Geekly Update - 10 July 2013
Do you know what year the U.S. government started snooping on private electronic communications? (Hint: guess again.) Is your smartphone part of the 99% that are vulnerable takeover by a new malware threat? And you won't believe what just popped out of a 3D printer in a Tennessee high school lab. 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
"This doctor sounds like a real quack." 3D printing does it again. “Buttercup,” a duck born in a Tennessee high school lab with a backwards left foot that had to be amputated, got a nifty prosthesis that took only 13 hours to print.
You think government snooping started in 2001? Try 139 years earlier. Eavesdropping on electronic communications began long before the NSA existed. In 1862, President Abe Lincoln authorized his Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, to have all telegraph traffic routed through his office for monitoring.
A newly discovered security hole leaves 99% of Android phones purchased in the past four years vulnerable to complete takeovers by Trojan OS “updates.” Bluebox Security researchers say the Galaxy S4 is the only phone found to be immune, suggesting that Google has a patched version of Android. Google has no comment, but this should be a wake-up call for carriers to update customers’ phones.
"Point, Click, and R. I. P." to Doug Engelbart, father of the computer mouse. He started developing the pointing device in 1961, when light pens were the awkward norm. Doug was 88 when he passed of kidney failure on July 3.
"Sell high, buy low. Very low." Bebo, the social network purchased by AOL in 2008 for $850 million, has been sold for $1 million. The lucky buyer is Bebo founder Michael Birch, who originally sold it to AOL.
"Chump change?" Samsung paid $30 million to acquire Boxee, the streaming media player developer profiled here in 2012. Who knew you could buy an Internet startup that cheaply?
Wrong number: An electronics store employee Googled “Microsoft Support” and gave the first phone number that appeared to a customer. When she called it, a scam artist tried to talk her out of $600 to remove a fake virus from her new computer. Wisely, she declined the offer.
New York City is the first U.S. city to get its own top-level domain: .NYC. It’s all part of ICANN’S plan to roll out hundreds of new localized and specialized TLDs during the next year. Incidentally, this will make the owner of NYC.COM very happy.
The TSA has opened an Instagram account and is posting one or two daily examples of items confiscated from air travelers. A knife hidden in a belt buckle and a stun-gun disguised as a pack of cigarettes are two examples. Let's hope those naked body scanners aren't hooked up the the Internet...
"How do you say STUPID in Russian?" Google Translate helped save the lives of some Russians tourists who were about to float down a rain-swollen river using flimsy swimming pool toys. A local resident was able to communicate the extreme danger to them by typing his message on his smartphone and showing them the translation.
“The middle of nowhere” is in Idaho by car and Nevada by plane. Northwestern Maine is pretty nowhere, too. That’s according to maps developed by analysts at Visual Statistix using GIS databases to color-code the distance from any point to the nearest highways and airports.
"Sip the coffee, not the juice." A growing number of coffee shops are disabling electrical outlets in customer areas to discourage all-day “laptop hobos.” Some are banning laptops and tablets completely, preferring customers who talk to each other.
"I'm not dead, yet!" Is BlackBerry in its death throes? Only 2.7 million BlackBerry 10s shipped in the latest fiscal quarter, and the company’s stock plunged 30% on that dismal news.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 10 Jul 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 10 July 2013 (Posted: 10 Jul 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved