Geekly Update - 17 September 2014

Category: Tech-News

Is your iTunes music library infected with the U2 virus? Why do some hard drives quack like a duck? And what desperate move did Amazon make in response to Apple's iPhone 6? 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

When is free music unwanted? When it’s U2’s latest album, “Songs of Innocence,” in your iTunes music library, and you can’t get rid of it. The giveaway was announced during Apple’s September 9 product launch which featured U2 live. Cnet helpfully explains how to (sort of) get rid of “Songs of Innocence.”

"Let Me Google That For You…" Do your friends often email you with questions that could have been easily answered by a quick Google search? A link to LMGTFY is the perfect snarky answer.

Speaking of big storage, SanDisk’s new Extreme Pro SDXC flash memory card holds a whopping 512 GB of data. Its write speed is up to 90 MB/second and it reads at up to 95 MB/sec. Its $800 price tag is pretty big too.

Geekly Update 09-17-2014

If you new hard drive squeaks (or sounds like Donald Duck) it might be one of Western Digital’s new helium-filled 10 TB drives. The company’s HelioSeal product line hermetically seals helium in the chassis, replacing air and providing less friction, lower power consumption, and longer life. The new 8 and 10 TB models are shipping now.

Amazon cut the price of its new Fire Phone to 99 cents with a two-year contract just days before Apple’s launch of the iPhone 6. The Fire Phone will still come with a free year of Amazon Prime, unlimited cloud storage for photos, and 32 GB of on-board storage. The only catch is the 2-year contract with AT&T, and the unpleasant fact that it's a phone nobody wants to buy.

SHHHH! Apple has quietly discontinued the iPod Classic that was introduced thirteen years ago. Despite its $400 price tag (over $534 in today’s dollars), over 125,000 iPod Classics were sold in the product’s first two months.

HP is trying to bolster its cloud-services offerings with the purchase of open-source private cloud storage firm, Eucalyptus. If “open-source” and “private” seem contradictory, it means that Eucalyptus runs on open-source, free software but charges money for cloud storage you don’t share with others.

Google is offering startup companies $100,000 worth of Google Cloud Platform services, in an effort to boost the cloud-computing portion of its business. Qualifying startups must “have less than $5 million dollars in funding and have less than $500,000 in annual revenue.” Isn't that punishing the more successful companies?

‘Lectronic Legos: Littlebits are open-source, modular electronic components that snap together to form a myriad of digital circuits. They’re a neat way to learn about electronics for young and old.

A prototype flexible, printable display that uses graphene has been demonstrated by researchers at Cambridge University. Graphene is a form of carbon that is among the strongest, most flexible, and lightweight materials known. Partner firm Plastic Logic added backplane circuitry printed at low (under 100 C) temperatures.

Google has purchased biotech startup Lift Labs, developer of electronic eating utensils that compensate for the tremors of Parkinson’s and similar diseases. Lift Labs’ staff will join Google X, the company’s “skunk works” where innovation is unrestricted, to apply the technology to other medical problems.

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