Friday, February 10, 2012

Signs of the times

Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed. ~ Irene Peter
Xenex is a robot that combats germs with blasts of light. It disinfects a hospital room in about five to 10 minutes with pulses of xenon UV, a type of ultraviolet light that sterilizes and kills microbiological contaminants.

• Real estate agents are now using pilotless drone aircraft to take aerial photos of properties.

• You've probably been asked for your postal code by a cashier when paying by credit card, and thought it was harmless to divulge that information. Think again. Williams-Sonoma, an American retailer, identified customers' street addresses by using computer software to perform reverse searches from databases that resemble a reverse telephone book. Such retailers can then send you catalogues and sell your contact information to other retailers.

• The big guns of the internet --- Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, AOL and Facebook --- are setting aside their online rivalry to fight email spam and "phishing" attacks designed to obtain passwords or other personal information.

• The next big thing in the home is dishwashers, refrigerators and water heaters that can communicate with each other and homeowners in real time. If the dishwasher and laundry machine are running at the same time, they will both tell the water heater to step it up. Appliances will also be notifying homeowners on their mobile phones or iPads when the fridge door is ajar or displaying messages on the television when the laundry machine is done its cycle.

• Researchers have found evidence that the Mayans were using tobacco 1,300 years ago.
Looking for change? Check the sofa.

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