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Design: It’s All About Alarm Clocks

Business writer and entrepreneur Seth Godin throws out product ideas like other people throw out orange juice cartons: For twenty cents or so, alarm clock manufacturers can add a chip that not only knows the time (via a radio signal) but knows what day it is too. Which means that they can add a switch that says “weekends.” Which means that the 98% of the population that doesn’t want to wake up on the same time on weekends as they do on weekdays will be happier (and better rested.) But he’s not touting a new alarm clock, he’s making a point: “So why doesn’t everyContinue readingDesign: It’s All About Alarm Clocks

Gmail Is Weird

An ordinary business email yielded the following contextual Google ads. Don’t click on the first one if you’ve just eaten and don’t click on the second on principle. clipped from mail.google.com Sponsored Links   Photos: That’s in my Gut? This site guarantees to remove really gross stuff from your gut. www.BlessedHerbs.com   Spy earpieces Special equipment from Russia. All exams without preparation! www.wintec.ru

Can We Trust Anti-Spy Software?

Who watches over the watchers? In software, it seems, it’s often the same folk.   Reading a press release for X-Cleaner, “a privacy tool suite that detects and removes installed spyware and adware components”, it sounded interesting enough for a mention. After all, it “includes tools to securely delete files, edit the registry, disable startup programs”, as well as “IE home page protection, cookie, cache and history cleaning, built-in password generator and more”. What’s more, there’s a free version with some features disabled. Not a bad tool for those folk worried about keylogging phisher trojans and whatnot.   But when I tried to find out whoContinue readingCan We Trust Anti-Spy Software?

News: Norton Chips In

 I should have known, given the whole virus thing is big business, that if one company announces a new product, its rival down the street isn’t likely to stay silent. Hot on the heels (or maybe before, who knows) of McAfee’s upgrade to its VirusScan, Symantec Corp.announced Norton AntiVirus 2004, although tellingly it’s not ‘widely available’ until early September. (Not trying to muddy McAfee’s launch, are we lads?)     Norton AntiVirus 2004 takes a slightly different approach to the growing threat of worms, rather than viruses (worms jump aboard without the user doing anything like loading a file, while viruses depend on the userContinue readingNews: Norton Chips In

Update: A Close Shave

 Further to my column about RFID, and the privacy issues of having tags attached to products that may contain more info about you than you’d like to know, a group called CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) is calling for a worldwide boycott of Gillette products since the company failed to renounce what they call “a Gillette Mach3 “smart shelf” spy system”.     My two cents? I’m not sure a boycott is a good way to explore this issue, but if it helps get people talking, then so be it.

News: Buy Some Razor Blades And Get Your Photo Taken!

 Yes, it’s true! All you need to do is pick up a packet of Gillette Mach3 razor blades at Tesco’s in Cambridge, England, and you’ll trigger a CCTV camera. A second camera takes a picture at the checkout and security staff then compare the two images. Apparently the aim of the trial, The Guardian reports, is to provide stock information, but the manager of the store has already described how he presented photos of a thief to police.     Retailers have hailed the technology as the “holy grail” of supply chain management but civil liberties groups argue that the so-called “spy chips” are anContinue readingNews: Buy Some Razor Blades And Get Your Photo Taken!

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