Do you have a bad gift-giver in your life?
A Washington Post story which I found through the web site Tech.Blorge ( http://tech.blorge.com ) reports that Amazon.com has developed a system that would allow you to flag individual friends or family members, and if a person on your watch list tried to send you a gift, Amazon would notify you and you would have the option of exchanging it for something else before it even shipped. The sender would never know you'd made the switch -- unless they asked to see the gift on their next visit!
You'd also be able to flag certain types of gifts -- for example, items to which you were allergic -- no matter who sends them.
Obviously, the system would only work if your bad-gift culprit was using Amazon and shipping the gift directly to you. And etiquette expert Anna Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and spokeswoman for the Emily Post Institute, told the Washington Post that this system "totally misses the spirit of gift-giving" and turns it into a transaction.
Amazon wouldn't comment on the system, so there's no word when or if it will be deployed. The patent was applied for personally by Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos, according to the Post.
For those of you who blog, or would like to blog, and who are members of the fairer sex (is that P.C.?), the BlissDom 2011 conference will be held Jan. 26-28 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. Women from across the U.S. and Canada are expected to attend the conference. Speakers will include Scott Stratten, author of "UnMarketing," and Melissa Peterman of the CMT sitcom "Working Class." Additional celebrity guests will be announced as well.
There will be pre-conference workshops on Jan. 26 in five tracks: writing, business, beginner, creative and niche. The conference kicks off in earnest on Jan. 27, with four different tracks: writing, professional, brand partnerships and personal strategy.
For more information or to purchase tickets, go to http://www.blissdomconference.com.
I've been doing some research on podcasting in preparation for a personal project I want to start some time next year, and I was delighted when Bedford County resident Michael Kaiser did an episode of "Tech Your Own Life," which he co-hosts with Jason Snyderman, on the topic of the free, open source audio editor Audacity.
The podcast, as well as previous episodes in the series, can be heard at http://tyol.realpunkradio.com.
--John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette and covers county government. He is also the author of the self-published novel "Soapstone." His personal web site is lakeneuron.com.