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December 2006


Alc-Mobile Sales Boom in Japan
I've written previously of the Alc-Mobile, a combined breathalyzer/telephone that lets transportation companies monitor their drivers' blood-alcohol levels. Yahoo! News now features it:

When drivers blow into a tube on the machine, the device measures their level of intoxication and immediately sends the results to their company's computer via the phone.

And the drivers have nowhere to hide. The phone -- called the Alc-Mobile -- transmits snapshots of their faces and details on their location using the satellite-based Global Positioning System.

If the driver is inebriated, sirens will ring at the bosses' computer.

KDDI says sales of the Alc-Mobile have shot up since this summer when a nationwide campaign against drunk driving followed the deaths of three children by a drunk driver in the southwestern city of Fukuoka.

December 30th, 2006


The Most Sophisticated Technology You Will Ever Pee On
Thank you to the AdRants blog for its alert on the new ad for the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor. You can view it here.

Here's what AdRants tells us:

Those crazy cats at Amalgamated, the very guys who brought us Ben & Jerry claymation, decide to stomp on the polite institution of blue bodily fluid for their client Clearblue Easy and its new digital pregnancy test.

We would have respected them for that. But they took things one step further and put the pregnancy test in space, a la Dark Star, and then let fall a stream of disembodied space piss! And then our brains exploded....Be careful. It's a little crazy.

December 20th, 2006


Garmin Forerunner 305 - An Excellent Tool
Digital Media Net likes the Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS personal training device:

I'm also highly impressed with the Forerunner’s improved and highly sensitive SiRFstar III GPS receiver, which has yet to lose its satellite signal once in my three weeks of testing on a daily basis. Its wireless heart monitor is also an improvement, whether it's managed to consistently stay locked onto its signal without fail. The strap that holds the heart monitor in place is also more flexible and comfortable than its predecessor. Overall, the Forerunner’s receivers and sensing devices are greatly improved.

...Overall, there is a growing selection of software that can help you manipulate your training data generated by the Forerunner 305, giving you an accurate and comprehensive look at your exercise progress.

The Garmin Forerunner 305 is an excellent tool for novice exercisers and serious trainers as well. It generates huge volumes of data, and can help you reach your fitness goals, and it's easy to use at the same time. Highly recommended. 9.6 out of 10 stars.

December 16th, 2006


Christmas Gifts
The Miami Herald recommends the Tanita InnerScan and Ironman scales:

Plug in your age, gender and height, then hop on the scales to learn your weight, body-fat percentage, body-water percentage, muscle mass, physique rating, visceral (abdominal) fat, bone mass, metabolic age and daily caloric intake (number of calories you can eat in a day to maintain current weight). The scales are simple to program and the info is relatively easy to understand with the accompanying guides. True, most of us don't need to know (or care about) our physique rating, but if you like to play the numbers game this is the scale for you.
December 6th, 2006


The James Bond Pedometer
This is something I haven't seen discussed before. A couple of computer science experts are warning that the popular Nike+iPod - a pedometer with a radio receiver - may be able to double as a tracking device:

It turns out that the sensor in the shoe emits a signal detectable by any compatible receiver within a range of up to 60 feet, long after the workout has ended.

"It is easy for someone to use the Nike+iPod as a tracking device," said [Scott] Saponas. "It's an example of how new gadgetry can erode our personal privacy."

The technical report describes possible scenarios. A thief could track when people enter or leave their homes or a jealous boyfriend could track a woman's movements.

Though it has an “off” switch, the sensor is sold with the power on. Saponas and [Yoshi] Kohno say most users likely wouldn't bother to remove the gadget and turn the power off after each workout.

"There's a bigger issue here," said Kohno. "When people buy a toaster, they know it's probably not going to blow up when they plug it in. But when they buy a consumer device like the Nike+iPod kit, they have no idea whether the device might enable someone to violate their privacy. We need to change that."

December 1st, 2006




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