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GOOD

A mobile phone with manners that respects its owner’s privacy is under development. The phone is designed to sense when a user is busy or talking, and prevent interruptions. Like a personal secretary, it will block calls and send back polite messages saying you are not available but may be contacted later. The phone, called SenSay, incorporates “context aware” technology and employs four primary sensors. Body temperature and electrical skin monitors may in future help the device understand the emotional state of its user. This gem from a reader this week. He receives a phone call from a SAP-enabled dispatch area that uses RF handheld units and thin clients. They advise that the computer does not seem to work. He then calls the help desk to assist. Field Support arrives to the area and rings to advise it must be fixed as SAP is not receiving a signal so it obviously isn’t working. Wondering how they came to that conclusion, our reader realises the monitor says “NO SIGNAL” when there is no power. He simply advises them to turn on the thin client and miraculously it all worked.

BAD

Oh Dear — stores have begun testing IBM’s ‘smart’ shopping trolleys which badger shoppers with ‘helpful’ suggestions. Say you just want to get a piece of fish and salad, your shopping trolley will suggest a nice white wine in Aisle 6 that goes perfectly with your salmon and will beep every time you pass products you have purchased previously. Coming soon to a grocery store near you these trolleys with interactive screens and scanners will have your entire shopping history once you swipe your card to use the trolley. Other companies including NCR, Fujitsu and HP are working on similar products.

UGLY

Queensland Fair Trading Minister Merri Rose has issued a warning about a new e-mail scam that accuses the user of being involved in child pornography to obtain their credit card details. The public should also be warned the poorly worded e-mail is riddled with spelling mistakes, and not surprisingly comes from outside Australia. The e-mail tells recipients they have been charged for a “money laundry service in amount of $234.65 because you are either child pornography webmaster or deal with dirty money”. “A lot of spam is just harmless, system-clogging junk but this piece of rubbish is downright dirty and offensive in the extreme,” Rose said. E-mails to Sandra_Rossi@idg.com.au

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