Geekly Update - 15 September 2016
If a drone lands in your front yard, are you allowed to eat it? Are robots replacing humans at fast food restaurants? And can Google convince aspiring terrorists to change course? Find out in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. And it's *guaranteed* to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!
The AskBobRankin Geekly Update
A New Zealand insurance company is refusing to pay a homeowner’s claim despite losing a court battle in which the insurer accused the man of burning down his own home while he was 400 km away. The insurance adjuster's “novel theory” involves remote access software, a printer, and a match.
"Why can't we be friends?" A psychiatrist was puzzled when Facebook began recommending her patients as potential friends. Then she became alarmed to learn that Facebook was also recommending her patients to each other.
The voice of Star Trek’s ubiquitous and invisible Library Computer Access and Retrieval System (LCARS) will soon be available for Siri and other vocal AI devices. That voice, by the way, belonged to the late wife of Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry.
Edible drones will deliver themselves to disaster areas with much greater accuracy than supplies dropped by parachute. The wings can be eaten and the fuselage can contain water. The drones can even be made of food tailored for the culture of the area in which they are used, avoiding waste due to religious proscriptions of certain foods.
The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles now allows car owners to cancel their license plates online, authenticating their ownership of a vehicle simply by entering its VIN, plate number, and their ZIP code. Hmm, I wonder how that could be exploited by pranksters…
It’s bad enough when robots take over humans’ jobs, but when the robot is made of Lego blocks it becomes downright humiliating. Behold the Lego Whopper Meal Machine, which makes a Burger King meal for $5.
Great idea: free WiFi for visitors to the City Hall of Norfolk, VA. Bad idea: naming the network “CON-PUBLIC,” as in “City Of Norfolk.”
Google Chrome version 53 was released during the first week of September. It’s lighter, faster, and for the first time brings Google’s Material Design layout to Windows. If you use Chrome but have not yet been prompted to install v53, go to Settings > About > Check for updates.
Google has a clever plan to turn aspiring ISIS terrorists back to the light. Searches commonly entered by susceptible people now produce results that are accompanied by ads leading to counter-information: testimonials of former ISIS members, videos of actual life in the ISIS “caliphate,” etc.
AT&T, which owns DirecTV, has “zero-rated” DirecTV, allowing mobile customers to watch DirecTV content on their phones without using any of their data allotments.
A poorly worded agreement between the FCC and AT&T allowed the latter to charge its poorest customers its highest rates for its slowest Internet service: $30/month for speeds less than 3 Mbps. A public interest group, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, has finally pressured AT&T into charging households that get food stamps $5/month for sub-3 Mbps Internet, the same as those who get 3-5 Mbps.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 15 Sep 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 15 September 2016 (Posted: 15 Sep 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved