Japan plan bad for drunks and the borderline crazy

The future, one chip at a time

Next time you’re walking around downtown Tokyo and <a href=http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070305/ap_on_hi_te/japan_chips_everywhere;_ylt=AqfRr8WECGFzCxRWZuukFqpj24cAyou think you hear voices in your head, fear not. It’s not just the bipolar disorder kicking in. They actually are voices. And yes, they’re talking to you.Comment

Your cell phone: don’t leave home without it

Everyone is always talking about <a href=http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=38030how your cell phone can kill you – slowly, via cancer eating away at your brain – or quickly, as can happen when you talk and drive. Nobody ever reports those heartwarming “a cell phone saved my life story.” Til now.Comment

You mean we can’t even beat Latvian innovation and entrepreneurship?

Yesterday Insider pointed readers to a story about a report detailing the outrageous fees Canadians pay for cell phone and mobile data services. Today, Insider offers the solution: <a hrefhttp://www.wired.com/news/technology/wireless/0,72861-0.html?tw=wn_index_9we should all move to Latvia and get on the magic Wi-Fi bus. Comment

Flush with information

It’s good to plan ahead. Especially if you know you’ll you’ll be needing the facilities. And while it’s nice to <a href=http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/05/public_toilets_website/know where they are, thanks to this database, don’t count on conditions being exactly as illustrated.Comment

You mean we can’t even beat Latvian innovation and entrepreneurship?

Yesterday Insider pointed readers to a story about a report detailing the outrageous fees Canadians pay for cell phone and mobile data services. Today, Insider offers the solution: <a hrefhttp://www.wired.com/news/technology/wireless/0,72861-0.html?tw=wn_index_9we should all move to Latvia and get on the magic Wi-Fi bus. Comment

Canada a nation of mobile midgets

According to this analyst group, Canada is <a href=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070305.r-wireless05/BNStory/Technology/homea national disgrace when it comes to wireless adoption. First of all, when did we start measuring our national attributes by the number of cell phone subscriptions? And second, why are we comparing ourselves to countries where cell phones are outstripping landlines because landlines are just to expensive to get? But if the report helps embarrass cell service providers into reducing their exorbitant fees, Insider is all for it.Comment

There’s a party in my mouth!

Next time you say you had the lyrics to a song on the tip of your tongue, you might not be speaking figuratively, <a href=http://www.nytimes.coam/2007/03/01/technology/01tooth.html?_r=2&ref=technology&oref=slogin&oref=sloginthanks to this rocking gadget. Comment

Thou shalt not imitate

Now that Fox has launched its unbearably unfunny answer to the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, it’s not surprising that the anti-evolutionaries <a href=http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=37963have launched Conservapedia, the religious right’s version of Wikipedia. As you might expect, there are no rules, just commandments. And it’s not on the Net, it’s written in stone.Comment

But I was supposed to score points, not lose them, officer!

According to <a href=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6410061.stmthis study, online driving games are turning young men into crazed speed demons who suffer from the delusion such games make them better drivers.Comment

Me, 2.0

Next time you post your mug to some social networking site and you realize you’re just a few pixels short of being attractive, fear not. Thanks to <a href=http://www.israel21c.org/bin/en.jsp?enDispWho=Articles%5El1543&enPage=BlankPage&enDisplay=view&enDispWhat=objectnew software called the Beauty Function, you can be. The software takes you, warts and all, and transforms you into a more attractive yet still believable version of yourself. Insider’s not sure how this will really help in any way — it’s bound to make you feel more insecure, and if you use it to misrepresent yourself, people are going to be in for a surprise once they meet you in real life. But as the march toward living an entirely virtual life continues, perhaps that is a moot point. Comment

This boredom is really killing me!

Playing online games might improve your hand-eye co-ordination and make you better suited to certain lines of work, as news stories have recently claimed, but they can also kill you, as <a href=http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=internetNews&storyid=2007-02-28T044534Z_01_PEK267720_RTRIDST_0_OUKIN-UK-CHINA-INTERNET-ADDICTION.XML&src=nl_uktechnologythis story indicates. Forewarned is forearmed.Comment

‘Information highway’ is actually only a metaphor

Speaking of tech-related deaths, it appears that <a href=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/27/national/main2519498.shtmlnatural selection has once again eliminated from the gene pool someone who mistakenly mixed driving and using a laptop.Comment

Unfettered Internet access and boys a bad combo

According to <a href=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070223.wpornstudy0223/BNStory/PersonalTech/homethis story, one-third of the boys who live in Alberta look at online porn while parents turn a blind eye – blind in the sense that they don’t know what or how to look for their kids’ online activities. But this is hardly surprising news. For one thing, the biggest offenders live in rural Alberta. What else is there to do? Second, if it wasn’t online, it would be offline. They’re boys. Not that’s it’s a good thing, but it’s not exactly earth-shattering.Comment

Virtual prescriptions lead to real-world addictions

Drugs don’t addict people, <a href=http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article1434664.ecethe Internet does. To be more specific, access to “doctors” of questionable medical repute and drugs of murky origin has given rise to a new, yet to-be-reckoned with class of addict: the prescription drug junky. The worse part of it? No one feels sorry for you.Comment

Terrorist trap 2 km ahead

Insider has never understood why municipalities post signs indicating where red light cameras are placed or where speed limits are being monitored. <a href=http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/calling-extremists/2007/02/26/1172338547066.htmlThis story is the cyber-equivalent: announcing to would-be jihadis that governments are setting up terrorist honeypots to lure them in will only drive them to develop ever more sophisticated systems to avoid such traps.Comment

My name is Bob and I’m addicted to e-mail

Apparently, there’s a <a href=http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070220/wr_nm/life_work_emails_dc;_ylt=AkC.Kv3QGl0oaIBrbU1JhajMWM0F12-step program for people who “check their e-mail too often,” as if that’s possible. Insider hopes one of those steps is similar to the one in Alcoholics Anonymous, in which the addict hunts down everyone he or she has ever offended and pleads for forgiveness. In this context, it would be for not answering my e-mail quickly enough — or at all, as the case may be. In any case, you can’t check your e-mail too often, especially if it’s from Insider and it’s important. Which it always is. Comment

News that will end on sour note

Stephen Colbert promises to “feel the news” at you. Now, Yahoo promises to <a href=http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=37810sing it to you. Will they use funeral marches to relay news of Iraq’s daily dose of roadside bomb attacks? What tune goes best with Britney’s meltdown? And a multi-fatality car crash – now that’s entertainment!Comment

You can’t forbid us from forbidding ourselves!!!!

Insider is oddly perplexed by <a href=http://edition.cnn.com/2007/TECH/internet/02/13/cuba.internet.ap/index.htmlthis story: it sounds like the Cubans are furious with the Americans for blocking access to Internet technologies to Cuba so that Cuba can better block Cubans from accessing the Internet. Whew!Comment

Apple, Cisco kiss and make up

Why does Insider get the impression this has been the dialogue between Apple and Cisco recently <a href=http://news.com.com/Apple%2C+Cisco+settle+iPhone+trademark+lawsuit/2100-1041_3-6161233.html?tag=nefd.top over the whole iPhone name thing:Apple: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.Cisco: No, it was my fault. I shouldn’t have reacted so violently.Apple: It’s OK, I should have checked with you first before saying anything.Cisco: But how could you have known? I feel so bad. Do you still love me? I still love you.Apple: Hey, I know what we can do! Why don’t we share the name?Cisco: Share? You want to share with me? I don’t deserve you!Comment

They really are chained to their desks

Over the decades, inmates have been conscripted into all sorts of undertakings, so it shouldn’t be that surprising that <a href=http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyId=10&articleId=9011618&intsrc=hm_topic they’re turning up on the help desk. It also would be no surprise if the inmates tasked with helping the Corrections Department employees unsnarl their desktops helped themselves to a little revenge. Whoops, did I say delete the operating system? In any case, everyone gets so freaked out by these stories. Insider reminds readers that it’s not that much of a leap to look at the usurious fees banks charge and the obscene profits they make and suggest that the only difference between the inmates in question and the banks is that one group is at least behind bars. Comment</p

Software that will the inventors make rich

Everyone talks about the effect instant messaging has had on the younger generation’s writing skills. Now, thanks to <a href=http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/feb2007/gb20070221_832683.htm?chan=globalbiz_europe_today%27s+top+story software like this, they won’t need to worry about being able to parse a sentence. Comment

Talk about blowing your own horn

The only surprising thing about <a href=http://www.engadget.com/2007/02/14/horntones-blasts-any-tune-through-your-car-horn/this story is why no one came up with idea sooner. Not that they should have – it’s guaranteed to cause chaos and inspire an outbreak of road rage on a scale not yet seen before. But you have to hand it to them for creativity.Comment

Life’s tough as a Gates kid

You might be the daughter of the founder of the biggest software company on the planet, but that doesn’t <a href=http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?view=CN&storyID=2007-02-20T230737Z_01_N20224384_RTRIDST_0_MICROSOFT-GATES-DAUGHTER.XML&rpc=66&type=qcnagive you the right to play on computers all day long, missy. Your dad knows all too well what kind of damage that can do to your development as a socially well-adjusted human being.Comment

In the game you didn’t really die

Maybe, though, Bill’s got it all wrong. If he wants his kids to grow up to be skilled surgeons, maybe he should <a href=http://in.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2007-02-20T094606Z_01_NOOTR_RTRJONC_0_India-288390-1.xml&rpc=92let them idle away their youth playing Doom. Because according to this story, that’s how all the best surgeons train. Hopefully, though, they’ll find other ways to learn that the consequences of surgical mistakes are more serious than scores.Comment

All of a sudden you’re a sage?

Why is it when you become a gazillionaire because you happened to launch a tech startup at just the right time, <a href=http://edition.cnn.com/2007/TECH/biztech/02/19/google.interview.reut/index.htmlall of a sudden you’re qualified to solve all the world’s problems, from poverty and AIDS to the best way to reduce the number of car crashes? Is there any real reason we should pay attention to Google co-founder Larry Page’s musings that we should let computers take over cars? The thing is, he has a point. Computers couldn’t do a worse job than today’s distracted, drunken drivers. But still, shouldn’t he just stick to his knitting, as the industry likes to say? Comment

And the parking spot goes to …

There are some things in life that simply should not be automated. For example, <a href=http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/ONLINE_PARKING?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULTfinding a parking spot. It’s obvious the people at this startup have never actually had that experience, because if they had, they’d know that if you had time to bid on a parking space, you wouldn’t be in such a hurry to find one. Duh!Comment

Heeeer’s Johnny!

Everyone knows people only come to your door when you’re indisposed, in the shower or not at home. This particularly applies to courier deliveries. Now you <a href=http://news.yahoo.com/s/infoworld/20070220/tc_infoworld/86193;_ylt=Au.1DKqwZeSr17DqiPJ5fK4jtBAFdon’t need to be home, thanks to technology that can call your cell phone and even let you buzz someone in remotely. Why you’d want to is a matter for another discussion, though. Doesn’t anyone watch TV anymore?Comment

It’s not me, it’s you

A man who <a href=http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070219/ap_on_hi_te/chat_room_lawsuit;_ylt=AriLM4C0_ySsihWaGiLpleQjtBAFgot fired by IBM for “visiting adult chat rooms” is suing Big Blue for $5 million on the grounds he needs a hand up, not a boot out the door. The guy says he has a disability, so he needs help, and he’s obviously right. It’s like stealing outside for a smoke if you work for the Heart and Lung Association. But couldn’t IBM argue its inability to feel compassion for the dude is its own disability and therefore countersue?Comment

It’s not stealing when the MPAA does it

The Motion Picture Association of America is apparently on the verge of bankruptcy. In fact, it’s so destitute it had to <a href=http://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-steals-code-violates-linkware-license/steal open source code – steal meaning not give props to the developer – that costs 25 British pounds for a commercial licence. The organization, it appears, is only worried about protecting copyright when it’s theirs. The rest of you can just sod off.Comment

This death threat brought to you by the RCMP

If you’re looking for tough guys to hire, <a href=http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070219/wr_nm/mounties_dc;_ylt=AmIoZEyCpQ4_lj_YA_Gnev8jtBAFa Web site run by one of the most notorious street gangs in the world is probably a great place to advertise. But considering the security checks you have to pass to get hired by the RCMP, it’s maybe not the best place to start your recruiting efforts. Oddly enough, it was the CBC that pointed out this gaffe to the national policing agency, which makes you wonder how on top of the whole violent gang thing they really are.Comment

Is there an underground IT railroad to Canada for these poor people?

Stop the presses: <a href=http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070215-8858.htmlpeople with smartphones such as BlackBerries and Treos feel more enslaved by their jobs than others. According to this study, people with these devices work longer hours. Duh! People with those devices SHOULD work longer hours. Why? Because generally they get paid more – according to the survey, an average of 50 per cent more than their non-BlackBerry brethren. Check your pocket or handbag. If you’re a plebe, chances are no one has supplied you with a company-funded BlackBerry. If they have, it’s because you’re in a much higher tax bracket. Ergo, more is expected of you. And if you have enough time to respond to stupid surveys, you’re probably mostly whining.Comment

Dawg, do your innovation thing

Coming up with innovative, history-altering products and technologies that can save mankind from itself is nice and all, but really, at the end of the day,<a href=http://news.com.com/Silicon+Valley+goes+American+Idol+to+inspire+inventors/2100-1022_3-6159980.html?tag=ne.fd.mnbcwhat’s in it for you? Cash prizes, my friend, that’s what. That’s why this idea is bound to succeed where philanthropy has failed. There’s nothing like a $25 million bounty to stimulate the creative juices.Comment

Speaking of earth-shattering advances in science and technology, <a href=http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/18195/now can you make real phone calls to fake people. Insider’s not talking about the kind that populate Hollywood – we’re talking about Second Life avatars. According to the story, “not only will cellular subscribers have an incentive to spend more time using lucrative broadband data services, but users already inside Second Life will be able to communicate with friends on specific cellular networks using virtual phones branded and sold by the carriers themselves.”Comment

Worse than a bad dream

There’s barely anything worse than a long stretch of sleepless nights, punctuated only by long, depressing days – except, of course, the alternative, which is not having sleepless nights because you died from bad drugs <a href=http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070216/ap_on_hi_te/internet_drugs;_ylt=AjSw2IRaycWHcgoAepgR470jtBAFpurchased online from somebody who bought their pharmacist’s licence where else? Online, no doubt. Comment

That’s D-Wave (uh-huh, uh-uh) they LIKE it
After getting reams of press on the so-called first quantum computer, Vancouver’s D-Wave Systems is backing down. HP researchers, among others, have suggested it doesn’t really fit the defintion of quantum computing. In an about-face that suggests multiple personalities, D-Wave’s CEO agreed. “Users don’t care about quantum computing – users care about application acceleration. That’s our thrust,” Herb Martin said. “A general purpose quantum computer is a waste of time. You could spend hundreds of billions of dollars on it” and not create a working computer.

Hate to tell you, Herb, but this industry has spent hundreds and billions of dollars and hasn’t even managed to come up with a decent regular computer.

Aye Karumba! This site is a stooge!
YouTube, the site which is actually filled with even more unsettlinglingly weird characters than the fictional Springfield of “The Simpsons” fame, sent an e-mail to a U.S. court promising that it would not harbour any copyright thieves. After someone uploaded 12 episodes of the too-long-running Fox animated sitcom, Google turned the culprit in. Let’s hope the guilty party doesn’t get jail time. Otherwise, that whole “eat my shorts” joke may not be as funny.

Make those Canucks walk the plank!

We haven’t quite made the axis of evil. But <a href=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070214.wblacklist14/BNStory/National/homewe’re pretty close, considering how seriously the Americans take the issue of piracy and copyrights. Canada has joined the company of nations such as China and Russia in the eyes of the U.S. for its lax — nay, make that nose-thumbing — attitude towards copyright policy. And it looks like Stephen Harper — that’s Steve to Dubya — is about to come in for a good tongue-lashing if he doesn’t get cracking on legislation to put all evildoers of the downloading variety behind bars. Aaargh, matey! Comment

They’ll have your iPod whistlin’ Dixie in no time

These healers do God’s work, <a href=http://news.wired.com/dynamic/stories/B/BUSINESS_OF_LIFE?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULTbringing injured iPods back to life, taking their bruised, battered little bodies and restoring them, making them whole once again. Insider proposes that their services be funded by OHIP or other provincial health plans. It’s that vital.Comment

Do it for the children

How early is too early to <a href=http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2007/02/blackberry_schm.htmlget your kids hooked on electronic devices like PDAs? Trick question. It can NEVER be too early, which is why this little gadget will have your pre-teen well on the road to constant craving for the next new thing by the time he or she is 12.Comment

Is that a Joss stick or are you just trying to attack my PC?
China has managed to nab about 20 guys for allegedly writing the “panda” virus that crippled computer users towards the end of last year.

According to News.com, the virus got its name from “changing icons on desktops into cute cartoon pandas, the most famous of which holds three burning joss sticks in his paws.” They probably didn’t seem so cute once they started deleting your files.

A joss stick, by the way, is a really thin incence candle. Although traditionally burned in front of a religous image, Wikipedia says “in modern days, the burning of joss sticks can be used for any type of purpose, such as to enhance the smell of a room, or to serve as a lighter to light fire crackers.” Or to tell you your network is down. If only Insider had a joss stick for every time that happened.

We want to press this button so bad our fingers are already sore
The latest update to Bungie’s Halo includes a must-have feature that could be included on office desktops as well. They call it the “mute idot” button, but Insider prefers the more colloquial “A-hole” button, which brings up a score list with everyone’s tag on it. As Eurogamer reports, “By using the right stick, you can quickly select whichever player is smack-talking you into a stupor, and you won’t hear from them again.”

Unfortunately, in the office the smack-talkers tend to be the ones that sign your paycheck.

It ain’t over until Jennifer Hudson sings
Calling all ‘Dreamgirls” — a growing movement is developing among iPod users who are turning their devices into portable karaoke players.

On the SingShot Web site, singers can croon to about 3,500 songs, mix it with the background music, post the track on the SingShot Web site, invite others to rate it, publish it on their blog or MySpace page, use it to score a video or photo slideshow, and even enter contests like “Canadian Idol.” Of course, winners of “Canadian Idol” can probably expect about the same level of technology when they go to record their soon-to-be-forgotten debut albums.

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