Geekly Update - 29 October 2014

Category: Tech-News

Can you generate electricity by wearing stretch jeans? What should you do if your iPhone is haunted? And what stunning discovery about the Internet was made by researchers at the University of Southern California? 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

Your stretchy jeans might be generating more than unwanted stares. An electricity-generating polymer only one atom thick could power wearable technology of the future. Scientists have created a grapheme-like substance that generates electricity by piezoelectric effect when it is stretched.

Just in time for Halloween, iOS 8.1 has started launching ghost apps at random without any user commands. If you've been blaming the cat, now you know the truth -- your phone is haunted.

Here's another item from the "Computers Behaving Strangely" file. Go to Google and search for Do a Barrel Roll. Might want to fasten your seatbelt first...

Geekly Update 10-29-2014

If you can't decide where to store the ashes of your dearly departed, several enterprising firms will create a custom urn for you with 3-D printing technology. Some people will do anything to urn a buck.

Star Trek’s universal translator concept is coming to Skype before the end of 2014, at least on Windows 8. Microsoft demoed its nearly real-time speech recognition and language translation tech at a conference last week. For some reason, Klingon is not a supported language.

Double charges for purchases are plaguing some users of Apple Pay, the “contactless” iPhone-based payment system introduced by Apple last week. Most of the bogus transactions involve Bank of America credit cards. The bank points at Apple, which says it’s “aware of the issue with Bank of America cards” and promises a fix.

Facebook has gone old-school with a new mobile app called Rooms. Even non-members can create private groups in which invited members can chat and share photos or videos anonymously. Somehow this “innovation” differentiates Facebook from its competition, while being reminiscent of 1995-style online chat rooms.

If you think today’s Apple computers are expensive, then a working copy of the first Apple I, serial number 22, is probably out of your league. The relic, thought to be part of the first batch of 50 machines assembled by Steve Wozniak in Steve Jobs’ family’s garage, went for $905,000 at a New Zealand auction.

An iPhone 6 is supposed to be crash- and fire-proof, according to a Phoenix man who’s waiting for Apple to explain why his iPhone 6 caught fire after a rickshaw accident bent the case, causing the lithium-ion battery to rupture.

The Internet sleeps in a regular pattern of activity that follows the cycle of night and day around the world, researchers at the University of Southern California (Department of the Blindingly Obvious) discovered by sending small messages to 950 million IP addresses every 11 minutes for two months. An animated world map shows the results of this totally unnecessary mischief.

Music sales at Apple’s iTunes shop are down 13 percent since the beginning of this year. Pundits who specialize in analyzing things that are obvious to people of normal intelligence say the growing availability of free and cheaper tunes is to blame. I'll bet these pundits have offices on the campus of the University of South California.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below, or I'll send a stupid cat video to your iPhone...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 29 October 2014"

Posted by:

29 Oct 2014

I read about the electricity-generating jeans.
What about covering our settees with this stuff then we couch potatoes could generate enough free electricity to power the world !

Posted by:

29 Oct 2014

I believe you mean University of Southern California rather than University of South California. Not that it matters much.

Posted by:

29 Oct 2014

Bob, while I am NOT a Trojan Fan, I happen to be a Bruins Fan ... The Internet Study was done at USC or better known as the University of Southern California. Trust me ... USC tends to get testy, about their name. I could care less, though.

Doesn't surprise me, that iTunes is down 13%. I honestly think, that many consumers are tired of Apple's outrageous prices, on most of their products. I happen to use Spotify, for FREE!!! It works for me. Now to get my music to work "offline", I would need to pay a monthly subscription. Since, I have a radio and a CD Changer, I really don't need that aspect. There are also, other "music" places or services, that are available on the Internet.

Just read the article, on 3-D Printing of Urns, for Funeral Homes. No, mention on the price, either. In reality, a simple urn would be fine for me and it would save some bucks, for the "hear after." Note: "I plan on taking all my money with me, when I pass" ... That was my Grandfather's intention ... Guess what, he didn't achieve it, either! LOL :O)

Posted by:

29 Oct 2014

You can also type "tilt" or "askew" into Google for a less vomit inducing effect

Posted by:

USC alumni
29 Oct 2014

I am an University of South[ern] California graduate. I care! :) Otherwise it is a good article.

Posted by:

Frank Starr
29 Oct 2014

re: Star Trek’s universal translator concept is coming to Skype before the end of 2014, at least on Windows 8.
I hope this is better than Google Translate. While nice, Google Translate comes off like a car with bad shocks or springs - kinda shaky.
I've used Google Chrome with automatic translate on a Spanish newspaper in Central America. I can get the gist, but the translator has problems with the changes in position in sentence structure, and misinterprets Spanish tendencies to use masculine for many nouns, although it would come out feminine in English/Americanish.

Posted by:

29 Oct 2014

True, the overall result is not surprising. But there might be little pockets that counter the overall pattern, and we might wonder why. And what if the study had found a result contrary to intuition?

And they sent only 7.5T messages over two months. That's a mere 316G messages per hour. A drop in the bucket.

I use an "always on" DSL connection, but I contribute to the sleeping of the United States by turning the modem off at night. I live in New Hampshire.

Posted by:

Ed Briedums
30 Oct 2014

Your stretchy jeans and could power. Brilliant.
Why not add "electricity-generating polymer" to chewing gum and make the eyes light up. Will help pollution by reducing discarded flashlight batteries world wide.
Also could add to dog food . Help the dustmen to cleanup. Possibilities unlimited.

Posted by:

30 Oct 2014

I love your one liners and puns. Have you considered inserting some rimshot gifs :-)

I'm surprised Klingon wasn't included. I would have suspected the computer nerds/geeks would have used that as their test language! I know I would have.

Posted by:

Wes Dean
04 Nov 2014

Re: "Here's another item from the "Computers Behaving Strangely" file. Go to Google and search for Do a Barrel Roll."

This works only when using Firefox or Chrome as the browser. How many frustrated readers are wondering why nothing happened?

Posted by:

07 Nov 2014

Some locals call USC "University of Spoiled Children", since SoCal is fairly affluent region! Please don't flame me for stating facts!

Posted by:

09 Nov 2014

Another great article. However, this time, the comments are on par with the article itself. When I read Ron's comment, I couldn't help but think of the new saying I recently heard, "Sitting; the New Smoking."

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