IT Business Elsewhere: the Grandma locator

State Department dispatches Courier

The U.S. State Department made an announcement recently that simply rocked the world – of geeks, that is. The department said that as of Feb. 1, it was replacing

Courier New 12 as its official font-in-resident, reported Slate, and replacing it with Times New Roman 14, for a crisper, cleaner, more modern look. The horror!

Hands off my spam!
Wall Street Journal

According to the Wall Street Journal, not everyone is happy about the movement to stamp out spam. The WSJ reports that at least one person, like 45-year-old Orlando Soto of New York, looks forward to at least 150 e-mail spams, which he uses to buy “”pharmaceuticals”” for himself and aromatherapy oils for his wife, often spending hundreds of dollars a week.

Use open source and keep your pants too

Interested in open source software? Not so interested in being sued by companies such as SCO? Get insurance. According to InfoWorld, a company called Open Source Risk Management LLC has announced it plans to offer insurance policies to companies who fear being sued for using open source software.

PCs not just virus-infected
The Register

Your mother always told you to wash your hands after visiting the bathroom. She should have told you to wash your hands after using your computer as well. According to a recent University of Arizona study, the average U.S. computer workstation sports approximately 400 times more germs than the average toilet seat. The researcher involved in the study attributes the problem to the fact that “”have turned into tables where workers eat lunches and breakfasts. This, combined with the fact that desks are not frequently cleaned in the same fashion as tables, makes them the perfect cafeteria for micro-organisms.””

Women have big purses too

The Consumer Electronics Association recently reported a surprising fact — surprising to about 49 per cent of the population, maybe. Women spend more money on technology — US$55 billion of the US$96 billion total electronics gear spend in 2003 — than men do. Tell that to electronics retailers, because women report being ignored, patronized and/or offended more than men did when visiting such stores.

Singles on cell phones

It’s not enough that online dating services have taken over the Internet. Now they want to take over your mobile phone too. A recent Reuters story informs us that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has applied its superior IT research capabilities to developing a service it calls Serendipity. “”Would-be daters looking for a ‘significant other’ may soon be able to subscribe to a service which stores in their phones a personal profile and information on what they want most from a partner,”” according to the article. “”When there are enough similarities between two people, and they happen to be in close proximity, the service tells their phones to communicate with each other.””

RFID chips to keep tabs on seniors
New Scientist

Can’t find Grandma? Check her RFID monitor. That’s the future envisioned by a group of Intel researchers. According to New Scientist, the researchers recently demo’d the technology to bigwigs in Washington.

“”The event aimed to show how embedded wireless chips could help tackle the care problems created by the rapidly rising number of senior citizens. Such networks have already been deployed to monitor the environment and scan for empty parking spots,”” the story says.

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