Overhype

by Mike Masnick




Coca-Cola Knows Where You've Been Drinking

from the just-lovely dept

Not quite sure what to make of this story, but it appears that Coca-Cola is looking to do a sweepstakes where the "winning" cans of Coke will contain a GPS device that lets them track you down - absolutely anywhere and hand you the prize. Of course, how many people are going to buy a cold can of Coke from the local convenience store, chug it down, and toss it in the nearest trash can, leading the camera toting prize delivery crew at the local garbage dump? If the GPS device is at all noticeable, then that sort of takes away the fun, doesn't it? However, if it's not noticeable, then can't "winners" accuse Coca-Cola of unwarranted privacy violations for following their whereabouts? Won't it be great when the prize van shows up to award the prize to someone who is where they absolutely shouldn't be (playing hooky from work, at a mistress, who knows where else)? Found over at BoingBoing.

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  1. identicon
    Ed Halley, 30 Sep 2003 @ 7:37am

    No Subject Given

    This is the most common misconception about GPS. GPS receivers are passive. How will the "camera toting crew" find the GPS receiver? Does it also have a transmitter? That's an entirely different device.

    GPS receivers are dead when the sky isn't visible. They triangulate from very weak satellite signals and can have trouble in cities and heavily wooded terrain. How is it going to see through aluminum, or your fridge, or your roof?

    GPS receivers need to listen to the almanac data from a number of satellites for about 30sec minimum before they can triangulate. What's the chances of a "winner" being outside with the false can long enough for the device to triangulate and broadcast? Unless it starts playing music and telling the winner to stay put, not very high.

    What's the power budget and other logistics involved to develop such a device? With a poor transmitter, you would need a Coke Inc signal van parked on the corner.

    Surely this costs a lot more than the other "false can" varieties, the ones which simply tell you to call a phone number or come in and redeem them.

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