Geekly Update - 20 May 2015
Are robots making tossed salad, just to distract you while they open your gym locker? When is three-day shipping better than two-day shipping? And which ingredient in Parmesan Chicken have you been pronouncing wrong? 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
"Say Cheese..." Actually say "parmesan" and then compare your pronunciation with the hilarious one offered by the Cambridge dictionary. Click the blue speaker icon to hear how Cambridge Dictionaries does it.
Samy Kamkar, habitual hacker, has posted a video demonstration of a do-it-yourself robot that can open any Master brand combination lock in under 2 minutes.
A robot built at the University of Maryland learned how to make a salad, from chopping vegetables to pouring the dressing, just by watching YouTube videos. Fine, but can it learn to play, “Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs” by watching “Frasier?” I didn't think so...
Starbucks is denying reports that its payment app has been hacked, even though the company admits that some people have had money stolen. The problem is not the app but the weak passwords customers use and recycle on multiple sites. Yes, and the problem with Starbucks coffee is that people don’t know how to drink it.
"Every move you make, every step you take..." A sales rep was fired for uninstalling an app from her company-owned iPhone. Myrna Arias claims in a lawsuit against the Intermex money transfer service that the boss used the Xora app to track her movements 24/7, even when she wasn’t on the job.
Walmart snapped a white glove across Amazon’s face with a challenge to Prime. For only $50/year compared to Prime’s $99, Selected items on Walmart.com are eligible for free three-day shipping.
Verizon is buying AOL for $50/share, an estimated $4.4 billion total. It was only 15 years ago that Time-Warner paid $164 billion for AOL, a marriage that lasted nine years. Even so, pundits are wondering if it was a bargain.
They got a slamming for cramming… The FCC fined Verizon and Sprint a total of $158 million for cramming unauthorized charges onto customers’ bills. Last year, AT&T was fined $105 million and T-mobile paid $90 million after similar charges.
The Fitbit Flex health monitoring wristband overestimates the amount of daily sleep that users get by an average of 67 minutes, according to a class-action lawsuit filed by a grumpy customer who obviously needs a nap.
So-called “vampire” electrical devices that consume power even when not in use cost American’s $19 billion per year or $165 per household. But hey, who's to say that when your fridge is monitoring your milk levels it’s “not doing anything?”
Missed Opportunity. Three of Steve Jobs’ past business cards – one each from Apple, NeXt, and PIXAR – sold at auction for $10,500. The buyer, Tim Knowles, apparently purchased the cards to attract attention to his "Branded Contact Sharing" company, Stacks.co. But as of this writing, the site still says "Coming soon…"
The $1,200 resurrection of the Sony Walkman portable music player sounds absolutely divine, says this reviewer, until you take it outside. Oops.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 20 May 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 20 May 2015 (Posted: 20 May 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved