[146 PERCENT?] Geekly Update - 02 March 2016
Can you call 911 if you lose your Facebook password? Is there a cell phone just for people who drive huge tractors underwater? And what magic words must one say prior to making a video recording of a police officer? Get answers to these burning questions, and the scoop on the latest tech news, in this edition of the Geekly Update. It's guaranteed to make you 146% smarter. Don't believe me? Read on and I'll provide the proof!
The AskBobRankin Geekly Update
New York City has launched a network of free public WiFi hotspots housed in obsolete payphone booths. Each hotspot also includes a landline offering free calls to anywhere in the U. S., two USB charging ports, a tablet for accessing the Web, and a red 911 button for emergency calls.
A quartz disc the size of a silver dollar can store 360 TB of data for up to 14 billion years using 3D laser encoding tech developed at Southampton University in the UK. However, the life expectancy of our solar system is only 5.5 billion years.
Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar, Inc., has introduced its sixth branded smartphone. The $599 Cat S60 is the first phone with a FLIR thermal imaging camera built in, and you can even use it underwater for up to one hour. The S60’s steel frame is so rugged that you can drive a Caterpillar earthmover over it.
Nissan's Connected Car app was taken offline after the app was found to be “shockingly” vulnerable to hacking. All you need is a car’s VIN to log into its NissanConnect account and fiddle with entertainment, environmental control, and other non-critical systems. (Maybe this explains why my car plays only the Barry Manilow Channel on Sirius XM.)
“We want it just for this one phone,” the FBI told a California judge in its successful request for an order compelling Apple to create a backdoor in its iOS software. Now it seems there are at least 12 other iPhones the government wants to use that software on.
An adorable little autonomous robot named “Starship” will be tested in the U. S. starting in April. The self-driving delivery vehicle rolls down sidewalks, politely stopping and moving aside for pedestrians. In UK tests, adults mostly ignored Starship but kids "like to pet it and try to feed it," says the inventor. Over here, someone’s sure to call the bomb squad.
You can photograph or record video of cops, but at the same time you must tell them why you are doing so, ruled U.S. District Judge Mark Kearney in denying a First Amendment complaint lodged by students who were arrested while documenting the arrest of another student. If you don’t directly and explicitly express your purpose at the time, ruled Kearney, there is no “expression” for the First Amendment to protect.
The perennially renewed federal ban on taxing of Internet services has been made permanent by an executive order issued by President Obama. That’s one less thing for Congress to fight about every year.
Robots are losing their jobs to people for a change, as Mercedes brings assembly workers back to handle the complex customizations of its luxury vehicles.
Indiana’s texting-while-driving law is “useless” because any driver seen fiddling with a phone could be doing any number of perfectly legal things like dialing, navigating, shopping, or reading the news, a federal appeals court ruled.
The Truthy Database is a federally funded project to track “suspicious memes” that spread “misinformation.” Indiana University researchers plan to track how misinformation is spread. (Do we really want the government to decide what’s truthy?)
California’s Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid $17,000 in Bitcoins after its computer system was brought to a halt by ransomware. The hospital’s operations were brought to a virtual halt for over a week, with most patients transferred to other facilities.
Google's Gmailify app now lets Yahoo and Outlook.com (Hotmail) users enjoy Gmail’s spam filtering, tabbed inbox, and other bells and whistles without giving up their current email addresses. Unfortunately, it’s available only on mobile.
When you zoom in too closely on a Google Maps Earth View, things can look pretty weird. Digital artist Kyle F. Williams has compiled a collection of close-ups gone horribly wrong.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 2 Mar 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [146 PERCENT?] Geekly Update - 02 March 2016 (Posted: 2 Mar 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved