Chameleon Card Changes Stripes

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By this time next year, for $200, this smart card could replace virtually your entire wallet. —Wired. After you read all your existing cards into its PDA-like ‘Pocket Vault’ holder, it will show an icon on its touch screen representing each of your credit cards, bank cards and (if you use them; I don’t) customer loyalty cards. You tap the one you want to use and it clones the account data into the ‘Chameleon Card’, which you can swipe as you would the original card. The Pocket Vault is biometrically protected by scanning your fingerprint and the Chameleon Card becomes inoperable within ten minutes, so the system cannot be used by anyone else if lost or stolen. It has RFID chip capability built in to replace Exxon-Mobil Speedpass and similar applications as well. Chameleon is reportedly within weeks of getting major credit companies and financial institutions to sign on with them.

Do I sound like I am waxing enthusiastic over this concept? I would probably be interested in one of these things (I’m not sure the $200 price point appeals to me, though), but I have two misgivings — I cannot carry it in my back pocket like my wallet, and it will add another gizmo to my current load of PDA, cellphone, mp3 player and digital camera. Although in general I do not approve of convergent, combination devices, since in general they don’t (yet) do the job as well as the independent devices they replace, I can easily envision this system incorporated into my everyday PDA instead. PalmOne ought to license the technology from them, IMHO…

North Korea warms to Kerry presidency bid

“North Korea’s state-controlled media are well known for reverential reporting about Kim Jong-il, the country’s dictatorial leader.

But the Dear Leader is not the only one getting deferential treatment from the communist state’s propaganda machine: John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic candidate, is also getting good play in Pyongyang.

In the past few weeks, speeches by the Massachusetts senator have been broadcast on Radio Pyongyang and reported in glowing terms by the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), the official mouthpiece of Mr Kim’s communist regime.” —Financial Times

Of course, the rabid right is going to have a field day with this story, propagandizing about how Kerry is dangerous to national security, a Commie sympathizer, etc. Of course, what it really indicates is the contemptible utter failure of diplomacy under Bush. After the collapse of the latest round of multilateral talks about the North Korean nuclear issue, it became clear that Pyongyang is waiting for the possibility that Bush will be defeated and they will be able to deal with someone more reasonable than his demonizing hawks.