Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #237
October 26th, 2008

Genome Database Will Link Genes, Traits in Public View

George Church wants to put his personal genetic blueprint online for all to see — the sequence of chemical bases that make him who he is, a lanky scientist of Scottish ancestry who has dyslexia, narcolepsy and motion sickness.
And he wants 99,999 other people to follow suit.
Source: Ellen Nakashima, The Washington Post, October 18, 2008

New Ways That Your Cell Phone Could ‘Talk’ to You

What if, instead of vibrating, your cell phone simply tapped your hand or leg? And would you perceive a game controller that rubbed your hand to be a good thing? At the User Interface Software and Technology conference this week, Microsoft Research will present a number of papers discussing improvements in how users interact with computers.
Source: Mark Hachman, ExtremeTech, October 20, 2008

Researchers expect hackers to prey on cell phones

The mobile phone as zombie computer is one possibility envisioned by security researchers from Georgia Tech in a new report coming out Wednesday. The report identifies the growing power of cell phones to open a new avenue of attack for hackers. Of particular concern is that as cell phones get more computing power and better Internet connections, hackers can capitalize on vulnerabilities in mobile-phone operating systems or Web applications.
Source: Jordan Robertson, The Associated Press, October 15, 2008

Shoe scanner set to make travel safer

An engineer at the University has developed a prototype scanner that could be used to detect explosives and weapons hidden in the shoes of travellers. The SecuriScan system, which is the brainchild of Professor Wuqiang Yang from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, can detect and pinpoint suspicious objects instantly.
[Please note that this is not the same shoe scanner I mentioned last week.]
Source: University of Manchester news release, October 20, 2008

Twitter and Yammer Test Dot-Com Business Models

Twitter, a start-up company in San Francisco that has become a household name, is the leading microblogging outfit. At least three million people have tried its free service, according to TwitDir, a directory service. But Twitter has absolutely no revenue — not even ads.
Yammer, a new and much smaller copycat aimed at corporate customers, has a mere 60,000 users. Unlike Twitter, its founders set out from the beginning to charge for its service. Just six weeks after its public debut, Yammer is already bringing in a modest amount of cash.
Source: Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times, October 21, 2008

New Data Privacy Laws Set For Firms

Nevada is the first of several states adopting new laws that will force businesses — from hair stylists to hospitals — to revamp the way they protect customer data. Starting in January, Massachusetts will require businesses that collect information about that state’s residents to encrypt sensitive data stored on laptop computers and other portable devices. Michigan and Washington state are considering similar regulations.
While just a few states have adopted such measures so far, the new patchwork of regulations is something many businesses will have to navigate, since the laws apply to out-of-state companies with operations or customers in those states.
Source: Ben Worthen, The Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2008

EU MPs concerned by airport full-body scanners

Airport full-body scanners that show people’s private parts are a virtual strip search, European Union lawmakers said Thursday, calling for detailed study of the technology before it is used. The scanners “have a serious impact on the fundamental rights of citizens,” the lawmakers said in a resolution adopted by 361 votes to 16, with 181 abstentions.
Source: Reuters, October 23, 2008

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