Saturday, August 28, 2010


Apparently pre-schoolers in Contra Costa County are going to learn from an early age to get used to the idea that their every move will be tracked relentlessly. They're all going to get special jerseys to wear that contain an RFID tag, which will track the kids whereabouts at all times. The claim is it will even track "whether they've eaten or not," though I'm not quite sure how that works. The idea is that this will "free up teachers and administrators who previously had to note on paper files when a child was absent or had eaten." While I'm generally all for technology that makes processes more efficient, I'm not quite sure it makes sense to go full-on Big Brother here. Aren't there better technological solutions for tracking attendance and food intake. What about having the kid (or their parents) sign them in via a computer check-in (which is what I do with my kid)? As a parent, frankly, I don't think I'd be comfortable with a preschool tagging my kid with a tracking device.

What do you think about this? Post your comments.

While Spain and France have taken a more lenient approach to letting people modify hardware they (thought they had) bought, the Australian courts apparently are not fans of letting people modify their own equipment. Back in February, we noted that an Australian court ruled against the distributor of some mod chips for the Nintendo DS, and now (as a bunch of you have sent in), an Australian court has sided with Sony in (at least temporarily) banning the PS3Jailbreak dongle, which lets people play homemade games. Of course, the complaint from the console makers is that these products also let people play unauthorized copies of games, but it seems like quite a leap from "this might be used for things we don't like" to "you can't actually modify the hardware you thought you purchased."

Side note: I'm probably just gonna post interesting news stories relating to privacy.

Google sees a million calls

Despite a few hiccups, Google's launch of VoIP integration for Gmail has gone rather smoothly, with the company stating they placed over one million phone calls (about one out of every 3,000 phone calls made that day) the first day the service was live. According to Google, more than 200 million people worldwide are active Gmail users, and all of the company's users in the U.S. now have access to this new functionality. Google is allowing users to make free calls to either the U.S. or Canada at least until the end of the year, hoping to ramp up adoption quickly as they take aim at Skype and Skype's 560 million registered (124 million active) users.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just wanted to let you guys know. Yes you. You reading this. This image is for you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010