Wednesday, February 21, 2007

iPods enter the danger zones

The iPod now is being used to help communication in the war zone that is Iraq, whilst at the same time some are declaring war on the use of iPods on the streets of New York.

U.S. soldiers in Iraq often face a significant language hurdle when trying to communicate with the local population. A software program called VCOM Mobile may provide some relief with a new iPod-ready program that pronounces Arabic phrases and animates appropriate hand gestures. The program comes preloaded with 20 military situations, ranging from vehicle search to patrol, meet and greet and medical triage. Users scroll through those missions and select the appropriate one for access to numerous phrases. The technology is intended as a language assistant, to not only act as an interpreter for troops on the ground but also as a trainer.

Whilst on the streets of New York if you are wearing and listening to an iPod you should still look when crossing the road. Most headphones used with iPods and other portable music players allow the listener to hear what's going on around them. That is unless the music is turned up too loud.

To most New Yorkers the smoking ban was right but an iPod ban? But New York state Senator Carl Kruger, a Democrat from Brooklyn, has proposed a US$100 fine for anyone caught crossing a major city's street on foot or bicycle while listening to an iPod, talking on a cell phone, playing a video game or sending a text message.
Like them or hate them they certainly are everywhere!