Notebook > Technology
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Watchful eyes

Technology | New program helps employers monitor workers' activity on social networking sites

Issue: "How Mark Souder fell," June 19, 2010

Many employers check out profiles, blogs, and Twitter feeds of potential hires-and even current employees. Now a software program called Social Sentry will help companies automatically keep tabs on employees' public activity on Facebook, Twitter, and other websites. Though this kind of monitoring is legal, privacy advocates say that users consider even their public social networking activity intimate and private. But as WORLD reported in our last issue, Facebook frequently (and notoriously) changes privacy settings. Now even users who think their activity is hidden could be unwittingly risking their jobs: Employers could read complaints about managers or know who is accessing sites while on the clock.

Savings site

Constructing a meal plan around specials at the supermarket can help save money-but it also requires extra time and coordination. E-Mealz (e-mealz.com) charges its subscribers $5-$8 per month to receive weekly menus based on sales at local grocery chains. Various meal plans accommodate stores such as Kroger, Wal-Mart, and Publix and offer a number of options, including low-carb plans, point systems (like Weight Watchers), and vegetarian diets. The system lives up to its budget-friendly claims: A family of four to six can expect to spend about $75 per week on food.

Movie frontier

Online movie rental service Netflix streams video to a number of internet-connected devices-members can watch a vast array of movies and television on computers, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Roku, or even some Blu-Ray players. The company got in the High Definition (HD) game a while ago but only recently broke the final barrier: subscribers can now stream HD movies on both Mac and PC home computers. The library of HD titles is significantly smaller than the collection of shows and films in non-HD formats, but introduction of a full HD catalog seems imminent. Question: Are DVDs and even Blu-Ray discs rapidly careening toward obsolescence?

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