Geekly Update - 25 June 2014
Is your smartphone pre-loaded with spyware? Have clever programmers figured out how to make an app even dumber than iFart? And if a hard drive crashes in a government office and nobody hears it, does it leave an audit trail? 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
A Minnesota man came home to find his home had been burglarized. Cash, credit cards and his watch were missing. But oddly, his computer was displaying the face of a man he didn't recognize. Turns out the thief decided to check his Facebook profile, and didn't bother to log out before leaving. And that's not the dumbest thing he did that night...
Taking a picture of yourself: No problem. Taking a picture of a tiger: Okay. Taking a selfie WITH a tiger: Not cool. A New York lawmaker wants to ban the practice of posing for photos while hugging, patting or otherwise touching tigers in New York. Wouldn't it be better to let nature run its course in situations like this?
A cheap Chinese smartphone, the Star N9500, comes loaded with spyware, according to German security firm G Data Software. The N9500 is sold via many online stores; often, the manufacturer’s model name is not mentioned. The spyware is built into the phone's firmware, so it cannot be removed.
"I predict another hard drive crash…" Another federal judge on June 14 ruled that the U.S. government must reveal more information about the data that it collects concerning citizens’ phone records. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the federal district court in Oakland, California, ordered the Department of Justice to produce 66 pages of documents that were improperly withheld from the public.
We are slipping back into the time of “stupid money,” it seems. “Yo,” an app that does nothing but enable its users to send each other the word, “Yo,” has received $1 million in venture funding.
First Derm aims to be your online dermatologist. Just snap two pics of your skin problem – closeup and overview – and send them off to First Derm; a dermatologist will send you his/her opinion within 24 hours. It costs $40 but 70% of cases are treatable with OTC meds without a doctor visit, says the company. For the other 30%, there's always Youtube and a sharp X-Acto knife.
Rumor has it Google’s Nest subsidiary, a recent acquisition, is looking to buy Dropcam. Dropcam is a popular home video surveillance product. Nest specializes in making household appliances that people don’t notice and which send data about householders’ movements to a central server. But don’t let that worry you.
A lawsuit over LinkedIn’s “invitation spam” may proceed, a federal judge has ruled. Users sued the social network for not disclosing that invitations would be sent three times to each invitee, even though LinkedIn promises that it will not email anyone on your behalf without your permission. Plaintiffs claim damage to their reputations and violation of California’s right-of-publicity law.
Now there’s an app that replaces your pancreas. Ed Damiano, a biomedical engineer, invented the app to help his son, who was born with Type I diabetes. It analyzes data received wirelessly from blood sugar monitors that many diabetes patients already wear, and controls the injection of insulin and glucagon to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels.
Cable TV set-top boxes become the Number Two energy hog in many homes, according the geekiest geeks who ever geeked at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A set-top box and DVR combo eats an average of 35 watts, adding $8/month to the electric bill of a Southern Californian. Multiply that by 224 million U. S. boxes and you get the power equivalent of four nuclear reactors. In other news, that 40-watt lightbulb you never turn off uses even more energy.
ASS+U+ME: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed into the Indian Ocean hundreds of miles from where searchers are currently seeking it, says an “independent group of specialists” who got together on the Web to analyze what data is available on the mysteriously missing aircraft. The group got busy when it was announced that previous estimates of the plane’s location were based on its communications with a satellite that was assumed to be geostationary but was actually drifting north-to-south. Oops.
"I am the 64 Percent." The FCC’s fourth “Measuring Broadband America” report says that, for the first time, a majority of major ISPs are delivering the “blazing fast” Internet speeds they promise – on average. There is a lot of variation in sustained upload and download speeds. The FCC’s standard for acceptable performance is “80% of customers get what they pay for, 80% of the time.”
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 25 Jun 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 25 June 2014 (Posted: 25 Jun 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved