Geekly Update - 8 May 2013

Category: Tech-News

When is it okay to spy on people through their webcams? Is now a good time to buy real estate on the Moon or other planets? And what's the most reliable Windows laptop? (Hint: Cupertino) 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 on...

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

Generally, spying on people through their unsecured Web cameras is frowned upon. But one such voyeur stumbled upon a 96 year-old Alzheimer patient being abused by her own daughter and, with great persistence, got authorities to arrest the woman.

"Location, location, location." If you're not happy with your neighbors, consider buying real estate on the Moon. Entrepreneur Dennis Hope has been selling 1-acre lunar lots for $20 each since 1968. Don't laugh, he's sold over 600 million parcels so far.

Worried about leaving the curtains open at home? The DroneShield will detect the distinctive sounds of nosey robotic aircraft and alert you via flashing light, email, or text.

Geekly Update 05-08-2013

Memes cost money. The parents of a Down syndrome man whose photo has been widely altered and distributed have filed an $18 million lawsuit on his behalf against a radio station, a realtor, and a meme-generating Web site. “I don't think (he) fully appreciates the hurt that's been inflicted on him," said attorney Larry Crain, doing his client’s case little good.

"I only read it for the articles!" A copy of Playboy magazine’s February 1992 issue can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Problem: it’s in Braille, and has no pictures.

What’s the most reliable Windows laptop? A $1,199 Macbook Pro 13, according to extensive crash reports collected by PC-monitoring firm Soluto. In second place is a $429 Acer Aspire. The $1,169 Lenovo Thinkpad X1 finished 10th.

More secure currency and legal documents could be enabled by embedded RFID chips that are so thin they don’t jam printers. But “smart paper” cannot prevent people from printing dumb things on it.

The Winky App for Google Glass lets you snap a photo by winking your eye, which seems like a great way to get your eye blackened. Sensors embedded in Glass can tell the difference between a blink and a wink.

Bitcoin mining software was secretly embedded in an update of a video game downloaded to members of the E-Sports Entertainment Association, an online gaming community. Before ESEA was caught abusing customers’ GPUs, over $3700 worth of Bitcoins were harvested. The company has apologized for its “rogue programmer” and donated double the sum mined to the American Cancer Society.

Payphones are being transformed into free WiFi hotspots in Boston and New York. The small-cell technology provides WiFi access up to 200 feet from a phone kiosk.

Don’t mess with memes: the creators of “Nyan Cat” and “Keyboard Cat” have sued Warner Brothers and game developer 5th Cell for using their copyright and trademark protected characters in a video game without permission or compensation. Though not a party to the suit, Grumpy Cat says, “Good!”

Newspapers are used to wrap fish. Now, select issues of Forbes magazine wrap cellular WiFi routers that provide 15 days of T-mobile data service. The stunt seems to be a promotion of Microsoft Office 365.

Which companies will turn over your data to the government without a struggle, or even informing you? “Who Has Your Back?” is an informative report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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

 
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