Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Date Pagers 271

Structured Audio writes: "Found this in Dvorak's Forbes column. These are hip in Japan, China, and Germany. See those links for details, but it's essentially a pager-like device that you program with details about who you'd like to date. When it detects you're near someone who also is wearing one of these, and your profiles match, it gets the two of you into a conversation. Wow!" These frighten me.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Date Pagers

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    One of the main things that constantly arise in my mind as a fairly big issue would be the issue of gay bashers. There was a story on CNN awhile ago covering these things as well but were setup for gay males to be able to find each other. Certainly if you have a device that plain out states your sexual orientation you might run into some problems with people who do not support your lifestyle.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Look out for the ones with - 1. banner ads, 2. "must be 21 to enter", or 3. "sign up for free trial now!" -----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK----- y**>$ ------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I can't believe how gross that is!

    There is no way in hell any of that filthy software is going to touch any machine I use! And I don't want my kids to know about it either!

    It's Windows software ... that is so sick!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    > Does this seem like a ridiculous idea to anyone but me?

    you mean like going out and stuff ...? that's kinda scary. I got a kernel to compile.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually here in Japan, there are these known places where people
    between 16-24 years old go; it's called NANPA. The girls are
    there, waiting for the guys to invite them to go to the
    karaoke, have a drink, etc. The idea is to know the person
    before talking, and then do the approach.
  • So much stuff here that is truly funny gets moderated down as a "Troll" instead of being moderated up as "Funny" by the multitude of stoic, humorless dorks that Slashdot seems to be comprised increasingly of. It's unfortunate that the moderation system is as broken as it is; Slashdot could've been such a good site. It's also unfortunate that, apparently, *so many* of you really *are* the (stereo?)typical spiritless weirdos that TV and movies make geeks out to be.

    A shame, really.

    I expect to be moderated down heavily for this.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • In particular, is up to date on Geek Code 2000 [geekcode.com]?
  • by jjohn ( 2991 )
    This story is nearly identical to the Daily Show's story about the English lad who made similiar devices to help with "discreet hookups".

    Just fabulous. I suppose this beats the old
    "I'm available for humping" stickers I normally wear...
  • I hadn't seen that, but I was reading News of the Weird this morning, and they mentioned that Gaydar thing. Check it out at
    http://www.newsoftheweird.com/archive/index.ht ml, and search for cliche.
  • Fucking Liar [x]
    In this case, I think
    Trying-to-be-fucking liar [X]
    is truer.
  • It's offtopic because someone had spare moderator points and they unsed them poorly I guess - I wish people would stop using moderation points just for the sake of using them.

    Moderation is there to promote good articles and demote spam and rubbish, not to promote your personal views on a subject and certainly not to be misused.......

    You don't have to use all your moderator points up each time you get some, I assume what happens is people see they have 'moderator status' get all fired up and rush off to moderate - probably using all 5 up in the first 30 messages in one discussion. This is what causes the weird moderation that occurrs in some discussions (IMHO) I would actually be interested to see some statistics of moderation and moderators as to how people dispense their points (mainly up, mainly down, all in one discussion, selectively.... etc)

    The above post was perfectly on topic as it was pertinent to the main idea in question. These date pagers have been around in Japan for years (at least 3) and have indeed been discussed before, whilst it's fine for things to be discussed again, when the story submission queue has over 300 pending ideas in it, is it not possible that there's a better story to be posted? I would assume the people with post priveledges would be sensible enough to check for repetition occassionally.


  • This Is Pretty/Very Old But Anyway...
    i have seen this stuff more than THREE years ago on Canal+ , a french channel...
    BeDevId 15453
    Download BeOS R5 Lite [be.com] free!
  • Call me clueless, I don't know...what's inherently frightening about this? It's not supplanting human social interaction; it's adding to it. Or so it seems to me, anyway. What kind of "frightening" scenarios (other than the funny one about multiple pagers going off) do y'all envision?

  • Knowing a few gay men, I bet some of the more adventurous ones would appreciate having the unassigned bit used for "gay searching for lay" -- it'd solve certain social problems. Nobody I've talked to *likes* hanging around looking to make that critical prolonged eye contact; it's uncomfortable and even dangerous, given the level of homophobia in the US.

  • by Vic ( 6867 )
    If you wear a Beuwolf cluster of these things, will you be a super-stud?
  • it would be *so* much fun to get a whole restaurant of single women chasing me!

    You mean...kind of like a Beatles movie?

  • Is anyone really walking by tons of new people every day at work, or don't they already know pretty much everyone there?

    Well, I mean it's one thing to know someone exists and to know that the two of you are compatible. Plus, if a girl I'm interested in had one of these and it went off, I'd be more than willing to talk to her. It would break the ice and gives you a reason to speak up.

    Or, you could just go hang out at the type of place where people that hold your same interests do... or even better, DO some of your interests that necessitate other people (such as a club or something), so that you'll already be around people with the same interests as you...You still have the problem of finding a reason to talk to that person; and even when you do find some reason to talk it will not reveal your interest. My take on this device is that it manages to make public the mutual attraction so that neither of you feel like you're trying to hide your true feelings. It would make it feel natural and easy.

  • I'm a'gonna bitchslap the first person that wonders out loud if they can port *nix to this device.

    You mean that wasn't the first thing that came to your mind? I don't know what's becoming of geeks these days...

  • I have seen those on sale here in Paris/France and quite frankly I wasn't impressed!

    You only have about 4-6 programmable variables such as "preferable music: 5 options", "prefered activity such as reading books and sports, 5 options", etc ...

    There is no way you can choose your own options to program into the device.

    Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?

  • Trouble with that approach is that if you're waiting for her to send you a signal (so you can instantly send a matching signal) and she's waiting for you to send her a signal (so she can instantly send a matching signal)...well, nobody ever sends anything, so she goes off with the jock in the corner who doesn't know how to build a hacked device (or worse, _you_ go off with the jock in the corner...).

    Obviously you wouldn't want to go off with her if she doesn't know how to build a hacked device herself.

    You need to transmit something...so transmit several randomized signals (faking the source address, if any, of course, each time, in order to force different responses in case there's some kind of anti-tampering protocol), then determine if _she_ has a hacked unit that responds to each one.

    Then you just walk over and say "Hi. Nice hacked pager job you have there. Can I buy you a drink?"

    Naturally, this protocol totally collapses if more than two people are doing it within radio-shot of each other...and it gets even worse if you have one person between two people who are out of range of each other.
  • If you like our Date Pager(tm) you are going to love the PLEASURE PAGER 6000! When the girl of your dreams walks by, the PLEASURE PAGER 6000 will start to violently VIBRATE and give you the MOST PLEASURE you have ever felt! Quantities are limited so order your PLEASURE PAGER 6000 today!
  • On CNN a coupla weeks ago- some guy had modified versions of this thing called 'Gaydar' and was selling them on the net in the US. They had the obligatory interviews with some gay people in SF, and the obligatory 'But...What if a gaybasher gets hold of one of these things? Won't someone please think of the Gaybashers!' ... But I think it's cute and I've been trying to get my company to sell them.

    I work in the BDSM toy industry, and I always thought it would be neat to have a palm pilot fetish matchmaker program. Two people meet, aim their palms at each other, and find out what perversions they have in common.


    Surfing the net and other cliches...
  • Is that what they mean with "Love Machine?"

  • <I>No, the first and finest hack of these will involve someone tumbling the preferences output. At any given nano-second you are the most desireable man in the world according to your pager. </I>

    Or get a display for it, so you can see the preferences of all the people around you. Could be interesting wheter you want them or not. And if someone truly interesting comes up, push a button to generate an instant match. I like to do selection myself, I wouldn't leave that to a device. Seems it can be useful for getting her attention though.

    The intended purpose of it is a failure though. Might become a fad, and then disappear. There are so much affecting the choice that isn't easily expressible in logic. Such as looks. And there are too much significant data for anybody to enter into it too.
  • <I>Yeah, but a gay-basher trying to find gays to bash would have to run around with a pager announcing that he is gay, too. Could lead to interesting situations if two of them meet...</I>

    Not really. The basher would probably silence his device, these types tend to be paranoid about being mistaken for gay. They will rely on hearing the other guy go beep.

    Wonder how many guys with ordinary pagers will be beaten up though.
  • <I>If you really want to send of somebodys alarm you shold have a pager that changes your personality every 1 second. Eventually you will end up with a personality that matches. that would be fun</I>

    No need to try all combinations. Her pager transmits her settings. Your hacked device receives, adjusts its settings to match hers, and transmit. <I>Instant</I> success, no trying.
  • hmmm.... i see advertizers with these... Soon, i'm driving down the highway, and as a approach each billboard, they turn from whatever random ad to ads for things that interest me... the latest sci-fi flick, the latest creative labs video card, etc. now that would be scary....
  • Understandable. I just lucked out meeting my wife. It's not always that easy for some of us. Time helps, though. I'm in my thirties and she's in her fourties. We'd have been way to shy to speak to each other in our twenties, at least about stuff that mattered. These could help some people. And as far as the art thing goes, I even went to art school for a year. Yeah, they're geeks too, but a different type. Didn't match up. Systems Analysts are cool, though.

  • After all, once you find the girl of your dreams you are going to have to talk to her...

  • So, in the spirit on the NCAA tournament, let's take bets on how long it will be until Katz writes an article about these pagers. I'm putting the line at 3 days..

    Bonus points if you can guess the number of words, and just like the Price is Right, closest without going over. :)

    Seriously though.. I don't think these will catch on. Those who wear these in the US will be ridiculed, ostracized, etc.. it's just not an acceptable means of meeting people here in the states, and I don't think it will be for some time. In a way I wish it was.. I'm a pretty shy type, and am not one to engage random people in conversation.. but I'd rather have to work on my personal skills and such rather than have a device do half my work for me.
  • There already is just the machine your talking abuot. Well, I think its a joke, but take a look. here [fufme.com]
  • I remember seeing something similar in a love boat episode (the new ones). No, I don't regularly watch it...but I saw that one for some reason. They something like if you just wanted a night of sex, you pager would beep if someone in the area has the same setting. Same thing if you were gay, or if you wanted a long lasting relationship. It was both an intersting concept and weird (they made a big deal out of the fay thing...)

  • I think you're missing the fact that "weak-minded pushover type" women would also have to program their pagers to respond to those characteristics.
    How would they identify "potential victims of rape and abduction"? Like some woman is going to program hers to say "I'm a victim, abuse me, I have no self-esteem. I don't like sex but if you force me I won't fight." Please. Give women some credit.
  • The idea behind the post, obviously, was that this particular troll would be ecstatic if he could find a mate who shared his excitement when he pours hot grits down his pants. This goal, combined with his obvious Natalie Portman fetish, is a rather common topic on slashdot.

    Unfortunately finding this troll a mate isn't the topic of this article.

    Wistfully, he/she posted "I wonder...if Natalie Portman likes pouring hot grits down her pants, too!" Now consider what would happen if this poster, equipped with one of the devices the story references, were to run into Miss Portman, and discovered that she did, indeed, like hot grits down her pants? I think, and I can imagine you all agree, that he would be both on-topic, and scored +5/interesting.

    The topic also isn't whether or not Miss Portman likes hot grits poured down her pants. Nor is it related to any specific behaviours enjoyed by users of the pager, it's about the use of the pager in general. Plus Natalie Portman doesn't live in Japan and doesn't have one of the pagers so the point is moot. If he/she had wondered if Sarah Michelle Gellar liked it up the ass or if Cameron Diaz spit or swallowed, would this also be on-topic? Do you see where I'm going with this? Any number of people could post questions whether or not some person or other liked this or that. And they'd all be off-topic and trolling. I do assume you were kidding though, but I just had to let it out.
  • These have been around for quite some time in Japan, although they were pretty feature-poor, from what I gather. Its interesting that these things are catching on outside of Japan, though. I'd think somthing like that would be pretty usefull.
  • [swooning]
    The MIT Flea...!

    Egad, this is gonna' be a good year. =)

    My .02

  • by Anonymous Coward
    > can we have machines have sex for us too?

    I assume this pager has a "no-beep" function to create a vibrating sensation...?

    Get your money's worth.
  • Not only is it the default, but it's hardwired in ROM. Therefore, if you find a female who has changed the setting, rest assured that she is either (1) a technologically able person to hack the device or (2) a person with the funds available to hire the services of such a person.

  • While I'd have to say that anything that stimulates conversation is good (and not necessarily just for potential dates...not every member of the opposite sex you meet is good for nothing but a potential date), it's based on the rather dubious assumption that the people you'd most like to meet are those with similar interests to your own. I personally find that many of my closest friends really don't have many of the same interests, which is what makes it more interesting - we each get exposed to new things we wouldn't normally do.

    Maybe if people were just more friendly and honest these wouldn't be necessary...

  • Look at it in horror. "Where did this come from? May I borrow your shoe?"

    And when she hands you the shoe (with a rather confused & concerned look), use the heel to smash it into tiny bits of silicon and plastic (ignoring the toxic waste that leaks from the fractured battery).

    Suavely return the shoe, and continue the conversation mid-sentence.

  • Last night, as cell phone after cell phone went off, it occurred to me: restaruants and the loke should have jammers . . .
  • I am a "white guy," and the coworker that "got it" was pretty much in the "white bread" category.

    The important mistaken impressions people tend to have are the stereotypes of child brides and trading cows for people, and wives thrown onto the funeral pyre.

    Some of which probably still occurs appallingly often...

  • This is a joke, right? I mean, this is really out there. No-one would pay $500 for this, would they? Then again, with all the IPOs, there's a lot of lonely geeks out there...

  • &gt; <i>I fail to see how asking for a filesystem check is a good pickup line.</i>

    you're new here, aren't you? :)
  • Skim.com [skim.com] have a system where you buy a peice of clothing, or similar, and it comes with a large unique six-digit serial number on it, and a password. You then have an e-mail account on their server. Anyone that spots you and notices your code can send you a message using the Skim system. I've been trying to get hold of anything that gives me an account on their servers, but it's very european and almost impossible to get down here in Perth, Australia...
  • How's that any different from just getting your email address silkscreened on a shirt or something, other than hardly anybody recognizing it?
    And how many people are going to have a date pager? Skim offers a quick 6-digit code with the rest of the address known to people that recognise it. How easy is it to write down "John.Doe49203@obscuremailserver.strangedomain.net "?
  • I can swear that I've seen those mentionned somewhere around 10 years ago...


  • Part of the fun IS the chase.

    Remember that slogan: "Half the fun is getting t her e " ?


  • Technology is developed an awful lot around letting people become more and more lazy;

    If you're not so lazy, why aren't you out there, banging the rocks together instead of banging your keyboard???


  • Another thing that could benefit if these things were more widespread is prostitution.

    His interests: chicks that like money.
    Her interests: guys with money that like chicks.

    It might reduce the number of tarts hanging around on the street and kerb-crawlers from harrassing innocent girls who are only waiting for their ride to come and pick them up.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • True, the *applications* of technology have generally been marketed at the couch potato. However, this isn't going to kill the social exercise that most of us enjoy.

    Look at the links (I know, a non-slashdot thing to do). Who do you think these things are being targeted at? Certainly not adults with some sort of social experience. They're just another attempt to create a teen craze.

    In environments where being in a clique is everything (i.e. school), these will be another weapon in the war of the snobs. All some particular cult (deliberate choice of word) has to do is program their gadgets so that only members will recognise each other - everyone else is left in the cold.

    The point is, it's all about excluding those who aren't the same - who cares about the rest.
  • We already have a lot of pre-electronic versions of these, and they work rather well: wedding rings, muscles, dress, hair style, jewelry, gadgets, books, etc. all tell you a lot about the other person. Those are already deliberate broadcasts of availability, interests, socio-economic status, etc. So, I wouldn't get all pushed out of shape about an electronic version: it doesn't do anything different from what people have already been doing for thousands of years.

    The idea, btw, is pretty old. The problem is mainly that you need a critical mass of this kind of device to make it work. If they get it down to a couple of dollars, make it credit-card sized, and can hand it out with a drink at a nightclub, perhaps they'll catch on more.

  • To program a device not to react to persons with exactly the same, but at least and at most a bit different, should not be impossible.

    Anyway, that would be a good way to make friends - "Oh, sorry, I don't think I will fall in love with you, but would you mind to play a good game of quake with me an my friends this sunday?"...
    --The knowledge that you are an idiot, is what distinguishes you from one.
  • Is that how it works? I've never actually hung out in a pub.

    The device itself is another tool, and I don't try to defend that it works or will work. Myself, I don't know how to meet enough women. It's not the interacting with them; it's the where do I spend my time in the first place to actually meet them, that's giving me problems.

    Do women go to pubs? I don't know that I could say that men go do this, and women go do that, and that there are things that both sexes participate in where they mingle.

  • They'll probably keep refining these things until they go cellular.
  • This product is phenomenally lame. One site suggests that this would be good for parties or large gatherings even though the device is activated when a match is within 100m. Obviously, in a crowded room with tons of people who all have one, it's going to be nearly impossible to figure out who your match is.

    But wait, there's more! If you can't find the person making you beep, then you've got their phone number and description at your fingertips.

    Well that's just peachy, seeing as how I'm a serial rapist. I think I'll carry around a backpack full of the damn things, each with different settings and proceed to stalk every female that passes within 100m of me who happens to match any one of my "date pagers."

    It doesn't get much better than this.
  • So, basically, if they carry a cell phone, and leave it on, they're "bad" no matter what, but if they carry one and turn it off, they're ok?


    This is why we have Caller ID! If the call is important enough (as indicated by the Caller ID), you explain why you need to take the call, and you take it. What if that call is your father calling to tell you your mother's just been in a car accident? If you shunt that call the voicemail, how's that make you look now? What if it's the office, and they're calling because all hell is breaking loose and they need you NOW to fix something? Ignore that one, and not only do you jeopardize your job, but you appear irresponsible to the person you were talking/flirting with.

  • I don't think this can be called news.

    The TV-series 'Love Boat' had a similar device at least 15 years ago. There were two variations: one for men and one for women. It had only 3 settings too: friendship, relationship or sex. Which is all you basically need.

  • Is anyone really walking by tons of new people every day at work, or don't they already know pretty much everyone there? Maybe you're just randomly walking around downtown...

    Movie theatres (hope it vibrates). Dance clubs. The subway. Waiting in line to fill out some form at the DMV. A concert in the park. Parties where you don't know everyone. Parties where you don't know anyone. At your dentists office. Grocery shopping. Raves. Bertucci's.

    Need I continue? =P

    My .02

  • "These are hip in Japan, China..."

    Well, apparently they work.
  • I agree. I wouldn't use it to find a date because, well, one i already have a girlfriend and two, i don't think i'd want to date a person' who's idea of romance is a pager.. but it'd defenitly be great as a way to find people to talk to and/or hang out with for a while.

    There are dozens of ways to pick up women out there, from walking up to random females and saying "Nice shoes, wanna fsck?" to video dating services, but there are hardly any ways to find a new friend. Just walking up to people randomly would weird them out (i know it'd weird Me out anyway) and while talking to people you meet online is great, it's hard to go catch a movie or hit the mall or whatever your choice of friend-activities is, with people who live halfway across the continent.

    And the car battery thing is genius.. i'd love some kinda thingy that i could use to inform people in the area that i could use a jump, need some phone change, or have locked my keys in my car and need a coathanger. Especially if your car dies out on the highway.. in a parking lot it's just inconvenient to ask people for help, but i've had cops cruise past me broke down on the side of the road without even slowing down.

    So yeah, this is a bit weird and stupid as a date-finding application, but could work pretty well as a way to just meet new people.
  • Are we really so busy with our lives that we can't spend a few minutes to get to know a person?

    The problem is figuring out who to get to know! When I walk by a woman, how would I know that she likes Loony Toons and HHTG, is interested in neopaganism and Buddhism, and could tolerate a guy with a LAN in his house? I could walk right by my perfect match and never know.

    While the devices described here are much too simple for this sort of matching, I can readily imagine more complex versions. I don't know that I'd ever buy one, but it doesn't seem like a bad idea.

  • Here's one to the Forbes online version of the story:

    http://www.forbes.com/columnists/dvorak/ [forbes.com]

    And here's a link to a Wired story on the same subject.

    http://www.wired.com/news/n ews/culture/story/12899.html [wired.com]

  • Nah.. I was thinking of clustering the things though...

  • These devices as they stand probably won't be anything but a temporary techno fad. But the reason this general computer intermediation will eventually work as a business is evidenced by the hysteria over "Who wants to marry a multi-millionaire?" There really are multi-millionaires out there "who still can't get a date" [barnesandnoble.com] as the subtitle says. Don't take this literally, of course, there are plenty of 35 year old single mothers out there who will be happy to put up with a mere multimillionaire geek if it will get them a father for their sons, but there is much truth in the myth.

    Mating dynamics in "The New Economy" are completely out of whack. As a more extreme example: A couple of years back I ran across a CEO of a hundred million dollar initial capitalization startup who would do things like bake and deliver Thanksgiving dinner to his wife, an executive at a fortune 500 firm. He was was hospitalized after she went into a tantrum and broke his ribs. No charges filed but at least he had the good sense to divorce her. I'm sure if people were honest with themselves, they could think of plenty of less extreme examples of similar market inefficiencies in places like Silicon Valley that are just begging to be exploited.

    The real initial successes for these devices will come when they are used to "short out" mating/money potentials between geek/money saturated places like Silicon Valley and Seattle, and concubine/fertility saturated places like Washington D.C., NYC and LA.

    The rapidly increasing population of high income geeks is making some sort of exploitation of these potentials inevitable, and computer intermediation for geeks is a natural for all sorts of reasons:

    Geeks think they understand the technical issues.

    Geeks actually do understand the technical issues.

    Geeks are motivated by the motivation of all motivators: Evolution.

    Geeks are motivated by the motivation of all civilizations: Money.

    Geeks are decreasingly willing to inhibit their thinking as their status increases.

    Geeks trust computers more than they trust people -- often with good reason.

    There are some other problems involving authentication and security to manage, as well as legal liability, but most of these problems are already being addressed as part of the general movement toward high-value transactions in electronic commerce.

  • ..until somone hacks one of these things.

    a bunch of hackers walking around with units that match all profiles sounds entertaining.


  • When I first heard of these devices being used in Japan, it was shortly after the Tamagotchi craze. It was just another extension to that concept; something to do while taking the commuter trains.

    People here have been saying it's incredibly lame, because they can't see why someone would run into new people all the time, or why they couldn't just say "Hi" to new people without prompting.

    While I can't say how reasonable the argument is, or how popular the pagers really were, it sounded more plausible when it considered the differences in society. The Japanese society is more closed-lipped about a lot of things. They prefer to be introduced than to offer a greeting on their own. And commuter trains put you near LOTS of new people daily without much incentive to talk to any of them.

    These have too many shortcomings to work effectively in any USA venue; women are very dis-incented to talking to any strange man when not around friends, men with these items would appear geek not chic (sorry, Katz), nobody commutes with strangers here, and nobody believes in computerized matchmaking.

    (Introductions are in order... =anagram> Nice it is, or, or, or redundant.)
  • Like some woman is going to program hers to say "I'm a victim, abuse me, I have no self-esteem. I don't like sex but if you force me I won't fight."

    Not exactly what I meant. Assuming that a woman enters all the info honestly, there could be a way of statistically determining what combination of her own personality traits and of what she looks for in a man constitutes an easily victimized woman. Much like the women who have a tendency to get into one bad, abusive relationship after another, even though they most likely don't enjoy getting beat up by some drunken redneck.


  • Let me guess what everyone would program this to:

    Sensitive, intelligent, good-looking M/F seeks sensitive, intelligent, good-looking F/M. Doesn't smoke or drink, no vices whatsoever. Enjoys the outdoors as well as quiet, intellectual moments.
  • That thing came out years ago. The site referenced [lovegety.org] hasn't been updated since 1998. Maybe somebody is trying to unload a supply of the things they bought cheap.
  • These devices are probably the single most cunning way devised to get users to truthfully reveal their personal details.

    These pagers could be a marketer's dream!

    Just have the users give out their mailing address when they register for the service, then mail back a card to confirm activation (and to confirm that they were honest when they gave their address!).

    Also, when they register, you, the hypothetical evil marketer, program their pager units based on the details they have mailed to you!

    They want to ensure the best matches, so they'll be compelled to answer your questionaire truthfully, and the only reason you wouldn't let them directly program their own units would be to make sure they send you several pages of detailed personal information.

    Then, as they merrily go about their now-slightly-less-lonely-than-before lives, you (still the hypothetical marketing scum) use their mailing address and their extremely detailed private information to send highly targeted ads to them in order to aggressively market even more of your products.

    Or, if you're even lazier and less scrupulous than that, then you can simply sell off their mailing addresses and their personal info to other companies, making a pretty penny in the process!

    So, what consumer privacy safeguards exist in Japan? Is there any way that the people who buy these pager-things can be sure that the company will respect their personal information?


  • Whee! Just what the world needs, intimacy without social interaction. This is great, can we have machines have sex for us too? For the enjoyment of it? Part of the fun IS the chase.
  • When I was first getting interested in computers and programming, I read a book called "The Complete Book of Computer Secrets", or some nonesense like that. This book was written in the eighties and it was refering to singles clubs that used these devices; the goal being to eliminate the need for small talk, I guess.
  • This gives the term social engineering a complete new meaning...
  • Technology is developed an awful lot around letting people become more and more lazy; because that's what people seem to want to be when they're not at work 9 to 5. They want tools to make their job easier, to make their life easier, to make everything easier. Microwavable dinners. Food that's prepared for you out of the box. Software that tries to anticipate what you're up to.

    I think it's pretty sad when we've hit the level that going out to a social outing, or heck, even a pub and approaching new people to make new friends gets on that list. I know a lot of people who are in wonderful relationships with nothing directly in common -- opposites attract -- how does this device work in those cases? It can't.

    I think the statement made about them being frightening is an understatement. It's a pretty bleak reflection on people in general, that somebody could make them and sell them in large quantities.

    Why get a life, when you can buy one! ;)
  • All I need now is an external transceiver for my palmpilot... mwhahahaaha... Have it send every possible signal. Then the whole building will be after me... And out of a large crowd of women running towards me, *one* of them have gotta want me. doesn't matter anyway, i'm great with my current situation, but it would be *so* much fun to get a whole restaurant of single women chasing me!
  • First, I feel that any post, in any thread, on any story, that is about me is quite on-topic.

    Secondly, do you know for a fact that I don't have one of these pagers? I, in fact, will be taking a trip to Japan in the near future and I have ordered one for my stay there. It's always nice to be able to meet fellow hot grits lovers without the hassle of asking every person you meet. This will simplify matters for me greatly.

    How can anyone not love hot grits?
    -- Natalie
  • by Riktov ( 632 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2000 @01:22AM (#1205001) Journal
    I had a friend get me a pair of Lovegetys from Japan when they came out two years ago, and I immediately thought they were an interesting idea.

    Here's the lowdown: First of all, they are _very_ simple. I don't know what kind of "programmability" is claimed in Dvorak's article, but the ones I have, the original Lovegetys, can only be set to one of three modes: OHANASHI (chat), KARAOKE (as in "let's go sing"), and TOMODACHI (friends). The TOMODACHI mode was originally called GET (as in "come get me" or "let's get in on"), but apparently that was too blatant so they changed it. The way it works is there are two models, the men's model (white) and lady's (pink, of course). If two Lovegetys of opposite sex come within five meters of each other regardless of mode, they beep and the small "FIND" lamp flashes. But if both are set to the same mode, the beeping is faster and the larger "GET" lamp flashes. That's all there is to it. Also, the lady's model's beep is a little higher-pitched. And you can turn off the beeper and just have the lamps flash.

    They are also very cheaply made. They cost 3000 yen (under $30US), consist of a very simple-looking circuit board with five LED indicators, and the body parts are injection-molded plastic. They have auto power-off, but it doesn't work at all -- both of mine will suck up the batteries (AAA x 2) if left in overnight.

    So how popular were they? Well, I understand they initially sold a lot of units in Japan, but the boom has definitely died down. The manufacturer's website, http://www.interland.co.jp (printed on the back of the units), no longer has any mention of the products; apparently the company has moved on and gone into the real estate business. When they first came out, their website supported a bulletin board, and most of the postings were, as might be expected, from guys complaining that they'd been trying them out but still weren't meeting any chicks. I remember one hilarious posting from a guy who said that after weeks of no luck, he finally got a bite while walking around town. He looked around excitedly, and found his to-be-sweetheart, with her flashing Lovegetty, was ... a grade-school kid. (I assume he decided not to pursue, but who knows?) There were also some geek info on wiring up a cell-phone type vibrator to them.

    It doesn't surprise me that the websites mentioned are in (besides Japan) China and Germany. There is no way these will ever become popular in the United States. The only place with even a remote chance is New York City, since it's the only place which has public pedestrian crowds like those in Tokyo and Hong Kong. In Japanese cities, everyone gets around by train, and the stations are the commercial hubs where thousands of people, from office workers to teenage girls, mill about and hang out, and that's the environment (also the overcrowded trains themselves) required. I suppose an American shopping mall might work, but then teenagers who hang out at malls probably don't need these to meet partners.

    One interesting application that I thought of, though, was for drug dealers. It's anonymous, discreet, and just like with mates, you can advertise what you have and what you're looking for. Of course the downside is the undercover cop who's got one.

    Eventually, cell-phones or similar devices will probably gain Lovegety-like functionality. And you can bet they'll be coming from Japan. Heck, they've had Tamagotchi-on-your-cell-phone ("Tamapitchi") for a few years already (and your Tamapitchi can call your friend's Tamapitchi!) Oh boy.
  • Sound like you've not spent much time in clubs (whether Tokyo or elsewhere). Quiet conversation is impossible. Hell, some places any conversation is impossible. Appearance and "style" rule--they often are the only possible way to choose what new people to meet. A more intelligent reason for going off to a corner and having a (probably shouted) conversation with someone is a Good Thing.

    "Intimacy without social interaction" is an oxymoron. Social interaction needs an initiator, especially in large groups in noisy environments. This device can provide that initiator. At that point, as always, you're on your own.

  • by vees ( 10844 ) <rob@vees.net> on Monday March 13, 2000 @09:39PM (#1205003) Homepage Journal

    We already have a wonderful radio-controlled device for eliminating potential mates: it's called a cell phone.

    If you're flirting with someone and their cell-phone goes off, you learn one of three things by their response.

    If they shunt the call into voicemail to continue their conversation with you, you know they are busy, but well balenced individuals who know how to seperate their leisure time.

    If they shunt the call, but have to check the caller-id first, they have a little more difficulty seperating leisure time, but at least they know where their social priorities are.

    If they take the call right there in front of you, you instantly know that they believe either they or their associate are more important than you are as a potential romantic interest. Make your getaway as fast as possible. Optionally suppliment their digital communication with a digit of your own if their snub was blatant enough.

    Of course, if they left their cell-phone at home or turn it off completely, you know you've got someone who's down-to-earth enough to realize that communication isn't just about talking to people who aren't in the room with you.


  • by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @10:04PM (#1205004) Homepage
    Uhm, being a German geek who likes to check out any new gizmo and who lives in Hamburg where there are a lot of technology-gadget shops, I'd like to mention that I have never seen these devices anywhere.

    Ok, so this is a gadget I *wouldn't* buy.*

    But nevertheless, the only time I ever saw these things mentioned anywhere was in a newspaper article about a singles party event where they issued these things to the visitors as a gimmick. But that's it.

    (* Yes I know, you don't believe me, anyway.)

    P.S.: Note the German web page. It is dated 1998.

  • by Master Switch ( 15115 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @09:22PM (#1205005) Homepage
    The feds could track the pager transmissions, and effectively study the social metrics of dating and mating with a whole new level of efficiency. Just imagine, getting a tip from the CIA, that the girl in apt 4b might just have what you are looking for. Nothing like Big Brother trying to find you a date on Friday night, hell they need to get you out of your apartment so they can search it. Might as well kill to birds with one stone :) Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't stay up this late, does weird things to the mind
  • by ForteBravo ( 15741 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @09:23PM (#1205006) Homepage

    There was a story at CNN about the gaydar [cnn.com] device. However, I think people had better watch out where they choose to wear it, what they program into it, and so on.

    Frankly, I wouldn't want to see one of these fall into the hands of drunken/violent homophobes with baseball bats.

  • The date pager is not meant to dictate your personal appearance kind of taste. It can't do anything about that. Your eyes and such are the only tools that can help; in that way, the date pager, then, can only help you find someone that's more than a skin-deep attraction.

    I don't think attraction based on appearance is slimy. I don't think it's correct, either. Attraction, I think, is undefineable; it's appearance, it's behavior, it's pheromones, it's fate. Whatever the reason, it happens. At least, I've not been limited to one type of woman ^^

    But I agree on your other posts, about differences. Variety is nice

    On the other hand, I don't think I can know myself enough to actually be able to program a date pager to choose more accurately than my own intuition...

  • by quux26 ( 27287 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @10:31PM (#1205008) Homepage
    I'm a'gonna bitchslap the first person that wonders out loud if they can port *nix to this device. A swift kick goes to the one who calls for a boycott if it's not open sourced.

    My .02
  • by spRed ( 28066 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @10:34PM (#1205009)
    No, the first and finest hack of these will involve someone tumbling the preferences output. At any given nano-second you are the most desireable man in the world according to your pager.

    All things to all people? Technology doesn't lie!

    -john smallberries
  • by spiralx ( 97066 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2000 @02:28AM (#1205010)

    I'm sorry, but you seem to have lost yours. Yes this particular thread doesn't typify Slashdot's "mission" but over the years hot grits have become part of what /. is about. Like any good thing there are long-running jokes and themes which provide continuity and a sense of community.

    And obviously it was a joke. We are allowed to make jokes, and we even get moderated up for them - that's why one of the moderation options is the Funny tag. Without humour this site would be sterile and boring, and a much worse place to visit.

  • by Magic Snail ( 123426 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @09:20PM (#1205011)

    Really, what are the chances of this actually working? Is anyone really walking by tons of new people every day at work, or don't they already know pretty much everyone there? Maybe you're just randomly walking around downtown... Then you have to assume that when you actually meet someone, you'll both actually have time to stop to talk instead of getting to wherever you happen to be gonig.

    Or, you could just go hang out at the type of place where people that hold your same interests do... or even better, DO some of your interests that necessitate other people (such as a club or something), so that you'll already be around people with the same interests as you...

    Does this seem like a ridiculous idea to anyone but me?

    Ryan Kirk
    Topflight Productions
  • by evil_one ( 142582 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @09:48PM (#1205012) Homepage
    I wonder if they could be D.O.S.'d... I mean, you walk in to a room with a hand-held c.b. radio that is set to the "pager" frequency, and hold down the button. Many of them are up to 4 watts, so you'd cover the whole range with white noise.

    On another note, imagine the privacy implications, you walk in with a palm - equipped with a radio card, and reprogram it to pick up the signals from this thing... you could spoof details, and get and _log_ information on anyone you liked...
  • by Portman, Natalie ( 162432 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @09:59PM (#1205013) Homepage
    Thank you valient sir for the defense of such a great admirer of mine. Because of your gracious gesture i will gladly poor hot grits down your pants anytime you wish. If you aren't into hot grits, don't fret, for my sole purpose in life is pleasing my fans, and I would be willing to please you in anyway you wished.

    With much love, Natalie
  • A good friend is on his way over to India to, very probably, get engaged.

    The process, at least in this case, appears rather less bizarre than everyone seems to assume is the case for "arranged" marriages.

    To the point, a year ago, there was an exchange of "resumes" that bore a striking resemblance to that which you might use to find an employer. (There's also a story about a "brother's boss's niece, but that's another story...)

    In thinking about it, this really isn't particularly bizarre at all.

    If all you're after is a sex partner for the evening, then probably an exchange of "medical resumes" would be in order, verifying that nobody's going to get an extra STD.

    On the other hand, if a more "permanent" relationship is intended, an exchange of "personal resumes" and references can cut through a lot of the posturing and other dishonesty that happens as we pretend to be more attractive than we really are.

    I mentioned the process to one of my married coworkers, and he at first thought arranged marriage to be a very peculiar thing, but then thought it might have been useful to have "character references."

    Long and short is that these "tools" aren't necessarily any worse predictors of success than the "dating scene" that, with the divorce rates these days, are obviously not terribly good predictors of "relational success."

  • Ok I admit this thing sounds potentially lame, I'd heard about them a year ago or so. However underneath the flashy, wireless technology this is just _another_ way to meet people. If your goal it meet people - it gives you something in common with someone or at least a conversation starter, how many date-oriented conversations started with "Hey, nice cell phone". It's not a technology that's going to make people hide in dark rooms typing on computers waiting for someone they match with to walk by. It's a technology you use to start conversations and interact with real people instead of just ignoring everyone.

    It's like going to a dance club or bar, but being in contact with the 'dating scene' all day instead of only a few hours in an ear-thumping club or local bar pounding drinks. It's a chance to meet someone in a more 'normal' environment.

    Ok think about it people. If you want to gay bash or stalk women or whatever, you don't need one of these gadgets to tell who you want to hurt. There are (unfortunately) lots of hate crimes now, without such gadgets. There will most likely be hate crimes with such gadgets. I don't think it's the technology that is the issue in that debate.
  • by gleam ( 19528 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @10:46PM (#1205016) Homepage
    On slashdot, it's quite obvious that the standard dictionary doesn't apply. Try the New Hackers' Dictionary (The jargon file, eh?):

    troll [tuxedo.org] v.,n.

    2. An individual who chronically trolls in sense 1; regularly posts specious arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup,
    discussion list, or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion. Trolls are recognizable by the fact that the have no real
    interest in learning about the topic at hand - they simply want to utter flame bait. Like the ugly creatures they are named after, they exhibit no
    redeeming characteristics, and as such, they are recognized as a lower form of life on the net, as in, "Oh, ignore him, he's just a troll."

    Ya just gotta use the right tool for the job.


  • by Haven ( 34895 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @09:29PM (#1205017) Homepage Journal
    Think about it, you are walking down the street.. your "date pager" goes off... you look around for the other person, only to find that he/she is not exactly what you are looking for in a person "physically" speaking. I tend to go for more of a dark haired 5 feet 8 inches type of woman.

    What will happen when you have to say, "We both like Quake, Slashdot, Linux, and GCC. But I'm still not going to date you".

    I know what you people are going to say, "It's not the looks that matters, but the personality". You are right, but we as humans are shallow slime. I would be ther first person to admit that I speak to members of the opposite sex b/c they are good looking. I met my current girlfriend that way. It just kind of worked out that we had a lot in common.

    Its also nice to have differences too. I would get really bored waking up every morning to coffee and a conversation of the finer points of TCP/IP.

    My girlfriend likes to go outside. I like to play on my computer. I have introduced her to the fine art of deathmatching, and she introduced me to a bright shining star that hangs above my house for 10 hours a day (the sun).

    All I'm saying is that you will find better relationships with people that don't have the exact same opinions that you do.

    The only good thing that I can see out if this is finding more Quake III Arena buddies.

  • by SuperG ( 83071 ) <garth_e.hotmail@com> on Monday March 13, 2000 @09:24PM (#1205018)
    I can see it now....

    Male Lovegety profile:

    Good sense of humour [x]
    Caring [x]
    Obsessive [ ]
    Large Income [x]
    Ex-wife [ ]
    Children [ ]
    Romantic [x]
    Large penis [x]

  • by Paul Crowley ( 837 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2000 @01:06AM (#1205019) Homepage Journal
    I wouldn't get one of these devices myself, but hey! Supposing two violent homophobes with baseball bats get the same idea...
  • by gleam ( 19528 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @09:52PM (#1205020) Homepage
    I wonder...
    by Anonymous Coward on Tue March 14, 12:13 AM CST (#5)
    ...if Natalie Portman likes pouring hot grits down her pants, too!

    It appears some of the moderators didn't understand this post. It was both on-topic and not a troll. Allow me a moment to explain.

    The idea behind the post, obviously, was that this particular troll would be ecstatic if he could find a mate who shared his excitement when he pours hot grits down his pants. This goal, combined with his obvious Natalie Portman fetish, is a rather common topic on slashdot.

    Now to the on-topic part. This "troll", if you prefer to call them that (I don't, it doesn't match the proper definition of "troll"), looked at this particular article, and, suddenly, saw a possibility for all his dreams to come true at once!

    Wistfully, he/she posted "I wonder...if Natalie Portman likes pouring hot grits down her pants, too!" Now consider what would happen if this poster, equipped with one of the devices the story references, were to run into Miss Portman, and discovered that she did, indeed, like hot grits down her pants? I think, and I can imagine you all agree, that he would be both on-topic, and scored +5/interesting.

    But, it appears, the moderation system has failed yet again, and an obviously on-topic post has been moderated down as a "Troll". I metamoderate frequently, and believe me, "Troll" is not a valid definition in most cases. Indeed, I'm under the opinion that "Troll" should be, often, a bonus. True trolls catch those of us who post before thinking in a tight spot.

    My guess is that some of these moderators have been caught by true trolls, and now associate "Troll" with any post they don't like. If the above post were to be moderated down, it should obviously be moderated down for "Overrated" since Offtopic and "Troll" don't apply here.

    Moderators, use a dictionary.

  • by Coda ( 22101 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @10:50PM (#1205021) Homepage
    ...to totally overlook the possibilities:

    You walk into a pub and spot a total cutie. You bring out your hacked DatePager, point it at hers/his, and WHOAH... all of a sudden her/his DatePager goes off, identifying your sexy self as being a perfect match.

    Dishonest, yes, but all's fair in love and war.

  • by Deluge ( 94014 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @09:16PM (#1205022)
    Call me a cynic but all I can see is really weird guys programming their pagers with characteristics that'd most appeal to really weak-minded pushover type women. They can be walking down the street identifying potential victims of rape and abduction. And all it would take is a couple of psych classes.

    Scary indeed.

    And even aside from these nefarious uses, would you ever trust a person to program those things *honestly*? What woman's going to program hers with "nagging b*tch who only wants men for their money"


  • by susano_otter ( 123650 ) on Monday March 13, 2000 @10:02PM (#1205023) Homepage

    The real thing here is to be able to list not just optimal "dating configurations" but configs for other things as well:

    2-Hour layover? No worries! You'll be automatically notified if any Linux-minded persons enter your area!

    Comdex sucks rocks this year? Link up with everyone else who agrees with you, and go get tanked somewhere fun!

    Car battery died? Let everyone in the parking lot know that you could use a jump, without having to raise your voice!

    Okay, I probably made the whole thing look even stupider, but there's a lot of networking potential here. Society (and population density in some areas) gets in the way of getting to know our neighbors--with the right application this system could introduce us to the true "neighbors" we might never otherwise become aware of.

    But that's just my own spur-of-the-moment, ill-considered .02gp

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.