Future Shock: Voice Recognition Identification Technology

Backgrounder: Kay Hughes, flight attendant for today's non-stop coast-to-coast flight is busy checking her catering order and prepping the cabin. Bob Harmon is the captain and Jeff Mortowski is his first officer. Both are located in the cockpit going over the pre-flight checklist. The pax are from various companies in the New York area or individuals on personal business who have bought seats on his flight.

The Story: Kay woke up with a start as the alarm on her clock radio blared. Reaching across her pillow, she noticed the time, 5:15, and hammered the snooze button in the hopes of grabbing another five minutes of sleep. Tired as she was, her mind began to race as she considered the day ahead. In less than four hours she would be enroute to LA with an aircraft full of passengers. Slowly the thought of additional sleep became less important as she considered all that she had to do before leaving Teterboro. Quietly she slipped on her robe and slippers, poured herself a cup of coffee, and slinked into the shower.

As Kay walked across the tarmac, she saw the fuel truck pulling up to her aircraft and the cater at the gate waiting for a security clearance. It was 6:48 and already she could feel the heat lifting off of the pavement. Another scorcher she thought; at least LA will be cooler.

Kay greeted Jeff who was busy extending the fuel delivery; she then climbed onboard the GV and brave a similar greeting to Bob who was occupied with updating paperwork. Bob finished what he was doing and briefed Kay with the day's schedule. Minutes later Kay turned to assist the approaching caterer with the day's order. Within the hour, the first of the passengers began to arrive. Each sat in the lobby of the FBO waiting to be boarded. At precisely 8:00 am, Kay left the aircraft and walked down the ramp to the FBO. She whispered to the waiting security agent who signaled to the FBO customer service representative to make the boarding announcement. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Jet Aviation Flight # 001 departing TEB for LAX is now boarding. flight. "

Kay turned and left the FBO and walked back to the aircraft. Both pilots were onboard completing their preflight preparations. Kay stand at the bottom of the steps leading up to the aircraft waiting for the security agent to bring the passengers to the plane. She knew that with fourteen passengers the security clearance would take a bit longer than normal.

Kay considered waiting inside the cabin to keep cool, but knew that it was important that she greeted the passengers at the base of the steps in case one of them needed assistance climbing up. "" It must already be 85 degrees out here, "she thought as she watched the heat vapors rise off the pavement.

After what seemed like an inordinate delay – Kay's hair was slowly losing style in the heat – Bob poked his head out of the cockpit and said, "Sorry for the delay, but we used another one." Startled, Kay stammered, "You mean one of the passengers failed security clearance?" Bob replied, "Not only that but he is on the FBI's wanted list of suspected terrorists." The remaining passengers checked out okay, but we'll be delayed until the agents finish interviewing them to see if they know the guy. " Despite the heat, Kay shivered as she thought of the potential chain of events a terrorist onboard the aircraft might unleash.

Her fears graduated subscribed when Jeff reminded her that the VOICE RECOGNITION IDENTIFICATION TECHNOLOGY (VRIT) unit in the FBO was flawless in the near six months of use. Over that time, twenty-six people with a criminal element were dropped, most of which had been charged previously with petty crimes [such as tax evasion] and were either on the run or would be in violation of their parole restrictions had they left the state. Today marked the first time that a suspected terrorist was caught and as the squad car sirens wailed, Kay knew that this day would be anything but normal.

The above account is fiction , but it pre-supposes a couple of things that could occur in the intervening years that would bring about similar results, ie, additional and more widespread terrorist attacks being a preliminary consideration. In addition, a change in the way we do business, ie, selling seats to individuals instead of selling the entire flight to a company or an individual would have to occur – no longer would you have a lead passenger who could identify all of the other passengers. VRIT is now within reach and will, more than likely, become the norm of the day. Essentially, it works this way: a person speaks into a device that immediately matches the voice pattern with one in the database. The database identifies the person and when a match is made, the person is clear [unless the database turns up a warrant for their arrest].

Naturally, in order to get onboard a flight we would require passengers to be part of that database. This could occur if VRIT becomes as mandatory as holding a social security number or a driver's license. Foreign nationalities would have to be keyed into the same system to make it work, so the potential for a worldwide Orwellian-type system would be great.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Russ Cooper, a managing partner with COMPUTEK, a Wall Street company that has developed the latest generation of VRIT. He shared with me that both the FBI and CIA use an older generation of VRIT and his company is marketing the current one. Their customer base potential is impressive: government agencies, security firms, airports, airliners, automobile manufacturers, you name it. Wherever a positive id on a person is needed, their technology might be utilized.

According to Russ, the technology is fail-safe. When I mentioned that a voice impersonator like a Richard Little type could sneak by, he claimed that VRIT would still know who he was even with the "Richard Nixon" voice. Similarly, voice patterns are distinguishable even when disguised.

We did not discuss "price" as he was not marketing his product directly to me. I can only imagine that the costs involved would be significant, but then I began to think that they could possibly be offset by lower insurance premiums if insurance companies see the benefit of "guaranteeing" passenger security.

So what role could the flight attendant play in utilizing VRIT? Perhaps in lieu of a security agent [especially in an out of the way places like Bozeman, Montana], a VRIT unit would be assigned to your aircraft – much like a cardiac defibrillator monitor – and you would greet each passenger as they boarded the aircraft. Before the aircraft could be cleared for takeoff, the passengers would speak into the hand VRIT and be given a security clearance on the spot.

Let's return to our story and amend it with the security check being placed directly in the flight attendant's hands:

Kay walked down the GV's steps carrying her mobile VRIT device and waited as the passengers exited the FBO and made their way to the aircraft. She announced, "Welcome onboard Jet Aviation flight # 001 bound for Los Angeles. Please speak your name into the VRIT unit. if you need additional assistance, the captain will be glad to help you. "

One by one the passengers filed by, saying that their name and waiting for the green clearance light to flash. As they spoke, a signal was transferred to an orbiting satellite and then beamed to VRIT headquarters in Washington, DC. As the last of the passengers approached, Kay continued to greet each one and wait for clarification. Finally, when all passengers were cleared, she climbed the steps and had both pilots speak into the VRIT unit. At last, Kay laid the unit in the First Officer's hands in order to have him run clearance on her. Kay cleared her throat, spoke her name, but after an extended pause, the VRIT beeped loudly and signaled red. The color in Kay's face drained away and she turned to flee. Within moments several arms arrived forward to appreciate her as sirens wailed in the background.

All she could think about was running away …

Startled, Kay awoke from her dream as the snooze alarm blared away.

Nokia N76 – Seriously Beautiful

Can intelligence meet art? Nokia says ‘yes’, as it presents before the audience the Nokia N76. The handset comes in a sleek, loud fashionable red – black colour, and gives a tough competition to the RAZR series. The bold looks is complimented well with the advance ergonomics, making Nokia N76 a good example of style and technology. And the device has gained such popularity that the famous singer Travis now collaborates with it. Though the device has been marketed for its multimedia prowess, its design is also worth a mention. For, Nokia N76 takes inspiration from its competitors and optimises it to present a beautiful package.

The attractive clamshell comes with a mirror-like finish in the top panel, and exudes a brilliant shine. The feel is further optimized by a high resolution screen (though a little small as compared to the space available). For easy access to music, the Nokia N76 includes quick-access multimedia playback buttons below the LCD. And the users can operate the keys, without really opening the device. Nokia N76 also comes with customizable multimedia keys, which can be configured as per the frequently used multimedia programs.

Inside, the Nokia N76 is occupied with a RAZR like keypad- flat, aesthetically pleasing and very impressive. When you move into a darker environment, an ambient light sensor will activate the keypad’s backlight in a shade of brilliant blue. This makes the handset very exciting.

But the handset does have a major designing flaw. Where on one side, the 3.5mm slot on the top edge saves the headset connector from protruding from the sides of the pocket, on the other it restricts the top lid of the clamshell from opening fully when the headset is plugged in. Which means if you have an incoming call, when you are listening to your favourite track, you first have to unplug your headset, and the receive the call. Also, the lack of spring mechanism makes the Nokia N76 little shy to open fully. Which means the clamshell needs the care of both hands to open fully.

Other attraction of Nokia N76 includes Series 60 platform prowess, quad band GSM, 3G, 2MP camera, multimedia player and 26MB of internal memory.

The Importance of Being a Leader in Sports

During my NFL career, I learned that leadership is a trait that all athletes have deep inside of them. Unfortunately, I found that most players do not know how to apply their leadership skills. It is the inability to apply leadership that sets the regular NFL players apart from the true greats such as LaDainian Tomlinson, Marvin Harrison, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre. These fine players are all strong leaders. It is their powerful leadership skills that inspire their teammates to come together as a team and play at the best of their ability – even when they are losing.

Sports leaders are able not only to lead people in the right direction but to also give them confidence. A leader makes his teammates believe deep in their hearts that if you follow me, we will win. This requires a lot of responsibility and charisma on the part of the leader, but it’s also what separates good players from the Hall of Fame players.

As a young athlete, if you want to make it first to college sports and then to professional sports, you must develop your leadership skills. It is the strength of your leadership skills that will help separate you from the competition. College and Pro teams want leaders. Leaders win games.

As a young athlete, if you want to someday make it to the pros, you must work on developing your leadership skills everyday. You need to learn how to motivate people and make them believe in you. To build your leadership skills, here are some tasks you should do.

1. Be on-time for your classes at school and work hard to get good grades. This shows your teachers that you are eager to learn and to work hard. It also shows your coaches that you are eager to learn and work hard. So, always show respect for your teachers and coaches and they in-turn will show respect for you. This is the first step for becoming a leader. You must show others that they can trust and respect you.

2. Be a leader in everything you do. At school, help your classmates learn. Lead them to going to class on-time and working hard to get good grades. Help your community. And, help your teammates improve their skills on and off the field. The sooner you take the role of being a leader who makes smart decisions, the sooner people will see that you are a leader and they will follow you. Also, when people who have power see that you are a strong leader, they will give you special opportunities that other people and players will not get.

3. Show leadership by example in your sport. Work at learning your skills and the strategies of the game harder than anybody else on your team. One trait the true sports leaders all have in common is they are always the first to arrive at the sports facility in the morning and the last to leave at night. They become the best players and the strongest leaders by working twice as hard as everybody else. If you choose to work twice as hard as everybody else, you will receive deep respect from both your teammates and from your coaches. And, you will become a master of your sport.

4. Being a leader is even more important during the bad times than the good times. A true leader remains confident and motives his team members even when they are losing. It is during bad times that a leader’s true colors will shine and he will do everything he can to help his team be confident and driven to win.

Finally, understand that leadership is not something that is given to you. Leadership is something that you give to others.

Exciting Multimedia CD by Branden Books Publisher Adolfo Caso

Observations in Poetry and Pictures:

The Words and Images of Adolfo Caso

By Adolfo Caso *

The Dante University Foundation, Inc.

ISBN: 0937832464

70 Pages, MultiMedia

I do not immediately understand all poetry-yet the words speak to my heart and it responds. So, oftentimes, I read and reread a selection until the words flourish in my understanding. When I opened Adolfo's CD, I found that I went through it three times before I forced myself to stop. And now, as I write this review, I begin again … watching, reading, listening and enjoying!

This work is a delight! This is a magnificent array of sights and words that capture you from the introduction to the end.

My eyes were first drawn to his photography. Immediately it spoke to me as I relished someone else's interest in rock formation and its beauty. I thought of my own rock garden scenes and wanted to share and talk about the visions he had presented to us. I want to go to these places that have been captured; I want to walk near and touch the images – are they really so beautiful? I want to sit and study this beauty, see it from different angles than those that have been captured. . Each picture is intriguing, beautiful, and evocative-there is no choice but to immediately go now to read the words!

Adolfo and I briefly met many years ago in Chicago … then I dared to know him through his book, The Straw Obelisk, But, Adolfo's poetry and photography allowed me to come to know him, yes, as a true artist. His claim that he did not have the talent to become an artist is only partly true, for his talents have been demonstrated through words and camera. Come, let us review his words now:

Run:

Fulfill those Urges

That surge inside your soul,

Kiss:

If you do not do it now

You will miss the bliss

That attracts the young. *

* Part of "Why Dream," p.4.

Here they are; here they are,

The God-made couple

I bought my hand to her breast

And there beheld Paradise. *

* Part of "Evening in Spring," p.10

Whether the words are of love, man's flight into space, Kennedy's death, or the many other issues expressed, they solicit passion, wonder, and tears. We hear the music that he hears. We laugh or we cry with Adolfo; we empathize through his words. And it is good to share his thoughts. For those of you who know the language, the final selections are provided in both Italian and English and as he shares memories of Naples and Milan, it will be a special blessing for many of you.

During my third time through, I noticed a little mark above the directional arrows. Clicking in curiosity, I am amazed to find Adolfo, sitting at a little bistro table, an espresso before him … and he's talking to me! He tells me about why he writes, he shares intimate thoughts as we sit there. Other times, I click and a lovely female voice is reading along with me, articulating each word carefully, so that I may enjoy each word more fully.

I was impressed … no doubt about it! This book in macromedia form is something that will be held close and enjoyed over and over. Adolfo, I applaud your works, I embrace your words to my heart and I delight in the sights you have shared. There is no doubt whatever … get this CD!

* Adolfo Caso is owner / publisher of BrandenBooks