Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #218
June 8th, 2008

The Future of Mobile Social Networking

IPhone users will soon be able to enjoy Whrrl, software that combines activity recommendations with real-time location data. […] The software enables something Pelago’s chief technology officer, Darren Erik Vengroff, calls social discovery: using the iPhone’s map and self-location features, as well as information about the prior activities of the user’s friends, Whrrl proposes new places to explore or activities to try.
Source: Kate Greene, Technology Review, June 2, 2008

Hidden messages buried in VoIP chatter

Burying hidden message in internet phone calls represents the latest evolution of steganography. Steganographic techniques for hiding messages have been around for as long as cryptography and have evolved with technology. Steganography once included messages hidden in wax tablets by the ancient Greeks and invisible ink and microdots on paper. Now it involves concealing messages within digitally transmitted images or sound files.
Source: John Leyden, The Register, June 3, 2008

Mobile phones demystify commuter rat race

Researchers have come up with a new use for the ubiquitous mobile phone: tracking human movements. By monitoring the signals from 100,000 mobile-phone users sending and receiving calls and text messages, a team from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, has worked out some apparently universal laws of human motion. […] Albert-László Barabási and his colleagues show that most people, perhaps unsurprisingly, are creatures of habit. They make regular trips to the same few destinations such as work and home, and pepper these with occasional longer forays such as vacations.
Source: Kerri Smith, Nature News, June 4, 2008

A New Way To Protect Computer Networks From Internet Worms

Scientists may have found a new way to combat the most dangerous form of computer virus. The method automatically detects within minutes when an Internet worm has infected a computer network. Network administrators can then isolate infected machines and hold them in quarantine for repairs.
Source: Ohio State University news release, June 6, 2008

Access : The four-year fight for biological art

Steven Kurtz, an art professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, was cleared in April of wire and mail fraud charges, four years after the FBI seized art supplies from his home that included laboratory equipment and bacterial cultures. Kurtz is a founding member of the Critical Art Ensemble, which recently exhibited an installation called Immolation at the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in Liverpool, UK, showing the effects of incendiary weapons on samples of human skin.
Source: Rachel Courtland, Nature News, June 4, 2008

New wireless sensor network keeps tabs on the environment

Have you ever wondered what happens in the rainforest when no one is looking? Research in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Science may soon be able to answer that question. The departments of computing science and earth and atmospheric science have been working together to create a Wireless Sensor Network that allows for the clandestine data collection of environmental factors in remote locations and its monitoring from anywhere in the world where the Internet is available.
Source: University of Alberta news release, June 4, 2008

Tech company demonstrates conferencing robot

Minneapolis-based PowerObjects Inc. has created an innovative tool to communicate with its development team in Islamabad, Pakistan. It’s a 5-foot-3-inch, 215-pound robot called POGO — a sort of rolling, computer-screen on wheels mounted with a webcam that bears a slight resemblance to the R2D2 of ‘Star Wars’ fame. The IT development and consulting firm has 21 employees in Islamabad, Pakistan, and executives stateside wanted to interact with those team members in real time in a cost-effective manner.
Source: Arundhati Parmar, Twin Cities Finance & Commerce, June 6, 2008

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