Santa’s army of electronic helpers
Dec 25, 2011 | By ZDNet
When I was growing up in the 1960s, people were so confident of technological and economic progress that it seemed inevitable people would increasingly fill their lives with leisure activities while machines took over our work.
Well, that’s not really how the 21st century has turned out. But on this one day of the year, when the Western world has all but stopped for Christmas Day, we can at least get a taste of what that imagined nirvana could have been like. Although of course a handful of people have been working this day in vital occupations such as healthcare, power generation and air traffic control, most of us are relaxing at home with our families. But whereas a hundred years ago, before the advent of mass market electrical gadgets such as the radio and gramophone, everyone would have made their own entertainment, in today’s connected modern world we download it.
Another vital occupation has been keeping the world turning for the rest of us today: the technologists who monitor and safeguard what’s happening in the data centers that handle all of the download purchases everyone has been making. When I was a child, there was no way to spend the book vouchers or record tokens that arrived with Christmas cards from far-flung family until the shops opened after the holidays. Today, the vouchers are electronic and the recipient can fulfil their purchase instantly via iTunes, Amazon or a hundred other online stores.
Sometrics’ virtual currency and loyalty offering is like an online shopping mall for gamers, where they can buy various virtual currencies and virtual items in the games they’re playing. This offering will be integrated into Serve, the American Express digital payments platform. In return, it also delivers AmEx access to some 225 million gamers currently using Sometrics.
One of this season’s hottest toys, the LeapPad tablet from educational toy maker LeapFrog, will prompt thousands of game downloads from LeapFrog’s own download store, whose billing systems are operated by SaaS billing provider Vindicia…