Technology works in mysterious ways

It may sound like a cliche, but we got to admit that over the years, technology has changed our lives. From smartphones to GPS to the Internet, it's difficult to imagine a modern life without technology. It's a given that modern technologies make our lives better; but at times, we are still surprised by what some of our gadgets achieve.

To illustrate the last point, here are a few snippets from tech news from the past week -

Exhibit A: The 'Google Street View' Police

We all know that Google Maps gives us driving directions and helps us find local businesses. This week, it added another feather to its cap when Dutch police nabbed a couple of suspects after their robbery victim pointed them out on Google Street View. Reuters reports:

"Dutch twin brothers who mugged a teenager in the northern town of Groningen were arrested after being caught on camera by a car gathering images for Google’s online photo map service, police said.

The pair stole the 14-year-old boy’s mobile phone and 165 euros ($230) in cash last September.

“The picture was taken just a moment before the crime,” a police spokesman said.

In March, the victim recognized himself and the two robbers while surfing Google Maps, which has a “Street View” feature allowing users to see images of buildings."

Google Blogoscoped even managed to dig out the exact location in Netherlands. Check out this screenshot from Street View.

Image by bourgeoisbee via Flickr

Exhibit B: The iPod lightning bodyguard

This one is even better. The Daily Mail reports that 14-year-old Sophie Frost survived a 300,000-volt lightning strike thanks t her armor of steel, an iPod. Apparently, the lightning strike was conducted away from her body by the iPod, which obviously got cooked in the process.

As per this report, this is not the first such instance. Last year, a Vancouver dentist 'escaped' a lightning strike with 50% burns thanks to his iPod.

So, when lightning is in the air, you better find that iPod.

Exhibit C: Killer Twitter

It's not always hunky-dory though. Maria Barbu, all of 17 years, was found electrocuted to death after she decided to use her laptop in the bath.

Twitter bird logo icon illustrationImage by Matt Hamm via Flickr

Austrian Times reports that the Romanian teenager tried to plug the power into the socket with wet hands after a long session of Twittering had left the laptop battery dead.

Oh well, maybe the technology is not really at fault here. :)

Description unavailableImage by iluvrhinestones via Flickr

Exhibit D: The Dogspeak Translator

Tech blog Gizmodo reports that a Japanese company has released a device called the Bowlingual that claims to translate a dog's barking into human dialect. Yes, read that again. Don't believe me? Well, there is even a US version here. The latter though is the 2002 version of the same device that converts bow-wow to text and displays it on a screen. The new 2009 version converts it further to speech.

So, the next time, a dog barks at you and the Bowlingual screams 'Deteike' it may be best just to get out of the house.

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