Geekly Update - 22 October 2014
Will Cray's new supercomputer be used to determine the outcome of the World Series? Why is a really bad password sometimes a really good idea? And wouldn't you like to know if your cellphone's lithium battery is about to explode? 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
Sometimes loyalty is a bad thing. A British man who faked being quadriplegic for two years, in order to avoid court appearances, was nailed because he used his loyalty card in a supermarket. Police picked up the lead, and obtained video surveillance of the man walking and driving.
All I Want for Christmas: The Cray Urika-XA supercomputer “appliance” has over 1,500 processor cores, 6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage. It’s used to crunch “big data” and solve big problems, like which pinch hitter should be selected against KC Royals closer Greg Holland in the 9th inning, with one out and a guy on first base who has an 85.7 stolen base percentage. Oh, and it's also nifty for banks and government agencies with huge piles of data to sift. It will be available in December, but don’t look for it at Best Buy.
"Weak Passwords Save Lives!" A driver who crashed and rolled into a remote ravine was located after 17 hours thanks to the “Find My iPhone” app on the device she desperately clutched. A clever cop asked relatives for her iPad, and (after only four guesses at her password) logged in and was able to pinpoint her location.
A long-hidden security flaw was fixed in Drupal, the open-source content management system used on over a million Web sites including WhiteHouse.gov. The flaw allowed SQL-injection exploits in Drupal’s anti-SQL injection module, which was designed to prevent such things. Ooopsie.
Your smartphone’s short battery life may annoy you, but it probably beats the utterly inadequate 15-30 minutes of this Air Umbrella. This gadget is held upright like a regular umbrella; a “canopy” of fast-moving air blows raindrops away from you (and onto standersby). It’s a nifty idea that needs a lot of work.
Matt Ficarra was paralyzed three years ago in a boating accident. But with the help of a bionic exoskeleton, he walked down the aisle to meet his bride at the altar. Video footage of the event shows Ficarra wearing the battery powered Ekso device, and a snazzy tux.
A UK man was treated for “Internet addiction” caused by wearing Google Glass every day for 18 hours, removing the device only to wash and sleep. The patient reported becoming argumentative, irritable, and anxious when deprived of the spiffy specs, and dreaming that he was wearing them. There's a word for people like this…
The domain name Ebola.com can be yours for a mere $150,000. Jon Schulz registered the name in 2008 and figures now is the time to cash out. He reasons, "Ebola.com would be a great domain for a pharmaceutical company working on a vaccine or cure, a company selling pandemic or disaster-preparedness supplies, or a medical company wishing to provide information and advertise services. There could be many other applications as well. With so many people concerned about the disease, any advertisement referring people to Ebola.com should get an excellent response."
Warning, Danger! A “smart” Lithium Ion battery can tell you when it is about to explode, a surprisingly common occurrence when Li-on batteries are overcharged.
“All calls are recorded for training, quality assurance, and identification purposes” is what the familiar warning should read. Voice biometric data samples are routinely collected by corporations without the advice or consent of callers. “Voiceprints” of more than 65 million people are in corporate and government databases, says the Associated Press.
Facebook is going to bug you even if you’re busy with an earthquake or typhoon. The company’s new “Safety Check” product takes its best guess at your location and sends a notification if you seem to be in the danger zone of a natural disaster. If you reply with “safe” or “not in the area” Facebook posts a status update tell all friends you are OK… even the ones who don’t care.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or a supercomputer will probe your browsing history...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 22 Oct 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 22 October 2014 (Posted: 22 Oct 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved