Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #203
February 24th, 2008

Motorola shows off hydrogen-powered phone

Fuel cell maker Angstrom Power and cell phone maker Motorola have teamed up to create a prototype mobile phone that runs on a hydrogen fuel cell. Hydrogen is produced — by cracking water molecules — with a desktop fueling station and then inserted into a metal hydride storage container on the phone, says Aron Levitz, manager of business development for Angstrom. When the hydrogen molecules pass through a membrane in the fuel cell, electrons are stripped away and get diverted to run the phone.
Source: Michael Kanellos, CNET, Green Tech blog, February 15, 2008

Floating a New Idea For Going Wireless, Parachute Included

Space Data Corp. already launches 10 balloons a day across the Southern U.S., providing specialized telecom services to truckers and oil companies. His balloons soar 20 miles into the stratosphere, each carrying a shoebox-size payload of electronics that acts like a mini cellphone “tower” covering thousands of square miles below. [This] idea has caught the eye of Google Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. The Internet giant — which is now pushing into wireless services — has considered contracting with Space Data or even buying the firm, according to one person.
Source: Amol Sharma, The Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2008

Wiretapping Made Easy

Silently tapping into a private cell phone conversation is no longer a high-tech trick reserved for spies and the FBI. Thanks to the work of two young cyber-security researchers, cellular snooping may be soon be affordable enough for your next-door neighbor. In a presentation Wednesday at the Black Hat security conference in Washington, D.C., David Hulton and Steve Muller demonstrated a new technique for cracking the encryption used to prevent eavesdropping on GSM cellular signals, the type of radio frequency coding used by major cellular service providers including AT&T, Cingular and T-Mobile.
Source: Andy Greenberg,, February 21, 2008

‘Coworking,’ a cooperative for the modern age

Coworking sites are up and running from Argentina to Australia and many places in between, although a wiki site on coworking shows that most are in the United States. While some have grown-up-sounding names, most seem connected somewhere between the communalism of the 1960s and the whimsy of the dot-com days of the ’90s, like the Hive Cooperative in Denver, Office Nomads in Seattle, Nutopia Workspace in Lower Manhattan and Independents Hall in Philadelphia.
Source: Dan Fost, for the International Herald Tribune, February 21, 2008

Behave, the Video Vigilante is watching

Activists like Brian Bates, who trails prostitute-seeking men, are pointing the cameras on bad behavior in public and posting the exploits online for all the world to shame.
Source: Miguel Bustillo, Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2008

Smile, you’re on a bar Webcam

Around the country, bars are tapping the Internet to let people know when they’re hopping–or dreadfully quiet.
On a recent Friday evening at the Key West bar Hog’s Breath Saloon, Mike Murphy was enjoying a Miller Lite and potato skins in the company of his wife and friends. Although not on reality television, his evening was broadcast online from the Florida bar’s live Webcam, which showed the group occasionally waving to their grandkids at home in Indianapolis.
Source: Stefanie Olsen, CNET, February 19, 2008

Biometrics touted as key to stress-free flights

By 2015, biometric technology will make getting on a plane almost as easy as getting on the Tube or train today, according to a leading border security expert. Automated biometric systems will eventually replace the often laborious system of repeated manual passport and security checks that plague fliers today, said Matthew Finn, director of government and security for airline industry IT body Sita.
Source: Nick Heath,, February 22, 2008

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