Geekly Update - 02 January 2013

Category: Tech-News

Why is a government agency that studies epidemics so interested in your landline telephone? Where is the best place to go to find out if the voices in your head are coming from outer space? And are we one step closer to the paperless bathroom? 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 on...

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

"It's an epidemic!" Over half of American households either don’t have or barely use landline phones, according to a survey commissioned by... the Centers for Disease Control? Nearly 36% of households lack landline service, and another 16% have both wireless and landline but rarely or never use the latter.

No more lurking around electrical outlets in the airport or library. The BrightBox public charging kiosk locks your smartphone in a compartment while it recharges. You unlock it with the same credit card you swiped to pay the $2.95 fee.

"Actually, NO, I can't hear you now..." Allergic to WiFi, cellphones, and “smart” electric meters? Move to the National Radio Quiet Zone in West Virginia. Created by the FCC and the Independent Radio Advisory Committee, it provides an RF-free zone to avoid interference with radio astronomy facilities which “listen” for extraterrestrial signals.
Geekly Update 01-02-13

Winning the war on paper. A Pew Internet Research survey finds the percentage of Americans who read e-books jumped from 16% to 23% in the past year. Meanwhile, the percentage who read paper books fell from 72% to 67%. The number of people who fell while reading ebooks is still under investigation.

"A diet rich in irony." A major online software store has been fined 1 million yuan ($164,600) for selling apps that distribute pirated copies of Chinese authors’ e-books. The seller: Apple.

Apparently, people are still trying to figure out Facebook. “Facebook” was the most viewed page on the English version of Wikipedia in 2012, according to Wikitrends. And the geek in me finds it humorous that "wiki" was the second most popular page on Wikipedia.

Ouya, the Android-based TV gaming console that raised $8.6 million in its Kickstarter campaign, has shipped 1,200 consoles to game developers. Ouya’s openness and “try before you buy” game pricing policy have generated enormous interest.

The Windows 8 App Store now has over 35,000 apps, or almost one per Windows 8 user. Just kidding; Microsoft claims to have sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses.

In Kansas City, MO, four high school buses will be equipped with wifi internet service, powered by Verizon 3G mobile. Of course, the silly school administrators believe they can strictly control what students access while traveling to band performances and football games.

If you’re going to pirate a movie, Christian Slater’s Playback may be your safest target. The horror (or horrible) film grossed only $264.00 in theaters, so the copyright cops probably aren’t watching it too closely.

When 11 year-old Zack Marks’ parents banned him from Facebook, he started his own social network for pre-teens. signed up nearly 7,000 members in its first two months and is still growing. Hey, people once thought Mark Zuckerberg was “cute,” too.

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 02 January 2013"

Posted by:

Stepinwolf Darkstone
02 Jan 2013

I have my landlines because it came with DSL and when I finally hooked a phone to it, I was plegued with political calls, charity calls, advertisers who ignore do no call lists and scams. Rarely does someone call who I want or need to talk to.

Posted by:

Pam B
02 Jan 2013

You're assuming people who have Windows 8 use it!

Posted by:

02 Jan 2013

My landline (and yours too) is much cheaper than even any dumb (as opposed to smart) cell phone line. The Telco is getting a bum rap. Spoken like the former Telco employee I am.

Posted by:

02 Jan 2013

In British Columbia we need a land line for the emergency services ((911) operators to use "call display" in order to locate where the call is coming from.
I think the same applies to large areas of North America. Plus most a;arm companies use landline service for the alarm warnings.
So there is still a place for landlines.

Posted by:

02 Jan 2013

" . . . Rarely does someone call who I want or need to talk to."

Stepinwolf Darkstone I truly agree with your above-stated quote!


Posted by:

03 Jan 2013

Waaay more complicated topic than it might appear at first glance.
Decades ago I saw a public bathroom in a huge supermarket in Russia. The stalls had separating partitions but there were NO DOORS to close while taking care of your business. The only privacy was provided by the embarrassment of people in line who would step back few steps as not to see a person inside. Not all people in line were embarrassed.
What we achieved in telephone business is very similar. NO PRIVACY. Some people are not bothered. They do their business in public. I LIKE the comfort of privacy. I WANT the knowledge that when I scold my daughter about her too forgiving the rotten boyfriend attitude, a person wanting to hear me needs a court order an a darn good reason.
But what do I know? I'm just another old person on my way out.
Or maybe it isn't too stupid to look at this with my eyes. They DID see a lot.

Posted by:

Don Gilcrease
03 Jan 2013

Did your voices distract you, or was the connection to these too abstract for me???

"Where is the best place to go to find out if the voices in your head are coming from outer space? And are we one step closer to the paperless bathroom?"

My voices are louder than your voices.

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