Geekly Update - 12 March 2014

Category: Tech-News

What's the secret to doubling your reading speed to 500 words per minute? Should you be worried about 'synthetic' identity theft? Is Microsoft rewarding the Chinese for massive piracy of Windows XP software? And does a new hardware/software combo let you make bacon with your iPhone? 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 much-anticipated update to Windows 8.1 has been leaked – by Microsoft, apparently. Someone noticed that six files containing the revamped OS were available for downloading from the Windows Update site, a month before the official release date. Windows 8.1 Update 1 will feature more obvious power and search buttons on the hated Start screen, and some common-sense updates for those old-fashioned "mouse and keyboard" users. Booting directly to the familiar Windows desktop on non-touch devices will be the most popular change.

Try reading at the rate of 500 words per minute. You’ll find it surprisingly easy with Spritz, a new ebook app debuting on Samsung smartphones that finds the Optimal Recognition Point of every word, highlights it in red, and puts it in the right place on screen to minimize your eyes’ work.

Geekly Update 03-12-2014

Will users continue to receive Windows XP security updates in China, after Microsoft drops support for the aged operating system in the rest of the world on April 8? A stunning 57% of Chinese desktops run Windows XP and users are reluctant to give it up (mainly because nearly every copy was pirated). Rumors were published to this effect but Microsoft quickly denied them, stating instead they would "closely work with leading Chinese internet security and anti-virus companies." Sounds kind of like "support" to me...

The first iOS app that wakes you up to the sizzle and savour of bacon is free… but you’ll have to compete for it. Oscar Meyer invites you to apply before April 5, 2014, for a random shot at the limited-edition Wake Up and Smell The Bacon App and its companion hardware that plugs into a phone and releases the sweet, sweet scent.

“Synthetic” identity fraud is growing exponentially. Instead of stealing a real person’s identity, scammers simply create a fictitious person out of thin air and build a portfolio of driver’s license, business registrations, credit cards, and bank loans around it. After years of patiently building up credit, the scammers abscond with a big haul.

Sprint overcharged the U.S. government $21 million for wiretapping services, alleges a lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act. The suit claims that Sprint inflated prices by almost 60 percent between January 1, 2007, and July 31, 2010. It's nice that they do audits of vendor invoices every six or 7 years...

“Love me or leave me,” says Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! Users of Yahoo services will have to register a Yahoo account instead of signing in with the user IDs or competitors such as Facebook and Google. The change began March 3, 2014, with Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick’em, just in time for the NCAA “March Madness” tournament, and will be extended to other services over an unspecified period.

"Drill, Baby, Drill?" How did p**n movies end up on the website of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources? Well, the department uses that server to receive large files, such as map data, via FTP. But there is no password required and the FTP site is outside of the firewall, so anyone can upload anything they like. And it appears they do.

Over 600 complaints against Delhi, India’s police that a citizens’ watchdog group forwarded to a police portal website have languished since 2008 because police can’t find their password to the file server. That would never happen here in the USA, would it?

Getty Images has made many of its stock photo images available free of charge, conceding that they were being pirated wantonly anyhow. The new terms of use allow non-commercial use of Getty images, using embedded code that displays the chosen image, gives Getty credit, and provides a link back to the original file on Getty’s site. The company also reserves the right to serve ads to such embedded images, which would be a few nickels better than the “nothing” Getty gets for most photos now.

The father of Bitcoin really is named Satoshi Nakamoto, if you believe Newsweek reporter Leah McGrath Goodman. In a tedious tale, she claims to have sniffed out the virtual currency creator’s secret identity and tracked him down at a modest home in Temple City, CA. His current name is Dorian Nakamoto; he’s 64; and he called the cops on Goodman. The rest is kind of boring and incredible; sheriff’s deputies don’t talk that way, in my experience.

Free music, with no ads on your Samsung Galaxy smartphone. The Android phone market leader has launched a music streaming service exclusively for owners of its Galaxy phones. Dubbed “Milk Music,” its run by Slacker and features 13 million songs curated by “top DJs and industry pros.”

T-mobile is doubling the data allotment of its cheapest contract plan to 1 GB per month. Simple Choice plan customers will also be able to use their phones as mobile hotspots for the first time. Chalk it up to competition.

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

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 12 March 2014"

Posted by:

Brian S.
12 Mar 2014

"Synthetic" identity fraud? Hmmmm.....shades of Andy Dufresne. He had to go to prison to become a criminal. "...swam through a river of sh*t, and came clean out other side."

Posted by:

13 Mar 2014

Thanks Bob, for the story by Newsweek reporter Leah McGrath Goodman on Satoshi Nakamoto. You're right, incredible story.

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