Geekly Update - 11 June 2014

Category: Tech-News

Has technology provided us with a way to find out what REALLY goes on inside the dishwasher? Will having your smartphone blessed at church protect it from mobile malware? And why is the NSA vacuuming up millions of faces from the Web? 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 NSA is collecting huge numbers of faces from images in messages it intercepts, for use in a facial recognition program. So like I said, stop tagging your friends on Facebook.

A clever video from Volkswagen makes the point that mobile phone use is the leading cause of death behind the wheel. But is it real or staged? Maybe it doesn't matter.

A French Catholic priest is offering a blessing of parishioners’ smartphones to draw more people to church. Perhaps it will increase battery life more than the gimmicks peddled on eBay.

Geekly Update 06-14-11-2014

Whack-a-troll! A federal judge not only dismissed a frivolous patent infringement case, he awarded startup $200,000 in attorneys’ fees incurred during its defense against Lumen View, which tried to extort a $50,000 “licensing fee” for what the judge found is nothing more than a description of computer-generated “matchmaking.”

Ever wonder what goes on inside of a dishwasher? A guy with a GoPro camera made a video to show you. Unfortunately, it doesn't show the part where the little troll sprays food crud back on the dishes, just before you open the dishwasher.

"Biden for President, Now!" The Secret Service is seeking social media analysis software that can detect sarcasm, presumably to avoid wasting resources on insincere threats against the President’s life.

The FBI shut down two major forces of evil over the weekend of May 30-June 1: The Gameover Zeus botnet and the Cryptolocker ransomware. The Dept. of Justice estimates that Gameover stole more than $100 million from victims’ bank accounts during its career, while CryptoLocker extorted $27 million in September and October, 2013, alone.

How dumb does Comcast think its customers are? The cable company’s latest commercial targets gamers, touting the speed and flow of online games over Comcast high-speed Internet. There’s “no buffering” to make game action jerky, the ad advises. But the game playing so fast and smoothly in the background is Ubisoft’s “Trials Fusion,” which has no online connection.

The first six-second video broadcast from the International Space Station is suitably awesome and educational. Watch the Sun complete a full orbit of the Earth.

What’s the harm? Web developer Alexander de Griffoen has created, where you can plug in any Web page’s URL and create a fake version of it with your own text and images. Then distributed the ShrtUrl shortened URL and watch the fun as people click on it. The fake pages are deleted after 48 hours.

Why did Apple pay $3.2 billion for Beats? To further Apple’s plan to take over the audio peripherals market for its iPhone, iPad, and other products, according to Forbes magazine. It seems Apple wants to drop support for the industry-standard 3.5mm audio jack and force users to buy licensed peripheral compatible with Apple’s Lightning connector. It’s all for your own good, of course, especially if you own Apple stock.

Google has plans to spend $1 billion on a fleet of satellites that will bring Internet access to "unwired" corners of the globe. The satellite division will be headed by Greg Wyler, founder of satellite-communications startup O3b Networks Ltd., who recently joined Google.

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 11 June 2014"

Posted by:

11 Jun 2014

"Watch the Sun complete a full orbit of the Earth."

I wasn't aware the Sun orbited the Earth. What madness is this?! This goes against everything I have ever been told!

Posted by:

Elizabeth Landry
11 Jun 2014

Fake website? That should be a felony.

Posted by:

11 Jun 2014

Re:'t phishers already doing that?
This will be a lot easier for them.

Posted by:

Art F
11 Jun 2014

To think I naively believed my elementary school teachers when they told me the earth orbited the sun! The truth finally emerges!

Posted by:

11 Jun 2014

Matt, you apparently did not watch the video. It's the MOTION; and 'orbit' is used as a colloquial phrase since *I* don't have another word to describe what I saw. (The sun moving in a circle with the earth in for foreground? What DO you call that?) ------------- BOB ---------- one of your 'Top 10' Geekly's. The other 9? I'd have to think too hard. Thanks (as you've heard far too many times I know . . . .)

Posted by:

11 Jun 2014

Will the NSA facial recognition software make it possible to learn the identity of the 66 year old pastor who quickly lowered his blood pressure with one weird ingredient from the grocery store? Ads about him keep appearing here and on other popular sites. It would be interesting to meet this guy.

Posted by:

11 Jun 2014

Now if that French priest can do that with cell phones this would shake to the core my empiricist take however because I've accumulated a mammoth number of sins I fear that redemption for me would be a fail :)

Posted by:

11 Jun 2014

Doc, yes I watched the video. It is pretty awesome. However, the Earth is still orbiting the Sun. Yes, in the video the Sun moves in a circle, however it is still the Earth that is orbiting (traveling around) the Sun. The fact that the Sun 'moves' does not change that fact. It is only difficult to tell the Earth is orbiting the Sun in the video because there are no points of reference other than the satellite where the video is shot from so it does not move, the Earth which is shown rotating on its axis, and the Sun moving in a circle. The Sun moving in a circle does not translate into it orbiting the Earth.

For people worried about SHRTURL, the links made from that site are only active for 48 hours and it does not work on sites with a lot of Java. Additionally, you can ONLY change text and images. You can not change links, metadata, or move stuff around on the site you are faking. Phising attacks simply would be very ineffective and not work with the SHRTURL site.

Posted by:

11 Jun 2014

In addition to my previous comment ... my question is ... is the Sun really moving in a circle like that or is the orbit of the Earth and the ISS where the video was shot from, orbiting the Sun in a way that makes the Sun merely appear to move?

Posted by:

11 Jun 2014

Ok, so I believe the reason for the appearance of the Sun "moving" is caused by the orbital path of the ISS; the path is like a sin wave as illustrated here ( The ISS is essentially moving up and down around the curvature of the Earth. It is just not apparent since the Earth is round and the video keeps the edge of the Earth in the same location.

Posted by:

Brian S.
12 Jun 2014

In regards to the French Catholic priest; Can't I just get an app on my phone that I press whenever I need a blessing...or forgiveness? Hah, a confession app!

On the subject of the FBI shutdown of the Gameover Zeus botnet; See, the Feds really do hate competition. That's $127 million that THEY could have stolen from us.

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