Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #238
November 2nd, 2008

The possibilities of a ‘portable eye’

Inventor says device for blind has much broader uses.
When Peter Alan Smith pulls out his phone in a crowded Back Bay restaurant, there’s no clue that his Nokia is by far the most expensive mobile phone in the entire place. He has about $2,400 in software loaded onto the $600 device. But then it becomes apparent what’s unique about Smith’s phone: A flash goes off when he snaps a picture of the menu, and a few seconds later, his phone has translated the page of text into speech, and started reciting the options through his earpiece at a rapid clip.
Source: Scott Kirsner, The Boston Globe, October 26, 2008

Monitor shifts from print to Web-based strategy

The Christian Science Monitor plans major changes in April 2009 that are expected to make it the first newspaper with a national audience to shift from a daily print format to an online publication that is updated continuously each day. The changes at the Monitor will include enhancing the content on, starting weekly print and daily e-mail editions, and discontinuing the current daily print format.
Source: David Cook, The Christian Science Monitor, October 28, 2008

‘Second China’ offers foreign service workers first impression

Diplomats or military envoys making their first trip to China may soon have a chance to visit a Chinese office building, stop in at a traditional teahouse or hop a cab — all before they board a plane. A team of University of Florida computer engineers and scholars has used the popular online world Second Life to create a virtual Chinese city, one that hands a key to users who want to familiarize themselves with the sights and experiences they will encounter as first-time visitors.
Source: University of Florida News, October 29, 2008

Immortalizing a Piece of Yourself

Scientists around the globe may soon be studying tiny bits of George Church. The Harvard Medical School professor of genetics will be one of the first people to have stem-cell lines created from his skin cells propagated and distributed worldwide — along with a record of the cells’ donor’s identity and genetic and medical quirks.
Source: Emily Singer, Technology Review, October 31, 2008

Borderline Security

RFID chips in U.S. passport cards and some driver’s licenses are at risk of being counterfeited or tracked, researchers say.
Source: Erica Naone, Technology Review, October 31, 2008

The first wiki president? Obama adviser votes ‘yea’

Even Republicans will probably concede that Barack Obama’s campaign made good use of the Internet in the last year. Now an advisor is saying that an Obama administration would do the same, even turning to wikis to discuss topics like privacy.
Source: Stephanie Condon, CNET News in Politics and Law, October 30, 2008

Computerised agents to cope with disasters

A system which will use networks of computerised agents to cope with disaster scenarios such as outbreaks of fires, will be outlined by an ECS researcher on Guy Fawkes night. Professor Nick Jennings from the University’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) has picked Wednesday 5 November to tell an audience comprised of businesses and academia at Park Centre, Farnborough, about ALADDIN, an ambitious £5.5 million five-year research programme aimed at developing computerised agents for use in disaster recovery or terrorist attacks, which has just reached its half-way point.
Source: University of Southampton News, October 30, 2008

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