Geekly Update - 08 October 2014

Category: Tech-News

Are cosmic forces responsible for bending iPhones? Are hackers who stole 76 million account records from Chase Bank content to do nothing with their stolen data? And can you really lose custody of your child by using Wifi in a coffee shop? 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

The controversial “iPhone 6 bending” phenomenon finally has a rational, scientific explanation, according to notorious spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller. He claims that it's not Apple's fault at all. Rather, "the energy and excitement" of millions of iPhone consumers has "stirred up their mental forces" causing the iPhones to bend. Oh, and he's offered to help Apple deal with the bad press, if they'll hire him.

JPMorgan Chase revealed that 76 million customer accounts were compromised in a hacker intrusion discovered last summer, not the one million accounts the bank first reported. The hackers got control of 90 servers before the invasion was discovered. The bank says there was "no evidence of fraud" involving the use of stolen customer information. I guess that weird phone call I got on my unlisted number from a woman who asked for me by name, and claimed to be "from Chase" doesn't count as fraud.

Geekly Update 10-08-2014

To see if people actually read “Terms Of Service” notices, researchers slipped into one a clause that said the free public WiFi service offered in a busy café was provided only if "the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity". Six people agreed during the 30 minutes the experiment lasted. "As this is an experiment, we will be returning the children to their parents," said the tech security firm that ran the experiment, F-Secure.

Hot on the well-rounded heels of the “iPhone BendGate” story comes “HairGate” -- users whining that their hair is getting caught in the gap between the phone’s glass display and aluminum chassis. Repeat after me: “It's a feature, not a bug.”

Google received a $100 million lawsuit threat from an attorney claiming to represent a dozen female celebrities whose nude photos were ostensibly leaked from iCloud, posted all over the Web, and indexed by the search giant. The letter charges that Google has been unresponsive or too slow in responding to DMCA demands for takedowns of links to the embarrassing material. Google says it’s removed “tens of thousands” of such links, most in a matter of hours. Is this a silver lining for the affected celebs, or just a lining of the attorney's pockets with silver?

Paypal has been besieged by Square Cash, Google Wallet, and now Apple Pay; the venerable e-payment system is increasingly irrelevant to the critical 18-30 year-old demographic, with less than one-quarter of them using Paypal. Now eBay has announced that it’s going to spin off Paypal as a separate company. Could this be the end for “the world’s most loved payment system?”

Google Fiber’s introduction of gigabit-speed Internet access at bargain rates in the Kansas City market has highlighted the economic “digital divide,” according to two door-to-door surveys of KC residents cited by The Wall Street Journal. Unsurprisingly, poor people don’t have $70/month for 1 Gbps service or $300 for installation of Google Fiber’s “free for three years” 5 Mbps service.

Before purchasing a used iPhone, plug its serial number into Apple’s new “Activation Lock Status” Web server to see if the phone is unlocked and ready for you to use.

3… 2… 1… and it’s all over for Lotus 1-2-3, the 30 year-old spreadsheet program that provided the first really good reason to buy a business personal computer. IBM finally ended support for the venerable product last week, ending an era.

"Lie, Damned Lie or Statistic?" According to NeoWin, Internet Explorer remains the most widely used Web browser in the world, leading Google Chrome and Firefox by a 3-to-1 margin. Unless you believe StatCounter, W3Counter, or Wikimedia -- all of which show Chrome leading by a more than 2-to-1 margin.

Users of iOS 8 are reporting a serious bug in the “reset all settings” function of their iPhones. Despite a prominent assurance that “no data or media will be deleted,” resetting all settings to their factory defaults has deleted files stored on iCloud Drive. Copies of files stored on synced devices vanish, too. Whoopsie!

“How Google Works” is a book, not a user manual. Co-authored by legendary Google execs Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, it reveals the rhyme and reason of Google’s culture, strategy, hiring tactics, decisions, communications, and more. It discusses Google’s response to the censoring demands of the Chinese government and the intrusiveness of the NSA. It even explains why the popular Google Reader RSS service was killed, and why Google thinks Hangouts is going to catch on.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below, or I'll downgrade your router to dialup speed...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 08 October 2014"

Posted by:

08 Oct 2014

So long Lotus, it's the one I learned on.
I don't remember the TOS agreement, but I'm sure it was not as long as the one I downloaded the other day, 37 pages, little bit of overkill. Please take my first born, they just started college.

Posted by:

08 Oct 2014

What's interesting for me about the "experimentation" being carried out by large companies is that it is "experimentation" on about the same level as was carried out during WWII on civilian and military prisoners That "experimentation" was discredited because of poor design, inconsistent protocols and the motivations of the researchers. The little detail that has trickled out about today's "experiments" suggests that the large companies are not concerned about design and protocol; their economic motivation is comparable to the political motivation of WWII players.

When I've had to agree to terms of service I've been confronted with small print that is difficult to analyze at times when I just wanted to get some program loaded so that I could meet pressing time deadlines. So, sure they can have my first-born. In my case she is over 21 - I have no power over her; if asked I will agree as i have nothing to give away! Are the "researchers" from F-Secure absolutely certain that those 6 had first-born to give away. In sum, they weren't proving anything as they can't guarantee that the "subjects" had first-born!

Matters are getting out of control when companies can get away with saying that they have conducted "experiments" - they haven't. All they've done is used the press to try to publicize misleading information and unsubstantiated claims.

Unless there is a completely neutral non-profit that can review and approve "experiments" all we are really seeing is profit-hungry companies out of control. So much for government looking out for the average citizen's interests! Business isn't being stopped because politicians want their donations.

Posted by:

08 Oct 2014

In the teaser email for this update asked: "And can you really lose custody of your child by using Wifi in a coffee shop?"

The answer is: I don't know, it was not addressed in the update...I feel so I'll worry about it all day....NOT.

Posted by:

08 Oct 2014

Nevermind, it was the TOS prank that assigned the first born child to the developer software company.

Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
08 Oct 2014

R.I.P., Lotus 1-2-3. ... "provided the first really good reason to buy a business personal computer."

Um, maybe, but I'm thinking the world's first "killer app" was VisiCalc.


Posted by:

Peter Ballantyne
08 Oct 2014

DIALUP? You horrible, horrible, horrible man you! (Just kidding :-))

Posted by:

08 Oct 2014

No! Not dial up! Up in the hills, poor quality wire DSL is bad enough.

Of course, agreeing to wifi terms including such an outrage as child assignment would not hold up. But what about slightly more innocuous terms, such as agreeing to share all your info or allow a virus to be installed? Would they hold up?

Posted by:

Shady Character
09 Oct 2014

"No comments have been posted on this article. Why not be the first?"
Because the article is so clear and comprehensive that nothing more remains to be said."

Posted by:

David Guillaume
09 Oct 2014

I Phone bending. I am pretty sure that it is a fault in manufacturing that is causing this problem. If the internal PCB is of a thicker material than the base of the case screwing the PCB to uneven mounting pillars will cause the unit to bend. Alternatively it may be the manufacturing methodology in the way that the case itself has either been extruded or injection moulded or even a faulty plastic granule mix prior to delivery to the manufacturing unit concerned. All of which can introduce an unwanted excessive flexibility into the end product.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 08 October 2014 (Posted: 8 Oct 2014)
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