Geekly Update - 19 August 2015
Robots, dinosaurs and cyborgs... they're smart, but can they behave themselves in public? Can you still get 8 music CDs for a penny? And did Google just re-invent the alphabet? 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 robot has passed a classic self-awareness test, recognizing that it was hearing its own voice.
“Cyborg activist” Neil Harbisson has an antenna sticking out of his skull and curling over his forehead, much like the “lure” found on angler fish. It senses light frequencies that cause chips embedded in his skull to vibrate, so he can “hear” light and colors that unenhanced humans can’t see. Next, he can work on self-awareness.
A hotel run by robotic dinosaurs has opened in Japan. From bellhop to room service, you’ll never have to tip again. Let's just hope the help doesn't hide under the bed.
Google announced a radical reorganization, with an umbrella company called “Alphabet, Inc.” holding numerous subsidiaries. “Ahem!” says automaker BMW, which owns the trademark “Alphabet Inc.” and the domain alphabet.com, and isn’t interested in selling either. If only there was a convenient way to search for trade names already in use...
If you don't qualify for a free Windows 10 upgrade, or you don't have the bandwidth to download it, you can still get in on the fun. Retail copies of Windows 10 will ship on USB drives instead of DVDs, Microsoft announced.
Apple Music tunes downloaded for offline listening won’t play on iPod Shuffle or Nano because Apple can’t remotely erase stored tunes if the user’s Apple Music subscription lapses. The erasable iPod Touch will work with Apple Music.
Spam declined to less than 50% of enterprise email traffic this year, according to a new report from Symantec. Spam and phishing are both declining, but ransomware is up in corporate environments.
YouTube is watched by more people for longer periods of time than any individual cable network, according to the latest figures.
Samsung has added payments capability to select smart TVs already on sale. Users will be able to buy goods and services with one click using registered credit cards or Paypal accounts. Expect to see these TVs 24/7 on Home Shopping Network.
Bitcoins cannot be owned in Japan, a Japanese district court has ruled. Japan’s civil code only recognizes ownership of tangible entities, the judge found. This does not bode well for any Japanese software developer.
Just hanging out in the bathroom... A burglary was foiled by two sisters, aged 8 and 12, who locked themselves in the bathroom and used Google Hangouts on one girl’s tablet to text for help. When police knocked on the front door, the burglar ran out the back into the arms of waiting officers.
No more 8 CDs for just one cent: Mail-order icon Columbia House has filed bankruptcy after 20 years of plummeting sales.
The Transportation Safety Administration has finally admitted that it adds people to its secretive “no-fly list” based merely on “predictive assessments” of what they MIGHT do. Have you watched “Minority Report” lately?
IBM’s Watson supercomputer artificial intelligences is now doing personality profiles based upon writing samples. The results read like last Sunday’s horoscope; perhaps Watson should stick to chess, “Jeopardy,” and medical diagnoses.
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 19 Aug 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 19 August 2015 (Posted: 19 Aug 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved