Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #186
October 28th, 2007

Two Cabinet Secretaries Start Blogs

It was late on Aug. 22 when Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt wrapped up 1,250 words on his experiences in Mozambique. There was more he wanted to write about online, but he had to be up early. “I think I’ll post and go to bed,” he wrote on his Web log. Leavitt and Michael Chertoff at Homeland Security are the first two members of President Bush’s Cabinet who are blogging.
Source: Eileen Sullivan, The Associated Press, October 21, 2007

‘Smart’ video offers an alert to threats

In video surveillance systems, the weakest link is the often bored, distracted human who has to spend hours staring at a bank of video monitors, waiting for something suspicious to happen. Several Boston area companies say they have found a solution: surveillance systems smart enough to recognize threats, even when their human operators do not. “It essentially replaces the need for people to watch video,” said Scott Schnell, chief executive of VideoIQ Inc., a Bedford firm that was spun off earlier this year from General Electric Co.
Source: Hiawatha Bray, The Boston Globe, October 22, 2007 (Free registration)

Putting a local spin on social networking

Facebook and MySpace have struck a chord with people who want to socialize from a distance. But will people use social networks to actually meet their neighbors? That is the hope of at least one new company,, which is putting a local spin on the social networking model. The company creates password-protected Web sites for apartment buildings and housing developments, allowing residents to post pictures and profiles of themselves, share information about favorite local eateries and gripe about slow elevators and peeling paint.
Source: Bob Tedeschi, The New York Times, October 22, 2007

GPS is turning cellphones into social mapping devices

Two new questions arise, courtesy of the latest advancement in cellphone technology: Do you want your friends, family, or colleagues to know where you are at any given time? And do you want to know where they are? […] But such services [that take advantage of the Global Positioning System chips embedded in most cellphones] point to a new truth of modern life: If GPS made it harder to get lost, new cellphone services are now making it harder to hide.
Source: Laura M. Holson, The New York Times, October 22, 2007

Power Walking: A Backpack that Charges Your iPod?

The stress and strain absorbed by your backpack could one day recharge your cell phone. Researchers at Michigan Technological University have designed a strap that will capture the energy generated by the up-and-down movement of a hiker’s pack and turn it into enough voltage to power small electrical devices. “It’s pretty cool,” says Henry Sodano, an adjunct professor of engineering “mechanical engineering — engineering mechanics, who recently accepted a faculty appointment at Arizona State University. “We are harnessing free energy that would normally be lost.”
Source: Michigan Technological University, October 16, 2007

Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ goes online in high definition

Can’t get to Milan to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Last Supper?” As of Saturday, all you need is an Internet connection. Officials put online an image of the “Last Supper” at 16 billion pixels — 1,600 times stronger than the images taken with the typical 10 million pixel digital camera. [Note: the site is called haltadefinizione.]
Source: The Associated Press, October 27, 2007

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