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Wireless Networking Communications Handhelds Hardware

GPS Cell Phone in Soda Can Form 301

Myko writes " reports that Coca Cola has unleashed a new GPS enabled cell phone for a new promo. Apparently the user will push one button which will auto dial a Coke rep that will tell them they won an SUV. They'll then press and enable the GPS and the prize squad will drive to their location with the prize. So the big question is, will the phone give off any residual waves that will allow custom made detection equipment to find the right 12 pack, similar to the tilt and win iTunes trick? :)" We mentioned this last year, but it wasn't clear how the GPS-in-a-can trick was going to work.
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GPS Cell Phone in Soda Can Form

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  • Off the air... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2004 @10:55AM (#9073396)
    I doubt there's going to be anything given off by this phone when it's not in use. Afterall, does a cell phone that's turned off give of any energy that can be detected?
  • In the can? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dleifelohcs ( 777508 ) * <> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @10:55AM (#9073403) Homepage
    Aside from weight, which will obviously be different on the case that has the phone in it compared to the case that does not, WHERE is the phone being placed? Inside an empty can with a different style lid? Or is the phone can-shaped, to prevent the case from making "noises" or rattling that a normal case wouldn't make... in any case (no pun intended) the case will be different. Though I do not support cheating the game.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:01AM (#9073493)
    * If you expect companies to follow the copyright of the GPL, you should support the RIAA going after infringers of its copyright. If not, you're a hypocrite.

    * There is absolutely nothing wrong with a company being upset that its product is being pirated freely over online networks. A recent Slashdot poll showed that the majority of Slashotters are unemployed or are students ("academics"), which explains a lot. Try getting a real job sometime and see what it feels like when your work is everywhere, and you start worrying that your days are numbered. Does John Carmack want you to "sample" his new game via the "free advertising" happening on eMule?

    * VA Linux-owned Slashdot thinks its niche opinion represents the majority of the world. This is a result of people visiting every day and buying into the groupthink. Nobody outside of Slashdot knows or cares about "Linux," "RIAA", "M$," or anything else Slashdotters think is such a huge issue in today's society. Go to a mall or coffee shop sometime and see what people actually talk

    * Speaking of VA Linux--it's a Linux company...that owns a "tech news" site...that posts news stories negative toward competitors like Microsoft. If a Windows company or even Microsoft itself owned a "tech news" site and posted anti-Linux articles all the time, everyone would be up in arms. But with VA Linux, it's a-okay.

    * Slashbots think people don't like the music coming out these days, which is the cause of the piracy. Never mind that if people didn't like the music they wouldn't be pirating it, most Slashbots--again, this goes back to the niche opinion thing--don't realize that most people these days love the music coming out and want to hear all of it. Probing around, you discover that Slashdot is made up of nerds and fogies who listen to things like The Who and Blind Guardian and techno--not what mainstream society enjoys.

    * Any company ending in "AA" is evil. Especially if it doesn't want you distributing its works without paying for it. Somehow, this mindset is supposed to make sense.

    * The inevitable result of all this is a world in which nothing can be profitable because people simply pirate free copies. Is that really what Slashbots want? OSS and free-ness in general reminds me of the hippie era of the 60s--idealistic socialism that only exists because of the surrounding capitalism around it that provides the environment for it to exist. We all know what happened to that idea.

    * Linux rules the desktop, when in reality []: Windows = 91%; Mac = 4%; Linux = 1%

    * At the 2004 WinHEC, Allchin demonstrated an alpha version of Longhorn that played six hi-resolution videos at the same time while playing Quake III in the background. An equivalent XP machine couldn't play more than four videos. Meanwhile, I can't even get xmms to play without skipping, and windows to drag without visual tearing! That's because KDE and GNOME are hacks to emulate a desktop on top of the crufty XFree86 architecture that people won't let die (Linux users absolutely fear change).

    * Slashdot editors are abusive. We all remember The Post. It's amusing the editors never mention the issue. The worst editor is michael, who will mod you down, insult you for your post count, and post unprofessional color commentary along with the article. This is the same bizarre person who cybersquatted Censorware for years--even as Slashdot posted articles negative toward cybersquatting! Michael played it off like he was some sort of stalking victim, which made it all the more bizarre.

    * The moderation system is broken. If you mod someone as "Overrated," you can't be metamodded. People abuse this all the time to gang up and knock you down into oblivion.

    * If "Linux" just refers to the kernel and not the operating system, how can "FreeBSD" refer to the operating system (userland tools, standard libraries, etc.) and not just the kernel? Face it, "GNU/Linux" looks and sounds ridiculous.
  • Re:DAMMIT (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:03AM (#9073518) Homepage Journal
    You just ruined my best source of tin for my hats, Coca-Cola.

    Should I even tell the poor sap that cans are made of aluminum?

  • Re:Cola Contests (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rjstanford ( 69735 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:10AM (#9073584) Homepage Journal
    There's a ton of FUD about this going around. But its necessary. Basically, the car counts as "income" so you pay income taxes on it.

    If they didn't do this, then instead of companies paying you in dollars, they could just pay you in "cars" (or something smaller, like bycicles) that you could convert to dollars tax-free. So this really plugs a loophole. But you pay tax on your income, no matter what form it comes in - money, cars, vacations, etc.

    The worst example I ever saw was someone who won a one-year lease on a new BMW Z3. Have you seen the price on a one year lease? They ended up paying ~$600 a month in equiv. taxes, a reasonable car payment, and they didn't even get to pick the car.
  • Re:Cola Contests (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:17AM (#9073665)
    There's two taxes going on here...

    A: Pepsi pays the tax on buying the vehile.

    B: The contest winner owes income tax on their winnings... even if it comes in a non-cash form they owe tax on the value of what they got.

    Think of what happens when you buy a car the normal way. You pay a sales tax on the car itself, but you also have already paid income tax on the money you're going to use to pay for the car.

    Yep, it's double-dipping, but that's the way the system's worked for a long time.
  • by loyalsonofrutgers ( 736778 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:21AM (#9073714)
    It doesn't matter. Being able to detect it would be like buying an extra powerball ticket: it doesn't substantially improve your chances of winning. So what if you go from having a 1 in a bazillion chance of picking the right box to a 20 or 30 in a bazillion chance? With the pepsi bottle itunes thing it was different, because you had a reasonable chance to begin with. I don't know how many SUVs they are giving away but I doubt the odds are so good that you can actually improve your lot this way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:30AM (#9073829)
    Looking at it, it seems that you could tell if the can was a phone by simply squeezing it lightly. I'm sure the plastic liner would make it feel stiffer.
  • Re:Off the air... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John Harrison ( 223649 ) <johnharrison AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:50AM (#9074133) Homepage Journal
    You are right that your chances of being in a store that has the winning can when you are there are very small. Even if it was there you would have a hard time finding it.

    The problem is that there isn't a good way to scan large numbers of cans quickly. You can't just walk by a shelf of 12-packs and scan the shelf. You would have to pull each 12 pack off and scan it. The large amount of metal and liquid between the scanner and the phone would prevent you from getting a reading. Not to meniton the fact that you wouldn't even know what to look for. I suppose you could practice by sticking your own cell phone in a 12 pack and scanning it.

    If you know a way to read an RFID tag (not what this is, and probably an easier problem) through a few feet of liquid and occasional metal please let me know. That would actual solve a problem I have...

  • by sir_cello ( 634395 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:07PM (#9074332)

    coke needs to be smart and ensure that the can weighs _exactly_ the same as an existing can, otherwise, everyone who works at a shop or distribution channel could weigh the boxes or pallets and discern the differences.

    Equally, another way to cheat would be to be use sort of low-tech radar/xray device that can detect different types of solids (for example: cans and liquid are pretty simple, but a radio has a lot of complexity that'll generate signal splatter).

    Another way [:-)] would be to see if you can generate radio signals at right frequency to induce resonant effects in the antenna within the can.

    This type of low-tech gear wouldn't take more than one or two cluey engineers and weeks work of work.

    Have fun :-)

  • Re:Off the air... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by danharan ( 714822 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @01:18PM (#9075155) Journal
    Unless the device were screaming "I'M OVER HERE, OH YEAH, AND I'M THE WINNING COKE CAN" you aren't likely to find it even if you're in the same store as it, at the same time as it happens to be passing through.

    If the device were screaming "I'M OVER HERE", you don't need to find the right 12-pack: you just buy all of them.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.