Posted by Alan Buckingham at 6:39 PM on May 25, 2012
Before you get too excited about the whole cellular radiation debate, which is mostly debunked by the way, this in-depth report was about tower workers falling to their deaths due to poor regulation of safety issues while climbing these monstrous metal towers (climbers are 10 times more likely to die than construction workers). Frontline aired the show on PBS May 22nd and the entire episode is now available for streaming on their web site.
To nobody’s surprise all of the cell companies refused comment during the show. In fact, we learned that virtually none of them have even been fined by OSHA for any of the accidents. They are above responsibility thanks to layers of protection they have put between themselves and the actual contractors who do the dirty work. Incidentally, many of those workers make around $10 per hour to climb hundreds of feet, mostly unprotected because that allows them to climb faster and get more jobs done. One of the worst offenders turns out to be AT&T, who pushed hard for fast work to be done during their iPhone expansion.
While one retired AT&T executive did talk with the show, the other interviews are with contract companies and the actual workers. You can watch chapter 1 of the episode in the embedded video below. A word of warning – there are a few graphic images of bodies laying at the base of towers.
As well as being a really bad pun, iOnRoad is an augmented reality app that helps car drivers become safer drivers. Courtney gets into the fast lane to find out more about this app which was awarded a CES Innovation Honoree prize.
Available for Android smartphones now and the iPhone soon, the app uses the smartphone’s camera, GPS and accelerometer to provide warnings and guidance to car drivers as they drive. By looking at the white lines, the car in front and correlating data from the GPS and accelerometer, the app can warn about lane departures, tailgating and speeding. The iOnRoad includes a couple of other features, including reading text messages and a car locator.
Obviously the phone has to be mounted on the dash with a view to the front of the car, but you can test the app using the video here. The app is currently free with a charge of $9.99 to be introduced in the future.
CES regular Jack Peterson talks with Todd and Don on the latest headphones for children from Kidz Gear.
Kidz Gear produces headphones with smaller headbands and ear cups to fit the smaller heads of children. This year they’ve brought to the market new wired headphones that have a built-in volume limiter that prevents children’s hearing becoming damaged through excessive sound levels. The headphones reduce the maximum sound level by about 20% into the 80-95 decibel range.
The new headphones are compatible with the iPad, iPhone and iPod ranges and include an inline remote and mic control. They’re available from the Apple Store or direct from Kidz Gear for $29.99.
An additional new product in the same vein is a volume limit cable which can be added to already-purchased headphones to make them safer for children. Priced at only $9.99, there’s currently a special price of $5.99 showing on-line.
Posted by KL Tech Muse at 7:38 PM on February 12, 2011
One of the biggest problems today is the use of cellphones by people driving. Todd Cochrane spoke to Chuck Cox CEO of Cellcontrol about their solution to this problem at CES 2011. It is a three part solution. The first part of the solution is to integrate the program directly into the vehicle. When the vehicle moves the program is activated. It then sends a message through bluetooth to the cellphones in the car.
The program is supported by a most major cellphones and other devices. The program and policies are easy to setup and manage. The policies are also very customizable depending on what is the safety policy of the company or individual is. Cellcontrol is targeting companies with large fleets first, before moving into the direct consumer market. Businesses not only have to worry about accidents causing higher insurance and law suits, but also about the company reputation.
According to Mr. Cox twenty eight percent of all accidents involve someone using a cellphone, Driving and texting is 4x more likely to cause a accident then driving while drunk. People are going to use cellphones in their car, the question is how do we make it safer.
Posted by geeknews at 10:59 PM on January 10, 2011
Spot has been a leader in satellite rescue and communication devices. With a Spot device you can send a rescue signal via satellite, for several years now you have also been able to send short text messages as well through Spot devices. Now your smartphone can interact with a new Spot device essentially turning your smartphone into a Satellite Communicator.
This will allow people to send text messages to twitter of facebook in non emergency situations to send short updates on your adventures wherever you may be. I have said for a long time that if I was a world traveler that got of the beaten path that I would never leave home without a spot device. While the new integration to your smartphone is cool. The device will still work standalone when your in trouble or if your smartphone battery has died.
Posted by geeknews at 10:33 PM on January 10, 2011
DriveNTalk won a Design and Innovation award for their new TALK SMART BHF-2000 this is a hands free device that is truly hands free. Simply by waving your hand you can answer your mobile phone while driving. Tap on the device and talk to it and it will execute a number of preset commands. DriveNTalk have been known for a long time in producing innovative hands free products. I am excited to see this come to market as I have a vehicle that does not have any hands free devices.
Google has setup the Family Safety Centre to help parents and teachers keep their children safe online. After spending a little time in the resource, it seems to be a good introduction to online safety for children from a parent’s point of view. If you need to know more, you can then take it further through some of the links.
The Centre has four main sections:
i) Google Safety Tools – information on Safesearch, which stops inappropriate material being returned in searches, and YouTube Safety Mode, which similarly stops age-restricted videos from appearing.
ii) Advice from partners – information from children’s organisations on cyberbullying, privacy, talking to strangers online, adult content and malware.
iii) Reporting abuse – if you find inappropriate material on any of Google’s properties (YouTube, Buzz, Picasa, Blogger), here’s how to flag the material to Google.
iv) Video tips from Google parents – a set of videos on YouTube from parents to parents. In this section there’s also six basic tips for on-line safety. Frankly, I think these tips should be more prominent as they’re good.
- Keep computers in a central place
- Know where your children go online
- Teach internet safety
- Help prevent viruses
- Teach your children to communicate responsibly
- View all content critically
Each country has its own slight variant, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, US and UK versions – there are probably others for non-English speakers. The main difference seems to be the list of partner organisations that Google has worked with (and spelling).
If you are a parent, you should spend a few minutes having a read of the information here.
Whenever I want to feel fearful and depressed I usually visit one of the news websites. Earthquakes, murder, war, theft, snoops, kidnappers, recession, depression, corruption, and all other sorts of horrible news. When I read the news sites I’m reminded of how unsafe the world is. Soon I tire of the bad news and move on to investigate the net for news on tech and design. Today Foxnews.com had the audacity to remind me that I am unsafe even on the web. The site highlighted the news from Microsoft that thousands of Hotmail passwords had been exposed. It scared me to death. I nearly jumped to my Hotmail account before I even finished the article. Reading on I discovered that Microsoft had deactivated all the affected accounts until true control could be restored. Why do I care? Hotmail only collects my spam from sites that demand an email address. Hotmail lets through all the other spam anyway! But I digress.
The point of all this is:we are never safe. Their is no safe haven in the world or the web. Every company does it’s best and so must we. Yet, sometimes problems may come. If we live with that understanding we can truly do our best to protect ourselves. When we react in panic there is not a clear path of thinking. So with this reminder of our web-identities fragility, what should we do? Let’s refresh four basic email and online account rules:
Always use a secure password. Your birthday, name spelled backwards, address, mothers name, dog’s name, middle name, favorite food, and initials hardly qualify. Use one of the many free random password generators on the web or if you insist on an easier to remember one then create a mixture of information that you can remember. For example and purely fictitious: !S1eP99t9 This could be a combination of the month and year you and your spouse were married. Now while I would only call this a basic password it sure beats “Fluffy”. Of course if you want your bank account to be protected by Fluffy, then more power to you.
Never use the same passwords for multiple accounts. For that matter don’t do what I did at the start and use the same password with just the last letter different! Why would you want someone to have a free-for-all with all your accounts? Use different passwords and find an open-source or free password vault. I personally love 1Password for the Mac.
Change your passwords periodically. I must admit it takes the misfortune of someone to remind me to do this.
Don’t use a public computer. Many public computers are not adequately protected against the installation of malicious password key logging applications. Just don’t log in on a public computer. Just say no. And certainly don’t buy something online with your credit card information! Browse the web on it, read the news, just don’t give any information.
I understand these are basic tips, but sometimes we just need to be reminded to stay alert and on guard. Kind of like reminding our kids to wear their helmet when they ride a bike. Resist the urge to become lazy online. I don’t want to read about you on Foxnews.com.
I love my GPS and use it whenever I’m going to a new place. Last night I had to go photograph a band at a small club in San Francisco so I programmed the address into my GPS. I also used it to get home since the one-way streets in San Francisco can be confusing at night. Like most users I have a place called Home in my GPS address book. Handy, but is that really safe?
There was story in the news a few months back about thieves breaking into cars at long-term airport parking lots and stealing GPS devices from the cars. The thieves know the owner is away and may even have observed the family leaving for a family vacation. What better time to break into a house when the family is on vacation. Even better, if there is a GPS in the car, there is a good chance it has a Home favorite that leads directly to the goodies.
The take-away here is to not have a Home favorite or entry in your GPS address book. All you need to do is change the name to something else: Bob’s home; Doctor; Church. (If you travel a lot the thief may wonder why you’re going to Church every other day if he/she looks through your GPS Recent/History entries.) If you really want to be really careful, don’t use your GPS to lead directly to your house, but some place close. I changed mine to a shopping center two miles from my house.
It’s also not a good idea to have anything left in your car that has your home address. I think it’s safe to block out your address on your car registration and proof of insurance forms. If you are ever questioned, you can say you did it for security reasons.
Technology is a great time-saver but you need to be careful. Be safe out there!