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RFID Solution – Aluminum Foil!… Maybe

I love low-tech solutions to high-tech problems (see my previous RFID post and other post). Simply put, aluminum foil. I cannot take credit for the solution, but I think there’s something to be said for using some sort of foil protective cover to keep card info from being stolen.

http://www.rpi-polymath.com/ducttape/RFIDWallet.php

First, this is not a sure thing. There is some controversy over whether doing this, basically creating a Faraday cage, will work. Assuming it does, we have a simple, inexpensive and stylish solution. Okay okay… Most people don’t want an aluminum foil wallet. If you’re female, you might carry around a bag everywhere anyway. I have a solution. Create a foil-based “bag” (using duct tape). Those with bags can use the foil-based bag as satchel. Or something.

Well, if you’re fashion conscious (realspeke: superficial about your stuff and how they look, like me) there is also the market-based solution. Buy something that doesn’t exist to protect you from something that people are creating. Basically, the companies pushing RFID are creating a niche market: RFID blockers.

Yay. More money.One such market-based solution:
http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/12/elecom-intros-skim-prevention-kit-for-wallet-cellphone/

There are others out there which you can find online.

Finally, there’s a brute-force solution to the RFID passport problem. Fun for your “mad at the government” moments.

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Filed under: Gadgets, Philosophy, Science, Tech, Weird/Funny

iPod Turns Five, iTunes Sales Lagging? Or not?

The iPod turned five in October. Amazing how, from 1996 to 2001, Apple went from nearly closing its doors to being a dominant player (pun vehemently intended) in the technology business. It is testament to how Steve Jobs, megalomania notwithstandng, truly does understand how to surround himself with smart people and guide smart decision-making (Lisa and Newton notwithstanding), Now Apple understands what it is like to be Microsoft, monopolizing a market. How the tables have turned.

Meanwhile, an interesting article re-frames recent headlines that iTunes is not as successful as it first was, as related to iPod sales. I tend to agree with this opinion. The nuts and bolts of it are that the media reporting this are not being very thoughtful in their analyses…

http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=188 

Filed under: Gadgets, Science, Tech

Previews: Ubuntu, Net Neutrality, iPod, Stem Cells, MLB CBA, Iraq, TV…

I haven’t put a lot of time into the blog recently, due to circumstances beyond my control. However, I have a lot on the stove – here are previews of what’s coming up…

1) Ubuntu is Bad: Ubuntu (a Linux OS) messed with my system without telling me it’s going to. It rewrote my master boot record without asking my permission. Since Windows was still my main OS, this bothered me – it defaulted to Ubuntu and changed the default boot loader. It took considerable effort to restore it. If that’s mumbo-jumbo to you, don’t worry – Ubuntu pulled a Microsoft and changed my computer big time.

2) Net Neutrality: Speaking of mumbo-jumbo… The National Cable and Telecom Association has a new ad out on how net neutrality is bad. It’s classic political propaganda, an attack ad light on facts and heavy on mischaracterization and dismissiveness. Indeed, net neutrality is quite complicated and possibly very good.

3) iPod: The device that revolutionized the music industry turned five. The RIAA is still fighting against it, in its own ways. My thoughts on the revolution and where it’s going. Possibly, this’ll be tied to net neutrality.

4) Stem Cells: The new celebrity smackdown. Everybody Loves Raymond‘s Deborah, actress Patricia Heaton, has chosen her side, squarely against Michael J. Fox, famous actor and Parkinson’s-sufferer who strongly supports all stem cell research. To quote Ray, “Deborah!” No doubt a controversial issue, I come down on the side you all expect me to, but I have good reasons.

5) FYI MLB CBA: Major League Baseball and the players’ union have agreed to a new 5-year collective-bargaining agreement. Among the more interesting facts is draft-tiering, which hurts minor league players’ ability to negotiate a contract with the team that signs them. Other interesting points include a continuation of the luxury “tax” scheme and no threatened or actual lockout.

6) Iraq: This is a little analysis of military expenditures, death, and equipment.

7) Seinfeld, Society: I saw a repeat today, which got me thinking about the state of affairs we have in our country with respect to religion. The episode was the one where Elaine discovers Puddy is religious. I don’t think the networks would allow the episode to air in this day and age, even though it is really hilarious.

8) Studio 60, NBC Budget: Studio 60 is slowly dying. Good show, but not getting the audience it needs. Time slot issue? NBC also recently announced budget cuts to TV production.

There’s more floating around, but those are currently top-of-mind.

Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Culture, Gadgets, Philosophy, Politics, Science, Tech

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