The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was scheduled in late
December to consider lifting the ban on cell phones during commercial
flights. There still are problems to overcome. Besides the possibility
of interfering with cockpit communications, most cell phones do not
work above 10,000 feet. There are reports, however, that some airlines
have been testing technology to allow cell phones to work through
Safety is a major consideration as well. The Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) and Boeing support the FCC’s current ban, arguing that
cell phones can interfere with navigation systems.
Yet another problem is the possibility of 200 passengers trying to
have private conversations on their cell phones all at once.
THE WIRED HOME
Home networking has become big business. The National Association
of Home Builders says home technology is a $3 billion business and
that consumers typically spend $1,500 to $60,000 per installation.
Home networks often include security systems, thermostats, lighting
controls and video cameras at the front door or the front gate.
But it’s not just homes that are attracting high-tech systems.
PlaceLab, a 1,000-square-foot condominium in an apartment building
in Cambridge, MA, is being operated by the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology and TIAX, a research-and-development company. The condo
is lined with miles of cable and packed with sensors that track everything
from how often the volunteer residents open the windows to the quality
of the air that comes in.
WHO’S WATCHING ONLINE?
What goes around comes around. A few years ago Internet users and
privacy advocates were outraged at attempts by marketing companies
to track their use of the Internet in order to show them ads related
to their surfing habits.
Now comes Tocoda, a New York-based company that according to The New
York Times is doing just that. The company is putting together a network
of 60 Web sites that will track visitors’ stops within the network
and allow its adverting members to display ads based on where they
go. The difference with Tocoda is that the advertisers won’t
know who the surfers are, just where they stopped.