Geekly Update - 16 December 2015
Are your Google searches revealing private health information? Is your car capable of calling the police when you break the law? And hey, did I just see a gigantic helium-filled hard drive floating past my window? 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
Is there a D-Wave 2X Quantum Annealer on your Christmas wish list? If not, you're missing out on a computer that can solve certain types of problems 100 million times faster than conventional computing processes. Google and NASA are working together on ways to put this technology into practical use.
"Doctor, it hurts when I Google." Public health officials may soon be able to detect infectious disease outbreaks and monitor their spread in real time. Researchers are using data provided by Google to identify search terms whose frequency spikes during disease outbreaks. The origins of searches can be broken down by city and state, but not traced to individuals.
The new helium-filled, 10-Terabyte Ultrastar He10 hard drive from Western Digital will set you back $800. I might have to buy one just to find out if it makes all my music files sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks.
In the wake of Radio Shack's bankruptcy filing and closure of most of their retail stores, you may be holding a Radio Shack gift card and wondering what to do with it. Good news: you have until December 2, 2016 to apply for a refund of the value on your card.
A Florida woman’s car called the cops after she hit a truck and a van, then tried to escape. The Ford 911 Assist system, called SYNC, gave details to police including her location, and put the driver, Cathy Bernstein, on the phone with a dispatcher. Police later arrested her at home.
Verizon is the last of the Big 4 carriers to roll out WiFi calling, first on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Older WiFi-capable Verizon phones will receive software updates to enable this feature "sometime in the future."
Walmart Pay will debut in early 2016. In addition to handling payments at Walmart stores, the proprietary mobile payment system also lets a shopper in a competitor’s store check the same item’s Walmart price and buy it, possibly using the competitor’s free WiFi. The customer can then pick up his purchase at Walmart.
To hinder terrorists, France is considering a ban on free public WiFi access and Tor, the proxy server network that makes tracing IP addresses difficult for law enforcement (but not impossible, by any means).
One in five Americans uses the Internet “almost constantly,” according to a new Pew Research survey. Eighty-seven percent of mobile device owners go online at least once a day, while only 65% of those without a mobile device do so.
Seattle startup SwanLuv may destroy more relationships than Ashley Madison did. SwanLuv offers to give couples $10,000 towards their dream wedding expenses; but it must be paid back with interest if a marriage ends in divorce. The company says they will leverage online data and use proprietary technology to assess the likelihood of successful marriages.
Forgotten passwords have cost Volkswagen one million euros in the past year because employees call the company’s outsourced IT help desk instead of using the in-house password reset tool.
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 16 Dec 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 16 December 2015 (Posted: 16 Dec 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved