Geekly Update - 26 March 2014

Category: Tech-News

Would you like to save $1000 a year on your mobile phone bill? How easy is it to steal an orbiting satellite? And what phrases should NEVER be entered into a Google search? 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

Don’t try these Google searches at home… or at work, or any place where you might be identified. According to search optimization agency Search Factory, over 1,000 people per month Google "how to hide a body" and 1,600 wonder "how to get away with murder." A desperate 5,400 ask "how to have an affair" and a whopping 40,500 wonder "why did I get married." Most depressing (or amusing) of all: more than 4,400 people ask Google how to Google.

Does unlimited talk and text, with 500MB of data, for only $5.75 a month sound good? Check out FreedomPop's Bring Your Own Phone plan, which works with most Android smartphones. Enter your address to find out if service is available in your area.

Geekly Update 03-26-2014

24 year-old Edd Joseph is getting his revenge on an Internet seller who took his money for a PS3 game but didn’t deliver. He is copying the complete works of William Shakespeare into text messages delivered to the seller: 17,424 of them as of this writing. All 37 works of Will will require 29,305 texts. Well, what else can you do when you don’t have a PS3 game?

Businesses worldwide will spend $364 Billion to combat and recover from data security breaches like the Target affair, and that’s just part of the story. Business will spend another $491 Billion battling malware, and $127 Billion more on other security issues. And for reasons unexplained, businesses notoriously reticent about releasing data security allegedly spewed all of this sensitive information to IDC and the University of Singapore, in conjunction with Microsoft.

Jim Smith wanted a Kayak, but didn't have one. He did, however, have a 3D printer and 58 pounds of ABS Plastic just laying around. So he printed himself a 16-foot kayak. After making the parts and assembling them, it floats!

3D printing isn’t good enough for the U.S. military, which is now exploring 4D printing. The fourth dimension is "transformation," according to the Army’s chief tech officer, Grace Bochenek; body armor whose properties change when it gets wet or cold, for example.

The much-anticipated update to Apple’s iOS 7 operating system was released two weeks ago. It includes many fixes of security flaws that allowed users to jailbreak their i-Things. But already, iOS 7.1 has been jailbroken, with one catch: the technique works only on iPhone 4s.

Still clinging to Windows XP? Microsoft will give you $100 to leap up to Windows 8.1. The incentive is good only on 24, $599-and-up PCs that Microsoft is promoting. This $100 discount offer is good until June 15.

Visualize your browsing history with Iconic History, a Chrome browser extension that creates a map of favicons from all the URLs you visit. It will help you see patterns in your Web surfing activity that may help you answer the age-old question, "Where did the time go?"

Battery-operated data centers are coming thanks to GreenDataNet, a research project sponsored by the European Union. Scientists want to use retired batteries from hybrid gas/electric and all-electric vehicles to store electrical energy generated by solar and other sustainable resources. Cisco and other ISP gear-makers will have to add "batteries not included" to their terms of sale.

Hijacking someone’s Web browser is bad, but Robert Farquahar hijacked a space satellite 30 years ago. Now he wants to give it back.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome! Leave a comment or I'll tell Google where to find your baby pictures...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 26 March 2014"

Posted by:

Lee McIntyre
26 Mar 2014

Careful! Bob, you wrote, "Check out FreedomPop's Bring Your Own Phone plan. ... Enter your address to find out if service is available in your area."

First, you'll be asked for your zip code and e-mail address. On the next screen, they'll ask for your street address. On the next screen, they'll show you a map revealing that they have very spotty coverage throughout most of the US.

BEFORE leaving that website, click on the My Account link at the top, and check your preset e-mail preferences. You'll find you've been signed up for all kinds of e-mail messages, including from third-party advertisers. If that's not your idea of fun, uncheck all those boxes before leaving. Hopefully, FreedomPop will honor your unsubscribe requests.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Didn't realize that... I always give a fake email for that kind of thing. :-)

Posted by:

26 Mar 2014

Love the format. Interesting variety of articles.

Posted by:

Bob Engel
26 Mar 2014

Wish I had read the note above. I SPENT THE LAST 30 MIN OPTING OUT. Bob, your credibility has just slipped with me.

EDITOR'S NOTE: THIRTY MINUTES? It's just a few clicks to get to the FreedomPop account settings, and uncheck 4 boxes... (See

Posted by:

27 Mar 2014

Hey Bob ... I see that a couple more, found out about the "FreedomPop's Bring Your Own Phone Plan." What surprises me ... Why did they continue, when it became obvious that this was a probable 'SPAM website'?!

Look, I only entered my Zip code and it wanted my email address, with a big red circling of the email address box. I knew, right then and there, to go NO further! Sorry, but, I learned that lesson, years ago. If, it looks highly suspicious ... Don't go any further and retreat, as fast as you can. Plus, if it sounds too good to be true ... It probably is. Sorry, Bob ... You have 'preached' that one, way too many times, yourself.

I am NOT mad or disappointed in you, in the least. First of all, all you were doing is sharing information. How far individuals take that info, is up to them. I tried seeing what this website had to offer and what the conditions might be ... But, I chose to 'back off', as for me, 'Red Flags were flying'. I am responsible for my own actions ... Not you or anyone else.

LOVED reading the story about Robert Farquahar!!! What a truly interesting man, he is and what a fabulous career he has had. I am truly hoping, he can get "his" satellite to go into the orbit, it was meant to be, when it was first shot into space. While, many of the original team members are retired, it is amazing that so many of them, are alive. I have always felt that those who truly use their minds, to the fullest, are often long survivors, living well into their late 80's and 90's.

Your "Revenge on the Internet" story ... made me laugh and I immediately thought of the old story of sending money to a person, embedded in molasses or cement!!! Funny, funny story, but, am really sorry, that the young man, lost his money.

Thanks, for an excellent Geek Update. Again, I am not mad or upset about the "FreedomPop's" story, I was trying to "warn" you and then I read what the other two had written. I am in NO way disappointed nor do I think, any less of you, for this story, either.

I don't care, how smart you are or how experienced anyone is ... We all make errors in our thinking or clickings with our mice. I saw, how many Computer Geeks got caught getting the Conduit malware, which was/is a horrific mess, to get your computer cleaned from it's aftermath!!! Been there, done that myself, with the monster.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just to be clear, the FreedomPop service is no scam. The company is legit. You can argue about their data sharing policy, but that's a separate issue.

Posted by:

27 Mar 2014

Thanks Bob, for the clarification. Please, I didn't mean to imply, this was a scam ... My "Red Flags" went up, in regards to SPAM, only, nothing more. I have been getting some SPAM and I am not sure, what I clicked or signed up for, to get this SPAM! Besides, I also, have way too much time left on my own Cell Phone contract, to consider using FreedomPop's offer. I was simply curious to see what the area covered was and some basics about this plan.

Gee, I think, they have done themselves a great disservice, by not letting you find out about their coverage area, without giving an email address. Yes, you can always use a "throw away email address" ... I just didn't want to do that, today, is all. Since, I came to the conclusion, that the only way to get the information, was by email. Bummer, for them.

Posted by:

29 Mar 2014

It looks like FreedomPop is becoming the "hot spot" of your latest Geeky Update.

It did sound too good to be true (and we all know the red flags *that* should throw) but I checked out the website a bit anyway, and I too rapidly ran when I realized they were well on the way to asking me to provide TM (personal) I. A "disposable" email address in a must.

However if this is a legit deal, I think it should deserve further detailed reporting here. I see the company has been mentioned a few times in the past but perhaps it's time to revisit.

Two other quick notes:
#1 I can sorta understand the spam, as TANSTAAFL, and FreedomPop would need to generate SOME revenue to support this "free" service (just like Amazon Kindle "with offers.").

#2 I alreads signed up for NetZero's cheap internet service,(can burn through their basic 500MB data in just a few hours) but have found their signal exteremely spotty if non-existant in my area. I don't know what carrier is supplying NetZero service locally, but if it's the same as FreedomPop's you may be disappointed.

Posted by:

30 Mar 2014

Freedompop! Took your advice from a previous ask bob. it looked too good to be true. Red flag when you have to sign up before you can find out what it is. Thanks for the warning.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2014

The link in the story about businesses spending billions on security led to IE stopping me, informing me that the certificate for the site was not valid. Just thought I'd let you know!
Love reading your articles. Thanks for all you do for the greater good of us computer users who too many times think we all know all the Tech issues of the world.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 26 March 2014 (Posted: 26 Mar 2014)
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