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Security Businesses Wireless Networking Apple Hardware

Wozniak Unveils WozNet 490

Posted by simoniker
from the track-your-spare-tags-with-tags dept.
dki writes "Steve Wozniak's WozNet is covered in an article at the New York Times today. His company Wheels of Zeus, mentioned previously on Slashdot last year, plans to create wireless networks that use GPS to track clusters of electronic tags within a 1- or 2-mile radius of a base station. The tags "will be able to generate alerts, notifying the owner by phone or e-mail message when a child arrives at school, a dog leaves the yard or a car leaves the parking lot.""
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Wozniak Unveils WozNet

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  • by Joe Decker (3806) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:28PM (#6492394) Homepage
    The takes are expected to cost $25 to produce, that doesn't mean they'll be sold for $25, probably more like $50. However, I agree with you that in time the price will drop, it always does.
  • Macworld UK says "WozNet is a lost cause [macworld.co.uk]"

    Macworld has a pretty decent article [macworld.com]

    Cryptonomican bemoans the lack of information about security [cryptonomicon.net]

    Google has the goods [google.com]

    And there's even an article on Slashdot [slashdot.org] about it...

    Last time I looked at it it was essentially a watch with both GPS and GSM (phone) built in so one could get the location of the watch at any time through their service. Sounds like a potentail DOS atack, though, if you obtain phone numbers or cell phone connection information (jamming signals, jamming GPS, etc)

    Plus, since all the power is being used by the phone and GPS (chances are good the actual GPS processing is done elsewhere, like in the current E991 GPS services offered by phones) then it's unlikely that much encryption is being done at all.

    -Adam
  • by garcia (6573) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:30PM (#6492424) Homepage
    my ETrex Vista GPS unit will track things down to 3 ft or so. It typically does not work inside (in my apt. anyway) and even if it does, it's at like 40 to 60 ft.

    GPS tracking for your keys wouldn't be terribly useful at that range.
  • Re:Not a bad thing (Score:5, Informative)

    by kasparov (105041) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:37PM (#6492523)
    Over-protective parents can lead to smarter kids. I should know, I had to learn to be *extra* sneaky with my parents. ;-)

    Kids will always find ways to outsmart their parents. It's called progress!

  • Is this so bad? (Score:4, Informative)

    by El (94934) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:57PM (#6492753)
    As the proud parent of a 2.5 year old who has just learned how to steal her mom's keys and unlock the deadbolt on the front door so she can wonder off through the neighborhood without permission, I'd have to say that tracking devices are not such a bad idea. Especially since that deadbolt was installed after her slipping out twice, once to be found several blocks away, and once after playing in the neighbor's water feature in 45 degree weather. There are times when you REALLY want to know exactly where your kid is!
  • by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:18PM (#6492990) Journal

    RFID tags are applied by a retailer or manufacturer. The consumer has no choice in the matter, and may not be able to remove them.

    Once the consumer has purchased the product they can do whatever they want with them.

    The WOZ tags, on the other hand, will presumably be bought by individuals who will be able to decide for themselves which items to track, and which to simply ignore.

    I don't see why you presume that.

  • by Pirogoeth (662083) <mailbox@@@ikrug...com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:30PM (#6493120) Homepage Journal

    So what's stopping me from putting one on your car and knowing everywhere you go?

    Or even worse, something like this [cbsnews.com] which happened in my hometown.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:35PM (#6493190)
    RFID tags are simply a passive device that anyone can query where and what they are (though of course the devices themselves know nothing about location, that would have to be inferred by the sensors or other processing).

    From the reading, wOz chips are intelligent devices that know where they are (remember they are built with a cheap GPS core) - and will only tell selected base stations. Thus only YOU know where or what something is, and have the option to let others know as well (as when linking base stations, there probably is some mechanism to pass around keys to let other base stations ask devices where they are). Even then only YOU know WHAT something is - because you are the one putting the tags on.

    It's a difference of dumb and pervasive vs. smart and targeted.
  • Clarification (Score:3, Informative)

    by El (94934) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:34PM (#6493788)
    1) The double locking deadbolt was installed immediately after the first incident. The second occured when my wife failed to lock it ("You mean, it doesn't lock itself when you close the door?")
    2) Both incidents occured while I was at work. (And I assure you, you don't know what helpless frustration is until you get a call from your wife telling you in panic mode that the baby is missing -- and you're an hour away from home!)
    3) All those people saying "bad parenting" have obviously never been responsible for watching small children 24/7. They're also obviously not familiar with my child! She is extremely agile and athletic, and could cover a couple blocks in less than a minute (I've already taken her out running for about 2 miles. Her run == my fast walk). My wife works nights as a nurse, and has to shower, go to the bathroom, clean house, cook, and do laundry all while watching the baby. I myself tend to not do anything else while watching her, so she gets into far less trouble on my watch. I have also taken pains to make introduce her to everyone in the neighborhood and make sure they know where she lives, so that they can return her.
    4) Humans as a species have survived for millions of years despite not making a full-time job out of watching the kids -- perhaps most kids are better at taking care of themselves than we give them credit for.
  • by mickwd (196449) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:39PM (#6493830)
    "You mean like cracking open a phone book and looking under "Schools?" Or did you mean picking up a local tourism brochure and flipping to the "Playgrounds" section? Perhaps even something as evil and insidious as looking up daycare centers on the Internet using YellowPages.com?"

    That's completely different from what I was getting at, and you know it.

    You split my first paragraph, whose sentences are related, so you can criticise the first sentence, just to make a smart comment about it being easy to find large groups of children in controlled, supervised groups. My second sentence said "maybe he can find a child on their own, somewhere quiet". I'm obviously not talking about the ease of finding children in places like schools.

    ""Hey, there's one by itself (boy or girl?) in the trees near Seattle. If I catch the 7:00 commuter flight out of San Diego and make the connection in Chicago, I can be there by ... " Sure."

    "Hey, there's one by itself (boy or girl, does it really matter to this sort of sicko ?) down by the river, just down the road from here". Good job I haven't had to hang around there for the past few weeks - I'm sure many people would have noticed me hanging around, looking suspicious - maybe some of them would have been able to describe what I look like.

    Those "fears" are nothing more than irrational, uneducated, paranoid FUD. The Internet is a far safer place to exercise your credit card than virtually all physical retail outlets."

    You know that, I know that. But millions of people out there don't, which is why those fears exist.

  • by BreadMan (178060) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:56PM (#6493969)
    Get one of of those cheap latches, mount it 12 inches from the TOP of the door. The kids can't figure out how to make stable tower high enough to reach the latch. Problem solved for about $1.50.

    I have three small children^W escape artists and this stops them cold.

    And no posts about how terrible a parent this person is, kids wait until you're in the bathroom to pull these stunts off.

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