Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #227
August 10th, 2008

Tracking a Shopper’s Habits

Infosys may have solved a $100 billion problem for companies in the retail business: how to tell whether their promotions really work. In the process, Infosys has also created the potential for stores and consumer-goods companies to track things like traffic and inventory in real time. […] Infosys, which counts 12 of the world’s 20 largest retailers among its current customers, has developed ShoppingTrip 360, a hosted software application that can track shoppers and inventory, using wireless sensors placed on shelving, promotional displays, and shopping carts.
Source: Michael Fitzgerald, Technology Review, August 4, 2008

Video Microblogging Has Arrived

In late July, a startup called 12seconds launched an early version of a product that lets people publicly post 12-second-long videos on the Internet about what they are doing. Using a Web camera or a cell-phone video camera, people record themselves doing anything — watching a football game at a bar, telling jokes, buying new shoes, playing with their child — and can upload it immediately to the Web, where others who subscribe to their videos get the update. 12seconds borrows heavily from the concepts of Twitter, an increasingly popular tool for so-called microblogging.
Source: Kate Greene, Technology Review, August 4, 2008

GPS cellphones to unleash gamers onto the streets

They may not yet know it, but gamers will soon be quitting their living rooms and heading outdoors. Handheld consoles and laptops made gaming portable, while the Nintendo Wii made gaming active. Now active, portable gaming is possible thanks to GPS and improved graphics becoming standard in cellphones. […] Games studios are racing to exploit a new world of what is called “pervasive gaming”, where everyone carries a powerful gaming machine in their pocket.
Source: Max Glaskin, New Scientist, August 5, 2008

Beijing Taxis Are Rigged for Eavesdropping

Tens of thousands of taxi drivers in Beijing have a tool that could become part of China’s all-out security campaign for the Olympic Games. Their vehicles have microphones — installed ostensibly for driver safety — that can be used to listen to passengers remotely. […] As with digital cameras used in cities such as London, Sydney or New York, the stated purpose of the microphones is to protect the driver. But whereas the devices in other countries can only record images, those devices in Beijing taxis can be remotely activated without the driver’s knowledge to eavesdrop on passengers.
Source: Shai Oster and Gordon Fairclough, The Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2008

‘Fakeproof’ e-passport is cloned in minutes

New microchipped passports designed to be foolproof against identity theft can be cloned and manipulated in minutes and accepted as genuine by the computer software recommended for use at international airports. In tests [done for The Times], a computer researcher cloned the chips on two British passports and implanted digital images of Osama bin Laden and a suicide bomber. The altered chips were then passed as genuine by passport reader software used by the UN agency that sets standards for e-passports.
Source: Steve Boggan, The Times, London, August 6, 2008

The true meaning of Twitter

What exactly is Twitter? And what does its exploding popularity say about the state of the tech industry? Inside the hottest Web startup since … gosh, February at least.
Source: Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine, August 7, 2008

Posting – How Walkable Is Your Neighborhood?

Looking for a place to live in an unfamiliar neighborhood is one thing. But knowing what those neighborhoods have to offer — or what they are lacking — could make the process much easier. A Web site called WalkScore ( lets people find out just what amenities and services are within walking distance in neighborhoods all around the country.
Source: Max Roosevelt, The New York Times, August 8, 2008

Fat people get online chance to lose weight

Obese people will get the chance to participate in a research project conducted entirely in the virtual world to help their avatars — and hopefully their real-life selves — lose weight. […]The University of Houston’s Texas Obesity Research Center is using Second Life, the 3-D virtual world created by San Francisco’s Linden Lab, to offer participants incentives for healthy dietary habits and to increased physical activity.
Source: Victoria Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, August 8, 2008

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