Tuesday, April 02, 2002

A Zapper and an Octopus

Everyone agrees that telemarketing calls are invasive and insulting. What to do? Well, you can wait for some company to come along with a national and state-by-state DNC (do not call) solution. Or you can take matters into your own hands and purchase the Telezapper (for members of my family who don't understand how this works, you double-click on the blue-colored word and that takes you to the relevant webpage). The Telezapper costs about $49 on-line or at Radio Shack. And it works.

In the bigger picture, Hong Kong is fast on its way to becoming a cashless city. How? In 1997, the public transport system introduced the Octopus Card, which enabled people to pay for their rides by swiping their card through a machine. But Octopus wasn't just a fare card, it was also a Smart card and it has become, essentially, a cash card for all who live in Hong Kong. You can visit the site to learn more. Or you can click here (subscription required) to read an excellent Wall Street Journal story on the company.