Geekly Update - 13 May 2015

Category: Tech-News

Why were Thomas Edison's talking dolls pulled off the market after just two weeks? Is it legal to rob a bank if you ask politely for the money? And why are automated teller machines roaming the streets of Warsaw? 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. Read, think and comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

"But, I did say PLEASE..." Dominyk Alfonseca handed the teller at a Virginia Beach bank a note asking that they “please” give him $150,000. He took photos and videos of the "transaction" and posted them to his Instagram account. Not surprisingly, police arrested the man 20 minutes later. Alfonseca says what he did cannot be considered a crime, because he did, after all, ask politely.

Thomas Edison marketed talking dolls for just two weeks in 1890 because the voices, recorded on wax cylinders, scared little girls. Now scientists are using lasers to read the grooves in the cylinders and perfectly recreate the chilling sounds.

If the preceding paragraph made you think, “Gee, wish I could do that with my vinyl record collection,” you’re in luck. The Laser Turntable plays precious LPs without touching the grooves. Only $15,000.
Geekly Update 05-13-2015

Having failed to defeat Facebook, Google Plus is now picking on a smaller opponent: Pinterest. The new Google+ feature, “Collections” allows users to group posts by topic, and share them publicly or with selected circles of acquaintances, friends, and family members. Posts may include photos and videos.

Uber is not in Kansas anymore; the taxi company masquerading as a “ride-share service” pulled out after the state legislature overrode the governor’s veto of laws requiring background checks and comprehensive insurance of drivers.

In Poland, ATMs come to you. The country’s Idea Bank launched a new service that allows pedestrians to summon a mobile ATM via smartphone. The service also picks up cash from businesses that have a lot of it to deposit at the end of the day. What could possibly go wrong?

Late-night TV host Seth Meyers tweaked former HP CEO Carly Fiorina about neglecting to register CarlyFiorina.org, allowing a political opponent to use it for criticism of her Presidential bid. She replied, “Do you know who owns SethMeyers.org? … So you’d better be really nice to me, Seth.”

Verizon Wireless customer service gave 53 year-old Angela Hawkins a heart attack, she alleges in a lawsuit seeking damages for actual and future medical expenses. It won’t be difficult to persuade a jury.

Small price for a microscope: University of Houston researchers have developed a 3-cent lens that fits over a smartphone’s camera lens, amplifying its images 120 times.

Researchers have uncovered a “self-aware” malware strain, dubbed “Rombertik,” that defends against attempts to remove it by overwriting the host computer’s Master Boot Record or encrypting all files in the user’s home directory, including itself. It does NOT, however, “destroy your PC” as the PCWorld headline screams.

The geekiest app ever has got to be Duolingo, a free app that teaches users new languages. The game-like tutorials now include TlhIngan Hol, better known as Klingon.

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 13 May 2015"

Posted by:

David
13 May 2015

The Seth Meyers link is real, and it's great!!!


Posted by:

RichF
13 May 2015

I wonder what that 3 cent lens is going to end up costing at retail.


Posted by:

onedeafeye
14 May 2015

Rombertik attempts to over-write the MBR or encrypts all the files on the computer, and consequently stops the computer from rebooting. In my mind, that is the same as destroying.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Not at all! The MBR is just software, and can be replaced. The encrypted files can also be recovered or replaced from a backup. There is no damage to the hard drive or other components of the computer.


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