Why yes, yes they are, at least according to Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Ben Edelman. The allegation stems from Sears' marketing software download, which Edelman claims doesn't properly notify users what they're getting into. "The software is not something you'd want on your computer[...]it tracks every site you go to, every search you make, every product you buy, and every product you look at but don't buy." Sears currently has no plans to change their disclosure policies.
Video Games and Chronic Pain
Chronic pain sufferers usually turn to prescription drugs to alleviate their ails, but could firing up Crysis or Bioshock be just as effective? That's the word from north of the border, as Canadian based research is finding that people who suffer serious pain have better luck finding relief in virtual reality environments than they do by taking drug treatments. As if free health care wasn't enticing enough, now patients are being told to play video games? Righteous.
Sex Not Sought Online in China
Or at least, 'sex' isn't among the top 10 Google search queries in China. Instead, the most searched for term was QQ, a Chinese instant messaging service, followed by a pair of banks and the word 'stock' at number four. China keeps a tight reign on online content and has declared war on internet pornography, which could explain why the popular search term wasn't among the top 10. Globally, 'What is love' and 'how to kiss' earned top spots.
Winter Robot Digests Snow
Yuki-taro, a Japanese robot, has the ability to quickly clear snowy roads, but this isn't your typical plow. Instead of pushing snow aside, this 5- foot long Pikachu-plow hybrid devours snow in what looks like a mouth, compresses it, and then stacks two-foot-long bricks of ice on its rear bed. That's right; it literally poops snow, quite possibly making this one of the 'coolest' robots ever.
Wikipedia Targets Google
Google dominates the lucrative online search landscape, and every also-ran wants a bigger slice of the pie. Soon joining the search engine ranks will be Wikipedia with their Wikiasari project. Wikiasari's engine will be built on the Nutch and Lucene open source projects, and the top three search results for any query will be Wikipedia pages, followed by results Wikiasari deems 'reputable' based on external reference links from Wikipedia pages. Look for a public launch next week.
Flash Drive Automates Online Backup
Looking to gain an edge in the saturated Flash thumb drive market, SanDisk's new Cruzer Titanium Plus adds a twist to USB storage. Whenever a user saves data do the USB key, it then uploads the files and stores them on Amazon.com's computers. The service, offered by startup BeInSync, comes with a six month subscription for four gigabytes, and then runs $29.99/year thereafter.