GeekSpeak for 2009-11-21

2012 Ends Mixed Nutz

The Geeks take calls and cover news, discussing the doomsday scenario with 2012 (hint: there isn’t any), the FCC, the LHC, and a sprinkling of Klingon to top it off.

In 2012, the World Won't End.

“Stories about the fictional planet Nibiru and predictions of doomsday in December 2012 have blossomed on the Internet. There are now (June 2009) more than 175 books listed on Amazon.com dealing with the 2012 doomsday. As this hoax spreads, many more disaster scenarios are being suggested. “Ask an Astrobiologist” has received nearly a thousand questions about Nibiru and 2012, with more than 200 answers posted. Many new questions are similar to those already answered.”

MPAA Asks FCC For Control Of Your TV's Analog Outputs

“The Motion Picture Association of American wants to rent movies to TV viewers earlier in the release window, but they don’t want anyone potentially streaming that video out to other appliances. That’s why last week they went back to the FCC to once again ask for the power to disable analog ports on consumer television sets.”

Cern Large Hadron Collider restarts after 14 months

Engineers sent their first beam all the way round the LHC’s circumference 100m underground after 1930 GMT on Friday.

Man Uses Remote to Control His 'Bionic Bottom'

“Ged Galvin, 55, now presses a remote control to open his bowels and go to the toilet.”

Google Adding Automatic Captions to YouTube Videos

Because the speech-recognition technology is still a work in progress, Google is launching the automatic captioning service on the YouTube channels of just a handful of partners, including PBS, National Geographic and a few big universities. But the company promises that the technology will improve over time – and it hopes for a much broader rollout.

In the meantime, Google is adding a new “auto-timing” feature to its existing manual captioning service to make it easier to use. Video creators will now simply have to create a text file with all the words spoken in a video and Google’s speech recognition technology will take it from there – matching the text to the words as they are spoken. Google hopes this will encourage more users to add captions to their videos.

Local dad spoke only Klingon to child for three years

Is this taking the whole Star Trek thing a teensie weensie bit too far? d’Armond Speers spoke only Klingon to his child for the first three years of its life.

Klingon? Not Spanish, French, Mandarin? Not some gutteral genuflecting concoction from the deepest recesses of Borneo? Klingon? You heard it right. (And if you don’t know about the Klingon Empire, look it up.)

“I was interested in the question of whether my son, going through his first language acquisition process, would acquire it like any human language,” Speers told the Minnesota Daily. “He was definitely starting to learn it.”

Found on eBay: An original Apple-1

The starting bid for the Apple-1 is US$50,000. What do you get with your winning bid? A non-working Apple 1 motherboard, the original shipping box (with the return address being the home of Steve Jobs’ parents), and the original manual, complete with schematics on how to take the motherboard and build a workable computer out of it.

There’s also a tape interface card, used to load or save software from cassette tapes. The card comes with a manual and a cassette with a typed label that says “BASIC” on it.

Imation ships first wireless USB hard drive

If you’ve wished you could connect your external hard drive to your computer without having to use the USB cable, now you can.

Imation announced Thursday the availability of the first wireless USB external hard drive, the Pro WX. The hard drive works just like any other USB hard drive, with one exception: it doesn’t require a USB cable.

The Pro WX wireless USB external hard drive.
(Credit: Imation)

Wireless USB has been under development for about five years, and some of the first products were demoed at CES 2009. This technology allows you to connect USB 2.0 devices to a computer wirelessly from up to 30 feet away with a throughput speed of up to 480Mbps.