Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #195
December 30th, 2007

First, let me wish you all an excellent year 2008. And now, on with the weekly press review.

Russia launches final satellites for its own GPS

Russia successfully launched a rocket on Tuesday carrying the last three satellites to complete a navigation system to rival America’s GPS. The military-run GLONASS mapping system works over most of Russia and is expected to cover the globe by the end of 2009, once all its 24 navigational satellites are operating.
[Note: don’t miss this other article, Can Russian GPS system track my dog? Putin asks (Oleg Shchedrov, Reuters, December 24, 2007).]
Source: Chris Baldwin, Reuters, December 25, 2007

A Valet Key for Your Identity

As online services that make use of personal data multiply, it’s becoming more common for users to need to pass data from one service to another. This often requires users to hand over usernames and passwords, in spite of the obvious security risks involved. A new open-source project called OAuth, released earlier this month, is intended to solve this problem by allowing users to give services a valet key to their identities, rather than full access.
Source: Erica Naone, Technology Review, December 26, 2007

Mapping Professional Networks

IBM is exploring how different visualizations of the social graph could be useful within businesses, as a way of helping people work more efficiently and make better connections. Last week the company, which launched its social-software platform, Lotus Connections, earlier this year, released a tool called Atlas that uses the data in Connections to help users analyze their relationships with business contacts.
Source: Erica Naone, Technology Review, December 28, 2007

New Met exhibition gives fashion fodder to bloggers

Along with the important pieces by Madame Gres, Charles Frederick Worth and Yves Saint Laurent and unusual accessories by Simon Costin and Stephen Jones, a new exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute prominently features a series of flat-screen computers for people to blog on the spot about what they are seeing. “Blog.mode: Addressing Fashion” both embraces and exploits the immediacy of fashion. Fashion, unlike almost any other form of art, is an expression of a zeitgeist and judged in that context, explains curator in charge Harold Koda.
Source: Samantha Critchell, The Associated Press, December 28, 2007

China finds U.S. firms eager allies on security

In preparation for the Beijing Olympics and a series of other international events, some American companies are helping the Chinese government design and install one of the most comprehensive high-tech public surveillance systems in the world. When told of the companies’ transactions, critics of China’s human rights record said the work violated the spirit of a sanctions law Congress passed after the Tiananmen Square killings. The Commerce Department, however, says the sophisticated systems being installed, by companies like Honeywell, General Electric, United Technologies and I.B.M., do not run afoul of the ban on providing China with “crime control or detection instruments or equipment.”
Source: Keith Bradsher, The New York Times, December 28, 2007


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