Geekly Update - 24 June 2015

Category: Tech-News

Forget about stupid cat videos... are stylish beards taking over the Internet? Is it okay to laugh when a clumsy robot trips on a banana peel? And can you change the TV channel just by thinking about it? 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

Nearby WiFi signals can be converted into electricity to charge devices up to 28 feet from a WiFi access point, according to University of Washington researchers.

A Spanish woman is suing eBay, claiming that she owns the Sun but eBay won’t let her sell parcels of land on it. Incredibly, a Spanish court previously ruled her lawsuit could proceed because it has a chance of succeeding.

A related story is that of Dennis Hope, who claims to own the Moon, as well as Mercury, Mars, Venus and Pluto. Since 1980, Hope has made millions selling real estate on these extra-terrestrial bodies.

Geekly Update - 06/24/2015

Wurstify is a humorous browser extension which modifies images on web pages you view, adding the WurstBeard™ to all faces. The creators of this "technology" boast that it results in a "drastically improved user experience."

A Florida science teacher has been suspended for using a cell phone signal jammer to eliminate distractions in his classroom, incidentally blocking cell service all over the campus. Cell jammers are prohibited by the FCC.

"You ain't nothin' but a what?" A 46 year-old woman found the biological father she never knew via Facebook. Turns out he’s an Elvis impersonator in Thailand.

A new intelligent garbage can scans what you throw into it and alerts you when it’s time to buy more Cheez Whiz. What, you think this tech is perfect?

"57 Shades of Ketchup..." Heinz Corp. has apologized for a QR code on its ketchup bottles that takes people to a p**n site.

Tesla Motors is offering a $1,000 bounty on any bugs or vulnerabilities found in its website. Still no such offer for Tesla cars. The upcoming Tesla Model 3 will be priced at about $35,000 and deliver 250 miles per charge. We’re getting there.

In another case of “bad things that could happen but probably won’t and almost certainly not to you,” security researcher Billy Rios claims that hackers could raise or lower the dosage of medications delivered by infusion pumps made by Hospira Corp.

The National Highway Transportation & Safety Administration is touting a prototype car that won’t start if it detects alcohol in the atmosphere or the hands on the steering wheel.

It’s not nice to laugh at the physically challenged. But it’s OK in the case of the walking robots who keep falling down during DARPA’s robotics challenge. is where all the bad twerking videos you thought were deleted from YouTube go. Enterprising creeps salvaged them and now charge $20/month for access to the more “interesting” footage.

The French E-kini is a smart bikini that monitors the wearer’s skin temperature and sends alerts to a smartphone when it’s time to get out of the sun. If only it warned the wearer when it’s time to don more clothes.

The heating and air conditioning systems of 19 Grand Rapids (MI) Public Schools are controlled by a 30 year-old Commodore Amiga computer. The former student who programmed it is still around when help is needed.

A bridge over an Amsterdam canal will be 3D printed in mid-air by multi-axis MX3D robots that doodle drops of metal or plastic in horizontal, vertical and diagonal planes, building supporting rails for themselves as they creep across the water. At least, that’s the plan.

A Canadian teenager was shot to death after he tracked a stolen smartphone to a residence, got into a struggle, and tried to open the door of the thieves’ getaway car.

Never again look for a lost TV remote, or miss an entire program while trying to figure out the remote’s buttons. The BBC is showcasing a brain-scanning headband that lets views change channels just by thinking about it.

“June” is a very smart countertop convection oven that figures out what you’ve put in it, how much it weighs, and how to cook it. It even has a camera so you can watch your dinner cook as you drive home.

A fake coupon offering $100 in free groceries is being passed around Facebook. Kroger Corp., the chain supposedly offering the coupon, is warning consumers that it's bogus.

If TV viewers could order cable channels ala cart, ESPN would be in a lot of trouble. The sports network barely made the top 20 list of channels surveyed watchers would pick; only 36% want ESPN at all.

Your thoughts on these topics are mandatory! Post a comment below, or robots will ring your doorbell at 2 AM.

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 24 June 2015"

Posted by:

Dave Moran
24 Jun 2015

As a once upon a time bartender, the alcohol on the hands sensor would have been a really bad thing after a busy night.

Posted by:

Michael Brose
24 Jun 2015

If cable companies would let viewers order channels ala cart and pay for just what they want maybe there would not be so many viewers "cutting the cable."

Posted by:

Beverly Chapin
24 Jun 2015

I'll just leave the peel of my daily banana on the doorstep each night to forestall that robot!

Like your newsletter, like your sense of humor. You demonstrated again today that we have far too many really good brains with too much tech and no sense!

Posted by:

24 Jun 2015

How has the Michigan school district figured out how to get around the computer industry's planned obsolescence model?

Now keep your robots away from my doorbell!!

Posted by:

Jr Hengst
24 Jun 2015

My doorbell has an anti-robot device. There is good money in robot parts.

Posted by:

Frank Stowers
24 Jun 2015

Always look forward to your newsletter. Guess the next thing we know someone will try to auction off a place in Heaven on EBay!

Posted by:

24 Jun 2015

@BeverlyChapin You beat me to that comment!

I wonder if anyone "owns" Jupiter's moon Europa? I could charge NASA for their upcoming expedition there.

Posted by:

24 Jun 2015

To be fair, the woman who "owns" the sun (I wonder who was first? - "Hope explains he once received an energy bill from a man who claimed to own the sun."), is suing ebay "because they took commission from her but failed to let her collect payments from bidders who purchased real estate on the celestial body" - which is quite a different situation than the article title would have you believe.

I really can't account for people who think they can buy "plots of land" on the sun, though . . .

Posted by:

25 Jun 2015

What's the big deal about the Amiga? If it ain't bust, don't fix it. If it needs upgrading, get a suitable Windows machine and run the Amiga Forever emulator on it. If your buddies have forgotten their Amiga programming, the emulator vendors know who hasn't. It's still one of the best machines around, so use it. And buy a backup.

Posted by:

25 Jun 2015

Karena- while the sun may not have any plots of land, the earth has many lands of plots.**** And how do drunks get transported home with a designated driver if the car won't start? Will this same technology be in cabs? A drunk flags down a cab, climbs in, and says, "Take me to 22 Parkside Lane." And the cab dies.

Posted by:

The Other Al
25 Jun 2015

Wireless charging. Some people get very ill with wireless waves created by routers, smart meters, wireless telephones, etc. I'm thinking that the wireless charger could create many more such problems.

Posted by:

27 Jun 2015

Hello, Bob. What language is "ala cart"? Is this a standard Americanization of "à la carte", meaning "on the menu"? It's new to me!

Posted by:

27 Jun 2015

ala cart is coming to cable. Maybe then I will return to cable/sat. Until then netflic and prime will do.

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