Switzerland bans some GPS devices for speed camera warnings – Engadget

Switzerland bans some GPS devices for speed camera warnings – Engadget

Loyal reader Brian M. sends along this Engadget tidbit for the “Weird” “Swiss” tag. Nothing that happens in that bizarre country will ever surprise me. Still, I miss the place.

“On January 10th a law went into effect banning the use of a navigation device to warn of speed surveillance locations, and police now have the authority to stop drivers using their GPS units for such a purpose, confiscate and destroy the device and fine the driver — we hate to see what they do to people who read books and feel emotion. As far as we can tell, it’s not actually illegal to own such a device, just illegal to use it for such a nefarious purpose, but at the same time Swiss government has issued a list of “illegal” navigation systems for retailers to remove from their shelves, including devices from TomTom, Garmin, Mio, Navman, Medion, Route66, Packard Bell, Sony and ViaMichelin.”

Attention Gone Amuck? Time for a Wakeup Call!

Attention Gone Amuck? Time for a Wakeup Call!

Pete Blackshaw at Buzzmetrics in ClickZ — on the aftermath of the Boston Lite Brite Incident and the continuing destruction of the old advertising model. Taken in the context of Jaffe’s Life After the 30-Second Spot, I’d say the public is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore. On the other hand, the new Chevy “take off all your clothes” ad and the Dorito winner are two examples of winning “consumer” submitted ads that are actually worth watching. I don’t. I Tivo and skip. I am on the Do Not Call list and I toss all junk mail. I also can’t remember a banner ad worth clicking on.

So what to spend our money on?

“We need more parameters in advertising. We need clarity regarding what’s reasonable and what’s not. We need more disclosure. We need to keep the chatterbacking in check.

Most important, we need to trust our own guts as consumers. Admit it, you hate advertising intrusion. It drives you crazy. We rarely answer the phone at home, and we relish the thrill of zapping ads.

Once we acknowledge that reality, we’ll find the right ad model that works for consumers and business alike. In the meantime, we must explain ourselves to an increasingly critical court of public opinion.”

Lights out

About 9 o’clock last night the world went dark. Click. Total darkness except for the blue, tubercular glow of my notebook. The house went silent. No furnace, no television, no radio, no refrigerator — all the little motors and fans that fill a house with background noise went dead. A blackout — most likely some unfortunate soul drove into a utility pole — the kind that can last an hour or eight hours.
Outside, complete darkness. Street lights, neighborhood windows — all black.

So I threw some more logs in the woodstove, found my flashlight, lit a few candles and went outside to see how far down Main Street the darkness extended. The center of the village was lit up, so the power was out on the northern half of town.

Back inside, by the light of the candles and wood stove I mused about life in the same house 150 years ago, before electricity, when one room in the house was designated the “warming room” where people would dress and seek refuge from the winter. The rest of the place was basically unheated, so I imagine people slept in frigid rooms under a lot of blankets, used the chamber pots that are still in some of the rooms to spare themselves a trip to outhouse, and had a pretty miserable existence.

In the silence of the living room, huddled around the fire and wondering how long it would be before power was restored, I thought of opening a book and reading by candlelight, but the candles seemed too dim to make a difference.
So we sat, around the fire, in the silence, waiting for the lights to come back on. I began to think about Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which I finished two weeks ago and which still has a sad affect on me, with its post-apocalypse view of a dead world, a world without lights, a horrible tale of survival, and wondered what if the lights never came back?

Across the street, in the other half of the former Chatfield Compound, Cousin Pete had fired up his Honda Generator and was thumbing his nose at the darkness, filling the silence with internal combustion, and I wondered, what happens when the gas is gone? What do you do when it is 15 degrees and February and the gas runs out? Where will the warm room be?

Then, click, the house lit up again, filled with the sound of boilers and fans, radios and televisions, and we all said “Yay” and that was that.