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Taking The Wraps Off Ginger 3 December 2001 Edition
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Anyone remember "Ginger"?

You know -- the magical personal transportation device that was so highly praised by a handful of Internet and computer-industry figureheads last year.

We have been told that it's so revolutionary they'll probably design entire cities around it and that everyone will want one.

Since it was first announced there has been immense speculation as to what it could be.

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News wires and commentators ransacked the patent office to try and find clues as to exactly what Ginger might be, generally coming to the consensus that it was probably a new kind of scooter.

Meanwhile, the inventor, Dean Kamen remained tight-lipped -- further increasing the mystery that has surrounded the device also known as "IT."

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    Well it seems that the shroud of secrecy might well be removed this week, with US breakfast TV anchor, Diane Sawyer, claiming that all will be revealed on her show.

    According to information released so far, whatever IT is, it will be launched onto the market next year and cost about US$2,000 -- so start saving your NZ$4,762 if you want one.

    Personally I think we'll find that the most astounding aspect of Ginger will be the way a few geeks were able to inflate its importance to unbelievable levels.

    There won't be any ultra-high-efficiency Sterling engine driving this thing and it won't be a giant leap forward in personal transport for the average person.

    However, I expect that marketing and psychology textbooks will find a warm spot for Ginger -- listing it as a great case study of how to use hyperbole to build market demand.

    If you really want a breakthrough in personal transport -- why not just get yourself a scooter and strap a jet engine to it? :-)

    The Horse Has Bolted
    A Dutch court has ordered that the P2P file-trading software vendor Kazaa must stop its users from trading copyrighted music -- but they can't.

    Unlike Napster, which was successfully shut down earlier this year, Kazaa doesn't rely on a central server through which users locate files -- Kazaa is a distributed system.

    This creates a real problem for all concerned.

    If Kazaa can't stop the use of its software as demanded by the courts, will it be in contempt?

    Should the company be culpable for something it no longer has any control over?

    This is a little like demanding that Ford stop all the owners of its cars from speeding or drinking while under the influence of alcohol -- it just can't be done and it's stupid for a court to demand it.

    Once again it appears that the courts have a lot of catching up to do if they're to really get to grips with this new-fangled modern technology stuff eh?

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