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« Interview on nanotech and the military | Main | Do international regulatory treaties work? »

September 15, 2005

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Janessa Ravenwood

Discussion of copyright issues takes up two-thirds of the article. Apparently, commuters in Japan have already been using their phones to photograph the last few paragraphs of articles they don't have time to finish reading. Now, they'll be able to scan whole pages. And newsstand owners are upset about this. So, instead of shrink-wrapping publications that they don't want people to be able to read without buying, they are building audible alarms into the phones, so that they can tell when they're being used to scan text.
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I’d say watch for people to instead look for phones without this feature in them, or to buy/obtain 3rd party software that negates this feature. Support your friendly neighborhood hackers.

Rainer

When combined with mobile data services, the computing power of the device isn't even critical any more. The user could send the photo to a webservice, do sophisticated text recognition there and get back the text result on the mobile.
Similarly, shazam.com already does this for sound recognition.

Tom Craver

Rainer: Yep. Increasingly, the limits are bandwidth and quality of I/O on your interface device.

I'm waiting for someone to come out with a cellphone that puts a display in front of one eye, creating the appearance of a screen floating 3 feet in front of you as you talk - sharing images, doing social web browsing (everyone on a cell call sees the same page).

Speech recognition will then quickly become a standard feature of any web service needing text entry, such as Google.

The next cool evolution would be a light-weight, low power "display monocle".

Brett Bellmore

As I understand it, the audible warning when using a picture phone in Japan is due to their widespread use for taking voyuristic photos when they first came out. It's unrelated to copyright issues.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

The article implied it was copyright-related, certainly copyright-useful, but your explanation makes more sense. Either way, it's an example of your personal technology telling others what you're up to.

By the way, I own an audio recorder about the size of a C battery that will record for about 15 hours on an AAA battery, and has capacity for 150 hours if hooked to a larger battery. And that's not even its main function; it's an MP3 player. I also own a digital camera smaller than a credit card that does not make noise when you push the shutter. If I remember right, I got it as a giveaway.

Still, I'd bet that most people are more likely to use cell phones for covert picture-taking than cameras, because probably most covert picture-taking is an impulse. And everyone carries cell phones, whereas few carry cameras or palmtops. Who'da' thunk that telephony would be the killer app that would get everyone carrying computers?

Chris

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