Geekly Update - 17 December 2014

Category: Tech-News

Has science discovered a way to turn your skin into a touchscreen? Are Santa's elves giving free computer programming classes? How likely are you to be robbed of your cell phone? And what's the secret to getting thousands of dollars of free stuff from Amazon? 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

It's no longer a secret. The Cicret bracelet that purports to be a "tablet on your wrist" isn't a thing. A video that shows a user interacting with an Android interface projected on his arm from a Cicret bracelet is fake, created with special effects. The company admits the idea is still in the pre-prototype (vaporware) stage, and hopes to raise enough cash to one day make it real. And along the way, they'll need to figure out how to project light through a human finger without casting a shadow.

The FCC estimates that one in ten robberies involves a cell phone, and that’s not even counting the monthly bill.

Google’s Santa Tracker lets Mom and Dad compose tot-personalized messages for Santa to deliver via voice phone call or email. The site includes an animated Advent calendar where kids can unlock daily doodles, play games with elves, and even learn to code. Of course, you can also track Santa’s Christmas trek via Google Maps.
Geekly Update 12-17-2014

A 22 year-old Londoner named Robert Quinn started receiving packages of things he never ordered, including a $528 Samsung tablet and a $1,390 TV. A total of 51 packages arrived in just one week, all from Amazon. When Quinn contacted the company he received an apology for the error(s) and was told to keep the goods, “it’s on us.” And now, it's probably on eBay.

"Beam me over…" The black magic of quantum teleportation has achieved a new distance record. The quantum state (direction of spin) of a light particle was instantly transmitted 15.5 miles via a fiber optic cable. Physicists can’t teleport mass (yet) but they can transmit information instantaneously, laying the groundwork for an Internet of infinite bits-per-second.

A smartphone app will be your driver’s license in Iowa sometime in 2015, according to the State’s Department of Transportation. The identity vault app will be accepted by law enforcement during traffic stops and by security screeners at Iowa airports. How long before someone accidentally flashes an embarrassing selfie at a cop?

Nose cut off, face duly spited... In the “ill-conceived legislation” category we have the government of Spain, which enacted a law that requires (not merely allows) news publishers to collect a tax from search engines that display even snippets of their contents. In response, Google News will no longer include Spanish media as of December 15. German news publishers tried boycotting Google News but found the lost traffic hurt them more than it bothered Google.

More than 3,000 iPod Classic MP3 players have been sold on eBay since Apple discontinued the device in September, 2014. Most of them have sold for between $550 and $900.

If you want to learn physics from one of the finest teachers who ever lived, California Institute of Technology invites you to partake of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, a free library of the lectures of Richard Feynman.

Wakie, the social app that lets you awaken or be awakened by total strangers anywhere on Earth, has finally been approved by Apple for iOS. Already available for Android and Windows Phone users, Wakie’s Web site has added a premium service: a forum in which users can connect with those sexy bedroom voices they recently heard.

A $1 billion class action lawsuit against Apple over the “Fairplay” software that prevented iPods from playing any music that wasn’t purchased from Apple’s iTunes store, and even deleted iPod owners’ non-iTunes music, may get deleted itself. Turns out the two named plaintiffs in the case never owned iPods purchased between September, 2006, and March, 2009, the period covered by the lawsuit. "I am concerned that I don't have a plaintiff. That's a problem," Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said at the end of the trial's third day of testimony in Oakland, California.

Cheerlights is a social Internet of Things project being promoted by IoBridge Labs. Hard core geeks build their own Cheerlights controllers, hook them up via WiFi, and manipulate every participant’s Christmas tree lights via Twitter, e. g., Tweeting “#cheerlights red” turns everyone’s lights red.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment below, or I'll teleport every third pixel of your screen to a secure location in Utah.

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 17 December 2014"

Posted by:

Wayne Hathaway
17 Dec 2014

You mention quantum teleportation leading to infinite bits per second, but to me the truly amazing thing isn't bandwidth, it's the ZERO LATENCY part. Speed of light? That's so twentieth century!


Posted by:

Doc
17 Dec 2014

A Berkeley Coffee shop which I believe fueled the 1966 Riots in Bezerkeley, CA once told me that I need not pay for or return a double order that accidentally showed up on my door step back when dial-up was considered the absolute unbreakable breakneck speed of 1-(800). The same thing happened when a friend (just last week) accidentally received a double order and sent the double to me as a 'Karmic Gift from the Universe' - and to keep MY 'karma' balanced, I called the company and offered to pay for it. They politely declined and said - Thank you for calling, have a nice Holiday on (the name of the company). -- Don't think that 'word of mouth' advertizing hasn't paid off over the past ~50 years or so.

I believe that the same is true for Amazon. The word of mouth advertizing this bit of kindness is priceless in terms of current, past, and future customers and their perceived 'customer satisfaction' ratings. It is the kind of thing from which Urban Legends are built. They recognized a Gold Mine when it popped up - and exploited it as few other companies could. (You need money to make money). Some call it a 'loss leader' -- others call it a Rain Maker. Amazon would never have grown without this kind of understanding of how their corner of the Universe works. I don't work for them, am glad that I don't - though I do recognize that a 'good deed' CAN go unpunished.

It worked for the company in Bezerkly, and it sure seems to be working for Amazon as well.

While we are off the topic, no reason to not point out that 'instantaneously' is not the speed of light, (it's that infinite mass problem), though it very well would seem to us mere mortals as appearing like it IS that fast. Zero is a very strange number, one reason it took so VERY long to find.

Though it IS that direction of spin/state of charge thing which allows for MASSIVE storage devices at atomic and molecular level sized storage units. Gee, I wonder if DARPA is working to to use the idea to compliment their new 1 terahertz chip -- which is only 150 BILLION times faster than the next slower chip? I simply can't IMAGINE what they will use that much memory or speed to compile and correlate . . . . . .


Posted by:

carmen
29 Dec 2014

It appears that the "Feynman Lectures on Physics" are only in text form.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You are right, thanks. Corrected now.


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