Sat, 25 March 2006
A new consumer goods tracking system called Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is poised to enter all of our lives, with profound implications for consumer privacy. RFID couples radio frequency (RF) identification technology with highly miniaturized computers that enable products to be identified and tracked at any point along the supply chain. The system can be applied to virtually any physical item, from pets and people to ballpoint pens and toothpaste, each potentially carrying a unique identifier embedded in a chip. Uniqueness of RFID tags enables individual tracking of a product from location to location, even to the consumer, aids in combating theft and other forms of product loss, and facilitates quality control and product recalls. There may soon come a day when RFID will be used to identify and track every item produced on the planet, contributing to concerns over post-sale tracking and profiling of consumers. If you’re skeptical, consider the following quote: “I think the industry has sold itself on a program that offers so little return that it simply won’t be worth the trouble and expense.? Not from a critic of RFID, but from a Midwestern Grocery Chain Executive discussing (in 1975) the potential of the barcode.
Sun, 12 March 2006
Technology updates on past shows along with recent news items that affect Information and Communications Technology and Information and Communications Technology enabled industries. We will do these update shows every five weeks, with the next one scheduled for Show 16.
Sat, 4 March 2006
Though not as memorable a question as that faced by Shakespeare's Hamlet, many companies are now confronted with critical decisions regarding adoption of Linux and other open source software. This podcast, the fourth in a 10-part series detailing technologies to watch for 2006, examines Linux and open source software. Though originally developed and used by individual enthusiasts for Intel 386 microprocessors, Linux and two subsequent generations of open-source software have gained support from IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Novell. These products are used in servers and have been successfully deployed in virtually all popular computer architectures, ranging from embedded systems (routers, mobile phones, Private Branch eXchanges [PBXs] and personal video recorders) to PCs and supercomputers. With increasingly competitive economic environments and continued pressure to cut costs and streamline operations, many organizations find the issue of open source adoption a question of to be or not to be.