Geekly Update - 07 May 2014

Category: Tech-News

Is it legal to marry your Macbook? Should your sunglasses be talking to your smartphone? Why is it a bad idea to argue with a supercomputer? And what's the best place to stash 3,700 Blu-ray discs? 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

"I now pronounce you Man and... Macbook?" A Florida man who "fell in love with his computer" was denied in his request to marry his Apple laptop. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said “Perhaps the motion is satirical.” Which was probably also satirical.

"What a Vidiot!" Florida seems to have become the capitol of weirdness. Robert Kelley, an 18-year-old from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, filmed himself while driving erratically and crashing into multiple cars. He later posted the self-titled "Driving like an idiot" video on YouTube, which led to his arrest. The local police chief quipped “We certainly appreciate it.”

"I'd like to have an argument." IBM’s new supercomputer, The Debater, can argue as well as any Internet intellectual. In a recent demonstration, it scanned 4 million Wikipedia articles to select the best arguments for and against the proposition, “The sale of violent videogames to minors should be banned.” And, of course, it blithely contradicted itself.
Geekly Update 05-07-2014

You’ll never lose your sunglasses again, if you can a) hold on until this Fall and b) come up with $350 for a pair of Tzukuri sunglasses. An embedded chip powered by the Sun communicates with your smartphone, which sounds an alert if you move too far from your sunglasses. (But if you leave them both by the pool to take a swim, that alert may be just what a clever thief is listening for!)

A device that jams cellular phone signals may be tempting, but the FCC says “no” with a fine of up to $48,000. Jason Humphreys found that out the hard way, after being arrested for using one in his car. The jammers not only interfere with calls to 911, they block nearby law enforcement radio signals, emergency response communications, and other things that people really need. So don’t do it.

“Where’s the car, mighty Karnak?” Watch Professor Roger Bowley extend the range of his electronic key fob’s radio signal by pressing it against his head, enabling him to trigger the flashing of taillights and horn-honking. The explanation of how it works is pretty nifty.

eBay’s top two affiliate marketers – Web entrepreneurs who earn commissions by driving traffic to eBay – were convicted of bilking the auction market out of $35 million. It was pretty simple from a technical standpoint; all they had to do was plant the right sort of cookies on unsuspecting users’ computers.

Speaking of frauds, that’s what Google is calling the so-called “Adsense Leak,” a voluminous and anonymous accusation that the search giant tried to cut its costs by banning its top advertising partners and keeping Adsense commissions owed to them. Obviously, you don’t increase profits by dumping your biggest revenue generators, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill.

You could store the equivalent of 3,700 Blu-ray discs on a cassette tape using Sony’s new, record-smashing tape manufacturing process. The tape holds 148 gigabits of data per square inch, a data density that beats a record set in 2010 by more than fivefold. Don’t look for such cassettes at Radio Shack, though; they’re designed for enterprise backup systems.

"This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds..." Snapchat’s latest update lets users swap text messages that evaporate after a set period of time, as well as exchanging self-destructing photos.

The end of the URL? Google is testing an update to the Chrome browser that will hide the URL (web page address). The change will display only the domain name, but you can click the "origin chip" to reveal the complete URL.

Twitter is testing a “mute button” that blocks tweets without unfollowing the tweeter. The benefit is that you can still exchange direct messages with the muted twit if he’s also following you, and receive notifications concerning that person.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below, or I'll steal your sunglasses...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 07 May 2014"

Posted by:

07 May 2014

Bowley: I really like the idea of extending the range of my car-key remote, as it's always been very short (and requires multiple button presses); though I AM very weary of ADDING to the electromagnetic waves bombarding my brain. Who knows what effect that may have on memories or thought process.

Twitter: At first, 'muting' someone so they no longer appear in your Twitter feed seems like a good idea, but if they no longer show up you might as well un-follow them; you're not likely to exchange DMs. I dunno, I guess we'll see.

SONY: Saw this the other day (Gizmodo on Twitter). It's cool that there's still research in tape and had no idea of the density.

Posted by:

Ken Mitchell
07 May 2014

The Bluetooth-enabled sunglasses; " (But if you leave them both by the pool to take a swim, that alert may be just what a clever thief is listening for!)". If you leave both your phone AND your glasses while you dive in, the alarm won't go off - because the phone and your glasses are together. If you dive into the pool WITH your phone, you're going to have bigger issues than your sunglasses alarm going off.....

Posted by:

07 May 2014

Re: Chrome and the "origin chip"- Those who are curious to see what it looks like, the chrome://flags/#origin-chip setting is modifiable in Chrome version 34...

Posted by:

07 May 2014

I must ask the following question about extending the range of car key fob operation: I am wondering if a greater range can be achieved if the user is on Vi*gra? ;)

Posted by:

08 May 2014

Bowley: I tried this the other day and could not get it to work for me. I have a 2013 RAV4 and a 2006 Highlander and neither would work any farther with the key to my head.

Posted by:

08 May 2014

Bob, thanks for the chuckle today. :)

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