Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #221
June 29th, 2008

The race is on: Get your own Internet domain

When Internet regulators started gathering in the French capital last week for a global conference that starts here Monday, the marquee event was a quirky catwalk for cities and regions competing for domain names like .berlin, .paris, .quebec and even .cat – for Catalonia.
[Note: it will not be cheap.]
The application fee for a domain name under the proposed system has not been set, but candidates estimate that it could range from €25,000 to €250,000, or about $39,000 to $390,000. Icann is also prepared to set up an auction system if competing groups bid for the same name. Private companies would reap their profit by selling the domain names to registrars, which would then sell them to individual customers.
Source: Doreen Carvajal, International Herald Tribune, June 22, 2008

How Facebook Works

Facebook is a wonderful example of the network effect, in which the value of a network to a user is exponentially proportional to the number of other users that network has. Facebook’s power derives from what Jeff Rothschild, its vice president of technology, calls the “social graph”–the sum of the wildly various connections between the site’s users and their friends; between people and events; between events and photos; between photos and people; and between a huge number of discrete objects linked by metadata describing them and their connections.
Source: Alan Zeichick, Technology Review, July/August 2008

Windows for GPS

Internet-enabled services could become more common in vehicles, thanks to a new operating system launched this week by Microsoft. Dubbed Windows Embedded NavReady 09, the operating system is designed to improve wireless connectivity and Internet access in GPS devices. It also includes Bluetooth features that allow GPS receivers to be coupled with other devices, such as cell phones, PDAs, and laptops.
Source: Alan Zeichick, Technology Review, July/August 2008

Bloggers: Big Media Is Watching

The Associated Press unleashed a firestorm in the blogosphere earlier this month when it demanded that a political site take down AP content it said violated copyrights. Bloggers, including Michael Arrington of and Markos Moulitas of Daily Kos, cried foul, saying the AP’s move threatened the free flow of information over the Web. The furor abated a few days later when the AP tempered its demands.
Source: Peter Burrows, BusinessWeek Online, June 25, 2008

Cooperative system could wipe out car alarm noise

The persistent, annoying blare of an ignored car alarm may become a sound of the past if a cooperative, mutable and silent network of monitors proposed by Penn State researchers is deployed in automobiles and parking lots. “The basis of this system is trust,” says Sencun Zhu, assistant professor of computer science and engineering. “You need to trust the entity that distributes the system’s sensors, so you can rely on all the monitored cars having the goal of protecting your car and others from theft.”
Source: Penn State news release, June 24, 2008

Coming soon: A laptop in your pocket

Your laptop is likely to soon go the way of 5.25-in. floppy disks, made obsolete by smaller, more useful technology: the smart phone. Based on current trends for low-power chips used in devices like cell phones and iPods, we’re likely to see eight times the CPU power in handheld devices by 2010 that we have today, computer architecture enthusiast Adrian Cockcroft said at the Usenix ’08 technical conference this afternoon.
Source: Sharon Machlis, Computerworld, June 25, 2008

Online service lets blind surf the Internet from any computer, anywhere

For the roughly 10 million people in the United States who are blind or visually impaired, using a computer has, so far, required special screen-reading software typically installed only on their own machines. New software, called WebAnywhere, launched today lets blind and visually impaired people surf the Web on the go. The tool developed at the University of Washington turns screen-reading into an Internet service that reads aloud Web text on any computer with speakers or headphone connections.
Source: Hannah Hickey, University of Washington, June 25, 2008

Cartier pretties up MySpace with ad campaign

When you think about “bling” on MySpace, you probably think about glitter text on profiles, or maybe Swarovski-studded Sidekicks, not Cartier jewelry. But that hasn’t stopped the legendary luxury brand from launching a promotional campaign on News Corp.’s social network. Starting Thursday, Cartier began featuring branded pages for its “Love by Cartier” product line for MySpace’s English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese sites. They’ll be online for a year, and will feature new music from 12 artists, including Phoenix, Grand National, and Lou Reed.
Source: Caroline McCarthy, CNET’s The Social Blog, June 26, 2008

University of Portsmouth researchers work on CCTV that can hear

Researchers at the university’s Institute of Industrial Research are developing the artificial intelligence software that will be used in the CCTV cameras. The technology can identify minor visual cues such as whether a car aerial is up or if the car has a dent and alerts the people concerned. Researchers plan to use the same software to develop technology that can capture sounds of breaking glass or noise in a crowd and turn the CCTV cameras towards the direction of the sound in about 300 milliseconds. The software can listen for specific words associated with violence but cannot capture full conversations.
Source: Bhavana Navuluri, Computer Business Review, UK, June 25, 2008

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