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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Mayberry RFID


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Hey Anj!

Hey Floyd.

What can I do for you Andy?

Well seems like we have a little problem Floyd. You know that new barber smock you got over at the Wal-mart?

Yes. Isn't it nice? It feels so clean and smooth. Feel it Andy. Go ahead and feel it.

That's alright Floyd, I can see how nice it is, I don't have to touch it. Well, Floyd, these new clothes from Wal-Mart now come with what they call RFID tags.

RFID? Is that so they can go through the mail better Andy?

(Laughing) No, Floyd, I'm afraid not. RFID stands for radio frequency ID. It means that there is a little chip sewed into the fabric that can be read by little radio receivers that stores put in them to measure your buying habits.

oh, so they can tell when I come in next time that I like barber smocks.

That's right Floyd. You wear your barber smock a lot don't you Floyd.

Oh, yes I do Andy. I wear it everywhere I go. It's like a second skin. In fact the prices were so good I got several of them last time.

Well see Floyd, that's why I've come by. See lots of stores have these radio receivers, and sometimes other places too.

Really, oh how interesting! So if I go to another store, they might know the kind of things I like too. Oh, I might not always like that. What you buy can get pretty personal you know.

Yes Floyd, I'm afraid it can. That's why I have to ask you why you bought a case of dynamite yesterday. That's pretty dangerous stuff Floyd. We can't have that kind of thing in Mayberry you know. Not inside the town limits, I'm afraid I'm going to have to arrest you!

But Andy! That dynamite's not in Mayberry!

It's not?

No, of course not. That would be terribly dangerous. I would never expose all the little children in this town to that kind of danger. None of the grown-ups either. Besides, if it was anywhere IN town, sooner or later you and I both know that Barney would stumble across it and that would be the end of him. I couldn't have that on my conscious, no sir. Not even Barney.

Well what in the world do you need a whole case of dynamite for?

I don't, it's just cheaper by the case and I like to save money for my smocks. Yes. Are you sure you don't want to feel this one Andy, its brand new?

No, Floyd, perhaps another time. Look Floyd, how much do you use at a time then?

I use it only one stick at a time anyway, for fishing you know, when I've gone all afternoon without a bite. Only then. Really perks up an afternoon and there's nothing like dynamite blasted fish, no sir!Link

But Floyd! That's illegal too! I'll have to arrest you for that and have a trial.

But Andy, you don't have jurisdiction. I didn't do it our county. I do my fishing where I keep my dynamite, way over near Mt. Pilate.

Hmmn, well you shouldn't be doing that over there. You have to stop. If the Mount Pilate Sheriff's Office catches you at it, they will not be as nice as I am.

I know Andy. I'm sorry. It's just so much fun. At least I keep it safe.

Yes, I was getting to that. If you don't keep your dynamite here in Mayberry, where do you keep it?

Well, I wanted somewhere big and safe, yes big, and safe. And far away and open, but where I could lock it up. My friend Bustopher, he owns a barber shop in Mount Pilate, well Bustopher gave me a wonderful place to store the dynamite where almost no one ever goes and it has a great big lock on it too. Very safe, no kids come near it. Not even Barney Fife.

Oh, where is that?

Busopher's locker at the Mt. Pilate Airport.

Gee, that was fun, now wasn't it? I originally thought of some other of Andy's cast of characters as the RFID purchasers, but the more I thought about it, the more it HAD to be Floyd.

However, the story is based on something new that IS coming our way, like it or not. These RFID tags that will be in all the clothes that we buy that will turn us into walking ad magnets when we visit stores malls and wherever tags can be read and custom broadcast to us.

And of course there are all the Orwellian problems as well. Big brother is riding you.

Wired News ran a story called Time to Get a New Shirt which talks about some of the pluses and minuses of the new tags. On the one hand, gone forever might be the need for remembering your receipt. When you buy something, who you are would be impressed into the article with your credit information so that if you return it it can be done seamlessly, eliminating a lot of fraudulent returns from shoplifting along the way.

Another benefit they cite, might be at the drug cabinet. See their photos. Where with a new snazzy computerized one, tags on your prescriptions might help remember what to take when and to reorder on time.

Of course if your child goes missing, the tags could have another benefit, helping him/her find you. Especially at a pre-talking age, and an aide to store security to spot check who belongs with whom. Can they be tied to a GPS location system so that you can see if your teenage daughter is really at her girlfriends house and not out necking at mirror lake and whether the clothes are too cold to be on her? Maybe sometime in the future. Maybe if the top comes off the bra hooks can be automatically charged with a nice little surprise for the boyfriend.

Now that's big brother talking!

Peter, Your Host For Today's Comedy
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