Smile!
A Japanese firm has developed software that can tell whether you’re smiling or not. By examining a person’s facial expression, the software can determine not only the presence of a smile, but also how sunny and pleasing it might appear to others. The technology is being touted as appropriate for digital cameras – for family snapshots and the like – but I would posit to you that it could have far more insidious applications.

What’s to stop people using the smile software in customer care centres? Is your CSR effectively dealing with customers’ problems? Maybe or maybe not, but if they’re smiling, at least they’re likely being pleasant. What about McDonald’s cashiers, DisneyWorld employees, mall Santas? All of these people are paid to happy, despite having to deal with the general public, which we all know are a foul-mouthed, overbearing and generally stinky lot. Not only will this Japanese smile software be able to register a sunny disposition, it could report back to HQ the names of those who are down in the mouth. Scary stuff.

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Blow up your television
Man, in his constant struggle with nature, has devised means to conquer it. Not only do we tunnel through mountains to create highways, span vast chasms with suspension bridges and tame mighty rivers with dams, but now we can make the great outdoors more cosy by furnishing it with inflatable big-screen TVs. This company is advertising such a product. It claims that “these high-quality outdoor screens are perfect for watching the latest blockbuster, playing games, and hosting birthday parties, movie screenings, and family reunions. This all-in-one audio/video system can’t be beat for quality entertainment: Just plug in, point at the wall and presto!”

Presto indeed! I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these babies. It’s about 10′ wide so should roughly fill up one wall of my office after it’s inflated.

To the company in question, please send a review unit to:

Insider
Shameless Swag Dept.
IT World Canada Inc.
55 Town Centre Court, Ste. 302
Scarborough, Ont., Canada

Also, please send something to inflate the darn thing. IT World is full of blowhards, but even we couldn’t pump enough hot air into this thing to keep it upright.

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Naughty laptop needs a spanking
What’s the deal with upscale technology made out of natural materials? First there’s a cell phone made out of elegant, burnished wood, now there’s a laptop covered in luxurious leather. It’s enough to make Insider wonder whether these were conceived by a) neo-luddites; b) people who drive expensive cars with cherry walnut dashboards and Corinthian seats; c) fetishists; or, most likely, d) some unholy combination of all three. The leather notebook from Lenovo will only be manufactured in an edition size of 5,000 for a price of $5,000. That’s not too bad, considering that the main selling point here is the thigh-factor. Due to its construction material and design, it promises to keep the user’s thighs nice and cool, (unlike the plastic models that make one’s thighs hot and sweaty). Now I’m totally unsure where I stand on the whole fetish thing. Regardless, please send a review copy to the above address. A leather laptop will look nice next to my giant inflatable television.

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