GeekSpeak for 2010-08-28

Face GPS and So's Your Face

UPS Pet Rock, Expect GPS Tracking by Police, Trademark “Face”, Smart Vending Machines, Dry Water (year right!), Dead Records, and Free Ice Cream next week!

Pet Rock

Pet Rocks were a 1970s fad conceived in Los Gatos, California by advertising executive Gary Dahl. The first Pet Rocks were ordinary gray stones bought at a builder’s supply store and marketed as if they were live pets. The fad lasted about six months, ending with the Christmas season in December 1975. During its short run, the Pet Rock made Dahl a millionaire.

In 1975, Dahl established Rock Bottom Productions, a company that sold the rocks for US$3.95 each.

ThinkGeek :: USB Pet Rock

Here’s why you need a USB Pet Rock now:

  • They make a great gift for everyone we can think of.
  • They don’t need food or water.
  • They don’t chew on your stuff.
  • They will make you instantly cool.
  • They never talk back to you.
  • They will forever love you in their own rocky way.
  • They are the greenest USB products ever created, as they draw absolutely no electricity.
  • They are compatible with Windows (7 and lower); Mac (all OS’s); Linux; and all other past, present, and future operating systems – no drivers needed!

Product Features

  • Pet Rock Plugs in with USB and gives you love!
  • No feed or care needed
  • Draws no power
  • Compatible with any OS including Mac, Windows and Linux
  • Each rock is unique (Please allow for natural variations in your USB Pet Rock)
  • Rock is approx. 4″ × 4″ × 3″
  • Includes 18" long USB cable

Guess Who Is Trying To Trademark The Word “Face”?

When it comes to trademarks, Facebook is proving to be a bully. It is going after Teachbook in court for using a similar name, and already forced Placebook to change its name. But that is only half the story.

It is not just the word “book” at the end of a company or product name that Facebook might object to. If it has its way, the word “Face” at the beginning of a name might also bring out its lawyers. In fact, Facebook is currently trying to register the word “Face” as a trademark. (It already owns the trademark on “Facebook”). Facebook took over the trademark application for “Face” from a company in the UK called CIS Internet Limited, which operated a site called Faceparty.com. Presumably, Facebook bought the application sometime around November, 2008, which is when its lawyer started dealing with the USPTO.

47-inch touchscreen vending machine

Time for us to admit another entrant into the hall of unnecessary, but cool inventions. Installed at Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station yesterday, this latest spin on the vending machine dispenses with those silly windows unto what you’re buying and furnishes its user with a 47-inch touch panel from which to make his (or her) selection. An embedded camera will recognize your gender and age, allowing the machine to recommend a beverage suitable to whatever stereotype is attached to your particular circumstances. And don’t worry, it’ll store your purchasing history too, so you can be freaked out by tailored ads every time you use it. 500 more of these WiMAX-equipped units are planned to be installed in and around Tokyo over the next two years, with operating company JR East expecting them to tally up 30 percent more sales than their analog brethren. More bling equals higher revenue? Sounds about right.

Scientists create 'dry water'

“It may sound like a contradiction in terms, but scientists have created ‘dry water’.”

Company presses your ashes into vinyl when you die

“Music lovers can now be immortalised when they die by having their ashes baked into vinyl records to leave behind for loved ones.”

The Penny Ice Creamery - Santa Cruz, CA

Next week – after GeekSpeak – come to the Penny Ice Creamery: meet the Geeks, get some ice cream and a free GeekSpeak T-shirts (as supplies last).

Man Scrawls World’s Biggest Message with a GPS ‘Pen’

One man drove 12,238 miles and across 30 states in the U.S. to scrawl a message that could only be viewed using Google Earth. His big shoutout: “Read Ayn Rand.”

Nick Newcomen did a road trip over 30 days that covered stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. First, he identified on a map the route he would need to drive to spell out the message. He put a GPS device in his car to trace the route he would follow. Then, he hit the road.

“The main reason I did it is because I am an Ayn Rand fan,” he says. “In my opinion if more people would read her books and take her ideas seriously, the country and world would be a better place – freer, more prosperous and we would have a more optimistic view of the future.”

Blackberry battle in India going down to the wire

“Efforts by Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the BlackBerry, to broaden the debate over data encryption were dismissed by Indian industry groups as unnecessary Friday and appeared unlikely to break a logjam over government demands for access to users’ e-mails by an Aug. 31 deadline.”

The Government's New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS

“Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway – and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.”

Rwanda Harnesses Energy from Exploding Lake

“Rwanda is centering its new energy plan on an unlikely, potentially dangerous source: Lake Kivu.”

Seabreacher X | Innespace

The Seabreacher X is the latest and most advanced submersible watercraft that we have built to date: This exciting new version is based on the dolphi- inspired Seabreacher J, but it has a more aggressive Shark-style body. The X model also steps up the performance envelope with a 260hp supercharged engine, propelling the vessel to a top speed of 50mph on the surface and 25mph below.

Commodore USA announces the PC64

Commodore USA, LLC, and Commodore Licensing B.V. have finally come to an agreement, meaning that your subsequent purchases will at least come with a Commodore decal. This also paves the way for the company’s newest offering, the Commodore PC64, an Intel Atom-powered PC featuring 4GB DDR3 memory, SATA 1TB HDD, HDMI output, optical drive (either DVD/CD or optional Blu-ray), and more — all in “an exact replica” of the original beige C64 chassis.

Cleveland residents who don't recycle caught by RF chips

In cleveland, ohio, the city is installing RF chips and barcodes on recycling bins. They allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip shows a recyclable cart hasn’t been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables. Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine.

NMAP Favicon

A large-scale scan of the top million web sites was performed in early 2010 using the Nmap Security Scanner and its scripting engine.
They retrieved each site’s icon by first parsing the HTML for a link tag and then falling back to /favicon.ico if that failed.
288,945 images were collected and used to create a visualization where the icons are represented.

Gov't can Track Your Every Move With GPS

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (covering California and eight other Western states) recently decided that government agents can put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go – without having to get a warrant.
They say this does not violate your 4th amendment rights because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway – and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.


! Ice Cream – T-Shirts and 10 Years of GeekSpeak

Next week after the show come down to [The Penny Ice Creamery|http://thepennyicecreamery.com/] ([Penny Ice Creamery on Yelp|http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-penny-ice-creamery-santa-cruz]) at 913 Cedar St, Santa Cruz. You can meet the Geeks, get a t-shirt and be lucky and get a free ice-cream and t-shirt.