Afghanistan’s TV Phone Users Offer a Lesson

By Jeremy Wagstaff There’s something I notice amid all the dust, drudgery and danger of Kabul life: the cellphone TVs. No guard booth—and there are lots of them—is complete without a little cellphone sitting on its side, pumping out some surprisingly clear picture of a TV show. This evening at one hostelry the guard, AK-47 …

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Why Hotels Should Avoid Social Media

By Jeremy Wagstaff (this is a copy of my column for newspapers) If The Wall Street Journal is to be believed—and as a former contributor I’ve no reason to doubt it—the best way to get decent hotel service these days is to tweet about how bad it is. And reading the piece made me realize …

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KL’s Airport Gets Infected

If there’s one place you hope you won’t get infected by a computer virus, it’s an airport. It’s not just that the virus may fiddle with your departure times; it’s the wider possibility that the virus may have infected more sensitive parts of the airport: ticketing, say, or—heaven forbid—flight control. Kuala Lumpur International Airport—Malaysia’s main …

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Obese Texters, Back to the Future, and Scams

I make an appearance on the excellent Breakfast Club show on Radio Australia each Friday at about 01:15 GMT and some listeners have asked me post links to the stuff I talk about, so here they are. Texting reduces obesity If your kids are getting a little overweight, then treat them to a bit of …

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Death of a ‘Toughbook’

(update: after two days of nothing, the device is now booting again and Panasonic have offered to take a closer look at it and tell me what happened.) My faith in my Panasonic Toughbook took a bath today when a waitress poured coffee all over it (and me.) It’s that absurd thing that waiters do …

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The Limits of the Cloud

Microsoft’s FolderShare, a folder synchronizing tool that I’ve recommended in previous columns, is going off the air for up to three days in the middle of the week “for server upgrades”: FolderShare will be offline for a little while (48-72 hours) next week for some server upgrades. The outage begins Tuesday, June 17, at 6 …

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Bluetooth Tracking

Research from Purdue University shows that Bluetooth would be a very good way to track travel time. Bluetooth devices give off unique IDs which could be used to measure speed and movement of pedestrians and vehicles. But why stop there? Wouldn’t it be possible to track people via their Bluetooth signal, if you knew one …

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The Alarm Clock is Dead, Long Live the Cellphone

Gadgets, like software and services, often end up being used in ways the creator didn’t intend. But how many companies make the most of this opportunity? Take the cellphone. More than a third of Brits use their mobile phone as an alarm clock, according to a survey by British hotel chain Travelodge (thanks textually.org): Budget …

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Dark Age Messengers

Maybe I’m missing something, of I’ve been taken in by those TV ads of guys walking across stepping stones made out of frogmens’ skulls, but I expect the big couriers to be somewhat snappier and higher-tech these days. Not based on today’s experience: Call their hotline to get a guy in either Mexico or the …

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