Geekly Update - 23 April 2014
Can you get in legal trouble for abusing the CAPS LOCK Key? Does a new Facebook feature allow people to stalk their friends? And why were millions of video games buried in a small New Mexico town? 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
"STOP YELLING AT ME!" A father was ordered by a judge in England to lay off the CAPS LOCK key when emailing his children. The High Court judge opined that using all capital letters in emails to his children was "insensitive" and "equivalent to him shouting." Fortunately, a family assistance officer will be employed to help the hapless dad with digital communication skills.
“I'd had a bit of wine but not too much,” says Katie Bryant of the South African vacation party during which she downloaded a Neil Diamond album and ran up a cellular data bill of over £2,609 ($4,361.73). That’s pretty much the definition of “too much wine,” isn't it?
Facebook launched a new feature, “Nearby Friends,” on April 18. When enabled, it lets your friends know where you are via your phone’s GPS service. You can control what type(s) of friends can learn your location. The most impressive thing about the
Stalk Me Nearby Friends app is that it’s not enabled by default; you have to go turn it on in your Facebook Settings.
Google has developed an optical character recognition algorithm that can crack Google’s own CAPTCHA puzzles – those jumbled, distorted, obscured characters you have to type in to prove you’re human. The algorithm was developed to enable reading of real-world street signs for accurate mapping of Google View photos, but if it ever escapes into the wild we’re in trouble.
The latest suspect for “Father of Bitcoin” is George Washington University’s law professor Nick Szabo. Forensic linguists found an “uncanny number” of similarities between his writings and an early paper outlining the Bitcoin system. Szabo is also a financial law expert, cryptographer, and programmer.
The Samsung Galaxy S5’s fingerprint authentication technology has multiple flaws that make it ridiculously easy to defeat, allowing hackers access to S5 owners’ bank and Paypal accounts. Seven months ago, security researchers cracked Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner less than 48 hours after it was released.
Blood money? Vein-scanning, an alternative to fingerprint-scanning, is supposedly a more secure way to pay for things by waving one’s hand. The authors of this article went a bit too far by concluding, “As with the fingerprint scanners on latest iPhones and Samsung S5 phones, the technology provides an almost infallible security protection.”
You’ve seen “Bliss,” the default wallpaper of Windows XP depicting an impossibly idyllic scene of perfectly manicured green grass under an azure sky. A Photoshop special, right? Nope, it’s an unedited photograph taken by Chuck O'Rear. To commemorate the end of support for Windows XP, Microsoft has made a video about O’Rear and the famous photo.
“The Atari Landfill Excavation” expedition aims to unearth a rumored treasure: thousands of copies of “E.T.: The Extraterrestrial,” widely regarded as one of the worst video games ever made.
A backup computer on the International Space Station is “not responding to commands.” Unfortunately, it’s on the outside of the ISS so someone will have to take a spacewalk to reboot it. And you grumble about having to crawl under your desk…
The WallCharger adds two USB-compatible power ports to a standard electrical outlet, enabling you to charge a phone or tablet without unplugging the TV or stereo system. If the WallCharger was incorporated into mandatory building codes, we could do without portable chargers too.
Do you get jetlag when you fly across time zones? There’s an app for that, and it’s free. Developed by graduate math students at the University of Michigan, “Entrain for iPhone” simply tells you when to turn the lights up and down based on your destination and starting time zone.
Your thoughts on these topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below, or I'll hack into your computer and make it play the E.T. video game in an endless loop.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 23 Apr 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 23 April 2014 (Posted: 23 Apr 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved