Merry Techmas/ Happy Technica (Techwanzaa?) Hope everyone had a fun, fulfilling and fruitful tech holiday. My mother received a Webcam in her stocking, so we used Skype’s free video calling to contact my sister and brother-in-law in Capetown, South Africa, and a friend in Barcelona, Spain. Now all three of my siblings, my mother and I have Webcams, so we’ll always be able to video chat. Christmas night we gathered around the artificial tree and played Scene It, The DVD Game . This was the first time I had the rules of a board game explained to me electronically, in the form of a soothing female voice, from the laptop we were using to play the DVD (my sister does not own a TV). Go to for the free video calling.

Robots Are People, Too How it is that homosexual members of our community don’t have the same rights as heterosexuals in this “free” country with separation of church and state dumfounds me, but soon we may have to consider robot rights as well? The 246-page Sigma and Delta Scans outlines future challenges that we as a global society may encounter over the next 50 years. These issues may include obligatory social benefits for our android brothers and sisters including housing and “robo-healthcare.” It’s not a free ride, though, as the report speculates that bots may have to vote, pay taxes and perhaps be obliged to serve in the military. The report discusses developments in artificial intelligence including robot self-improvement and robo-reproduction. We’ll see what the church has to say about that.

Bling Thumb If you are still in need of a holiday present and you really want to impress that special someone, you may want to consider a diamond-encrusted USB drive: 350 white diamonds (pictured), weighing in at 5.8 carats, encased in solid platinum. Four gigabits for $40,000; only $10,000 per gig. That should prove your love. Don’t know if I can do it after seeing the Leonardo DiCaprio movie Blood Diamond , though. If security is more a concern than bling, maybe the DiskGO Biometric Flash Drive is the gift to get. Edge Tech makes this fingerprint-protected thumb drive (pun intended), and it comes with a lifetime warranty. I found both of these on one of my favorite blogs:, a girl’s guide to gadgets.

Cyberspace affected by Snapped Cable I’m not sure why I am so surprised by this story I read on, but submarine cables between Asia and the United States were broken due to the 7.1 earthquake off the southern shore of Taiwan on Dec. 26 (freaky that it happened two years, to the day, after the 9.1 Indian Ocean quake/ tsunami that killed about 230,000 in 2004). Taiwan’s Internet capacity dropped to 40 percent and broadband networks were jammed across Asia. Did you know that every continent except Antarctica is connected by cable? In this age of WiFi and cell phones it’s hard to imagine there are 16,775-mile cables that run from China to the U.S. Check out this map: