Someone to Watch Over Me

2006_4_tech_catcomputer.jpgWe remember when the LoJack system was first introduced, which was basically a tracking device placed in your car that allowed cops to find your wheels if they were, well, `jacked. It seemed like a great idea to all but the most ardent of conspiracy theorists, who figured it would just give the government another way to track our movements. But it seems that an NYU professor is throwing such concerns for civil liberty out the door by monitoring the movements of his cat. Seriously. Tom Igoe, an assistant professor in Tisch's interactive telecommunications program, has implanted a microchip on his feline which generates an automatic e-mail to the professor when kitty enters a certain part of his apartment. Professor Igoe can then tune into his webcam to see "Noodles" in action. He says that he thought of the idea as a way to teach his students "about using digital technologies to sense and respond to a wider range of human physical expression." Sounds reasonable to us.

And think you're safe from monitoring because you're not a quadruped? Think again. Turns out more and more bosses are monitoring your internet use at the office. So cut back on the fantasy baseball, your obsessive Friendster stalking, and watch your porn at home.

Putting on the Brakes

2006_4_tech_monorail.jpgIf Terminator 2 has taught us anything, its that the more we let computers run things, the more likely they are to take over, enslave us, and cause a huge human-robo war which will destroy everything. And if we've learned anything about the MTA, its that we rarely agree with any of their decisions. But Gothamist Technology was pleasantly surprised to see that the transit authority is being somewhat prudent about rolling out computer controlled subway trains which might help streamline the system and cause fewer service delays. A consultancy report to be presented to the MTA this Monday will lay out how plans are moving too quickly without fully evaluating the system. While we're all for doing whatever it takes to get trains to run more smoothly, the computer-run lines will obviously have glitches that should be worked out first. Also, it looks like the computer based system will cut jobs, as only one person will be required to run a train instead of the two currently used. Just wait until Roger Toussant catches wind of this.