Geekly Update - 04 June 2014

Category: Tech-News

Are we getting closer to Star Trek-style human teleportation? How about that universal language translator thingy? And what would YOU do if Facebook or Instagram had a 'love' button? 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

She would have clicked "Love" if that was an option... Instagram reunited Reed Cohen, an adoptee, with his birth mother after 16 years. He started posting baby pictures of himself on Instagram and someone named “Becca” started “liking” them. They friended each other, swapped messages, and finally Mom admitted who she was.

“Beam me up!” Scientists in the Netherlands have, for the first time, reliably "teleported" data via quantum entanglement: the ability of two particles, separated by any distance, to affect each other instantaneously as if they were a unified system. Albert Einstein scoffed at the notion, complaining that "physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance." For now, they're just teleporting data, not humans.

Geekly Update 06-04-2014

A Universal Translator is another Star Trek standby, and Microsoft showed off its first stab at such a thing during the Code Conference in California, May 27. The alpha stage software will eventually end up in Skype, translating your conversation with that Russian mail-order bride in real time. A similar concept for the written word is available now, with the Word Lens app, which lets you instantly translate printed words with your phone’s camera, even without a network connection.

CNN is claiming that 47 percent of Americans have had their personal data “hacked.” First comes the disclaimer: “The exact number of exposed accounts is hard to pin down…” Then comes “the best estimate….” Then comes the obfuscated truth: they pulled overlapping numbers from annual reports, fluffed them up to “nearly half” of all Americans, and got some non-profit to agree “it’s possible.” Oh, and did you hear that a Malaysian airliner is missing?

"If you can't do, teach." Computer science professors studied computer science professors and discovered where you should go to study computer science if you want to be a computer science professor. Researchers at Brown University gave 19 students $30 each to hire desperate housewives on Amazon Mechanical Turk to actually conduct the survey of over 2100 profs in 51 schools.

“I’m mortified by my idiotic emails,” confessed the CEO of Snapchat in reference to recently leaked correspondence from his college days that did not speak of women respectfully. If only there was a service that would automatically delete your messages after a brief period. Hmmm, hmmm...

While Google watches all of us, a tiny handful of us watch Google with equal intensity. Someone noticed two changes in Google’s logo, designed to improve its readability. Can you spot them?

“How’m I doing?” is a question you’ll never again ask your doctor or personal trainer when the Samsung “Simband” health monitor hits the market. The wristwatch-like device uses light beams aimed at your skin to measure health metrics such as blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, hydration level, and the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood. Too much information?

If your beer-chilling bill is cutting into your beer-buying budget, the Underground Beer Cooler is just what you need. It’s a conveyor-belt rack that holds 24 cans of brew in a hole dug or drilled into backyard soil. The temperature down there is cool (but never freezing) and fairly constant all year round. Just turn the crank to retrieve a cold one. It really needs a lock, though. The squirrels in my back yard would figure out how to work this thing in about an hour.

A hapless hacker picked the wrong victim to extort: Roger Ver, better known as “Bitcoin Jesus” for his activism on behalf of the virtual cryptocurrency. The hacker demanded 37 bitcoins – about $20,000 – threatening to release Ver’s personal info if it went unpaid. Instead, Ver put out his own 37 bitcoin bounty on the hacker, who was soon whining, “Are you going to order a hitman to kill me now?”

No guarantee of safety in iOS-land… Apple device users are claiming to have been hit by ransomware, malware that locks up their iPads ande iPhones, and displays a message demanding payment for release.

Your thoughts on this topic are *strongly* encouraged. Post your comment below, or I'll steal all your bitcoins...

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 04 June 2014"

Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
04 Jun 2014

Bob: Your teaser copy is missing the word "would." You have: And what YOU do if Facebook or Instagram had a 'love' button?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks, fixed now!


Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
04 Jun 2014

Hey, Bob,

I tend toward libertarianism, but I have never figured out why Bitcoins are a good idea. Perhaps you'd like to do a primer/expose about Bitcoins in an upcoming issue. :-)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Like this? http://askbobrankin.com/should_you_invest_in_bitcoins.html :-)


Posted by:

Robert Kemper
04 Jun 2014

I noticed your comment about squirrel's in your back yard, and I had to laugh, as I've had the same problem now for the last ten years. What
troublesome pest's they can be, especially if you have a fruit tree or two. I can understand why
some people in southern part's of our country have
suirrel rifle's handy.


Posted by:

top squirrel
04 Jun 2014

Dear Bob: Since I updated Firefox recently I have been unable to see your articles past the "Ask Bob" banner at the top. It never finishes loading. I have to switch to Opera. Since you mention you now use Chrome you may not be aware of this. (Or is the problem at my end?)

EDITOR'S NOTE: No problem with Firefox here... what security software are you using?


Posted by:

Phil
05 Jun 2014

@Robert Kemper. Seems like you need to take a rifle to them pesky apostrophes. There does seem to be a worldwide plague of 'em, but especially in the US. But if you do not have an apostrophe rifle handy, this simple rule will help keep them at bay: NEVER let one near any word you just want to be plural. And good luck with the squirrels. ☺️


Posted by:

Bob Deloyd
05 Jun 2014

From a longtime reader; I see the squirrels are back!


Posted by:

top squirrel
06 Jun 2014

re previous post: I use Malwarebytes and Avast and I have a Comodo firewall, all up to date. Suggestions?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I would start by temporarily disabling the firewall, then MBAM, then Avast.


Posted by:

Rochelle
07 Jun 2014

Phil---
:-) :-)


Posted by:

Byron M
07 Jun 2014

Anyone remember the movie: The Fly? Teleportation theory has been around form many yrs. A stretch of the imagination. Remember the old Star Trek shows where the doors opened automatically, they had stage crews pulling on ropes to open the doors. Now, we have doors that open automatically :) And laser weapons, we have lasers everywhere now. Powerful enough to cut through thick steel. And communicator devices that fit in our ears. Audio/video devices that strap to our wrists. Overwhelmingly mind-boggling the advances in technology in the past 30 yrs.


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