Geekly Update - 30 July 2014
Should first-graders be 'armed' with 3-D printers? Can you get sued for looking like Barbie? And which button on your computer can trigger a global conspiracy theory? 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 6 year-old boy born without an arm doesn’t need an expensive prosthetic one, according to his family’s insurance company. So a group of engineering students at the University of Central Florida designed one for him and created it with a 3-D printer. Total cost: $350. The heroes are making the printer data file available to all.
Maxwell Smart would be so jealous… You may leave the house without your Google Glass or smartwatch, but you won’t go out without your shoes. Indian startup Lechal (Hindi: “take me with you”) Shoes proposes shoes linked to Google Maps, with buzzers that tickle left or right foot when you need to make a turn. The smartshoes also store data about your walking exercise.
“Babies wearing ankle monitors” is the dystopian vision of Owlet Baby Care. You can pre-order the Owlet Smart Sock which clamps onto your infant’s foot to transmit to smartphones baby’s pulse rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen content, rolling movement and (in time) probation violation data. But it doesn’t tell you when the diaper needs to be changed!
Computer Vision Syndrome is a real, serious thing: eye strain; blurred vision; burning, red, watery eyes, etc. This video made the Health Editor of The Atlantic is a real but un-serious tutorial on avoiding CVS. “Go have a drink with a friend. Yeah, I know it’s 10:30 a.m. but this is about your eye health.”
The Prezzy Box Smart Phone Projector is a cardboard contraption that holds a 10x magnifying lens. It looks like an old-timey Brownie camera and projects videos from smartphone screens onto any flat surface.
The nation that sends the most spam to the world is the good ol’ U. S. of A., according to security researcher Sophos. The vast majority of spam originates from personal computers that have been enslaved by botnet malware (controlled by criminals in Eastern Europe).
YouTube star Michelle “How to Make Yourself Look Like Barbie” Phan has been sued for copyright infringement. Lawyers for Ultra Records say they’ve found over 50 protected tunes she’s using as background music in her videos, and are asking for $150,000 or more for each broadcast to her 6.7 million fans.
The Human Rights Foundation’s “Hackathon” event will bring together political refugees and the ingenious public to brainstorm better ways to get uncensored information into the closed society of North Korea. That shouldn’t be difficult; the Foundation’s last attempt involved tying USB thumb drives loaded with Wikipedia to helium balloons.
Read how one system administrator’s accidental pressing of F7 instead of F6 spawned global criticism of Ronald Reagan and decades of conspiracy theories about a lost Korean airliner, all because someone complained that her computer game had frozen.
Crowdfunding isn’t democratic or altruistic, a pundit at The Atlantic with too much time on her hands concludes. Rebecca Chou used a Web scraper to gather obscure data on funders of the “Potato Salad” Kickstarter campaign, which raised over $51,000 for a broke guy who wanted to make potato salad. It seems most of the money came from a very small group of donors and most of the comments about the campaign were negative.
App developers must do it for the love because they sure aren’t making money. A survey of 10,000 developers worldwide reveals the cold, hard truth: 2 per cent of developers rake in over 50 per cent of all revenue, and a whopping 47 per cent of developers earn less than $100 per app, per month. There are over one million apps in Apple’s App Store, alone.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 30 Jul 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 30 July 2014 (Posted: 30 Jul 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved