GeekSpeak for 2013-06-15

Waze Reports: Cloudy with a Chance of Pananoia

Social mapping company Waze bought by Google, Clouds forming in inopportune places, and a healthy dose of black helicopter sightings. This and more with Bonnie, Ben, and Miles as they take your calls and cover the Week in Geek news. Special thanks to Greg Merkley for today’s show title. (Podcast update delayed)

Facebook Saves Datacenter Costs with Frigid Arctic Wind

One year and seven months after beginning construction, Facebook has brought its first datacenter on foreign soil online.
That soil is in Lulea, town of 75,000 people on northern Sweden’s east coast, just miles south of the boundary separating the Arctic Circle from the somewhat-less-frigid land below it.

Facebook's first data center drenched by actual cloud

Facebook’s first data center ran into problems of a distinctly ironic nature when a literal cloud formed in the IT room and started to rain on servers.

Though Facebook has previously hinted at this via references to a “humidity event” within its first data center in Prineville, Oregon, the social network’s infrastructure king Jay Parikh told The Reg on Thursday that, for a few minutes in Summer, 2011, Facebook’s data center contained two clouds: one powered the social network, the other poured water on it.

“I got a call, ‘Jay, there’s a cloud in the data center’,” Parikh says. “‘What do you mean, outside?’. ‘No, inside’.”

Birthday Song's Copyright Leads To a Lawsuit For the Ages

The song ‘Happy Birthday to You’ is widely credited for being the most performed song in the world. But one of its latest venues may be the federal courthouse in Manhattan, where the only parties may be the litigants to a new legal battle. The dispute stems from a lawsuit filed on Thursday by a filmmaker in New York who is seeking to have the court declare the popular ditty to be in the public domain, and to block a music company from claiming it owns the copyright to the song and charging licensing fees for its use.

Google to Buy Waze for $1.3 Billion

Google and Israeli start-up Waze have agreed in principle on a deal in which the search engine giant will buy the road traffic information sharing application for $1.3 billion, reports Calcalist.

The deal depends on various due diligence checks that have only begun, so it is still open to changes and has not been not finalized.

Brain Can’t Text While Driving Even With Hands Free: AAA

Using voice text messaging, included in systems such as Ford Motor Co. (F)’s Sync and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s Entune, is more distracting to drivers than making calls with handheld mobile phones, a study by AAA found.
Texting a friend verbally while behind the wheel caused a “large” amount of mental distraction compared with “moderate/significant” for holding a phone conversation or talking with a passenger and “small” when listening to music or an audio book, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found in a report released today.

The Feds’ ‘Ultimate Solution’ to Curb Distracted Driving

Nathaniel Beuse, associate administrator for vehicle safety research at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, says government regulation coupled with standards set by automakers and the electronics industry could reduce fatalities. He says we need “a technological solution, some sort of innovation” in which the device or the car would recognize when the driver is using a mobile device and deactivate it.

License, registration and cell phone: Bill would let N.J. cops search phones after crashes

Police officers across New Jersey could be saying that to motorists at the scenes of car crashes if new legislation introduced in the state Senate becomes law.

The measure would allow cops — without a warrant — to thumb through a cell phone to determine if a driver was talking or texting when an accident occurred. It requires officers to have “reasonable grounds” to believe the law was broken.

GeekBit: Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere

London, 1772.

I have been asked by my superiors to give a brief demonstration of the surprising effectiveness of even the simplest techniques of the new-fangled Social Networke Analysis in the pursuit of those who would seek to undermine the liberty enjoyed by His Majesty’s subjects. This is in connection with the discussion of the role of “metadata” in certain recent events and the assurances of various respectable parties that the government was merely “sifting through this so-called metadata” and that the “information acquired does not include the content of any communications”. I will show how we can use this “metadata” to find key persons involved in terrorist groups operating within the Colonies at the present time. I shall also endeavour to show how these methods work in what might be called a relational manner.

GeekBit: What's Inside Google Glass?

We eagerly brought Glass back to the lab to begin the dissection. Speculation reigned: what if the entire body of Glass is potted with epoxy requiring strong solvents to access? Which part is the battery in? How hackable is this thing? Where are the sensors? Any extra hardware features yet to be unlocked by future software updates? But first, where to even begin opening it?

GeekBit: Flying Bicycle is real, takes first flight

Bringing us one step closer to the hover-boards and flying cars that mid-20th century pop culture had predicted we would have by the year 2000, three Czech companies have come together to develop a functional flying bicycle.


Looks like we had some problems with the audio recording. The podcast for this episode will be delayed unfortunately until we can get the error sorted out. Thanks for your patience.