Geekly Update - 15 May 2013
Oh no... is Youtube going to start charging to watch videos? How are some parents connecting their baby's diaper to the Internet? And can an iPad literally stop your heart from beating? 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
"Download Complete..." TweetPee is a Huggies brand plastic bird that clips to a diaper and notifies parents via Twitter when the diaper needs changing. Not sure if it’s a “direct message” or public tweet. But where are the parents if they need this? Oh yeah, Facebook.
A perfect score! In 2012, all of the government’s 1,856 requests for permission to search the email and monitor the phone calls of Americans presumed to be communicating with foreigners were approved by the secret FISA court authorized in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
YouTube will try charging $1.99 per month for selected channels starting this week, according to unnamed sources cited by the Financial Times. Up to 50 such “premium” channels will participate in this experiment, which could nudge the cable industry towards a similar unbundled paradigm.
The iPad contains powerful magnets that can disable implanted heart defibrillators with potentially fatal results, a 14 year-old discovered in a science fair project. The magnets secure the optional Smart Cover, and the defibrillators are designed to be shut off by external magnets. Don’t rest your iPad on your chest if you have an implant.
Homebound kids are attending school “in person” thanks to telepresence robots designed by VGo Communications. Students remotely drive their bots from class to class, communicating with teachers and peers through webcams.
Losing face: AT&T was selling the Facebook-centric "HTC First" phone for 99 cents (yes, pennies) as of this writing, down from its $99 debut price. Meanwhile, the Facebook Home app has fallen to 338th place among downloaded Google Store apps, a drop of 200 ranks in two weeks.
Want to be a Master of Google Fu? The official National Security Agency guide to researching on the Internet is now available to the public free of charge, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request. Ignore any “document is processing” placeholder and click “download” for the PDF.
Defcon.org, the origin of 3D-printable handgun files, shut down on May 9, 2013, at the “request” of the U. S. Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, a State Department agency. But not before over 100,000 copies of the file were downloaded. Not to worry, it’s all over The Pirate Bay, as well.
$45 million was stolen from ATMs in 26 countries by a ring of several hundred cybercriminals. Hackers penetrated banks’ firewalls, raised ATM withdrawal limits, and texted PIN numbers to “cashiers” who drained ATMS dry. The Secret Service is prosecuting members of a New York cell.
Department store Nordstrom has stopped tracking customers via their smartphones’ WiFi connections. The test at 17 stores collected anonymous aggregated data used to analyze customers’ movements and plan store layouts. Coincidentally (according to Nordstrom), it was ended the day after a TV report of the project aired.
Competition and transparency are already lowering health insurance premiums in Oregon as costs and standardized coverages are posted online. Funny how insurers didn’t notice their “miscalculations” until they went public.
Far out: The International Space Station just upgraded its laptops’ operating systems to Debian Linux. Until now, they’d been running Windows XP.
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome! Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 15 May 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 15 May 2013 (Posted: 15 May 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved