Geekly Update - 12 Jul 2017

Category: Tech-News

An experimental mobile phone has no battery... is it powered by magic, squirrels, or thin air? Does Amazon's latest move make it possible to download organic vegetables and artisanal cheeses? And would you give up your friend's privacy for a pizza? Get answers in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

Image-hosting site Photobucket has decided to commit suicide by suddenly charging users $399/year for the privilege of linking their photos to non-Photobucket pages like Ebay, Amazon or Etsy. Users who don't pay can't even access their photos. Hmmm, this sounds a lot like ransomware...

College students say they cherish their privacy, but in a recent study most of them gave up their friends’ privacy in exchange for pizza.

In a deal that shook the entire retail industry, Amazon agreed to purchase Whole Foods for a little over $13 billion.

Geekly Update 07-12-2017

A tech worker has written a program that effectively does his job for him, so he spends only 10 minutes a month on the work for which he receives full pay. The ethical question he poses is, “Should I tell my employer?” (Before answering, read the next item.)

A CenturyLink employee says she was fired two days after tipping off the CEO to a Wells Fargo-like scheme to bill customers for features and services they never ordered.

Elder geeks who remember the reassuringly solid “clickety-clack” of the early IBM Model F keyboard will be pleased to know it’s making a comeback.

Researchers have developed the first mobile phone that doesn’t need a battery. The device gathers power from ambient light and radio signals.

Amazon has patented a method of storing merchandise underwater until it’s ordered, then playing a special sound that triggers inflation of a balloon to bring the item to the surface, where presumably tiny tugboats nudge it into a shipping container. (Delivery by drone deosn't seem like such a crazy idea now, does it?)

A new quadcopter drone from FlyTrex can deliver beer, or anything that weighs less than six pounds. But we’ll settle for beer.

Good: Drone maker responsibly implements “No Fly Zone” tech in its drones’ firmware to prevent interference with commercial aircraft, firefighters, etc. Bad: Customers hacking “no fly” code in ways that may make drones crash.

“SpyDealer” malware has been in the mobile wild since October, 2015, but was just recently discovered by security researchers. It steals names, addresses, contacts, and even location data from infected phones.

New Jersey is using a robotic lawnmower to cut grass along highways on slopes that are too steep for the safety of human operators. I need one of these.

Need a really wide monitor? Samsung’s new CHG90 model is 49 inches wide, curved to keep its edges in your peripheral vision, and has an aspect ratio of 32:9, and its resolution is 3840 x 1080, which translates to double full HD. Only $1,500.

If that's not big enough for you, try hooking this thing up to your desktop. The biggest 4K TV ever made is a whopping 262 inches measured diagonally. The C Seed 262 is 19 feet wide, contains 10 speakers, includes a 4K media server, and costs $539,000. Professional installation will run another $38,400.

E-books are wildly popular at libraries these days, so much so that most titles are perpetually on hold for the next reader in line. The Denver Public Library provides an in-depth look at the economics of e-book licensing and lending.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 12 Jul 2017"

Posted by:

12 Jul 2017

It truly is heart-warming, Bob, that you remembered your Internet roots when speculating on the power source of battery-less mobile phone :-)


Posted by:

12 Jul 2017

If I was to buy that mobile phone it would draw its power out of "fat air" lol

Posted by:

12 Jul 2017

In the movie "Once upon a time in America" the early gang devised a scheme to bring the booze to the surface after it was dumped overboard. Did Amazon sorta steal their idea?

Posted by:

12 Jul 2017

Yup! R.I.P. Photobucket.

Whatever gave them the idea this would fly with folk?

Another good article with lots of interesting facts. I don't know about 146% smarter, I'll go with 146% Wow, whatever next!

Posted by:

12 Jul 2017

Sorely tempted by that keyboard! I recently bought a Das Keyboard with Cherry blue switches. Such much better than anything in the stores today. But not quite as remember those old IBMs. $350 is a bit steep, but...

Posted by:

12 Jul 2017

At nearly $84,000 apiece, wouldn't ya' think there'd be some coinage to be made, by someone designing a regular mower with a lower center-of-gravity? You know... shorter and a tad wider? Of course then they'd be limited to only using squat operators, a sure violation of equal opportunity laws, no doubt...

Posted by:

12 Jul 2017

Agreed on the Das Keyboard. Using it now and loving it. I'm typing faster, and enjoying it more. Still new enough to me that the key layout and spacing isn't yet coded to my muscle memory, but it'll get there. Great Goodwill find for $5.00!

Posted by:

12 Jul 2017

Casey, I had the same nostalgic thought. I wonder what Patrick is up to these days?

Posted by:

12 Jul 2017

I've always wondered why the system to power transistor radios and calculators with light years ago hasn't been engineered smaller and more powerful to handle the present day gadgets.

Posted by:

12 Jul 2017

Not sure what the big deal with that particular keyboard is. Unicomp took over the IBM design and has been selling good quality buckling spring keyboards for years.

Posted by:

16 Jul 2017

Bob, your deft understanding of just what is in harmony with what we non-I T folks can comprehend and easy-to-follow commentary on I T matters has been 'my rod and my staff' in such things for years, and continues to be. Thank you ! (,but we couldn't sufficiently express how very grateful we are!). Combine that with your droll (but not troll!) and entertaining way of presenting this material which to many of us is not, in and of itself, of compelling interest, and you have created a bang-up daily treat we love!!!

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 12 Jul 2017 (Posted: 12 Jul 2017)
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