In the future, all your government mail — jury duty slips, election notices, those Social Security earnings statements — may not come in the mail at all. In Australia, federal politicians are debating ditching snail mail entirely, giving all citizens a state-sponsored inbox where they would receive all government communications.
By the year 2020, when we’re all using ubiquitous organic touchscreens, augmented reality social networks, and ultra-powerful computers to communicate, will we still be using the mail? A group of technology evangelists and postal advocates will gather this summer to talk about that, and what the U.S. Postal Service can do to make sure the answer is yes.
In an effort to increase efficiency, cut carbon emissions, and reduce costs, Finland has begun a pilot program wherein snail-mail letters are converted into PDFs and made viewable online by their addressees, in advance or in lieu of physical delivery. So far, the effort is volunteer-only, but it has already sparked concerns in Finland about privacy and government overreach.
Over the last two weeks, China and the US have engaged in a round of diplomatic sparring over attacks against Google. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanded that China investigate the attacks, while China accused the US of having a hacking double standard, and of using the Internet to foment revolution in Iran. In the ensuing back and forth, Google pulled its operations out of China, and criticized the Chinese government for censoring search results.
What makes us happy? There's no simple answer (sorry), though this 70-year-long longitudinal study on well-being offers some fascinating insight. Humility helps, so do our reactions to life's woes, and "the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people."
Also in today's links: customer-unfriendly shopping innovations, it pays to be tall, and more.
A new book archives the best posts from the FutureMe Web project— a chronicle of anonymous hopes and dreams
By Megan Miller
Posted 02.07.2008 at 12:54 pm 0 Comments
Everyone at some point wishes she could talk with her "future self" and have some insight into how it's all going to turn out. Unfortunately—unless you count Miss Cleo's tele-clairvoyent services—technology hasn't given us a portal to the future yet. But it has improved upon the time capsule.
A leading spammer gets busted for fraudulent subject lines
By Gregory Mone
Posted 02.04.2008 at 1:13 pm 3 Comments
The Federal Communications Commission busted an online advertiser that used misleading subject lines in its spam, leading consumers to believe they were eligible for free products. The company, Member Source Media, settled with the FCC for $200,000 and other penalties. But its kind of a wonder that they were successful at all.
Got a four- or five-year-old PC laptop you´ve dismissed as useless? Bring it back to life with these tips, then use it as a spare Web and e-mail station in the kitchen or kids´ room
By Kirk Steers
Posted 03.15.2006 at 3:00 am 3 Comments
PC RevivalCost: $0-$260 Easy | | | | | Hard
Start by checking the health of your hardware with a free diagnostic program such as #1-Tufftest (tufftest.com).
If the motherboard or screen is shot, forget it. Replacing either one is more expensive and more hassle than buying a new system.
Lost your user manual? Try the manufacturer´s Web site.
Check eBay or craigslist.org for used replacement parts.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.