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Privacy

Submission + - Getting Fingerprinted at the Universal Theme Park

An anonymous reader writes: On a trip to the Universal theme park I was unpleasantly surprised to find lines of park-goers being submitted to biometric fingerprinting. If a customer refused to place their finger on the fingerprint reader they were requested to show identification or they would be refused entrance to the park (I know because I was refused entrance). It would appear that being in physical possession of a ticket or providing proof of having purchased the ticket, even with a credit card, was insufficient. The worker at the turnstile, while not rude, was quite adamant about keeping valid ticket holders out of the park. I was told by customer service that the reason for the biometrics was to insure that if a ticket was lost then another person could not use it.

A few questions come to mind:
  • Is the unauthorized use of lost tickets worth the money spent on biometric equipment?
  • How long has Universal been doing this (I have not been to a theme park in many years)?
  • How many other theme parks do this?
  • Why don't ticketholders mind being fingerprinted?
Universal customer service also mentioned that the biometric data is only used for matching ticketholders to their tickets. Given the value of the information that could be gleaned by tracking individuals entering and leaving the parks, that is highly unlikely, but not confirmed. Getting children desensitized to giving away biometric data would also seem to reap longer term big-brother type benefits.
AMD

Submission + - Triple-core AMD chips next year

owlman17 writes: AMD will be releasing triple-core chips next year, carrying the same Phenom brand name. Their real reason?

The three-core Phenom chip is basically the same as the quad-core one, it just has one less working core, Brewer confirmed. One disadvantage of the monolithic quad-core design that AMD chose for its quad-core chips is that just one manufacturing defect on part of the chip can knock out an entire quad-core processor. But if you invent a category for three-core chips, suddenly you can make money off those chips that would otherwise have to be discarded because of a defect that disabled one core.
Reminds me of the 486SX more than a decade ago. Otherwise normal 486DX chips, with their defective math co-processor disabled.
Handhelds

Submission + - The ultimate handheld device (blogspot.com)

jiggs writes: "Whats your idea about the ultimate handheld/mobile device which can perform everything possible. Here is my view of the perfect and complete mobile or handheld device. Do you believe such a device is possible or some company will soon bring out such a device?"
Television

The Trouble With TiVo 369

BobCratchit writes "Multichannel News has an interesting take on TiVo: The DVR company has incredible mindshare but is totally dependent on cable providers to survive. Cable does not have many good reasons to let TiVo thrive. As a result, TiVo is destined to fade away unless it can carve out a niche as the cool kids' DVR (a la Macintosh) with products like the $299 HD DVR it just announced. From the article: 'TiVo has long been a darling of consumer-tech reviewers -- check out, for example, these happy hosannas from BusinessWeek, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. These guys are constantly befuddled that TiVo hasn't been more successful. Yes, TiVos make cute little popping noises when you click the remote. And they definitely provide cool features, like suggesting shows you might be interested in. But the cognoscenti enamored with TiVo's whizziness ignore a certain reality. It's easier to get a DVR from your cable company. And most people prefer to rent, not own, a set-top.'"
Upgrades

Submission + - Sixpack from sitting at the computer (twibright.com)

Clock writes: "The secret dream of all computer geeks has come true. Surfing the Internet can now have similar positive effect on bodily attractivity as surfing Waikiki or Malibu. Twibright Labs have developed Exciter, a cheap open source DIY exercise bike that is to be used while sitting at a computer. Running as a three-phase self-excited induction machine, it generates electricity to power the computer, the LCD screen or at least a desk lamp. This arrangement both saves time and provides additional motivation and fun in exercise. And if you tweak the excitation capacitors, you can draw over 500 volts!"

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fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.

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