Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #148
February 4th, 2007

Put the button on your users

Founded by graduates of the Spitting Image puppet workshops, Eleksen has developed a way of making fabric conduct, so it works as buttons you can press. Its best known product is a roll-up fabric keyboard but the company also produced a fabric case for the Samsung Q1 that’s a keyboard too. Their buttons are also going into G-Tech messenger bags, backpacks from O’Neill and clothing with built-in iPod controls from brands like Kenpo, Spyder, Koyono and Scottevest.
Source: Mary Branscombe, The Register, January 27, 2007

Courts Turn to Wikipedia, but Selectively

A simple search of published court decisions shows that Wikipedia is frequently cited by judges around the country, involving serious issues and the bizarre — such as a 2005 tax case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals concerning the definition of ‘beverage’ that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars. More than 100 judicial rulings have relied on Wikipedia, beginning in 2004, including 13 from circuit courts of appeal, one step below the Supreme Court. (The Supreme Court thus far has never cited Wikipedia.)
Source: Noam Cohen, The New York Times, January 29, 2007 (Free registration, permanent link)

Via RFID, these billboards know you by name

Each day, it seems, marketers go further in their quest to deliver messages so engaging and personalized that one cannot help feeling special. The latest step will be seen Monday in four cities when Mini USA begins delivering custom messages to Mini Cooper owners on digital signs the company calls “talking” billboards. The boards, which usually carry typical advertising, are programmed to identify approaching Mini drivers through a coded signal from a radio chip embedded in their key fob.
Source: Barnaby J. Feder, The New York Times, via CNET, January 29, 2007

Seagate drive has gigabytes of wireless, pocket storage

Seagate unveiled a wireless 10GB to 20GB storage device intended to fit in users’ pockets and allow them to store and share digital files between mobile phones, PCs and other mobile platforms. This Digital Audio Video Experience (DAVE) uses a 1-in. hard drive to trade files with other platforms up to 30 feet away using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi networking.
Source: Ben Ames, IDG News Service, January 30, 2007

The New Media Mogul — You

What do Blinkx,, Splashcast, Panjea, Eyejot, Vringo, and BUZ have in common? They aim to give consumers control of their own media.
Uploading video to the Internet is so 2006. Now the question is what to do with those clips once they’re in cyberspace. Many of the fledgling companies strutting their stuff at the annual DEMO conference in Palm Desert, Calif., think they have the answer.
Source: Arik Hesseldahl, BusinessWeek, January 31, 2007

A Computer Program Wins Its First Scrabble Tournament

At a Scrabble tournament in Toronto, a piece of software called Quackle triumphed in a best-of-five series over David Boys, a computer programmer who won the world Scrabble championship in 1995. The open-source program’s chief designers include Jason Katz-Brown, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who also happens to be one of the top-ranked Scrabble players in the world.
Source: Brock Read, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 26, 2007

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