Lost Packets Issue 12

“Surfing” the Internet takes on a whole new meaning

Internet access seems to be popping up everywhere these days, sometimes in the most peculiar places. Intel Corp., never one to go unnoticed, has recently joined the fray of online oddities with the launch of a wireless surfboard. The board was designed to coincide with last month’s GoldCoast Oceanfest surfing and music festival held in England. Intel sponsored the event and provided hotspots on the beach. The board features a tablet PC built into the board and is powered by Intel’s Centrino mobile technology. The surfboard not only lets surfers to check their e-mail and “surf” the Web, surfers can also record footage of themselves riding the waves.

Couple says “I do” via videoconference

Talk about a long-distance relationship: Two U.S. National Guard soldiers made it official last month, despite being thousands of miles apart. According to reports, Staff Sgt. Shadow Evans, who is stationed in Iraq, exchanged vows with her fiance, Sgt. Rick Everton, based in Colorado, with a little help from videoconferencing technology. The couple had planned to marry this August, but Everton was told he would be soon assigned to Iraq and the couple wanted to ensure they could stay together while overseas. The wedding was assisted by a New York-based organization called the Freedom Calls Foundation, which provided the high-quality telecommunications line needed to enable the two-way video.

Deaf Merrill Lynch employee ups client base with help from videophone

Stephen Hlibok, a Columbia, Md.-based employee of global financial management firm Merrill Lynch, doesn’t let his hearing disability prevent him from raking in clients. Hlibok attributes his recent successes to the Sorenson VP-100 videophone as well as the Sorenson Video Relay Service (VRS). The videophone and VRS work via high-speed Internet connections to a T.V. or PC via Web camera. A certified interpreter relays messages from hearing clients to hearing-impaired persons in American Sign Language. Merrill Lynch’s Hlibok said the software has allowed him to assist clients and co-workers immediately rather than waste time typing back and forth with text communication. Sorenson is online at www.sorenson.com.

Smart chip fails in race

The Manitoba Marathon thought it would get technologically savvy this year, but despite its efforts, organizers still managed to declare the wrong competitor the winner. All competitors in the women’s race were tagged with microchips attached to each runners’ shoe, designed to mark the time the runner crossed a specialized mat at the start and finish lines. Sounds simple enough. However, the chips were not designed to take notice if a runner failed to complete the entire race. This happened in the case of the woman who was declared the race winner, but only completed a half-race marathon. The title was eventually awarded to Harmony Holland of Florida who completed the full race in three hours and seven minutes. Race organizers plan to have more mats next year as well as additional spotters on the course.

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