Lost Packets: Networking news and trivia

Star Trek inspires real-life technology

The original Star Trek graced the small screen for only three years from 1966 to 1969. The technology showcased on the show may have seemed possible only in the realm of science fiction, but today some of it has become a reality. A recent documentary that aired on the Discovery Channel saw Canadian native and former Star Trek captain William Shatner explore how the classic television series influenced many of today’s technologies. For example, Star Trek introduced the prospect of computers that can manage every aspect of life, recognize voice commands, and control complex spaceship propulsion and weaponry. However, warp drive and transporters remain figments of fantasy.

Cameras help make drivers safer

On the road, accidents will happen. But DriveCam Inc. has developed technology to help make the roads safer. The DriveCam Driving Behavior Management System is used to help fleet and commercial drivers improve their driving skills. According to the company’s Web site, DriveCam is a palm-sized video recorder that monitors driving activity and records sights and sounds inside and outside a vehicle. If a trigger event occurs, such as an accident, the images and sounds are saved onto HindSight 20/20, a Windows-based software program, that is used to help analyze what happened and help improve individual driving performance. For more information, visit www.drivecam.com

Buy a bag of Doritos, get a kid

In the Netherlands, buying a bag of Doritos entitles the purchaser to codes for the creation of one Eccky on the company’s Web site. Eccky is the name of a game where two parents can make, name and raise a virtual child. The look of Eccky is based on the DNA of the parents, who take a DNA quiz at the start of the game. No two Eccky’s will be the same and Eccky will have its own distinct personality. The game lasts six days with each day representing about three years of Eccky’s life and ends when Eccky turns 18. After going through the baby, toddler and teen years, Eccky leaves the nest. So parents can interact with their “child,” Eccky is added to the parents’ MSN Messenger contact list. One Eccky costs about EUR1.50 to create. For more information, visit www.eccky.com

The multi-tasking generation

First there were the Baby Boomers, then the Yuppies that were followed by Generation X. Now meet Generation M, the multi-tasking generation. They are common in most households today and you can easily spot them anywhere. They are the boys and girls or teens that are carrying on six different instant messaging conversations, downloading music from iTunes, watching TV and completing their homework all at the same time. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 82 per cent of kids today are online by the seventh grade. As well, many social scientists say that too much multi-tasking isn’t going to help these kids in the long run as their education and social life may suffer as a result. They added that Generation M kids prefer IM-ing or talking on their cell phones to face-to-face interaction.

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