Geekly Update - 23 December 2015
Are driverless cars just too darned polite? Should you have your next business meeting in a public restroom in China? And what happens when smartbulb makers do dumb things? 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
Do you have trouble waking up, even with an alarm clock? Try one of these annoying alarm clock apps that are guaranteed to get your attention.
SanrioTown, the online home of Hello Kitty fans, was hacked. Names, birth dates and email addresses of three million users were exposed. A lot of Japanese kids are going to have bad credit.
Tired of looking at pictures of what your Facebook friends ate for lunch? National Geographic says these are the top 20 photos of 2015. (No kitties here, I promise.)
Driverless cars are racking up collisions with other vehicles at double the rate of human-driven cars. The problem is that driverless cars are programmed to obey traffic laws, always. So, for instance, a driverless car merges onto a highway at the posted speed limit, and gets hit in the rear-end. Developers are working on when to follow the law and when to follow the crowd.
Maybe this will help... Google and Ford are reportedly involved in a joint venture to build autonomous (driverless) cars. An official announcement is expected at the January 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show.
Or maybe you should just let someone else do the driving. Uber and Lyft give you rides. Zirx, Luxe, and Carbon give you parking and concierge service. Their apps summon a valet who will park your car and bring it back when you need it, and even give it a wash or oil change while you’re wining, dining, or whatever.
Dim and Dimmer... Philips, the lighting manufacturer, pushed out a software update to its Philips Hue smart-lighting controllers that blocked use of cheaper, non-Philips smart lightbulbs on December 14. The ensuing hue and cry from customers forced a rollback of that update on December 16.
China is upgrading public restrooms in select cities with Western-style toilets, urinals, and even food and drink vending machines (in rooms separate from the commodes). The restrooms are also equipped with ATMs and WiFi, so folks can take care of business, while taking care of business.
Epson has demonstrated a prototype office paper mill that accepts used documents and creates clean, blank sheets of recycled paper in various sizes and even card stock thicknesses.
Dr. Sicknote is a new Australian Web site through which workers can obtain medical certificates of illness to satisfy their employers’ sick-leave policies, for only $20. That beats the cost of an office visit, avoids exposing other patients in your doctor’s office to your flu, and saves your doctor the time usually wasted on such things.
A teenage hacker broke into the reservations database of an unnamed Chinese airline, stealing about a million customers’ flight records including future itineraries. Then he conned several hundred victims out of $150,000 by telling them their flights had been cancelled and charging bogus “rescheduling fees.”
Infamous “identity theft protection” service, Lifelock, has been hit with a $100 million fine for violating a 2010 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to refrain from deceptive marketing practices.
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 23 Dec 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 23 December 2015 (Posted: 23 Dec 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved