Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #128
September 17th, 2006

Like Shopping? Social Networking? Try Social Shopping

Sites like ThisNext and a handful of services like, and are spearheading a new category of e-commerce called “social shopping,” that tries to combine two favorite online activities: shopping and social networking. These sites are hoping to ride the MySpace wave by gathering people in one place to swap shopping ideas. And like MySpace, the sites are designed for both browsing and blogging, with some shopping-related technology twists included.
Source: Bob Tedeschi, The New York Times, September 11, 2006 (Free registration, permanent link)

Positioning location-based services for take-off

Carry the right device and you can pinpoint your physical location to within metres. This positioning accuracy is the basis of location-based services (LBS) such as personal navigation, vehicle tracking and emergency-service provision. Yet Europe’s business LBS market remains relatively stagnant. Armed with a new LBS knowledge base and a five-year R&D roadmap, one group of strategic researchers seeks to change that.
Source: IST Results, September 12, 2006

Start-up aims to automate autos and more

The car of the future may sport a fuel gauge savvy enough to tell the driver when and where it will run out of gas, and it could recommend a nearby gas station for filling up.
A new software development framework from start-up Encirq is helping software engineers create new applications that bring together data flowing from several sensors within a consumer device.
Source:, via CNET, September 12, 2006 Issue

Personal data protection vital to future civil liberties

When micro-sized sensors can enquire our business in a particular neighbourhood, and equally micro-sized agents embedded within our clothing answer on our behalf, what are the risks to our personal data? How will we safeguard our personal privacy in such a society? SWAMI project researchers aimed to find out.
[Those of you interested by this “Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence” project can read its final report (PDF format, 201 pages).]
Source: IST Results, September 13, 2006

Researchers reveal ‘extremely serious’ vulnerabilities in e-voting machines

In a paper published on the Web today, a group of Princeton computer scientists said they created demonstration vote-stealing software that can be installed within a minute on a common electronic voting machine. The software can fraudulently change vote counts without being detected.
Source: Teresa Riordan, Princeton University, September 13, 2006

Social networking: Hanging with the in-crowd

Websites for social networking have never had so many friends. The best known, MySpace, recently became the most visited website in America. Its acquisition last year by News Corporation, a media giant headed by Rupert Murdoch, for $580m now looks like a masterstroke. Other media groups and investors are crowding around other such websites, which allow people to create their own pages with photos and blogs and make connections with other people.
Source: The Economist print edition, September 14, 2006

Airport security meets science fiction

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the film glides through security in minutes, checked by a full-body X-ray with shoes on and carry-on in hand. He doesn’t step through a bulky X-ray machine, he doesn’t take off his belt, he doesn’t even have to empty his pockets of loose change. In 2006, that’s not so far from reality.
Source: Stefanie Olsen, CNET, September 14, 2006

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