says the service, called Skype, purports to offer free, unlimited phone service between users with sound quality near to existing phone lines.     Skype users — and …

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