Geekly Update - 19 June 2013

Category: Tech-News

What should you do if your car orders takeout every time you pass a fast-food joint? Can police require drivers to turn over their cell phones, to check for evidence of wrong doing? And are cats now the number one reason for Internet logjams? 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

"My car just ordered pizza. AGAIN!" General Motors wants to sell apps for its smart cars through its own online store. CEO Dan Akerson envisions a world where smart location-aware cars can stream movies and interact with nearby restaurants. Somehow, this will keep drivers from being distracted.

“License, registration, and cell phone, please.” A proposed New Jersey law would authorize police to search a driver’s phone without a warrant for evidence that he was illegally using it while driving. Can't they just call the NSA to verify?

Snapcat entices cats to take pictures of themselves and post their cuteness to social media. It’s a great way to prune your friend lists.

Geekly Update 06-19-2013

"Oh, the humanity!" In a major victory for – well, everyone – the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that naturally occurring human DNA cannot be patented. Novel methods of isolating segments of natural DNA would be patentable, as would synthetic DNA encoding non-natural genetic patterns. I'm thinking that's got something to do with robots.

Google intends to buy Waze, a popular traffic navigation service, that uses real-time information from other drivers to find the best routes. The rumored $1.3 billion deal will help Google maintain its lead in mobile mapping. Oh, and it'll also keep Waze out of the hands of Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.

"Delivering hot air, via hot air." Up, up, and away in my beautiful search engine. Google has launched several high-altitude balloons equipped to give Internet access to remote areas of New Zealand. The aptly named Project Loon is set to expand to other areas.

Amazon launched a 3D printing section for all your creative needs. It features printers, supplies, instructional resources (formerly known as “books”), CAD software, and accessories.

Squaring the circle: Shark Wheels are skateboard wheels that provide a faster, smoother ride with greater lateral grip for turns. Their unique design makes them look like cubes. A Kickstarter campaign to fund mass production has already raised twice its goal.

Disabled parking space abuse infuriates most people. Parking Mobility enables citizens to snap photos of an illegally parked vehicle and send them to law enforcement along with date, time, and GPS location data. The owner of the offending vehicle gets a ticket in the mail. The snitch’s favorite charity gets up to 20% of fines paid.

"Finally... proof that Facebook is cooler than Myspace." Facebook’s newest data center is on the edge of the Arctic Circle, in the Swedish town of Lulea. The company’s most energy-efficient data center is powered by locally produced hydro-electricity and cooled by frigid ambient air.

An iPhone will automatically connect to any WiFi network named “attwifi,” even if it’s a rogue network that steals passwords and other sensitive information. This vulnerability is not unique to AT&T but Android phones don’t behave the same way. The best solution is to disable WiFi when you don’t need it.

"Use it or lose it." Yahoo email addresses that have been inactive for a year or more will be made available to new users beginning July 15, 2013. This is your chance to get a shorter, more memorable email address that you never use.

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 19 June 2013"

Posted by:

Pat Barnes
19 Jun 2013

"Can't they just call the NSA to verify?" LOL!

Posted by:

Bill Fyfe
19 Jun 2013

Hey Bob,

Parking Mobility will have a tough go as soon as a group like a fraternity picks up a car next to an empty disabled parking space, places it in the space and reports the violation. Lawyers should have a field day with this idea.

Posted by:

Joel Hornstein
19 Jun 2013

Concerning your comment "Oh, the humanity!" in the article about DNA, I wonder how many of your readers know that that comes from a comment made by a radio announcer (can't remember his name)after he saw the airship Hindenburg burst into flames.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Indeed, it was Herbert Morrison, reporting for WLS radio.

Posted by:

19 Jun 2013

New Jersey is losing it!!!

While, it might be the "law" in New Jersey, that you can't use your phone, be it texting or voice ... What about using your phone, while in your car, using the Speakerphone aspect of your cell phone or your Bluetooth???!!! If, you can't do that ... Then in all honesty, you can't even talk to your passenger, while driving!!!

I have absolutely NO problem, with NOT texting, while driving. I do have an issue, with using your phone by holding it with one hand and only having one hand on the steering wheel. However, using a Bluetooth or the Speakerphone aspect, to me that isn't either an issue or a problem. Either way, both of your hands can be on the wheel, while you are talking. Bluetooth is probably the best method, since, you can usually hear better, than you can on the Speakerphone aspect of any cell phone.

Posted by:

19 Jun 2013

How nice of you to mention Luleå; my present home. Yes indeed, there is an almost-completed FaceBook server hall here for the world to use. Hopefully the place will give off so much heat that it can help to augment the municipal heating system now driven by the local steel mill (my home and its water is heated by SSAB's mill). I see the server halls often as the buildings are visible from the road I often drive. The municipality is delighted that Luleå was selected over many sites. Interestingly, for such a northern locality, the area has a university which has won awards for its innovative work in information technology. FaceBook is seen as a real boost to the region's economy. Right now it is around 55 degrees. The sun is still out at 0930 and will be shining for awhile more. If the weather is real nice and sunny we'll get up to around 85. Come visit and stay in the new hotel being built downtown!

Posted by:

20 Jun 2013

If you are frustrated by the way inconsiderate people park their cars, I suggest you visit, and download their windshield notices. You can print out one of their notices and leave it on the windshield of offending vehicles.

Posted by:

21 Jun 2013

I was surprised by the mention that iPhones will automatically connect to an attwifi network. Lately I've had to manually connect my iPhone 5 to any attwifi, whether it's a known one that I've used previously (such as at my local Starbucks) or one that I've never connected to before.

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