Geekly Update - 31 Jan 2018

Category: Tech-News

Can your email address have an undesired effect on your auto insurance rates? How easy is it to turn an ATM into a money-spewing slot machine? Is it legal to be drunk behind the wheel of a self-driving car? And why is Grumpy Cat secretly smiling? Get answers in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

Trigger word? A bar owner in NYC has posted a sign which informs patrons that they will be asked to leave if they utter word "literally." It turns out the owner of the establishment, Trigger Smith, was figuratively speaking. Smith says the policy is "tongue-in-cheek" and is only meant to bring attention to his pet peeve. Whatever.

The owner of the famous feline known as Grumpy Cat has won $710,000 in a court case against a beverage company that used Grumpy's likeness without permission. Ironically, a Google search shows 1.6 million other unauthorized uses of Grumpy Cat's face.

Is it really “shoplifting” if Amazon Go tells you to take whatever you want from its grocery shelves and just walk out the door? One reporter found that the company neglected to charge for one item she placed in her reusable shopping bag, and agonizes over this question.

Geekly Update 01-31-2018

A robotic exoskeleton that amplifies the wearer’s strength by tenfold has been approved as a medical device by the FDA for the first time. The lower-body booster, ominously or amusingly named “HAL,” as you prefer, has long been approved by European authorities. No word on whether or not it will be opening the pod bay doors.

Google has suspended part of its fact-checking service, which is intended to help searchers distinguish reliable information from “fake news.” Multiple conservative publishers protested that they were unfairly and disproportionately labeled unreliable. Google is suspending the Reviewed Claims section of its Knowledge Panel, which appears beside search results, until it deals with unspecified “quality issues.”

ATM “jackpotting” techniques and malware enable crooks to force certain ATMs commonly placed in retail stores to spew thousands of dollars at once. A well-established problem in Europe, “jackpotting” is now making its way into the U. S. The fact that all reports of jackpotting thefts involve ATMs that were still running Windows XP begs the question, “Do the owners of the ATMs deserve this?”

Oops. The top-secret locations of U. S. military bases and troop movements in Europe are being revealed by a fitness monitoring app called Strava.

Facebook published the first in a planned series of blog posts, written by senior executives, this discuss the effects of social media on democracy. This first post, by Product Manager of Civic Engagement Samidh Chakrabarti, is a promising, thoughtful read.

If your car is in gear, your brain cannot be in neutral. “It was on auto-pilot!” a Tesla driver stopped on suspicion of DUI explained to his arresting officer. No, it was not. A horse is a more reliable auto-pilot than a Tesla car, and one can still be charged with DUI if one rides a horse on a public road while drunk.

“I forgot my Twitter name and password,” explained the Governor of Hawaii during a press briefing about why the false nuclear attack alert of January 13, 2018, was not countered with social media messaging sooner. Obviously, he needs a sticky note on his computer, just like the guys in the Hawaii EMS offices.

Just as SETI-at-Home enables ordinary citizens to assist in the search for extraterrestrial life by using their otherwise idle CPU cycles to process astronomical data, IBM’s World Community Grid allows anyone, with any Internet-connected device, to help scientists unravel mysteries of disease and ecological sustainability. You can even pick your area of micro-research, and get feedback on its progress.

Hot Mail = Hot Car? The UK’s Admiral car insurance company admitted to charging higher premiums to users of Hotmail email accounts. The company’s actuarial data shows that “Certain domain names are associated with more accidents than others.” Maybe it’s time to switch to; users of that domain receive slight discounts from Admiral.

This Burger King commercial demonstrates the anticipated ill effects of the FCC’s recent nulllification of Net Neutrality rules.

Poptheatr is a cloth-and-wire hood into which you clamp your smartphone before putting the hood over your head, enabling you to lie on your back while watching movies hands-free. No one will see the look on your face.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 31 Jan 2018"

Posted by:

31 Jan 2018

Thanks for the World Community Grid plug. I have been running it for years, and often pondered how to get the word out to a larger audience.

Posted by:

Mark G.
31 Jan 2018

>> Ironically, a Google search shows 1.6 million other unauthorized uses of Grumpy Cat's face
Curious about your use of the word "ironically" - "interesting", maybe (though I wonder how many of the 1.6 million "other unauthorized uses" are intended as commercial.
Or maybe I'm missing the irony.
Thanks for reading.

Posted by:

31 Jan 2018

In your first paragraph, you used MY trigger word: "Whatever." AGGAH!!

Posted by:

31 Jan 2018

Since you opened with a trigger word, I'll give you one of mine.

"... begs the question" is not the same as "... begs for a question." Begging the question is a logical fallacy, and it's become common as a false equivalent to "... brings up a question" or similar phrases.

Now, back to windmill-tilting.

Posted by:

31 Jan 2018

Burger King just became my favorite burger joint! Thanks for the article Bob!

Posted by:

31 Jan 2018

The Burger King commercial does NOT accurately "demonstrates the anticipated ill effects of the FCC’s recent nulllification of Net Neutrality rules", rather, it EXAGGERATES them for ILLUSTRATION purposes.

NOTE: too many "l"s in "nullification".

Posted by:

01 Feb 2018

The Burger King video brings to mind horses (no, not minced horses) and stable doors. It would have been more useful to raise awareness before the decision!

Posted by:

05 Feb 2018

My list of "trigger-word" triggers include "at the end of the day" at the top of the list.
I also mute "trigger" concepts which reference a commercial or an advertisement as a premise.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 31 Jan 2018 (Posted: 31 Jan 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved