IBM's Business Card of the Future

August 06 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Business & Work   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

You’re chatting with a person whose name you can’t remember. Agonizing minutes pass as you try and figure out not only what they do, but also where the heck you met them before. Your last hope is that some good Samaritan will introduce themselves, but everyone you try to make eye contact with just ignores you. You secretly wish you had that character in the movies who walks around with foreign dignitaries telling them the names of important people.

According to this video by IBM, these awkward situations may soon be a thing of the past.

The most amazing thing about this software isn’t that it can take photos of business cards and put the data directly into your address book, but that it can aid your memory where memories sometimes bottom out.

Faces are probably the easiest thing to remember about a person, but putting a name or even a history behind it can be downright difficult. The idea that you can enter into your PDA where you may have met this person, when it might have been, and then get a list of names and pictures of anyone who matches it is startling. And yet, it’s not entirely unthinkable or outlandish.

So what does the future hold? By 2010 you’ll probably be stalling for time to bring up information on the guy walking towards you (a popular stall might be ‘Just a sec, I’ll be right back.’) instead of winging your way through ten minutes of conversation with a total stranger. Perhaps by 2015 facial recognition will get so good that you’ll be able to “remember” anyone, even complete strangers who for some reason remember you.

What IBM is promising is an end to slowly typing contact information into your cell phone, an end to familiar faces but forgotten names, and an end to lost business cards from people you actually did want to keep in touch with. It won’t be just a cultural exchange miracle – it’ll be a social saving grace.

Credit Card Has Touchpad, Three Year Battery Life

November 11 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2010   Rating: 5 Hot

Visa Europe is working hard for your money, and in doing so they have come up with a credit card capable of switching around your security code everytime you enter your PIN on its touchpad. “An alpha-numeric display and keypad is built directly into the card. When making a transaction online, customers type their PIN into the card, which creates a one-time security code.” Visa is working with four major banks, including Bank of America in the UK, to develop this card. Videos of how it works can be found here and here.

This is quite amazing. Having a touchpad on your credit card ensures that the code on the back of your card (that little number, usually three digits, on the back) could never be compromised without a thief knowing your PIN number. I wonder though if the numbers you press would look worn, making it easy for the thief to determine what you PIN is.

Although it’s kind of unnerving to think that your credit card has a battery life, the fact that it can run for three years could help boost confidence. You could possibly even charge it at your local bank every year on a simple flat tray. Of course, someone hacking into it within a few days is possible but by then hopefully you’d have canceled it. All we need now is a credit card that can take your fingerprint.

Check out more at ITPRO

via Gizmodo

Toshiba Unveils 16GB MicroSDHC, Bright Future for Computer-phone Interactions

November 26 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 5 Hot


Toshiba recently announced that they would start producing a 16-Gigabyte MicroSDHC in January of next year.  "Toshiba Corp. (Toshiba), a leading innovator in memory card technologies and solutions, and Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC), its subsidiary in the Americas, today reinforced their memory card line-up with the launch of a 16GB microSDHC card offering the largest capacity available in the market."  Although the smaller chip only transfers at 6Mps instead of the faster 20Mps, the fact that 16 Gigabytes can be crammed into such a small area could mean huge changes in the computer/smartphone environment.

The bridge between phone and computer has been constantly blurring with the increase of mobile internet use among smartphone users.  The ability to link the phone and the computer so far has been relegated to files and applications both share.  The increased space on the phone could be used for more files, but it could also be used as a back-up for your computer.

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Chronicles of Extreme Future Part 3: The ID Card

April 18 2008 / by Fictionthis / In association with Future
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 4 Hot

Cross-posted from the blog of new fiction-focused startup

National ID cards were introduced in 2011.

At first they were simply embedded in passports, containing personal ID data. Second Generation ID Data chips were designed to have uploading capabilities and contained even more data, including criminal and medical records. Third generation ID Chips had an option to be inserted under your skin and gave access into your ID data base in any government institution, which made forgetting or losing your license or social security details a thing of the past.

For military personnel it was compulsory to have it inserted. Unauthorized access to military installations was simply non-existent from that moment on. Generation Four chip nicknamed “Quattro Access” became an instant hit with the younger generation. It allowed access to personal finance as well as personal storage space to share music, files and photos. (cont.)

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When Panhandling Meets Digital Currency

August 26 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Social Issues   Year: General   Rating: 4

If you work in a major city chances are you see the homeless everyday, deftly ignoring their gaze or side-stepping their outstretched hands. Yet despite our avoidance, we still occasionally give them a dollar from our pockets. But one thing I’ve never heard people discussing is this – With the digitization of money, what will happen to the homeless?

Our society is inexorably moving closer to a world where paper currency is going to be obsolete. Even small items such as coffee get the plastic treatment for the person on the go. When you pay for your coffee, what are the odds you charge it to a card? Chances are you opt for either credit or debit. In effect, we are eliminating spare hard change.

I experienced this phenomenon just a few months ago when coming out of my local butcher shop. Having paid for everything with my credit card, I had no spare change for the man who sets up shop just outside. He asked me for change, I replied that I had none. Because this statement was true I felt great that I was able answer truthfully while still employing evasive maneuvers.

With hard currency becoming increasingly scarce, perhaps what panhandlers need is a card-scanning device, much like MasterCard has right now withPayPass where purchases under $25 just need a wave of the card. We’d have to outfit every panhandler with a card reader that deducts $1 from people who swipe their cards across their device.

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