Geekly Update - 21 August 2014

Category: Tech-News

Is there any new tech to extend the life of your smartphone battery? Will relaxed regulations on satellite imagery threaten your personal privacy? And is there finally a way to force your kids to answer when you call their cell phone? 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

A Texas Mom has developed an app called Ignore No More that locks a phone if calls from parents are not answered. The app permits texts and calls only to parents or 911 until the parent’s call is returned. It’s only for Android and costs $1.99.

Tired of being tethered to your phone's wall charger? A new transparent solar panel that can be integrated into smartphones promises to ease the pain of battery drain.

Do you get motion sickness while watching shaky video filmed with a GoPro helmet cam or Google Glass? Microsoft researchers have demoed software that stabilizes and smooths video clips so that they look more like the rock-steady footage shot by drones.

Geekly Update 08-21-2014

John McAfee, founder of the anti-virus company that still bears his name, made a surprise appearance at the DEF CON hacker conference, and an even more surprising announcement. He’s launching a website where people can complain about things, propose solutions, and vote on others’ solutions. What’s surprising is that it seems McAfee has never visited any online forum before.

Sprint is expected to launch drastically cheaper service plans with expanded data allowances this week. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure’s top priorities are to “reduce prices, improve the network, and decrease operational costs.” Any bets on which task gets done last?

The Om/One Bluetooth 4.0 speaker is about the size and shape of a tennis ball, and electromagnets keep the sphere floating 1.5 inches above its base. Other than that, it’s just another Bluetooth speaker that costs about $184. But it’s pre-selling like pre-hotcakes.

Facebook is experimenting with a “satire” tag on news feed stories from tongue-in-cheek sources such as The Onion -- probably so the Associated Press and New York Daily News won’t have to print so many corrections.

Instagram and Pinterest will surely melt their servers if Japanese researchers succeed in bringing to the camera market the STAMP technique - Sequentially Timed All-optical Mapping Photography. It enables snapping photos at a rate of 4.4 trillion frames per second. It's going to need some work, though -- the camera is currently one square meter.

Two months ago, the U. S. government relaxed restrictions on satellite imaging, permitting high-altitude photos of objects smaller than 50 cm (1.64 feet). Now imaging company DigitalGlobe has launched a satellite camera capable of rendering objects as small as 10 inches. So it’s still safe for most men to sunbathe in the nude.

As if some pets aren’t spoiled sufficiently, we now have a pet collar that monitors an animal’s vital signs and texts its human servant if the pet is sad, lonely, or possibly sick.

"Actually, DO kill the Messenger." Facebook has earned over 50,000 “poor” reviews (2 stars or less) for its Messenger app, which the company is gradually forcing more users to download in order to access their messages. “Why create two apps to do the work of one app and website that has remained unchanged for years?” asked one American user.

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 21 August 2014"

Posted by:

David
21 Aug 2014

“Why create two apps to do the work of one app and website that has remained unchanged for years?” asked one American user.

FB: Because we can. Whatcha gonna do about it, kid? Hey, Rocko, this mook thinks we care what he wants.


Posted by:

PgmrDude
21 Aug 2014

The 'Ignore No More' app: So, the parent(s) spends $1.99 on an app, installs it on their kid's phone(s), and as soon as the kid realizes it's there (perhaps after the first "offence") they uninstall the app. cha-ching

EDITOR'S NOTE: Supposedly it's difficult to install, and if attempted, it will contact the parent.


Posted by:

Ken Mitchell
21 Aug 2014

Sprint: Here in Sacramento, CA, my 4G LTE phone has been poking along at 3G speed because there has been no high-speed service here. My contract expired last week, and THE DAY BEFORE, Sprint finally started rolling out 4G LTE service here in the capital of California.

Facebook's "Satire" tag; "everybody knows" that The Onion is satire, but a LOT of otherwise-intelligent people have been sucked in by stories from Duffel Blog. Duffel Blog is one place that REALLY needs a satire tag.


Posted by:

Jan
21 Aug 2014

Bob, your 10" comment may be the most clever one I've read in your articles. My husband laughed, too, when I read it to him. Thank you for entertaining us as well as informing us.


Posted by:

Jo
21 Aug 2014

About the pet collar - I can see it for use in a vet's office, sort if like hospital intensive care but for pets.

Collar "phones" for pets have been available for years. The one I saw was sold by a cell phone company and counts as one more phone on your plan. It transmits your pet's location and lets you track him on your computer. It would be great for a dog that likes to roam.


Posted by:

Loren
22 Aug 2014

An app that is hard or impossible to install. Now that's a good formula for some future malware. Thanks a lot!


Posted by:

Therrito
24 Aug 2014

Can the Ignore No More app work on my Mother's phone so she won't ignore my calls any more? Hm...


Posted by:

Rick
24 Aug 2014

Didn't you mean difficult to 'uninstall'?


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