Geekly Update - 12 November 2014

Category: Tech-News

Does Intel owe you money for fibbing about the speed of your circa-2002 Pentium computer? Which smartphone apps are hogging the most space and killing your battery? And is it finally safe to swallow those tempting little button batteries? 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

A worker who staffed the IT help phone at a Health Department office in New York City was suspended for talking like a robot. He was suspended for 00010100 days.

Over 900 classic arcade games from the 1970s through 1990s can now be played in a Web browser thanks to the Internet Archive. In completely unrelated news, office worker productivity fell by 60% this month, and employees are demanding that Doritos be delivered twice daily to their desks.

Remote control of another person’s body has been demonstrated for the second time. University of Washington researchers replicated an earlier experiment in which the electrical signals of one subject’s brain were measured and transmitted over the Internet, then used to guide the hand of another subject playing a video game.
Geekly Update 11-12-12014

A microwave oven souped up with a Raspberry Pi barebones computer can accept voice commands, determine cooking time by scanning a food item’s barcode, fetch recipes from a Web database, Tweet when it’s finished, and be controlled remotely from a smartphone. All we need now is a robot to fetch frozen burritos from the freezer.

The Seek Thermal Camera adapter plugs into a smartphone to snap infrared images of recent footprints, hidden prowlers, and that pizza you lost. It can also find leaks in hidden water pipes or show you where a frying pan is too hot or cool. That is, it will when it’s available; sign up to be notified via Amazon.

If you own a Pentium 4 based computer, Intel may owe you $15. The chipmaker finally settled a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of people who bought Pentium 4 computers between November 20, 2000 and December 31, 2001 — and all systems with a first-gen Willamette P4 or all P4s clocked below 2GHz, between January and June 2002.

Button batteries that won’t burn babies’ mouths and digestive tracts have been invented at MIT. A special coating allows the battery to conduct electricity when it is compressed between circuit contacts, but prevents current flow if the battery is swallowed.

Google doesn’t know what it’s doing anymore, admits CEO Larry Page. He acknowledged in an interview that the company has outgrown its 14 year-old mission statement, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” He says of an updated mission statement, “We’re trying to figure it out.”

The November 3 release of Android 5.0 (Lollipop) was suspended after many users reported severe battery drainage when WiFi was enabled. The bug is now fixed and the rollout of Lollipop will resume on November 12. Your mobile service carrier may let you have Lollipop in a couple of years.

The list of top 10 Android apps that are killing your phone’s battery is led by the Facebook app, while 3 of the top 10 vampire apps are pre-installed on Samsung phones. Cnet also ranks the top 10 storage-swallowing apps, led by the NY Times.

The Black Friday sales ads of major retailers are leaking out already, and Sam’s Club’s $100-off deal on the original Apple iPad Air with 16 GB is noteworthy. Seldom does Apple permit any price discounting, even on such year-old models.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below, or I'll reprogram your microwave so it plays The Macarena every 15 minutes...

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

Posted by:

12 Nov 2014

Regarding Larry Page's comment about Google's new mission statement, I wish he had said: "We are still searching for it"!

Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
12 Nov 2014

So, they suspended Mr. Robotman for 20 days? (I don't speak binary, but The Google told me where to go to get the conversion. Then I read the article, which, in a very non-robot-like manner, said the poor schmuck with the Brooklyn accent who was trying to be understood got suspended for 20 days.)

Posted by:

12 Nov 2014

I really enjoyed the Geekly Update for Nov 12th. I loved playing some of those old games, like PacMac. I will have to check to find out if I am owed money from Intel. Thanks for all the information in today's newsletter.

Posted by:

Frank Starr
12 Nov 2014

Re: Google doesn’t know what it’s doing anymore.
I dunno. They just bought that airfield in California near San Francisco. Maybe their new motto will be: We own the world!
As for that $15 Intel may owe me: I don't have any receipts, or anything in the way of proof. With what the dollar is worth these days, if you can help me get the $15, maybe I can buy both of us a Snickers bar :) .

Posted by:

Mike Barich
12 Nov 2014

Thermal photography is not at all the same as infrared photography. Thermal can register even small differences in temperature over a wide range. Infrared radiation begins only in objects at least 600F, so your footprint and hidden water pipes would have to be molten lead to show up.

Posted by:

12 Nov 2014

not going to re-write [favorable!] comments...i clicked on the blue/underlined 'click here' and my writing disappeared. yezzz...

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry, that link is for asking a question about a topic unrelated to the article being viewed.

Posted by:

12 Nov 2014

RE: "Android 5.0 (Lollipop) was suspended after many users reported severe battery drainage when WiFi was enabled" - what gets me is that they HAD to have seen this in their testing, they just HAD to. I realize all their development and the bulk of test would have been with the device(s) plugged in - to avoid the need of recharging constantly, the that would HAVE to be at least PART of the testing process. This is NOT version 0.1 for goodness sake! And yet it was release anyway!

How VERY UN-professional of Google. Color me - NOT impressed.

Posted by:

12 Nov 2014

00010100 days - Another reason your newsletters are so highly anticipated.

Posted by:

JI Means
13 Nov 2014

As to the battery -drain issue. I'm getting so tired of new whistles & bells that are neat , but you really can't use them due to the fact they eat up device usage time. Most of the stuff I have in settings is turned off just so I can get an extra hour or so on my phone each day. And I'm not one to be considered a heavy user. Ah well, such is the life of a connected person. :)

Posted by:

13 Nov 2014

@ Ross --- Just a small, tiny question, Have you ever heard of the Peter Principle? Sounds, like it is running well, with the Head Honcho on Google's Development Team , right??? ROFLOL

Bob, I just about fell out of my computer chair, when I read the IT Health Department Helper, in New York City!!! It took a nano second, to see the Binary Code. Bob, you geeky sneak, you ... Loved it!!!

900 Classic Arcade Games? I finally, found Qix ... But, I have never been able to get any of the emulation codes to work, in the past. Not really sure, I want to go through that again, either. I simply wished I had my Atari 5200, to play Qix!!!

Posted by:

13 Nov 2014

It would have been sensible to recognise your non US readers and mention that the Intel settlement only applies to "residents of the United States".

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry, I didn't read the fine print. If I had saved my receipts from 2000-2002, I might have dug deeper.

Posted by:

14 Nov 2014

Janet Yellen talks like a robot, and she didn't get suspended.

Posted by:

03 Dec 2014

I trust nothing coming out of CNET. Have you tried downloading anything from their site?

They try to load your computer full of bloatware and malware.

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