Tuesday, June 20, 2006

PETA hates your favorite charity

In a lame/bold move to draw attention to themselves; selfish, animal rights terrorists, PETA bought a "dinner with Beyonce at Nobu" from a charity auction. Then, as she sat down to eat, unaware of their agenda or intention, they got aggressive with her about her clothing line. MSNBC has the article.

Besides proving nothing, this has a few seriously bad side effects. Think about this - you are a star, you want to support a cause and "make a fan's dreams come true" (remember, you are a star and you think this way). So, graciously, you donate your time and privacy to the cause and put an expensive dinner with you up for auction - you know, for the children with cancer, etc. Now - you have to worry that some idiot with a PR agenda is going to pull some crap like this and get national attention.

So - do you still want to donate your time? Didn't think so. Thanks PETA.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Ever since my youth and our "Missions from God" where we set gnome armies upon the homes of unsuspecting teenage girls, I have been creeped out by and simultaneously fascinated by garden gnomes.

This is the perfect way to display them in your garden.

Technology Blowback

Just like in arms and intelligence, using technology to defend against illicit (or annoying) behavior often has reverse consequences. The word for this in CIA and elsewhere is blowback.

The "war on teen loiterers" has just had its great example. Big news a month or two back was the touted success at a convenience store in the UK using a device called a "mosquito". More on it and the declaration of victory here. The device works basically by loudly broadcasting a sound only younger people can hear which annoys them until they find somewhere else to hang out.

Well, it took about two weeks before teens figured out "hey - if adults can't hear it, then we can use it for our own purposes". Here is an article describing where kids downloaded the MP3 to their cell phones and use it as a "silent" ring so adults don't know they are sending SMS messages. The teens calls the sound "Teen Buzz".

Think of the possibilities...
A student could put a device in his pocket and go through a whole multiple-choice exam, broadcast his/her selections to a room full of kids, all with the proctors sitting right there.

I don't condone cheating, but I love this story.

Add your own examples as to how to take advantage of Teen Buzz in comments.

[Updated 6/9/2006] Corrected spelling.

The best excuse I could find for Slingbox... could be gone?

I love the concept of the Slingbox. Very cool technology. However, I have always felt that it was a technology in need of a problem.

When I discussed this with folks, the best (and really only reasonable) excuse we could come up with to own one of these was in the situation of a "displaced" fan of some form. Displaced fans in this context would be, for example, Red Sox fans living in Tempe, AZ or Twins fans in Miami. A particularly good example would be, say, a college student going to UNC from elsewhere or a traveling consultant.

Well, MLB is already trying to put the kaibash on this and pretty much take out Slingbox's raison d'etre. They haven't sued anyone yet, but you know its coming at some point.

To me, the issue is whether or not the "slingboxer" - the person watching the stream from the Slingbox - has already paid for that content. If they are a member of that household that has subscribed to cable, then its ok. If they are not a member of that household, then it seems like that house is "rebroadcasting" to me. So consultant away from home and college student - ok, distant relative that really loves the Florida Marlins - not ok. MLB has the ability on their site for them to purchase this content.