Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #245
December 21st, 2008

Kirk Douglas turns blogs into his latest conquest

For more than 60 years, Kirk Douglas portrayed death-defying tough guys and conquering heroes in the movies, and at age 92 he’s not giving up. But his latest challenge is taking place on the Internet instead of movie screens, as Douglas has become the oldest celebrity blogger on social networking Web site MySpace.
Source: Alex Dobuzinskis, Reuters, December 15, 2008

Facebook used to find defendants in Australian court case

An Australian lawyer has served legal documents on a couple via Facebook in what is thought to be a world first, his firm said on Tuesday. Mark McCormack used the Internet to track down the pair after they defaulted on a large loan and was given permission by the Australian courts to use the social networking site to file papers against them. “We believe it’s certainly the first time in Australia… and we haven’t heard of it being done anywhere internationally,” said Archie Tsirimokos, of McCormack’s firm.
Source: AFP, December 16, 2008

“Smart” Surveillance System May Tag Suspicious Or Lost People

Engineers here are developing a computerized surveillance system that, when completed, will attempt to recognize whether a person on the street is acting suspiciously or appears to be lost. Intelligent video cameras, large video screens, and geo-referencing software are among the technologies that will soon be available to law enforcement and security agencies.
Source: Ohio State University news release, December 16, 2008

The Democrats’ New Weapon

One side effect of Barack Obama’s Webcentric presidential campaign is that it helped turn the Democratic National Committee’s voter database–information on the political leanings and interests of millions of U.S. citizens — into a far more potent political weapon. In the final two months before Election Day, 223 million new pieces of data on voters accrued to the database, and the DNC now holds 10 times as much data on U.S. voters as at the end of the 2004 campaign, according to Voter Activation Network (VAN), a company based in Somerville, MA, that builds front-end software for the database.
Source: David Talbot, Technology Review, December 18, 2008

DHS wants green card holders’ fingerprints

Millions of green card holders will be fingerprinted and photographed every time they enter the United States as part of an expansion of a controversial biometric program, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday. The expansion of the US-VISIT program to permanent residents — also known as green card holders — takes effect on January 18, 2009. At the moment, the program’s biometric requirements apply to foreign citizens with a non-immigrant visa or those traveling as part of the so-called Visa Waiver program.
Source: Stephanie Condon, CNET News, December 18, 2008, 2008

Need a Ride? Check Your iPhone

SOON you may no longer need to stick out your thumb to catch a ride. Instead, you may get one by tapping your fingers on your iPhone. Avego, based in Kinsale, Ireland (, is demonstrating an iPhone application intended to let drivers and prospective passengers connect and share rides. When the program is available, drivers who want to offer rides will first download the app, then record their preferred route, said Sean O’Sullivan, managing director of Avego and executive chairman of Mapflow, Avego’s parent company, based in Dublin.
Source: Anne Eisenberg, The New York Times, December 20, 2008

Fatal error: Call to undefined function sociable_html() in /home/permutype/ on line 36