back to article Coca Cola slurps millions of MAC addresses

Sharp-eyed blogger Alvaro Lopez Ortega has spotted something fascinating: Coca Cola has reserved a block of media access control (MAC) addresses. The IEEE records the beverage company's actions here. MAC addresses are a unique identifier for networked devices, usually comprised of six pairs of hexadecimal characters. Lots of …

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Thirsty!

It could be for a regional campaign, too. Maybe one of the smaller markets where the competitor rules supreme.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thirsty!

Yes but it is still one of a number of sugary drinks that has no real food value and is a major part of the equation that has led to the obesity crisis the world is facing.

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Re: Thirsty!

oh really? A can of "fat" coke contains 139 calories ~ 7% of the lower female GA daily calorie allowance. Thats not counting those people who drink diet coke.

Whilst Im sure there are a few gluttons that guzzle many cans a day - I hardly think you can hold it up as a posterchild of bloateryness.

Care to restate your lazy post?

Disclaimer I think the stuff is vile - but felt the need to call out a commentard throwing up a lazy claim.

Now if he/she/it had conducted a rant about palm syrup they might have been on firmer ground.

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IT Angle

Re: Thirsty!

I would put it that Coca Cola is nothing compared to Thums-Up. There's a vicious rumour that when quality control goes wrong in the manufacturing process they allow impurities like carbonated water to find its way into the bottle-shaped lump of sugar.

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Re: Thirsty! @ Gordon 10

When will someone tell America that Coca/Pepsi Cola is just water with sugar, fizz and marketing added.

It is not a national institution, to be defended.

As obesity cripples another generation, I foresee a time when Coke machines are as rare as those vending cigarettes. To be fair, it's not the machines that are the issue -- rather it's the burger-flippers selling mega-cups of the stuff. Like it's normal to consume up to a litre of fluid with a snack ?

I rather like the occasional Coke, but then I used to really like smoking.

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Re: Thirsty!

Both calories and sugar need to be looked at.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2515555/people-dont-realise-sugar-Coca-Cola-admits-companys-PRESIDENT.html

http://www.drbriffa.com/2013/11/29/president-of-coca-cola-in-europe-misleads-us-over-the-sugar-in-its-drinks/

"UK guidelines recommend that ‘added’ sugars - those used to sweeten food, fizzy drinks, honeys, syrups and fruit juices - shouldn’t make up more than 10 per cent of the total energy we get from food.

This is around 50g of sugar a day, equivalent to 10 cubes of sugar for adults and older children, and nine for five to ten-year-olds.

But just one 500ml bottle of Coke will send you over this limit, with 10.5 cubes.

A 330ml can contains 35g or six teaspoons of sugar

Earlier this year Coca-Cola, the parent company of Sprite, announced that the fizzy lemon and lime flavoured drink was to be scrapped in favour of a lower-calorie version that uses a 'natural' sweetener, Stevia."

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Re: Thirsty!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2515555/people-dont-realise-sugar-Coca-Cola-admits-companys-PRESIDENT.html

If you ever want to do well in a debate, never quote from The Daily Fail.

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JDX
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Coca/Pepsi Cola is just water with sugar, fizz and marketing added.

Beer is just water mixed with a few plants and left for a while. So what?

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Re: Thirsty!

"oh really?"

Yes, really. The accusation from the poster was that coke was a sugary drink that has no food value that is contributing to obesity. They're right and it is.

A tin of coke is a not-inconsiderable amount of one's calories per day. And nothing else of worth. All sugar, and nothing decent. That's pretty poor considering you could have a glass of water instead. And an apple.

As for aspartine: I'll pass. I don't need that Coke taste enough in my life to bother with it. For me, Coke is and always will be simply something to put with JD.

I know people who cheerily glug 4-6 cans a day. Not only is that a habit that's on a par with a mild smoking habit, it's not far off being as unhealthy, given what pouring sugar into you does for health.

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Re: Thirsty!

@Gordon 10

I suspect you missed a unit there - a standard 500ml bottle of coke contains 900kJ or 210kcal.

Somewhat more worrying is the 53g of sugar, which is around 40% of the RDA for men.

Which is roughly equivalent to one standard dairy milk bar (ignoring the fat content, which is substantial).

Not that that is likely to stop me drinking a shedload of it, but it does explain why I don't drink as much any more unless I'm working hard.

@AC

The key to the obesity epidemic isn't the sugar in soft drinks and chocolate though. Those are obvious targets, and few people consume huge volumes of them without awareness of the consequences.

The key is in the steadily rising sugar and fat contents in just about everything else you eat. Since salt, sugar and fat trigger favourable taste responses, manufacturers of processed foods add more and more to "enhance flavour", especially for low budget foods that don't taste particularly good without the additives.

Which means you end up blowing out your RDA by noon without even realising it, and a low income family has very little choice in the matter.

The solution isn't as simple as cooking your own food, although that helps, but in paying attention to what you eat and how much of it, and a lot of people simply don't know or don't care to do that. And cooking your own food is expensive - in time, in energy, and in raw ingredients, not to mention transportation and storage of bulk ingredients. Which puts it out of the reach of many of the worst affected, especially pacific islanders.

(This of course doesn't cover genetic and racial predisposition towards metabolising particular foods due to differing biological reactions and intestinal flora - eg. asians and alcohols)

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Palm syrup?

Sounds a bit onanistic - dont you mean corn syrup - that ubiquitous and addictive addition to just about all junk food?

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Re: Coca/Pepsi Cola is just water with sugar, fizz and marketing added.

I think you might be talking about another form of fizz, not beer.

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Windows

Stevia etc

Every decade seems to have its own artificial sweetener. Stevia is the flavour of the moment, preceded by Sucralose, Aspartame, Cyclamate and Saccharine. Animal feed companies have a repertoire of other sweeteners that are presumably not certified for human consumption.

Unfortunately there is evidence that consumption of artificial sweeteners is associated with extra calorie intake and weight gain. Hence, presumably, their use in animal feed.

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Re: Thirsty! @ Gordon 10

"As obesity cripples another generation, I foresee a time when Coke machines are as rare as those vending cigarettes. "

Coke alone are way, way more powerful than the tobacco companies combined, more political clout and way more money.

Do you have any idea how powerful the Coca Cola company is? How many outright assassinations of trade union organisers there have been at South American bottling plants? How water supplies are being wrecked for farmers next door to Coke's bottling plants in India? How many Coke machines are installed in schools because of pressure to find funds by the governors and local education authorities? All the time the governments in these countries turn a blind eye but pay lip service to the health campaigners.

Coke is embedded in our very Western culture. What recent Christian festival have we just been through and which jolly fellow get's centre of attention? Yep old Chris Cringle, the jolly red coated fellow with the presents. Now who was it that "painted" Santa in red to match their corporate colours and got the whole damn world to blindly follow along since?

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Re: Thirsty! @ Gordon 10

What recent Christian festival have we just been through and which jolly fellow get's centre of attention?

For starters, please do not confuse the pagan icon Santa Claus with the Christian holiday that is celebrated at approximately the same time of year.

Now, I'd be very surprised if you saw Coke commercials during this past Santa season, because there weren't any. Coke didn't advertise at all this year. They took their entire advertising budget and sunk it into rebuilding the Philippines after that area got devastated by typhoons last fall.

Source: [ http://tinyurl.com/olf2e44 ]

I'm not a big soda drinker, but I raise a toast (a big frosty glass of Coke) to them for this.

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Re: Thirsty! @ Gordon 10

Actually there may not have been as many, but their definitely was at least one, they showed an extended one in the adverts of X Factor in the UK in the lead up to Christmas.

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Re: Thirsty!

"For me, Coke is and always will be simply something to put with JD."

Just say NO ! - but each to their own....

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Re: Thirsty!

"Just say NO ! - but each to their own...."

But it's not a good enough whiskey to drink straight.

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Re: It is not a national institution, to be defended.

Yes, it is.

But beyond that, I detest screeds along the lines of "Jews are rats so its okay to kill them" regardless of what the topic is.

If you want to talk about the industries that have truly lead to the American obesity epidemic, you and I are working in one of them. People use to get out and exercise. These days they sit around watching the telly or playing on their PCs/Tablets/smart phones.

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Re: Thirsty!

Jesus, what a way to wreck a glass of perfectly good Coke.

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Re: Thirsty!

> Just say NO ! - but each to their own....

Spoek 'n Diesel - a South African term for a drink comprising a double shot of Cane spirit ("spoek" means ghost), mixed with a minimal amount of Coca Cola (Diesel). Brandy and Coke may also be called Polisie Koffie ('Police Coffee') or sometimes "Karate Water", due to its reputed property of turning the drinker into a violent drunk.

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Re: Thirsty! @ Gordon 10

"What recent Christian festival have we just been through"

Still going through, if you don't mind. The 12 days of Christmas end on 6th Jan. (At least for Western Christians. Orthodox ones start on 7th Jan.)

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when we're at it

pass a law against french dressing, or any dressing that is, on salad!

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Re: Thirsty!

Quote: Yes but it is still one of a number of sugary drinks that has no real food value..

This offtopic anyway, but I will bite:

There is Coke and Coke. Same as there is Fanta and Fanta, Tonic and Tonic and so on. The contents differ largely by region. The primary difference is sugar vs glucose/fructose srup. The former is something humanity has lived with for thousands of years (in one form or another). The appearance of the latter on the market correlates with the beginning of the obesity pandemic. In fact, according to a lot of scientists (despite the best efforts of the food industry and various farmer associations) it is the primary cause of the obesity pandemic.

For example - Schweppes Tonic water in Western Europe is sugar based, as you go towards Eastern Europe and Middle East it is replaced by the glucose/fructose mix. Even the "iconic" Coca Cola drink differs by region becoming more obesity-friendly as you move outwards from the developed part of the world. By the way, when we travel my kids are OK to drink the sugary versions of Tonic, Bitter Lemon, etc and spit out the glucose/fructose crap straight away. They think it tastes disgusting.

In any case, as far as Coke reserving MACs - it may not necessarily be Ethernet. In fact it is less likely to be Ethernet as there it means that coke will be doing quite a bit of the engineering (unlikely). My guess will be bluetooth or wifi and some harebrained marketing idea like locating your closest coke machine in a mall :)

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Re: Thirsty! @ Gordon 10

" Now, I'd be very surprised if you saw Coke commercials during this past Santa season, because there weren't any. Coke didn't advertise at all this year. They took their entire advertising budget and sunk it into rebuilding the Philippines after that area got devastated by typhoons last fall."

Fair dos. Got to give them credit for that. I'm even more impressed due to the fact I didn't even know about it until you posted it.

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@ Psyx

"For me, Coke is and always will be simply something to put with JD."

You dislike the taste of JD that much you have to defile it with black sugar syrup?

Do yourself a favour, try it with Dry Ginger, lemon squash or even orange juice.

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They already have PCs in their vending machines.

I happen to know that the newer vending machines (known as Freestyle) already have an MS windows PC in them. They are even managed by Microsoft SCCM.

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Re: They already have PCs in their vending machines.

I happen to know that the newer vending machines (known as Freestyle) already have an MS windows PC in them. They are even managed by Microsoft SCCM.

If these things contain PCs running Windows it may explain why they struggle to produce a can below room temperature...

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More than just monitoring machines

Every coke machine down here in Oz is already network connected. They all have GSM (well they used to, I assume they have moved to 3G) antenna's that phone home to CCA with stock levels. They've been doing this for years and years.

I'd suggest maybe this is for something bigger like a global RFID deployment or maybe a home wifi connected postmix dispenser with automatic re-ordering?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More than just monitoring machines

There are a few machines around here that have RFID in them.

Coca-Cola wouldn't really need to buy a single MAC though. They can have their supplier use their allocation blocks. Many suppliers will allow you to use theirs on bring you own. So even if they were going to deploy RFID, LTE, etc. devices, they really wouldn't need their own.

I am thinking it deals more with a advertising system similar to what Apple is doing. You install the Coke app and they are just using their MAC address block assignment as a check that it is a Coke transmission.

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Re: More than just monitoring machines

Sure they still do AND some serve WiFi out if you buy a drink from them. The one on North Sydney station platform would serve free movie clips and I think WiFi access (for a short period). Not sure if it's still doing it at present

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A Standard Allocation

Vulture South imagines the latter is a more likely scenario, as the company has reserved about 16 million MAC addresses.

The way it works is that you apply for an allocation and pay the fee, which gives you the first three bytes of a 6-byte MAC address, then you can allocate the 2^24 combinations, about 16 million, for the last three MAC bytes to your devices. Once you're close to exhaustion of your MAC allocation, you simply apply for another one. The IEEE seems to do its best to only allocate as needed, so it's not officially possible to acquire more than one active block at a time. Those companies with more blocks have either put more than 16 million devices in the field, acquired part-used blocks as they've bought other companies, or were using multiple blocks before it all got formalised and so were allowed to keep them because it wasn't really practical to withdraw and re-assign part of a block. This is probably why there's a bunch of allocations that aren't in the consecutive sequence.

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16 million isn't enough for a MAC address per can

But if they needed a few thousand MAC addresses for some reason they'd still to get 16 million of them.

At least that 16 million is less than a millionth of the total available, so it isn't as bad as if they were holding onto a class A IP address...

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Doesn't ring true

Various parts of this article simply don't ring true for me. First of all, you can read precisely nothing into the size of the address allocation - that's simply the standard size. The big boys have multiple blocks allocated as they use them up but each block is the same size - there isn't the same limitations as afflict e.g. IPv4, and since the allocations are essentially for identification only as opposed to reflecting some greater structure there is no real benefit to contiguous allocations.

The other thing is that the proposed use doesn't fit the need for an allocation. We're an embedded design shop and collectively perhaps a couple of hundred different networked products each and every year. We don't have an allocation. It's not that we couldn't afford one or anything like that: there simply isn't any need for one. In general the embedded market falls into two camps - the very small volume approach where you'd buy a module from e.g. Lantronix to take care of the interfacing, or the larger volume approach of a full custom board design. In the former case you'd use the MAC assigned by the module manufacturer, in the latter it'd be whatever was programmed into whatever chip you were using by it's manufacturer. Vending machines themselves, or indeed postmix pumps, would fall into that latter camp.

The need for a separate MAC block implies full custom ASIC stuff to me, and that in turn implies properly high volume. I'm struggling to think of what that could be - the only thing that comes to mind would be some kind of "Coke card" for e.g. vending machines to allow a sale without the need for change. With the margins Coke have it wouldn't necessarily need to translate to that many additional sales to make the proposition attractive. A suitably designed system combined with a pre-pay approach needn't necessarily need an online connection, which would help with the deployment of such machines considerably over e.g. NFC or plastic.

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Re: Doesn't ring true

Maybe they're combining NFC and custom drinks container?

Place the container in front of the machine and it show YOUR favorite Choices on the touchscreen, together With how much cash is left on the(prepaid) system.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doesn't ring true

You don't need a custom ASIC to use your own block. Apple, Dell, HP, Nokia, Samsung, etc. use off the shelf Ethernet, WLAN and BT modules and yet they have them programmed with a MAC block that they own.

There are many things that use a MAC; RFID, Ethernet, WLAN and BT. So getting a block of MAC's doesn't say what they are going to be used for. Chances are, it is pubic facing though.

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Kiosks?

Maybe it's something to do with Coca Cola internet and electricity supplies?

https://www.2degreesnetwork.com/groups/managing-sustainability/resources/coca-cola-plans-off-grid-kiosks-with-internet-and-water-developing-countries_2/

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Misleading Size

I only came here because it said E Cup in the sub-heading. I'm a little disappointed to say the least.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Misleading Size

Did it leave you feeling a little flat?

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Anonymous Coward

This is a complete non-story. As others have pointed out, 16 million is the default allocation so it says nothing about how Coca Cola might use them, And it's even less than that - OUIs are used for other purposes than MAC address allocation (e..g TR-069 device identity, Fibrechannel WWN) and so the allocation of an OUI doesn't even mean Coca Cola are doing anything with MAC addresses.

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Headmaster

Say "comprised of" oine more time and I'll scream!

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Re: Say "comprised of" oine more time and I'll scream!

OK.

This entire thread is mostly comprised of people ranting about things have no meaning in the large scheme of things. Yes, that includes this one too.

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Technical/Numerical question

Has anyone considered if the world will run out of MAC addresses in the future? With the 'internet of things' almost upon us, lots of unique MAC addresses will be needed and old/dead kit can't reasonably have its MAC address reallocated.

(I'm too lazy to do the research, make some reasonable estimates and do some calculations, so I'm asking.)

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Re: Technical/Numerical question

Hi,

You don't really need "unique" MAC addresses, they need to be unique in your subnet (at least for NIC using IP, for other usage you might use the MAC as unique identifier but might not be a good idea - like inventory).

Under IP, you only use the MAC if the destination IP is the current subnet (ARP). Anything else will be forwarded according to the route table.

With 16 millions address per range the risk of conflicting IP while not null is virtually absent.

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Re: Technical/Numerical question

MAC is not used any more as correct term but EUI-48 would run out probably somewhere this century but the latest EUI-64 not likely (see also IPv6). And it's not just for Ethernet but for identification (not authentication) of equipment or as part of some protocol in general.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Technical/Numerical question

Just to clarify - you implied that MAC was just for Ethernet - actually all OSI networks have MAC, otherwise an Ethernet connected dhcp server couldn't assign addresses to a token ring subnet, etc.

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TRT
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Re: Technical/Numerical question

They're making root(er) beer?

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I can see it now...

A camera on the vending machine will use face recognition matching your face with your facebook profile. Then it will say out loud "Hey Sarah! It's hot today, looks like you could use a coke!"

There'll be a picture of Sarah and her mates, (the picture having come from facebook) looking happy and carefree.

Sarah will say "Oh wow, that's so cool" and immediately start recording it with her Google glasses, and bleeting ^M ^M tweeting the fact that the Coke machine knew who she was. "It's so cool!".

She'll buy a coke. A cherry one. Because they're nice. She doesn't carry cash, because, you know, that's so, like, analogue, man. She only carries a credit card. She pays for the coke with her credit card.

The coke machine will say "Gee, thanks Sarah! You have a great day now!". It simultaneously updates her Facebook profile, posting a message on her wall (or whatever the fuck they're called) saying "Hi, I just bought a Cherry Coke at Edmontons on Vine Street and 3rd, 'cause Coke is IT!". It also simultaneously posts a "like" to the Coke corporation.

The purchase by credit card causes an automatic run of her ID against a known terrorist database. Her name is not on the database. She is not a terrorist.

However, it is noticed that she has an outstanding parking ticket from 6 months ago that she has not paid.

An alert is automatically routed to a patrol car in the area, along with her driving licence details, photograph, and pictures of her from her facebook account, for indentification purposes.

Since they have their phone ID, and she's in a Mall, it's relatively easy to track her location within the mall and the police officer spots her quite quickly. She's talking to some friends and tweeting furiously on her phone.

The officer approaches, and in a friendly manner (it's only a parking ticket, afterall, it's not like she's a terrorist or anything) says "Hi, Sarah, I'm Officer Jenkins from 3rd precint. I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm afraid I need to take you down-town to deal with an outstanding parki..."

Sarah hears "I need to take you downtown" and thinks "Shit! My parking ticket". Panic overtakes her. She runs for it.

Officer Jenkins stands for a moment in amazement, before giving chase. He shouts after her "Sarah! Stop! It's okay! It's just a parking ticket!".

An officer approaching from the other direction sees what's going on, and notes that the young woman is running towards him. Probably a theif - stolen someone's handbag or wallet. He draws his side-arm and shouts "Police! Stop!". He notices she has something in her hand. It might be a weapon. He fires one shot and hits Sarah in the chest. Sarah hits the ground.

Her iPhone smashes on the floor.

"Shit" says the officer.

Officer Jenkins arrives. "What the fuck man? What did you shoot her for? She's just a kid"

"I thought she had a weapon. She was running man. I told her to stop!"

"She's just a kid. Get an ambulance"

Officer Jenkins goes to help her while the other officer radios for an ambulance. And backup.

Sarah's friends arrive, and begin recording the incident with their smart phones, and uploading to facebook, YouTube, twitter et al. Hash tag #OMGSarahOwnedLOL.

Officer Jenkins kneels down next to Sarah. "Sarah, are you okay? Don't worry, we're gonna get you some help. You're gonna be fine."

"I... can't... breathe.... I... feel... cold...."

"It's okay Sarah, everything's gonna be fine. You hold on. You hear me? You hang in there. Sarah. Sarah!"

Sarah's eyes stare lifelessly into the void, as she draws her final breath.

"Oh no!" cries officer Jenkins. Tears welling up in his eyes, he begins mouth-to-mouth.

"Come on Sarah! Stay with me!"

How do we know this?

Because the entire incident was recorded, and uploaded by her Google glass.

Meanwhile, the dead girls' profile reads "I just bought a Cherry Coke at Edmonton's and 3rd, 'cause Coke is IT!".

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