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Technology goes bananas for monkey challenge

When it comes to technology, who’s smarter: man or monkey? That’s the question Yahoo attempted to answer when it held its Yahoo! Tech Monkey Challenge last month at Bryant Park in New York City. The event had two chimps, Sabel and Cody, that were trained by experts to take and print digital photos to compete against everyday New Yorkers to see who could do it the fastest. The event was to promote Yahoo! Tech, a new Web site the company said offers technology information in a language that even a monkey could understand. The chimps were trained using a colour-coded system on the buttons of the gadgets and the chimps only needed to know how to press the colour-coded button.

An IT expert case of mistaken identity

The British Broadcasting Corp.(BBC) has apologized to viewers after accidently putting live on air last month a cabbie that the network mistakenly believed was Guy Kewney, an expert on Internet music downloads. Kewney was scheduled to talk about his views of the May 8 verdict on Apple Computer’s win over Apple Corp. Instead, Guy Goma, a Congolese man, was put on air. Goma was at the BBC applying for a technology-related job and followed an employee to the studio after a mistake was made at the reception desk. At first, when Goma was introduced by the anchor as Kewney, he scrunched his face in panic and opened his mouth as if to explain. When asked for his views on the verdict, Goma replied he was surprised and as the interview went on, he grew in confidence and went on to deliver his opinion on music downloads. The real Guy was waiting to be taken to the studio when he looked up at a monitor and witnessed Goma seated in the interviewee chair.

Pubs use biometrics to keep troublemakers out

In an effort to keep out troublemakers, clubs in the United Kingdom have gone hi-tech. Instead of a driver’s licence, clubgoers have to scan in their fingerprint, input personal information and have their photo taken in order to gain entry. The new system is designed to cut down on alcohol-fueled violence that has become common on weekends in the UK. Clubs using the system share the information, so if a rowdy party animal is banned at one club, they would also be banned from any club on the system. There is some concern about who has access to the information and some clubgoers think the system takes away their freedom and privacy. UK police have reassured the public, stating that the information is available only to the clubs using the system and not to the police.

Skype offers free calls to landlines

Internet communications company Skype announced last month that it is giving its U.S. and Canadian-based Skype users the ability to make free landline and mobile phone calls to anywhere within the U.S. and Canada with a service called SkypeOut. In the past, those customers had to pay for calls from PCs to traditional telephones. However, if Skype users want to call people outside North America, they will still incur charges. The company, which has 100 million registered users worldwide, hopes to make this service free as a larger strategy to help increase Skype’s market penetration in North America. According to the firm, the free SkypeOut calls will be available to North American users until the end of this year.

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