Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #166
June 10th, 2007

Blogger, Journalist, Citizen: Which is Which

As traditional media outlets struggle with dwindling readership and slash their newsroom staffs to meet profit goals, the strength of the Internet as a source for news increases daily. Not only have collaborative tools like blogs given ordinary people the ability to spread opinions and information, but they’ve birthed full-fledged online news sources that perform all the functions of a traditional newspaper or broadcast outlet — and sometimes do it better.
Source: Martin H. Bosworth, ConsumerAffairs.Com, June 4, 2007

The Twitterization of Blogs

It wasn’t until recently, with the overnight sensation known as Twitter, that the cell phone showed its potential to move to the fore of blogging. With Twitter, people share quick updates on their most mundane doings, often from a cell phone (see, 4/2/07, “Twitter: All Trivia, All the Time”). If a growing number of bloggers are shying away from the citizen journalism and mass consumption that originally defined the medium (see, 4/25/07, “With 15.5 Million Active Blogs, New Technorati Data Shows that Blogging Growth Seems to Be Peaking”), Twitter’s popularity shows how eager people are to share quotidian tidbits of life in real time.
Source: Catherine Holahan, BusinessWeek, June 4, 2007

Interactive paper sounds exciting

Boring billboards can be turned into interactive displays by using conductive inks to print touch sensors and speakers onto paper, say Swedish researchers. “The first generation of paper was for display, like books,” says Mikael Gulliksson, a researcher at Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden, “the second for packaging, and the third for hygiene – we are investigating what the fourth might be.”
Source: Tom Simonite, New Scientist, June 4, 2007

Angry young Greeks blog for better pay

Let down by politicians and trade unions, Greece’s young professionals are taking to the blogosphere to try to improve their prospects. They are tired of bumping against a 700 euro ($940) monthly salary ceiling and too poor to buy their own homes and start families. The blog they set up to vent their frustrations has caught on so fast that opposition politicians are taking notice. “The response has been overwhelming,” said Thanassis, 28, one of the blog’s founders who declined to give his surname to avoid problems with his employers in the civil service.
Source: Karolos Grohmann, Reuters, June 5, 2007

My car is watching me

Researchers and automakers are developing steering wheel – and dashboard-mounted sensors that peer at a driver’s face to determine what’s going on inside your head. Here’s how it works: Computer algorithms map your body and points on your face: eyes and mouth, mostly. The distance between those points changes as you get sleepy, distracted or even drunk. Sensors gather that data and combine it with data from your vehicle, including your speed or the position of your steering wheel.
Source: Ryan Pearson, The Associated Press, June 6, 2007

After an early black eye face recognition might finally be ready for prime time

That face recognition technologies have improved significantly in recent years was evident in the results of the most recent Face Recognition Vendor Test sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The FRVT acted as a benchmark for the face recognition industry, allowing vendors to come forth and show what they could offer. The results of the test, released in March, showed improvements in recognition accuracy of an order of magnitude, or 10 times better than in the previous test in 2002. The FRVT 2006 results showed a false recognition rate (FRR) of only 0.01 while maintaining a false acceptance rate (FAR) of 0.001. That compares to an FRR of 0.2 in 2002.
Source: Patrick Marshall, Government Computer News, June 4, 2007

Face recognition set for takeoff in Australia

Despite a series of technical hiccups, the first public trials of Australia’s biometric SmartGate project are set to take place in Brisbane in August, six months behind schedule. In development since 2002, SmartGate uses facial-recognition technology to verify the identity of travelers by comparing a scan of their face with a facial scan encoded in the microchip contained within the newly launched ePassport.
Source: ZDNet Australia Staff, for CNET, June 8, 2007

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