Geekly Update - 13 March 2013
Can a quick online chat with a virtual doctor cure your ills? How can one simple software error cost over $700 million? And is the infamous "email tax" closer to becoming a reality? 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 on...
The AskBobRankin Geekly Update
The White House is urging the Copyright Office to reverse its recent decision that prohibits consumers from unlocking their cell phones without carriers’ permission. The Administration’s statement was triggered by an online petition that gathered over 114,000 signatures.
"I'm not a doctor, but I play one on the Internet..." Rite Aid pharmacy's virtual physician service is offering 10 minutes of online chat for $45, which lets you consult real doctors about a range of ailments. Just don’t ask about computer viruses. It’s available through kiosks in 58 stores in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.
Speaking of playing doctor... The AlivECG phone case and app will turn your iPhone into an electrocadiogram machine. It’s FDA-approved and costs $200.
Forget about lending a hand. How about just printing one on demand? Richard Van As of South Africa, and Ivan Owen of Washington State, USA, have designed artificial hands that enable amputees to throw balls, pick up coins, and more. Even better, they’ve released the 3D printer designs to the open source community.
Oopsie. Forgetting to add a single line of software code cost Microsoft $730 million. The code was supposed to trigger the “browser choice” option in Windows 7 Service Pack 1’s setup routine, letting users select an alternative to Internet Explorer.
Roku 3 adds a headphone jack to the remote control for private listening. Also, a grid-style user interface replaces the current straight line, easy navigation of multiple channels. Upgraded hardware promises faster, more fluid streaming and navigation.
Evernote was hacked over the March 1, 2013, weekend, exposing the usernames, email addresses, and encrypted passwords of 50 million users. Evernote forced everyone to reset their passwords and accelerated plans to implement two-factor authentication.
Bright idea: Cree LED light bulbs look like incandescents, use far less power (9w for 60w equivalent), set new low price points ($12.97 for 60w, $9.97 for 40w), and come with 10-year warranties (3-5 years is standard). Available through Home Depot in stores and online.
"Only in California..." A tax on email has long been rumored as a means to discourage spam. But Berkeley city councilman Gordon Wozniak thinks it could also be a way to keep the U. S. Postal Service afloat. In fact, he favors taxing every bit of bandwidth you use, covering all Internet alternatives to snail mail.
Android’s data encryption technology can be partially defeated by putting an Android device in a freezer for one hour, according to German researchers. Coincidentally, this encryption scheme first appears in the Android version code named "Ice Cream Sandwich."
Doorbot is a battery-powered doorbell with a Webcam, WiFi, and apps for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. You can see who’s at your door, talk to them, and unlock the door even if you’re not at home. Perfect for authorizing doorstep deliveries, ignoring solicitors, and rescuing kids who’ve lost their keys.
A Seattle dive bar has preemptively banned Google Glass, the wearable computing device that can record video. The owner (who has his own video cameras rolling in the bar) encourages “butt kickings” for violators, and explains that “People want to go there and be not known... and definitely don’t want to be secretly filmed or videotaped and immediately put on the Internet.”
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 13 Mar 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 13 March 2013 (Posted: 13 Mar 2013)
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