Tech03 Jan 2008 09:18 pm

Here are tonight’s news items that I’ll be talking about on when I join my friend, David Lawrence, for my weekly segment on his radio show, The David Lawrence Show:

Privacy and Piracy at Odds in Oregon

Remember, you can always download the audio of this hour, or any hour, from David Lawrence’s website for a micro-payment of 25ยข. You can also subscribe to them via iTunes at David Lawrence Unplugged and have them automatically downloaded to your computer.

Tech30 Mar 2006 11:50 am

My Sweetie bought me a new alarm clock for my birthday this week: The RCA RP3720 Clock Radio, pictured here.

The feature list is awesome:

First, it has huge numbers whose soft glowing blue color — a welcome change from red LEDs — can be read without glasses.

Second, the time sets automagically, syncing itself to the Matrix via the atomic clock signals broadcast from the cold dead heart of Dick Cheney.

Third, the AM/FM radio uses the digital read-out, allowing you to accurately tune stations. I’ve missed meetings because the alarm was set to Radio and apparently the breeze of a passing gnat shifted the analog radio dial a nanometer off the station, leaving only a faint whisper of white noise to wake me up.

Fourth, there’s a nifty rotating wheel, a la the iPod, for setting time and other features — no more mashing your finger into a hard plastic button for 20 minutes while you wait for your target time to… Damn!… passed it! Have to go around again!

Fifth, YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR OWN SNOOZE DURATION! How cool is that? From 1 minutes to 30 minutes.

Sixth, you don’t have to remember to turn your alarm on before bed… when you turn the alarm off in the morning, the alarm stays active and will go off again the next day unless you press the key sequence that completely shuts off the alarm.

Seventh, did I mention you can CHOOSE YOUR OWN SNOOZE DURATION?!?!

Eighth, there’s a “Nap” button that lets you set an alarm to go off in a range from 10 minutes to 2 hours, without screwing with your existing alarm settings.

These features are on top of things you come to expect, like auto-dimming of the LEDs, a sleep function that turns off the radio after a period of time, and battery backup (batteries included, of course), intuitive buttons that are easy to find with sleepy-eyes, well-designed switches that won’t screw up the time or alarm settings when you are button-mashing at 0-dark-hundred, dual alarms that start very softly and then get louder (if you’re really attuned to it, you can wake up before it gets loud enough to wake up your mate)… the list goes on.

The RCA RP3720‘s features read like the wish list I’ve had in my head for, oh maybe the 25 years that I’ve been using clock radios! Their elegant integration make my bedside alarm clock more user-friendly and dependable than just about any other device I use on a daily basis.

Thank you RCA, and thank you to my Sweetie…

Privacy & Tech19 May 2005 02:48 pm

FingerscannerEngadget found an interesting news item about the grocery store chain Cub Foods, introducing a biometric interface to an “electronic wallet.” Touch here and your account is automagically debited.

Perhaps a greater use of finger scanning will reduce the incidence of trading in fingers.


Good Eats & Privacy & Tech11 May 2005 12:31 pm

fingerprint scanner at AmphoraI was back in the Washington, DC, area this past week and took the time to visit one of my old haunts, a wonderful 24-hour Greek diner in Vienna, VA, called Amphora Restaurant (and Bakery). All through my undergraduate studies at nearby George Mason University, I subsisted on the Amphora’s Greek Burgers, fried zucchini, ‘breakfast served all day’ and, of course, their awesome cheescake which is annually rated as the “Best in Washington.”

On this visit, however, I noticed something odd sitting by the cash register as I paid the check: a fingerprint scanner. I asked the manager what it was for, and she said it was part of their wait-staff check management system. For example, many restaurants have systems where the wait staff can swipe a magnetic card and call up all their open tabs. This system apparently takes things a step further, using a fingerprint to verify the identity instead of an additional passcode.

I’m not sure the midnight dinner tabs at a Greek diner require that much security — although CIA headquarters is only about 7 miles up that very same road — but it’s interesting to know that one of America’s greatest late-night eateries is keeping up with the times.

Privacy & Tech04 May 2005 01:30 am

Escarole Eating Champion! What do spyware, manicures, and escarole have in common? They’re all featured on tonight’s installment of The David Lawrence Show. In the show’s first hour, David and I discussed his alluring manicure, my weekend spent fighting spyware, Eliot Spitzer’s own upcoming war on spyware, and TimeWarner’s lost data. And I even got to mention “Krazy” Kevin Lipsitz, famous spammer, but even more famous recently for his competitive eating. Click here to see him downing four pounds of escarole and to hear his pearls of wisdom.

Law & News & Culture & Privacy & Tech28 Mar 2005 09:57 pm

On tonight’s David Lawrence Show, I talked about the recent Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Privacy Information Center which uncovered a sales pitch to the FBI by embattled data broker ChoicePoint. I also talked about tomorrow’s arguments in the US Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster and the rising use of vehicle “black box” recorders.

I also made my Podcasting Debut — my ‘coming out’ if you will — on David’s Podcast for tonight. It’s a free download, only 9mb, and just a few minutes long, so listen in!

Meanwhile on the ChoicePoint issue, I traded some email today with CNET’s Matt Hines who wrote about ChoicePoint and the FBI in his Security News.Blog:

Despite ChoicePoint’s claim of innocence, some privacy experts said they would not be surprised that the company, which has experienced a string of high-profile consumer data losses, would entertain such an approach to marketing itself to the FBI and others. In fact, Ray Everett-Church, an attorney who runs his own consulting company, PrivacyClue, said that ChoicePoint likely knew that the FBI might find such information particularly compelling.

Check out Matt’s blog entry for my very sassy commentary! ;-)

Mobile Tech & News & Culture & Privacy & Spam & Tech21 Feb 2005 11:44 pm

Federal investigators lured a teenage extortionist to Los Angeles, where they arrested him for threatening to send SPIM (Spam sent via Instant Message) users of Also, the full scope of the ChoicePoint debacle is becoming clear. And Paris Hilton’s phonebook got hacked off T-Mobile’s servers. It’s another full plate of news for my usual hour of The David Lawrence Show.

Friends & Family & Mobile Tech & Tech15 Feb 2005 11:26 pm

In honor of Justin’s surprise “Best In Show” award at the 3GSM Conference in Cannes, France, the entire third hour of The David Lawrence Show tonight will be devoted to Justin and his technical prowess. Oh yeah, and I’m doing my usual thing in the first hour of the show. And Justin even gets to share the air, briefly, with TV’s Wil Wheaton. How cool is that?!?

As usual, users of PayPal and BitPass can easily and cheaply download the audio from David Lawrence’s site. It’s worth a listen… funny stuff!

Politics & Spam & Tech01 Feb 2005 04:32 pm

Diebold, makers of election stealing equipment, opens up the case on their buggy equipment and finds… PRINTERS! Oh, and I talk about why the CAN-SPAM Act sucks. On tonight’s edition of The David Lawrence Show.

News & Culture & Tech25 Jan 2005 11:49 pm

In my weekly segment on The David Lawrence Show, we talk (well, really, I listen to David rant yet again…) about the Grokster case and the effort to defend music theft online.

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