Think Fido might be running a fever? Now all you have to do to measure your dog's temperature is tune in to an implantable RFID microchip.
St. Paul, Minn.-based Digital Angel Corp. on Monday announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted the company a patent for a syringe-implantable microchip that uses radio frequency technology to determine the body temperature of its host animal. Potential applications for the chip include non-invasive monitoring of temperatures in cats, dogs, livestock and horses and early detection of infectious diseases such as bird flu in poultry.The patented technology covers a passive transponder, a sensor and integrated circuit that together make it possible for someone with a scanner to determine the body temperature of an animal implanted with the Bio-Thermo.
Bio-Thermo microchips are currently being sold in the United Kingdom, Japan and the Philippines, Digital Angel says, with patents covering the Bio-Thermo RFID technology currently pending in several other countries. The company has begun marketing the chips in the U.S. equine market, it says, and is preparing to sell the microchips for the companion animal market, as well.
According to an item from O'Reilly Emerging Telephony writer Bruce Stewart , babies are suckers for the number "6" on a telephone.
Stewart knows this, he writes on this June 6, 2006--or as many are delighting in calling it, 6/6/06--because his former boss at the University of San Francisco used to have the phone number 666-6666.
And while the phone was certainly available for other uses, Stewart remembers, the boss used to get calls all the time from babies who apparently couldn't resist picking up the handset and dialing seven sixes.
What is it that compels babies to punch out the sixes? Stewart doesn't venture a guess, though he does predict that anyone who has a phone number comprised of all the same number will most likely also be getting their fair share of calls from infants in dire need of reaching out and speaking to someone. Or, I suppose, telemarketers.
And really, what's the difference?
CNET will be live-blogging the event from Apple HQ in Cupertino, Calif.
It's that time again: Apple has invited reporters down to its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters for a special notebooks event, which means CNET News will be there to live-blog the whole thing.
The fun starts at 10 a.m. PDT Tuesday at this link .
Apple says the focus of the event will be on notebooks. A redesigned MacBook and MacBook Pro are all but assured, but there are likely to be some other surprises too. Will Apple opt for Nvidia chipsets ? Will there finally be a Mac sold for less than $1,000?
Come back here Tuesday morning to find out. Plus, later in the day, we'll have some analysis on what Apple does announce, and CNET's laptop experts, Dan Ackerman and Michelle Thatcher, will have a First Look and hands-on video.
Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign launched an iPhone application on Thursday that turns the vaunted device into a political recruiting tool.
The most notable feature "organizes and prioritizes your contacts by key battleground states, making it easy to reach out and make an impact quickly," according to the software.
On my phone, the application ranked contacts in Colorado, Michigan, and New Mexico at the top; at the bottom was a friend whose cell phone has a Texas number, though she actually lives in California.
The application anonymously reports back the number of calls made this way: "Your privacy is important: no personal data or contacts will be uploaded or stored. Only the total number of calls you make is uploaded anonymously."
The software is the latest effort by politicians to capitalize on technology, joining other examples such as ads distributed through YouTube, Web-based fund-raising, Facebook pages and fan groups, and e-mail recruitment drives.
The Obama for America iPhone application is available for download through Apple's iTunes store, said Raven Zachary , an iPhone consultant who's directing the launch effort.
A "get involved" feature uses the phone's GPS-based location sensing to find the nearest Obama campaign headquarters, and "local events" likewise pulls up a list of activities sorted by proximity.
A "media" section provides links to video and photos, but beware: YouTube showed errors following some of the links. Perhaps the newer videos hadn't been prepared for iPhone display yet.
The application also shows Obama statements to the news media and a guide to Obama's positions on various issues.
Update 8:50 a.m. PDT: The application shows how many calls have been made nationwide and how many you made. Those statistics are the kind that can motivate people--they can feel like they're part of something bigger. That may sound a bit silly as a motivational tool, but consider that Smule's Sonic Lighter application for the iPhone is popular, despite the fact that it costs 99 cents more than its free competition, likely because people can see where else on the globe people are using it and because the longer you run the application, the bigger your own spot on the map becomes. It's a kind of competition.
Update 9:28 a.m. PDT: The campaign added an Obama iPhone app Web site , too.
The iPod Shuffle look-a-like that caused a stir at CeBit has returned with a new name and some minor alterations.
Formerly known as the "Super Shuffle," LuxPro is now calling its flash-based music player the Super Tangent. The device's button design has been changed slightly and it now comes in three colors, but it still bears a remarkable resemblance to the iPod Shuffle.
Only time will tell whether Apple thinks that LuxPro has made enough changes.During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina .
The clean-technology revolution will likely make a lot of people in Silicon Valley rich, but it's also going to help bring back some of the factory jobs that have disappeared.
Why? Weight, for one thing, explains Kevin Surace, CEO of Serious Materials, which recently landed $50 million in funding to build factories for its eco-friendly drywall.
Although labor is cheaper in China, shipping costs are going up, primarily because of fossil fuels.
"You could spend $2 to $3 a panel just to ship it , and that's just to get it to the dock. You'd then have to spend another $3 to $4 to ship it by rail," he said. "You can't do that if you plan to sell it for $10 to $20 a board."
As a result, Serious Materials will open its first factory, which will be capable of churning out 400,000 square feet of drywall a year, in the United States. It will likely also build its next two factories in the States as well, regionally spaced out to serve different markets.
Shipping materials from China also "blows the whole point about zero carbon dioxide," he added. "You're on the wrong side of the energy curve."
State governments are also offering substantial incentives--free rent in industrial parks, tax holidays, loans, grants--to woo these companies. "States do not want to be left out of the next industrial revolution," Surace said.
Some of the most aggressive states include New York, California, and New Mexico.
The heartening part of all of this is that Surace isn't alone. Bruce Jamerson, CEO of Mascoma , which wants to make cellulosic ethanol, has said the same thing. Mascoma is building plants in Michigan, New York, and Tennessee because that's where the wood chips and vegetable matter are. Several analysts have said shipping is one of the big barriers for Chinese solar-panel makers.
Granted, it's not like these companies are staying in the States because the CEO woke up one day to a Bob Seger song playing on the radio and started getting misty-eyed over the disappearance of the industrial heartland. They are being encouraged to stay stateside in part because of subsidies.
But other factors--like shipping costs, the low prices of their products, and the proximity to local markets--could conspire to get the manufacturing arm of the country moving again.
An article titled " Why a War on Virtual Gold Sellers Makes No Sense " got me thinking about the motivations behind playing massive multiplayer online role-playing games and why virtual economies can be both helped and harmed by "gold farming."
Gold farming is an Internet-age phenomenon in which players in less developed countries collect and sell virtual gold to wealthier gamers in the developed world. This enables gamers who have the means to buy virtual gold to get ahead in the games without actually having to accomplish much of the grunt work.
Wagner James Au takes the economic viewpoint that the consequences of gold farming don't outweigh the risks.
Call me a radical, but when launching a big-budget online game, it doesn't strike me as a very good idea to risk alienating nearly a quarter of your user base right out the gate.
That, however, is likely to be the consequence of an extreme anti-gold-selling policy at Mythic Entertainment, the studio that developed Electronic Arts' new MMORPG Warhammer Online , which is widely seen as World of Warcraft 's best competitor.
Mythic's Mark Jacobs makes a very strong counterpoint that gold farmers are destroying the game experience.
For years, lowlifes like IGE have told us, in defense of their behavior, that they a) are just providing a service; b) don't interfere with players' enjoyment of the game.
Well, I can't argue with , they are providing a service--just like maggots, I suppose--but I've always argued that is total and complete BS.
Now, those old arguments aside, I can't see how this new generation of pond scum can argue that their constant spamming of chat channels doesn't interfere with players' enjoyment of the game .
Having spent a bit of time playing WoW , I've been overwhelmed by the amount of spam on the chat channels--especially when I was too much of a newbie to turn it off.
There is a paradox of trying to succeed in a game by any means necessary versus the very point of playing the game. Gold selling is also contributing to both real and virtual economic development, providing jobs for people in less developed countries, and driving revenue into game companies, as more people look to advance their game play.
In a 2006 interview , documentary filmmaker Ge Jin discussed how gold farming is driving economic development in China .
GJ: I think these gold farms indicate that the game platform has the potential to engage more people in an Internet-driven economy. The gaming workers in China don't have skills like English, software , or graphic design to participate in other forms of Internet-driven work, but they can communicate and navigate in a 3D game world whose tools and routines they are familiar with...So if more social and economic activities happen in an accessible 3D game world, people who don't have access to other culture capital but gaming knowledge will be more likely to be included in global interaction.
Like anything on the Internet that has the possibility of making money, we'll see people try to take advantage for their own gain. Spam has made e-mail unusable without serious filtering, and there are risks that gaming could go the same way. For now, it's up to the providers to balance the development of their own economies.